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What is High School Sailing?

High school sailing competitions are sailed under the auspices of the Interscholastic Sailing Association. There are about 230 high school sailing teams across the country, sailing in regional regattas and eventually national events. The Mid-West Region (MidWest Inter Scholastic Sailing Association) hosts regattas in Traverse City, Chicago, Milwaukee and Detroit.

In Traverse City our team is made up of high school, middle school, female and male sailors. This season the team is made up of kids from Central, West, St. Francis, East Middle School, and Greenspire. Anyone in grades 6-12, who wants to sail, is welcome to sail!

The best thing ((100% of everyone’s favorite part about Traverse City Sailing? THE TEAM!" All the TC schools get together to represent Traverse City and they do it with lots of laughter, hanging out, supporting each other, and sailing. Some have been sailing for 7 years or more, some of the team started sailing just a few weeks ago. If you've never tried sailing? They'll teach you. They'll help you. They'll be happy to have new teammates who want to learn how to sail!!

Sailing is unlike any other sport. There are moments that are very competitive, but sailors are an easy-going group, and they end up sitting in hammocks together between races talking sailing, life, and teen-stuff. 

But even if you're nervous, new, don't know anyone, or worried you don't have the skills / fitness / understanding for the sport? Come out anyway!!! There's always room for anyone with some heart!!

Program Goals: The primary goals of the Sailing Team (in no particular order):

  1. Develop sportsmanship, integrity, and interpersonal skills

  2. Instill in the students an interest and appreciation for the sport of sailing

  3. Develop new skills in boat handling and sailing for those who wish to compete

  4. Develop a respect for the sea and the environment

  5. Learn and incorporate good safety and seamanship

  6. Instill a sense of responsibility for the boats and equipment

  7. Create a fun atmosphere in which the students want to participate


For cost information please click on Registration.

Practice Schedule: 


  • High School:  Monday Tuesday Thursday (after school-6:00 pm) Arrive before 3:30, rig boats, 3:50 chalk talk, sail 4-5:30, 5:30 de-rig stow gear, 5:50 debrief


  • Middle School:  Monday Tuesday (after school-6:00) (separate practice) Thursday: race day for all

Important Dates and Regattas (Spring 2024): 

  • April 2 - Dock in Day

  • April 3 - Parent meeting, TCSF room 208 6pm

  • April 4 - Practice begins for spring season

  • April 13-14 - Tier 2, Pre Q, Mallory Grosse Point YC

  • April 20 - Tier 3, Lansing

  • April 27 - Tier 3, TC

  • May 4 - Tier 3, Spring Lake

  • May 11 - Tier 3, TC

  • May 18 - Tier 3, Tulip Regatta, Macatawa Bay YC

  • May 20 - Senior Send off, TACS


Competitions are held both here in TC and at sites around the Midwest. Please remember that not all the competitions are selected to attend and not all of our sailors travel to those regattas selected. Sailors compete for spots on the travel team and are selected by the coaching staff based on performance, availability, attendance at practices and competitive conditions (weight, etc). 


There are three fundamental types of regattas in High school sailing:


  1. Fleet Racing - This is a competition with teams of two boats, with two sailors in each 420 (for a minimum of 4 sailors for a competition). The fleet is divided into an A and B fleet and the winner is determined by the combined low point scores of each fleet. We often will bring extra or alternate sailors to these competitions to place smaller sailors in the boats on light wind days and conversely larger sailors in heavy wind conditions. The Mallory Trophy is the national championship for HS fleet racing and our sailors compete for this trophy each spring through State and Regional qualifiers.

  2. Team Racing - This is a competition between "teams" of three boats from each school and the winner is determined by the low point score of each team in multiple head-to-head competitions. The minimum number of competitors in a team race is 6 sailors (again often alternates are helpful). The Baker Trophy is the national championship for HS team racing and our sailors compete for this trophy each spring through State and Regional qualifiers

  3. Tier 3 Events - The above two kinds of events are often qualifiers and championship events that are strictly controlled as to competitor requirements (grades 9-12 from registered schools). In order to increase opportunities to compete for smaller schools and our middle school teams, TACS and other sponsoring organizations host "Tier 3" events were many of the ISSA rules for participation are waived and multiple teams, combined school teams and middle school teams are welcomed. TACS hosts one tier 3 event each season and we attend as many as possible away Tier 3 regattas as well.


