grass roots


grass roots

The other day we ran a story called giving back about Vincenzo Onorato’s new Mascalzone Latino Sailing School and what they are doing for their community. We asked for others to share their community efforts and we have received plenty! We’ll feature them for you to see what communities are doing for sailing.

there is a group of dedicated individuals in Northwest ‘Lower’ Michigan who have brought Traverse Area Community Sailing (TACS) from a meager start in 1994 with borrowed boats and volunteer instructors to a vibrant and growing program that proudly serves the Grand Traverse region. We now have a fleet of 80+ small boats and have recently expanded our programs to include High School Racing, Adaptive Sailing, Rowing, and open sailing 5 nights a week. We have a dedicated staff of USSailing certified instructors, most of which are TACS alums. TACS is led by an all volunteer Board of Directors and several have been involved from the beginning.

Two years ago this fall we dedicated our new boathouse, the Cornwell Family Sailing Center, at our primary site on Boardman Lake in the middle of Traverse City. It was only through tremendous support of the community that we were able to build this building which has given us a much more stable operating platform and obvious shelter from the elements for our fleet.

It is particularly rewarding to see TACS ‘kids’ getting involved in the sailing community thanks to a wonderful relationship with the Grand Traverse Yacht Club. TACS sailors are competing with the Laser and Interlake fleets, and crewing with the PHRF fleet. This summer, six of our TACS kids crewed in the Chicago to Mackinac Race placing 1st in fleet and 3rd in division. We now have several competing in collegiate sailing and a few have graduated and are working in the marine industry. Oh, and I almost forgot iceboating. Several TACS kids are active ice sailors and will be on the ice with the Grand Traverse Ice Yacht Club this winter.

This past weekend, TACS & GTYC hosted the Midwest Qualifier for the Cressy Trophy, the National High School Singlehanded Championship, with 52 young sailors from Ohio to Minnesota competing on West Grand Traverse Bay. It was truly a FUN event and a great group of talented young sailors. These kids, along with their coaches and parents, were a pleasure to be with. We got in 12 races over 2 days with only 2 protest hearings and no OTW Rule 42 penalties.

Bottom line, sailing is alive and well in Northwest Michigan. In addition to TACS and GTYC, Torch Lake, Crystal Lake, and Glen Lake YC’s all have active youth sailing programs and there are programs in Harbor Springs, Charlevoix, and Boyne City as well. Recently, we helped a group get a community program started in Northport and our new adaptive sailing program is already sprouting interest in other communities around the state. If your area doesn’t have one, be the spark plug and get one started. – Eric Lind, Past President, TACS.

Is there an organization in your neck of the woods that deserves recognition for getting more people more access to the water?  Let us know