If there is an example of what the sailing community feels like it can be found at Great Lakes Sailing in Traverse City, Michigan. They have been teaching sailing at this location in some form for over 35 years and their program includes a “Women on the Water” program as well as a charter operation. You not only learn to sail here but you become part of their sailing community.
This Month’s Featured School is Great Lakes Sailing Co. in Traverse City, MI
Get to Know Modern Sailing School & Club
Where They Sail
We sail in Grand Traverse Bay off of Lake Michigan, but the region our sailors typically travel is the size of the Virgin Islands. We have many small resort communities within a short day’s sail. We are the Cherry Capital of the world and have scores of wineries in the region putting out world-class wines. The sailing is enhanced by our beautiful northern Michigan woods and small-town communities.
What They Teach
We offer ASA courses, a Women on the Water program, around 20 charter boats, and we are a dealer for Jeanneau sailboats, among other sailing-related endeavors. We regularly rate in the top 10 sailing schools world-wide according to reviews left with American Sailing Association.
Meet Their Instructors
As the sailing school director, I collaborate with Great Lakes Sailing Co. and over 20 captains to match captains with their ideal jobs and students with their ideal captain. We do our best! You can see our roster of some of our captains here: https://www.greatlakessailingco.com/sailing-school/ (scroll to the bottom) Many instructors are local, but many others come from the southern states and the Caribbean.
We run multiple ASA classes daily at our location, primarily 101/103 combo courses and 104 courses, but we also do private 101 and some 105/106 courses. Our Women on the Water program is a collaboration with our community sailing program (Traverse Area Community Sailing) to bring women out on a Marlow Hunter 22 to skipper, trim, and experience a variety of sailing skills each week. Otherwise, many of our clients are returning students who come to charter in our beautiful Michigan waters.
We have had a sailing school running in this location for over 35 years. We have full-time service techs, a crew of cleaners, and a variety of community members who jump in when it’s time to paint or launch boats for the season. It truly feels like a family. Our season may be short because we are so far north, but we fit in a year’s worth of sailing into mid-May through early October.