Here I am including another sail powered ship under the Great Lakes cruises heading, but most of us do seem to be fascinated in this day of high powered jet boats when we see a big square or triangle of canvas pushing a ship along. The Red Witch out of Chicago is just such a Great Lakes ship.

At 77 feet long, the Red Witch is somewhat smaller than her more northern cousin the Manitou, which resides in Traverse City, Michigan. Still, even though she is a little bit smaller, the Red Witch will carry a respectable 49 passengers for a wonderful afternoon of fun.

The Red Witch is operated by Lakeshore Sail Charters out of Chicago, which also offers Great Lakes cruises on the Crescendo, a 36 foot Beneteau that carries up to 6 passengers.

You can take Great Lakes cruises on Red Witch one of three ways, you can charter the entire ship for your group event, or if you have a small group and you agree to share the ride with another small group, you can enjoy a lower rate. According to their website, a shared charter is priced at $600 for two hours in 2009 pricing. This covers up to 10 people and after that it is $50 for each additional passenger. If you want a 3 hour tour, the fee is $900 for the first 10 people and $65 per person after that. Tours include soft drinks, water and snacks. These rates are a significant discount over the regular rate which starts at over $1000 for the two hour tour if taken on a weekday.

The other way to get a ride on the Red Witch is to take advantage of one of the special events this small charter company offers. The Red Witch offers a few “ticketed” events every year, this means that individuals can buy a ticket to sail on these specially scheduled events. The events that Lakeshore Sail Charters schedules are Wednesday and Saturday fireworks cruises, Whale Watching/Happy Hour cruises, and Musical Mondays. Tickets start at $50 per person, which is cheap enough when compared to the charter rates.

Besides, anyone who has lived around the Great lakes, or knows anything about the Great Lakes will tell you that the Whale Watching/Happy Hour cruise must be very interesting indeed. Even if you don’t see any whales, I’m sure you will return happy, and if you do see a whale…well, I guess you will return even happier.

Like all sailing vessels, the Red Witch makes tours of an approximate length, and the actual time it takes for the cruise may vary slightly based on the wind and weather, but the fun will always be large. If you live somewhere in the vicinity of Chicago and you long for a schooner ride, you might consider taking your Great Lakes cruises on the Red Witch.

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