New Member Information

New Member Fact Sheet

Welcome to the Michigan Sailing Club!
We are glad you have joined us. We want you to enjoy yourself and social activities to the fullest.

Here is a brief introduction to help you get plugged in quickly. Our top priority is to make you feel at home. Please ask questions. The club is full of friendly folks eager to help.

You are now a member, and it’s your club too.

— Paul Townsend, Commodore


Most of our members do not know how to sail when they join.  If this describes you, then you’ll want to take advantage of our lesson program.We offer on-the-water lessons every Saturday from nine to noon. Our lead instructors have completed a rigorous training program and are US Sailing certified. The program is self-paced, so you can start at any time and learn at whatever rate suits you.  Just show up and put your name on the lesson list.  We also offer lessons on Tuesdays and Thursday. Here is the schedule.

We offer introductory lectures on a regular basis.  Check the calendar on the website for times and dates.

Our learn to sail book is “Learn Sailing Right” and is available for purchase at the club for $10. Purchase is optional – we have copies in the boathouse that you can read.

Open Sailing:
Open sailing means just that – any member who has a rating may rig up and take a boat out.  We are open for Open Sailing any time a member with keys to the club volunteers to open the club.  Normally, this is weekend days and weekday evenings, but sometimes we are open in the evening on weekends or during the day on weekdays.

Rating System:

In order to use our sailboats and windsurfers, we ask our members to pass a series of tests to demonstrate their sailing ability and knowledge – this is the Basic Rating.  Once you earn a Basic Rating you may take out a club sailboat or windsurfer any time the club is open.  We encourage all of our members to earn a Basic Rating.  If you already know how to sail, you should be able to earn a Basic rating very quickly.The next step is a Key Rating. Key members get keys to the clubhouse and can open the club for Open Sailing in winds up to 15 knots.

To earn keys to the club you’ll need to demonstrate an intermediate level of sailing ability and knowledge.

The highest rating is Skipper.  Skippers may sail anytime they want.

Detailed information about our ratings system: Ratings

Sailboats and windsurfers:
The club has a variety of sailboats and windsurfers.  All are available for use by rated club members. Different people like different boats, and some of us like to sail different boats depending on our mood.  Feel free to try them all to see what you like.  It’s a good idea to have someone help you the first time you try to rig a new boat.We ask that whenever you take out a boat that you sign it out on the sign-out sheet, and check the box on the form when you return.

Canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards:
Members are welcome to use the paddlecraft anytime – there’s no need for someone to be here. We have a combination lock on the gate – ask around and we’ll tell you the combo.  Come anytime and take out the paddlecraft or just hang out and enjoy the lawn and lake.Just like the sailboats, we ask that you sign the paddlecraft in and out, and if you are going to paddle to another lake on the chain we ask that you say where you are going and when you expect to be back.

General info about equipment use:

The basic idea is that we all share the club together.  If you use something, put it away.  Clean up after yourself in the kitchen and boathouse. If you notice something is broken, either repair it or call attention to it.   If we are  running low on some supply, let others know.

Life vests (PFDs):

The club has a bunch of PFDs in various sizes, or you are welcome to bring your own.  State law requires at least one PFD of the proper size for each person aboard. Children under 6 years of age must wear a PFD while underway in any boat. It is recommended  that everyone wear a PFD while out on the water. We require that anyone using any club boat  must wear a PFD  unless they have passed the swim test of the Basic Rating.


Members are welcome to swim in the area near the dock. Note that we don’t have a lifeguard or a designated swim area.  Swimming out into the lake past the dock and swim raft is not recommended – there are lots of motorboats around and it’s hard to see a swimmer in the water.


We eat lunch together every Saturday at noon.  It’s first-come first-served and when we’re out, we’re out.  Chef duties are shared, so if you’d like to volunteer to provide lunch some week, speak up. We ask for a $5 suggested donation to cover expenses.We do a potluck picnic Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor day.  Sometimes we do impromptu pick-up barbecues where we send someone out to pick up some thing to throw on the grill.

We have a small kitchen with a microwave, and we have a barbecue grill. Feel free to use them.


The water that comes out of the faucet is untreated well water.  It tastes terrible. We recommend using the bottled water from the cooler for drinking.

Email and social media:

The club has several email distribution lists:The first is a low-traffic, moderated announcements list. Join this list to find out about the club’s schedule, special events, business meetings, and more. To add yourself, please send email to

The second is an un-moderated discussion list for our members to talk about anything and everything to do with sailing and the club. To add yourself, please send email to

The third is an un-moderated list for the racing program – anything and everything to do with racing at the club. e.g. arrange crew/skipper pairings, rides to the club, figure out who’s setting the course, discuss rules, racing tips, etc. add yourself, please send email to

We’re on facebook at and twitter @MichiganSailing

There is no better way to sharpen your sailing skills than by racing.  Plus, it’s a heck of a lot of fun!  You don’t need any experience or special knowledge to get involved with the racing, just a willingness to try.  Simply show up and ask to crew for someone.  We race informally every Sunday (10am). We do several formal regattas throughout the season. Check the club calendar for details.

The Board:
The sailing club is managed by the Executive Board which is elected for a one-year term each October. The positions are:


Vice Commodore,




Fleet Captain, and

Racing Chair.

Our lessons are provided by member volunteers.  Once you get some sailing experience under your belt you are welcome to help out with boat school. There’s a saying “you don’t really know a subject until you have taught it” so teaching is a great way to improve your sailing skills.  Plus it’s a lot of fun sharing the sport we love with newcomers.

Improving your sailing skills:
Once you earn your Basic rating you are welcome to come back to boat school for more lessons to help you improve. We also offer clinics on specific topics throughout the season – check the calendar for dates and topics. The “Learn Sailing Right – Intermediate” book is a great way to learn more about the finer points of sailing.  Racing and teaching are also excellent ways to improve your sailing skills.

We encourage our members to bring their friends and family out to the club. However, in order to keep dues as low as they are we ask that guests who come on a regular basis become members.  Official policy (in the club constitution) is that no one may participate in sailing more than twice a year as a guest.

Wireless Internet:
We have wireless internet. The password is in the three ring binder on the table in the kitchen or ask a member.