Reference Material and Links

Sailing as a sport is often very difficult to understand for those new to the sport. Most of us well understand conditions and rules around the more common sports of basketball and football. The best way to learn is to get involved with the boosters' parents. Talk to us at the practices or email us for their contact info.


Also here are some Helpful links:

The Boats:

The Sailing Team will use primarily the Club 420. Boats “handle” differently in all conditions, and sailor’s ability and experience level will determine their place in the boat.  Some will be skipper while the others will crew. On the first days of practice, the coaches will evaluate the skills and experience of the students, and consider factors like ability, experience, size and age, in determining into which boat a student will be placed and with whom. Club 420s are fast, fun sloop rigged double-handed (two sailors!) boats that are very popular in youth programs around the country and is also the boat used in collegiate sailing.


Registration and Forms

You can register your sailor by clicking the blue button labeled registration to the right. The Concussion Awareness Form must be read and sign (it's a State Law folks!) and if you are available to drive to away events (always appreciated) please fill out and sign the "Driver Information Form".  There is also a registration button for our summer pre-season training session.

Expectations for all Students on the Traverse Area High School Sailing Team:

Our team has developed the following behavioral rules and guidelines to help ensure a safe, rewarding, and fun learning environment. It is important that both you and your child review these rules and guidelines. Appropriate behavior is expected at all times.

  • Practice starts promptly at 3:30 pm. Ends as close to 6 as possible.

  • Lifejackets will be worn at all times when students are on the docks or in boats.

  • Safety is first and foremost in the minds of the Coaches

  • Students are expected to obey the Coaches at all times

  • All students must take a short swim check the first day of class

  • Must be able to recover capsized boat.

  • Observe the boundaries, both on the water and on shore, as established by the coaches

  • No running on the docks, no climbing on the boat racks, or the rocks along the shore.

  • No going under the dock.

  • Students will pick-up their own trash, and are expected to keep their belongings in a neat and orderly

  • Students will show respect for the equipment and property

  • Students will show respect for their peers, the instructors and other individuals

  • No physical violence towards other students or staff

  • No obscene language!

  • Absolutely no throwing of objects allowed!


Consequences for failure to observe the above rules and guidelines vary according to the nature of the infraction, but can include loss of privileges, laps around the park, and “time-out”.

 Any verbal or physical abuse, or if your child’s behavior jeopardizes his/her own safety or that of anyone else in the program, will result in early dismissal from class with a warning to both the parent and student. A second incident will result in the student’s dismissal from the remainder of the session. There will be no refund of tuition.

Following is a handy checklist of important daily “To Do’s”

  • Have sunblock, sunglasses, hat and other protection

  • Adequate and appropriate clothing (including a change of dry clothes, dry suit, layers) and a towel. Dry suits are mandatory when the air temp + the water temp = <120 deg

  • Shoes (neoprene booties when it’s cold) (an old pair of gym shoes that can get wet), or aqua socks are best: Sandals are not acceptable! NO FLIP FLOPS!

  • Bring a Coast Guard approved Type III/vest style lifejacket with a whistle attached (rigging knife optional)

For any questions contact TACS program director / Sailing coach:

Thanks to our friends at the Grand Traverse Yacht Club for all their help and support!



MidWest Inter Scholastic Sailing AssociationMISSA

Procedural Rules For High School Sailing

Safety Procedures For High School Sailing

Play The Rules (Illustrations and Simulations)

Simplifed Summary of the Rules of racing

Team Racing Resources

UK-Halsey Rules Quiz ( new )

Interscholastic Sailing Association (ISSA)


2016 Cherryland Team Race Pictures

2016 Cherryland Team Race Photos (TC Sailors only)

2016 Season Practice Photos

2016 Spring Practice Photos

2015 Cornwell Memorial

2014 Fall Season Pictures

2013 Spring Team Pictures

2013 Spring Awards

2013 Spring Practices

2013 Red 8 Regatta

2013 GP Team Racing Regatta

2012 Michigan State Championships

2012 Team Racing Practice (Sept 27) Photos

2012 Team Racing Practice (Sept 25) Photos

2012 Team Racing Practice Regatta (April 14) Photos

2012 Mallory Qualifier Photos

2011 Great Lakes Championship

2011 Cornwell Memorial Regatta Pictures

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