Book signing highlights first female mail boat jumper

Comments Comments Print Print
Staff | July 7, 2014

LAKE GENEVA--Elaine Kanelos, the first female to deliver the mail on the iconic U.S. Mailboat in Lake Geneva back in 1974, will sign copies of  her new book, “Mail Jumper! The Story of the First Mail Girl,” July 11-12-13 at the Riviera Docks, Lake Geneva, on the Mailboat cruise and at Pier 290 Restaurant and Marina  in Williams Bay.

Kanelos will sign books at the Riviera Docks, 812 Wrigley Drive, Lake Geneva, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday, July 11 and Sunday, July 13. She will also sign books at Pier 290, the restaurant located at 1 Liechty Drive in Williams Bay on Saturday, July 12 from 5-7 p.m. The book is available at the gift shops of the Lake Geneva Cruise Line and Pier 290.

Additionally, Kanelos will sign books aboard the U.S. Mailboat tour on Saturday July 12, which leaves at 10 a.m. from the Riviera docks.

Passengers aboard the July 12 Mailboat tour will get to see Kanelos try a “jump” while the boat keeps moving. They will also be eligible to win a copy of her book in a drawing aboard the boat.

In “Mail Jumper,” Kanelos writes about growing up on the lake, and her decision, at age 18, to try to end a 59-year all-male tradition of mail jumpers. Over two summers, Kanelos accumulated over 13,000 jumps off the moving boat in front of a total of more than 21,000 passengers.  

The Maiboat  tour was featured on NBC Nightly News last season as the only marine delivery in the world where young athletes jump the mail onto about 65 piers, insert mail in dockside mailboxes and hop back on the boat. The catch? The boat never stops. The Mailboat is celebrating its 99th year.  But it was Kanelos who broke the gender barrier 40 years ago.  

Kanelos,who lives in Vail, Colorado, sprinkles her tales aboard the Mailboat with insights into the lake's history, traditions, and a peak into some of its historic multi-million dollar homes.  She also recounts her years working for Lake Geneva's Water Safety Patrol and is donating five per cent of her net profits from the book to the non-profit organization.

“The whole experience of jumping from boat to pier and back, while the boat doesn't stop, is amazing.  Because it's such a singular experience, writing Mail Jumper! was incredible and fun,“ Kanelos said.  

In between leaps, jumpers grab the microphone and narrate the tour and describe the historic estate homes that passengers see up close as the boat nears the piers. Many of the mansions were once owned by Chicagoans of fame and fortune, including the Swifts, Maytags, Bordens, and Wrigleys.    

Mailboat tours leave the Riviera Docks at 10 a.m. from downtown Lake Geneva, Monday through Saturday. The tours run through Sept. 15.
For more information on the Mailboat or other tours, call Lake Geneva Cruise Line at (800) 558-5911 or online:

Comments Comments Print Print