Mackinac Island’s transportation repertoire is anything but average. Beyond the horse carriages and tandem bicycles, the Northern Michigan island is home to one of the most intriguing collections of boats on the Great Lakes.
This Chris-Craft Constellation was built in 1955 in Algonac, Michigan. The owner is Dan Musser, president of Mackinac Island’s world-renowned Grand Hotel. His 53-foot private motor yacht is built with Philippine mahogany, weighs in at 28 tons and is powered by twin Caterpillar 3126 diesel engines. The vessel has two state rooms, a pointer room with two bunk beds, two heads, one full shower, a galley, a salon, an enclosed pilot house and is accented with a limited-edition seafoam green hull.
The name might be a bit misleading. This red-hulled beauty was built in the mid 1970s in North Berwick, Maine, and designed for overnight offshore lobster fishing in the North Atlantic. Later she was rigged for dragging fish and shrimp nets. Ugly Anne now offers cruises and private charters in northern Lake Huron, but she is still a tough little ship. A Detroit Diesel with about 600 horsepower allows the 17 tons of oak ribs and mahogany planking to glide through the finicky waters of the Mackinac Straits. Learn more at mackinawtour.com.
Isle Royale Queen III
Ever feel like your boat is just not big enough to hold all your friends? Well, take note. In 1960, the 57-foot Isle Royale Queen II went into service carrying passengers and cargo across Lake Superior to Isle Royale National Park. In the late 1980s, owner Donald Kipela Sr. hired naval architect Timothy Graul to lengthen the ship. Over the course of the reconstruction, 24 feet was added to the stern cabin area. Plus, it was repowered with twin 3306 turbo Caterpillar Diesel engines at 235 horsepower each. The boat was renamed the Isle Royale Queen III. In 2010, the ship was refurbished, adding an upper deck. The ship now offers popular Sip n’ Sail cruises around Mackinac Island along with bridge tours and craft beer cruises. Learn more at puremichiganboatcruises.com.
In 1970, the 65-foot Offshore was the 402nd boat built by Huckins Yacht Corporation and thus named 402. The company is most famous for inventing the first planing hull. As a result, in 1943 the U.S. Navy commissioned Huckins to build two squadrons of PT boats, 18 total, for service during World War II. 402 is now owned by the Ware family, known for their dedication to the preservation of historic icons including Mission Point Resort and Silver Birches. Cindy Purcell, third generation boat builder and granddaughter of Huckins’ founder Frank Pembroke Huckins, says, “My husband Buddy and I love knowing that hull 402 is fully alive and will be for many years to come in the Great Lakes.”
Chris Loud is the co-founder of The Boardman Review and writes from Traverse City. Follow him @cfloud on Instagram.