World traveler

Coaster II to make journey; schooner under new ownership

Work is underway on the Coaster II, which Peter McDaniel and his family will use to travel around the world. The boat is a wooden schooner being refurbished to make it more livable for the family. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

MARQUETTE — Its image could be put on a postcard and nothing else, or it can be sent to sea where it truly can be put to use.

Peter McDaniel, formerly of Los Angeles, is the new owner of the Coaster II, which he bought in 2018.

However, it’s not just any boat.

McDaniel said the schooner was made in the 1930s.

“It’s a replica of a coastal schooner, which used to be like the semi-truck of the world,” McDaniel said.

The Coaster II might be familiar to Marquette residents. Its former owner, Niko Economides, used to run tours of the area on the boat.

Now the Coaster II will go way beyond places such as Marquette’s Lower Harbor and Presque Isle Park, with McDaniel, his wife, Stephanie, and two children, Willow, 5, and Maxx, 2, taking it to far-flung spots on the planet. He also will be joined by a first mate, Bryan Delein of Marquette.

“We’re going to go through all the Great Lakes, up the St. Lawrence Seaway, over the top of Nova Scotia, down the Eastern Seaboard, out in the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, through the Galapagos, and from there to the South Pacific,” McDaniel said.

He expects it will take about three years to complete a circumnavigation of the globe.

Such a journey requires at least a bit of nautical knowledge.

“I learned to sail when I was probably 14,” McDaniel said.

He could have purchased a more traditional boat than the Coaster II, but made a different choice.

“It’s the romance of a wooden schooner,” said McDaniel, who noted it historically has been a family boat, requiring only two people — perhaps a husband and wife or husband and other family member — to operate it.

The boat will be put in Lake Superior on June 1, he said, with the trip to follow.

McDaniel is excited about the trek, but also expressed a little trepidation.

“There’s a bazillion things that could go wrong, but we’ve mitigated almost all the risks, but just being a father, my main worry is the kids,” McDaniel said.

Fortunately, he plans to keep them tethered to the boat while wearing lifejackets.

The McDaniel kids will be home-schooled, or rather boat-schooled, while the family sees a lot of the world — which is educational in itself.

In the meantime, work is being completed on the Coaster II, with local boatbuilder Mike Potts and others helping with those tasks.

“We essentially refitted the inside of the interior and repainted it, all ‘spit-polished,'” Potts said.

McDaniel said that since the schooner had been used as a charter boat, it wasn’t exactly livable.

The kitchen, then, was moved to the back of the boat, for instance, plus there are a few bunks for the kids.

There even is a living room.

“It’s kind of like living in a one-bedroom apartment,” McDaniel said.

However, it’s not your typical apartment living. The McDaniel family will see the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and who knows what else, all on a vessel that could inspire a lot of reminiscing.

“It’s beautiful,” McDaniel said. “It’s historic.”