Posted by: theensign | 15 February 2010

The Ensign writer wins award

The survival tale of sailors attempting to rescue a stricken vessel set adrift during an icy Lake Superior storm won first place for The Ensign writer Marlin Bree in the Seamanship, Rescue & Safety category of the 2009 Boating Writers International Writing Contest.

Winners in 17 contest categories were announced at BWI’s Thursday, 12 Feb., meeting during the Miami Boat Show. The professional writers’ association contest recognizes excellence in boating journalism.

Bree’s story, The Last Battle of the Grampa Woo, appeared in The Ensign’s May/Jun 2009 issue. The Woo, a well-known diesel-powered aluminum excursion boat, operated on Lake Superior’s North Shore.

Bree’s nonfiction tale captures the unfolding drama as the Grampa Woo is blown off its harbor mooring in Grand Portage, Minn., and set adrift on Superior’s storm-battered seas. Two other boats brave ice, snow, high waves and wild winds trying to rescue the vessel.

In presenting the BWI award to Bree, Judge Jennifer Chesak said the article “was written with true zeal and captured the intense passion a man has for his ship as well as the incredible bravery and heroism abundant on this rescue mission at sea.”

Along with the other winning entries, Bree’s article moves on to Phase II, competing for BWI’s Grand Prize Writer’s Award, which carries a four-figure cash prize and will be announced later this year. Bree is the only BWI writer to have previously won two Grand Prize Writer’s Awards, both for articles published in The Ensign magazine.

Marlin Bree lives with his family in Shoreview, Minn., and often solo-sails his boat, Persistence, on Lake Superior. He is the author of numerous books including Wake of the Green Storm: A Survivor’s Tale, In the Teeth of the Northeaster: A Solo Voyage on Lake Superior and Broken Seas: True Tales of Extraordinary Seafaring Adventures. For more information, visit


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