Docked in front of Discovery World sits the only re-creation of a 19th Century three-masted Great Lakes schooner in the world – the Sailing Vessel (S/V) Denis Sullivan. The schooner was built by nearly 1,000 dedicated volunteers who generously gave more than one million hours over five years to see their big vision become a breathtaking reality.
Since her official launch in 2000, Discovery World’s tall ship has operated as a floating classroom, United Nations Environment Program flagship, ambassador for the State of Wisconsin, and has offered visitors of all ages fun and learning on Lake Michigan. Discovery World welcomes over 7,000 students, adults, and families onto the S/V Denis Sullivan deck annually. Visitors have the opportunity to engage in informative tours, exciting Public Sails, and overnight expeditions. Students participating have access to hands-on, freshwater science curriculum combined with the technical teachings of learning to sail a tall ship.
Our CEO, Joel Brennan, recently received two letters from friends who sailed the Denis Sullivan on a five-day cruise, fondly called the “Bucket List Sail.” Mark Obukowicz of Three Lakes, WI and Carlton Schroeder of Eagle River, WI, found the Denis Sullivan experience one like no other.
Schroeder describes the sail…”what a good time and experience it was for me to sail on the Denis Sullivan with Captain Tiffany and her crew. My buddy and I sailed on the Aug 13 – 18 Milwaukee to Duluth trip. It was a great experience even though the winds were light. I enjoyed every bit of it; especially the watch work with the crew members.”
Obukowicz had worked on the Bucket List sail from Milwaukee to Duluth previously, and found it to be a tremendous endeavor. “The sail was a most rewarding and memorable experience! I commend Captain Tiffany Krihwan and her entire crew of professionals for a job well-done. As a working passenger, I learned the rudiments of sailing and its associated responsibilities. In addition, there were many highlights for me during the voyage: viz, sailing across Lake Michigan in inclement weather; sailing at night under the Mackinac Bridge and past the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, passing through the Soo Locks, sailing amongst the Apostle Islands, having “shore leave” on Madeline Island, and an on-deck dinner and swimming option prior to weighing anchor and entering Duluth Harbor to the cheers of Tall Ships Festival attendees. The six days passed by so quickly.”
Schroeder also had great fun when they routed through the North East portion of Lake Michigan, the Straits of Mackinac, the St. Mary’s River and the Locks, and then through the Apostle Islands. He says, “I especially enjoyed the crew discussions and lessons about the DS and all her systems; hopefully I’ll retain a lot of that info. The data recording and location plotting on the navigation charts (part of our crew work) was interesting and fun for me.”
Discovery World staff and crew on the Denis Sullivan always like to hear that vessel goers enjoyed their experiences. We are also thrilled that passengers see the value in the ship and the resources that it provides the educational community in Milwaukee. According to Schroeder, ”I wanted to thank you for providing opportunities for school-age children to sail and experience time on board the Denis Sullivan. It is hard to imagine a more memorable experience.”
Just like Schroeder and Obukowicz, we recognize the value that the Denis Sullivan brings to Milwaukee. Sadly though, it costs Discovery World approximately half a million dollars to operate the schooner annually, but we only earn $350,000 to offset the costs. As such, we are hoping that those who love the Denis Sullivan and Discovery World will consider helping us reduce our operational gap and also help fund some much-needed improvements (rescue boat, life raft, second engine for the rescue boat, and five cold water immersion suits). If you’d like to make a donation to the S/V Denis Sullivan, please visit: https://www.crowdrise.com/friends-of-sv-denis-sullivan-giving-societys-2016-crowdsourcing-campaign/fundraiser/discoveryworld.
If you’d like to book Public Sail or Educational Sail, please contact our Reservations Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 414-765-8625.
Sail on Denis Sullivan!