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The Cruise of the Naphtha Launch ABBIE
An 1889 Lake Superior adventure
by George Jepson
Tags: fantail launch, ABBIE, motorboat, Lake Superior, coastal cruising, WoodenBoat 224
In 1889, the 30′ LOA fantail launch ABBIE, propelled by a 4-hp naphtha engine, set out from Marquette, Michigan, on a month’s coastal cruise around Lake Superior; aboard was a six-man crew, including owner John Munro Longyear. The launch was the first recreational motorboat on Lake Superior. The journey covered nearly 700 miles, and Longyear, an accomplished photographer, made images all along the way. Here’s the story of that trip, drawn from Longyear’s journals and images.