Alice Craig

The Alice Craig - artist's rendition by Robert R Holton

The Alice Craig - artist's rendition by Robert R Holton

It is a goal of Lake Superior Tall Ships to build a modern replica of the Alice Craig, a US Revenue Cutter that was based in Bayfield, WI on Lake Superior from 1859 to 1887. For more history about the Alice Craig, see A Tall Ship Tale and Tall Ship Links.

This vessel will be a gaff rigged topsail schooner with a length on deck about 60', length overall about 80', 18' beam, and 6' draft with centerboard up.

We want our boat to look, feel, and smell like the 1859 version, but we will use modern materials and construction techniques to insure maximum safety of passengers/crew, to reduce the cost of construction and maintenance, and to minimize the impact on the environment.

We will do our best to source materials and labor for the construction of the boat from the Lake Superior basin.

The hull will be built of steel, epoxy coated to reduce corrosion and insulated to reduce condensation. Once the the hull is built and major mechanicals are installed, we would like to move the boat from the shipyard to a location near Bayfield where woodwork and fitting out will be completed. We will avoid building with tropical hardwoods and look instead for local white oak, yellow pine, and locust.  We may laminate timber to build our masts and spars, instead of searching for and cutting clear, straight, old growth trees.  

We will investigate alternatives to using standard diesel engines and generators to power the boat. Mechanical power could be provided by diesel-electric hybrids, wind turbines, solar arrays, etc., and/or we could use alternative fuels like bio-diesel, propane, CNG or ANG. We will investigate energy saving alternatives to lighting (LED) and systems.

We will seek bids from area naval architects, shipbuilders, boat-wrights, sail-makers, riggers and mechanics. Lake Superior area contractors and artisans will be given preference. We will supplement our paid workforce with skilled volunteers. We will negotiate with local chandlers to secure the best prices for parts and equipment used on board.

We'd like to carry about 50 passengers for day sails and be able to sleep 21 for overnights sails. We will also need to be able to accommodate individuals with disabilities.

We'd like to be able to sail the boat with a crew of 3, so the boat will be fitted with a bow thruster and inconspicuous electric winches to aid in hauling, sheeting, etc. when sailing shorthanded. Modern electronics, GPS, radar, chart plotter, VHF, AIS, etc. will also be installed discreetly. The original revenue cutters were steered by tiller, but we will opt for wheel steering. We will need to investigate whether to build the boat with a wheelhouse, or if we want the helm to be open to the weather.

We estimate the cost to build the Alice Craig will be between $1.3 and $2 million. This is consistent with the current sale price of comparable boats in the marketplace.  This would include design and engineering costs around $250k.