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Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin

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Menominee eyes are on a Great Lakes schooner which passed its first test sailing Lake Michigan and should be bound for Florida early this month, a maiden voyage of some 3,000 miles. The schooner is fitted with masts made from donated old-growth white pine from the tribe's northern Wisconsin forest. After taking the 138-foot schooner Denis Sullivan out of the dock under its own power for the first time, Captain Mark Crutcher said, "Everything went real well." The three-masted schooner has been a decade-long project for a community group that wanted to build the sort of vessel that moved cargo in the Upper Midwest in the late 1800s - the "tractor-trailer of the lakes," as shipbuilder Rob Peters said. Crutcher said it will take about three weeks to reach Nova Scotia, and he then will head south to Florida to work out of Fort Lauderdale, Port Everglades, Key West and Tampa, with "a few trips over to the Bahamas." Four high schools will send students to two-week educational programs in Florida before the schooner returns to its Milwaukee base next spring. The Denis Sullivan, named for a Lake Michigan schooner captain of the 1880s, will be run year-round by a professional crew of seven, plus one volunteer.