Article courtesy of Scot Zimmerman - Traverse City, Michigan, Grand Traverse Yacht Club – For all of you out there that love to sail and compete on the Melges 24, the growing fleet in Traverse City wants to make you aware of the ever expanding number of races and regattas the fleet is organizing and participating in, and invite you to join the fun.

The Grand Traverse Yacht Club based fleet now stands at 14 boats, with sister fleets in Charlevoix (45 minutes away) at 5 boats, and Muskegon (2.5 hours away) at 8 boats, allowing a 20 plus boat regatta almost every time one is organized. When the Canadian Midwest fleet, Lake Geneva fleet, and traveling teams from Detroit and Chicago come North for regattas, the pool of possible participants totals over 45.

John Schumacher on Djinn USA175 always comes North from Muskegon, "I love to go race those guys in Traverse City, we get a lot of races in and have a great time." Dan Berezin on Surprise CAN629 from Toronto always shows for the invitational in August because "the venue and wind are very challenging." Well known Corinthian stand out Decorum USA805 also likes the sailing area.

As the local fleet grows and expands, so too does participation and interest from new crew, new boat owners, and traveling teams. The GTYC fleet supports a crew rooster of in excess of 70 Melges sailors, when counting core teams and back up sailors. One of the fleet’s newest crew members, Charlie Elbiee, not only cut his teeth on sailboat racing in 2017, he also filled in as crew for traveling Canadian team CAN031 at last year’s invitational. Mike Gozzard owner of Rush said afterward "I wish we had back up crew of that caliber willing and able to jump in."

The Grand Traverse Yacht Club fleet launches every Wednesday night from May until October for a total of 20 races. In 2017, the fleet had 100% participation during it’s core summer series. Additionally, once a month two 15 minute "sprint series" races are held by the Club to develop starting skills and create some fast paced competition. “The skippers were looking to enhance their skills and have some fun” says Tom Roop owner of USA121 who conceived the series.

The local regatta schedule kicked off last weekend in Muskegon. "This regatta is a must do as it really shakes the rust off the team," says Mike Dow owner Flying Toaster USA613. This race is quickly followed by the Detroit Bay View One Design on June 1-3, the Red Eight Regatta in Traverse City on June 23, and then in Harbor Springs July 27-29 at the Ugotta Regatta. Marty Jensen of Zig Zag USA625 loves it when the fleet comes to Little Traverse Bay, and his home waters; owning that regatta three years running.

August boasts back-to-back weekend regattas in Traverse City; the Hound Dog Regatta, August 11 with a one-design start, and the Melges Invitational, August 18-19, in its 21st season. September 1-2 sees the fleet participating in the Red Fox regatta in Charlevoix, and then the season closer in Lake Geneva, October 6-7. If a team could arrive at the starting line of all the above races, it would be possible to get in excess of 60 race starts.

The Grand Traverse Yacht Club and the local Melges fleet are inviting your participation. Bob Clark, commodore of the club, and part of the Flying Toaster USA613 team, says it best "more is better, more boats, more racing, more sailing." The information has been shared and the invitation has made. 

Please contact any of the fleet members you may know if you have questions on how to make racing with them work, or find them here: http://gtyc.org/Melges24