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Our regular hours for open sailing are
10-6 Saturdays & Sundays, 6:30 to sunset Mon-Fri. more info...
Spring Laser Regatta Sun June 15th
Boat school every Saturday 9am-noon.
Racing every Sunday at 10am. and Wednesdays at 6:30pm.

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Come Sail Away

Summer is Sailing Time at Clubs Across The State

By Marci Raver

I've always dreamed of sailing, but never had aspirations of owning a boat. I wanted to sail, spend time on the water, but not work on boats. Sailing in a club-owned boat seemed like the perfect escape to me. For many Michiganders, both young and old, sailing instruction and opportunities are available throughout the state. And if you do want to repair boats and manage their upkeep, the clubs are happy to teach you boat maintenance too.

If you're interested in learning how to sail, it's important to find a sailing program that suits your needs. The Great Lakes State offers a plethora of sailing options; you just need to get your feet wet, literally. The best sailing programs provide boat instruction in a boat, and ideally, that boat is in the water. Ultimately, the more time you spend on the water, the better you become at judging the wind and handling the boat.

Learn to Sail

The University of Michigan Sailing Club (UMSC) offers a unique and affordable opportunity to learn and practice the art of sailing. Founded in 1938 to provide sailing facilities for a small group of naval architects, its primary mission now is to develop members' skill in all aspects of sailing. For the beginner, there is instruction, which includes hands-on boating classes, nomenclature, how-to tie knots and safety information. Each new member receives a copy of The Michigan Sailor, which provides information on skills needed to obtain club ratings. The first step is to obtain a "crew" rating, which allows club members to take boats on the water without another club member on the boat.

For the more advanced, there is racing, teaching, boat repair, and the use of trapeze and spinnaker equipment.

The club is located on Baseline Lake in Dexter, which is approximately 25 minutes northwest of Ann Arbor. UMSC is open to the public and the first two visits are free. The only prerequisite to participating in club activities is that you know how to swim. Club information can be found at .

Traverse Area Community Sailing (TACS) offers adult Learn to Sail sessions throughout the summer. Each session meets two nights per week for three weeks and the classes are held at the TACS site, which is located on the north end of Boardman Lake. Sailing courses teach the skills and responsibilities of sailing.

Thursday Night Regattas are open to any sailor who has completed a TACS sailing course. A TACS season pass is available for an additional cost to any qualified sailor who has successfully completed a TACS sailing program or equivalent US Sailing-certified program. One annual fee allows participation in Thursday Night Regattas and personal use of TACS boats whenever the Hull Park facility is open, subject to availability. Use of boats is limited by skill and certification level.

For more information or to register for a sailing course on-line, visit or call 231-922-5922.

The Saginaw Bay Community Sailing Association (SBCSA) was established in 1995 and provides training in basic sailing skills and safety on the water with a U.S. Sailing certified instructor at a minimal cost. Sessions typically include eight 3-hour lessons during a two-week period.

Classes are held on the Saginaw River in downtown Bay City. SBCSA's new on-the-water facilities can be found at the foot of Fifth Street, behind the Friendship Shell and near the schooner Appledore.

After completing training, members have the opportunity to use SBCSA boats during posted open hours. In addition to the Optimists and Transfusions, SBCSA has several other boats available for qualified members to use. For more information about SBCSA contact 989-922-SAIL or visit .

The Ford Yacht Club is a family-oriented organization located at the southwestern tip of Grosse Ile, which is about 30 miles south of Detroit. The 174 acres of wooded grounds and Round Island provide a beautiful, secluded setting as the Detroit River merges into Lake Erie.

The complex includes a complete marina facility and clubhouse, which was rebuilt in 1991. An outside balcony overlooks Lake Erie, and the front inside balcony provides a cozy get together area. The clubhouse has a new patio area with bar and food service.

There are three levels of membership, which vary based on marina services and boat docking needs. While this club is really geared towards members with boats, the club hosts several regattas throughout the sailing season and members are often looking for crew. For more information: 734-676-8422 or visit .

The Muskegon Yacht Club is located on the shore of Muskegon Lake and offers its members and guests both protected lake sailing and easy access to Lake Michigan.

There is active racing and crew is often needed. The club offers sailing instruction and offers a well-attended juniors sailing program from June through August using their fleet of Lasers, Butterflies, and JY15s.

The clubhouse has many amenities, and features a casual bar and grille. There is a pool and a large grass lawn, which lends itself to great summer gatherings for members and guests. For more information, call 231-755-1414 or visit

Raver is a freelance writer in Ann Arbor.

July 2003

©2003 Michigan Sports and Fitness