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by Bill Paxton - Apple Valley, Minnesota - USA

This year we had plenty of boats, but no beach. Lake Pepin is a wide spot in the Mississippi River, and the river was unusually high thanks to record snowfall and a colder-than-normal winter. The late melt had swollen the river to the point where the water level was beyond the beach and into the trees. That didn't stop us from having a great time.

Water level was beyond the beach and into the trees.

The most common boats this year were the PDRacers. Kenny Giles brought Uke 'N Sail. Brian and Sandy Weber had their new boat. Mitch and Whitney Longtin brought their blue PDR from Iowa. Seth Miller brought his ∏-Rate.

Uke 'N Sail
Brian and Sandy Weber
Mitch and Whitney Longtin

Roger Craig arrived by water in his Steve Lewis-designed Chugger, AFTER YOU. Steve started 70 miles upstream, and navigated though locks and barge traffic to our campsite. Other new boats included Al Stead's beautifully finished Stevenson's Weekender, JUMPING DUCK. Longtime messer, Mississippi Bob Brown had his new Michalak Skat, NANCY LEE II.

After You
Jumping Duck
Nancy Lee II

We had two "famous" boats join us this year. EKESKOLD, A Swedish Blekingseka built by Gabe Erickson, was featured in WoodenBoat no. 211. Gabe and his father, Tom, even cut the trees and milled the wood for the hull! Another beautifully finished boat was Lance Pamperin's JAGULAR, a Ross Lillistone Phoenix III. Duckworks carried a four-part article on this boat.


Doc Regan was back again with his West Wight Potter. Over the years, Doc has replaced so many parts on the boat that it's practically home built. Greg Lindberg was good enough to bring ARCEBUS, again. ARCEBUS was designed by Greg and launched at the 2005 Lake Pepin Messabout. Greg also brought his pedal-powered kayak. Gary Vander Hart rocketed around the lake in his pram LITTLE DEBBIE. The builder/skipper who has attended more Lake Pepin Messabouts than anyone else, Craig Bursell, was back again with BLACK BARK, his Stevenson Skipjack. Another longtime messer, designer Steve Lewis, sailed his Stevenson scow, Dave Richards and Jeff Ward joined us in Jeff's beautiful Scaffie, SKYE PILOT. Paul Fogerty brought his cedar strip canoe.

West Wight Potter


Pedal-powered Kayak
Little Debbie
Black Bark
Stevenson Scow

Bob Fogt showed up in time for Saturday's potluck dinner with his Westport Skiff, RODGROD MED FLODE. It turned out to be the tastiest boat at the messabout. I suppose I better explain that. Bob brought a two-layered Jello-like dessert in the same colors as his boat - red on bottom and white on top!

Skye Pilot

Rodgrod Med Flode

All the pictures from the 2011 Lake Pepin Messabout, and info on the next one (June 1-3) can be found at