From tacs president

Timothy Clulo

With sincere appreciation for our amazing staff, volunteers, donors, parents of sailors, and dedicated board of directors, I am pleased to report that TACS had another very successful season in 2018. Highlights included:

  • Registration for our core Learn-To-Sail program set a new attendance record for the second year in a row.
  • Our High School Racing program continues to evolve, including a number of middle school sailors who will soon be the backbone of our high school team. This year, we welcomed a new coach, hosted three regattas and participated in many more as far away as Cleveland, Ohio. Thank you to our friends at the Grand Traverse Yacht Club who generously allow use of their facility on West Grand Traverse Bay and co-host some of our local regattas.
  • Our "She Sails" program continues to introduce new women sailors to the sport of sailing. She Sails provides a friendly, fun and non-competitive environment for women sailors.
  • The Melges 24 sailboat program had a fun and successful second year. Our instructors and more experienced student sailors have had the opportunity to participate in Wednesday night racing at the Grand Traverse Yacht Club on West Grand Traverse Bay and have proven surprisingly competitive among this growing sportboat fleet.
  • TACS Alumni continue to impress at the collegiate level. In 2018, former TACS sailors participated on the teams of the University of Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Marquette University, Notre Dame, Yale and Syracuse. Three served as captains of their respective teams, and a fourth sailed in the college national championships last May in Virginia.
  • Our Adaptive Sailing program under the leadership of Sue Corwin brings a vibrance to Thursday evenings at the Cornwell Sailing Center on Boardman Lake.

This year, we said farewell to four experienced board members, including past-president Sally Rivard and TACS founding member and long-time treasurer, Mike Wills. I would also like to recognize Angela Schuller and Gordie Fitch for their service to TACS. That meant we needed to transition new board members, and I would like to thank Andy Robtischek, Treasurer, Susan Kraus, Financial Resources Vice President and Glen Gordon, Fleet and Facilities Vice President for volunteering their time and talents on our board of directors.

TACS also remains on solid financial ground. We continue to obtain boat donations and additional financial gifts, including various grants, from our generous community and local sailors. A special thank you to Quantum Sails for its continued support of our annual fund raising event.

Our instructors and staff have been essential to our core sailing mission. We now have the ability to offer US Sailing Certifications to future instructors at the Cornwell Sailing Center. All of our lead instructors are fully certified and follow a well-defined and established curriculum. We are very lucky to have this talent in our midst.

As we look into 2019, our 25th year of community sailing instruction in Traverse City, I want to personally thank our entire community and sailing families for their generous support. Also, it is important to thank our committed board of directors, volunteers, parent boosters and donors. A community organization such as ours could never achieve the level of success and participation without these groups of dedicated individuals.

With gratitude, Timothy Clulo

2018-2019 President

Director's perspective

Ben Ferris

It is always a sad time when the summer sailing season comes to an end (mostly because I have to go back to school), but this summer was especially difficult because so many people in the community wanted to extend the season into the fall, remaining open Tuesday and Thursday evenings. What an amazing tribute to this community sailing center. Thank you for sharing our passion and helping to validate the mission of TACS.

"so many people in the community wanted to extend the season into the fall"

This summer was unique in a few ways. Most impressively, the sheer number of sailors who came down to learn to sail on Boardman Lake. TACS had record numbers in three of the four sessions offered this summer. There has never been more boats on the water during a summer sailing session, nor has the lake been host to so many boats on the lake on any given Tuesday or Thursday evening. The windsurfers were used a lot more; some athletes really getting good. The only thing we lacked this summer was a 20+ knot wind to fuel our adrenaline. Almost all of the sessions had students learning how to fly a spinnaker on a 420, and keep it flying.

In closing, the summer was fantastic, and I am so impressed with the skill sets many of our athletes are acquiring. I am always amazed by the amount of community support and efforts put forth by the board of directors. We are truly blessed.


Ben Ferris

Program Director

Ben Ferris-20 Years Teaching Sail

Adaptive sailing:

Growing in Participants and Enthusiasm

Chalk up another amazing year for our adaptive Sailing Program. As each year goes by, we are growing in participants and enthusiasm. We have had many who are coming back from the past years with new participants who will be coming back in the future years. They have found the love of sailing. With the Adapive Sailing Program It has opened up a new experience and adventure for those of our disabled community.

Even with all the enthusiasm of our participants. Our program would not be a success with out out terrific TACS instructors. They are there helping set up boats, getting us in and out of boats, while keeping us safe on the water. Besides our instructors we are also thankful for all our wonderful volunteers. Together they make our program such a great success.

We had a participant come down this last year for the first time. They had never been on the water in any type of boat their whole life. I assured them it was safe and they would enjoy the experience. They did all the sailing while we were out. When it was time to come home they where able to bring the boat in for a perfect docking.

We are looking forward to you another great season next year. Thanks you, to everyone who is involved in making this program such a great success.

See You on The Water,

Steve Rutkowski

Programming Update

Did we mention we are growing?

TACS had a very successful 2018 sailing season. Teaching kids to sail is TACS primary focus. We pride ourselves on teaching kids to sail in a very safe but very fun environment. After a two-week program it’s amazing to see the growth of one child. With the leadership of Ben Ferris and our amazing group of instructors all our sessions had great success. It’s fun to see a child come to the Cornwell Sailing Center having never set foot on a sailboat and two weeks later they are sailing all over the lake with confidence and pride. TACS continues to grow and add new programs all the time. We like to test different programs throughout the summer to see what the kids want to learn and have fun doing. Last year Ted Schweitzer generously donated 12 new windsurfers to TACS. Ben and the team were able to get the more advanced kids windsurfing all over the lake this year, which is awesome to see.

With a generous donation from the Jeffries Family last year, we were able to add a Megles 24 to our fleet. This donation gave our advanced youth sailors the opportunity to test their skills against the other twelve Melges 24s that compete on Wednesday nights, hosted by the Grand Traverse Yacht Club. The kids on the M24 gave the older sailors in the fleet a run for their money often finishing in the middle of the fleet.

The adaptive sailors took to Boardman Lake on Thursdays throughout the summer. This program flourished with the generous help of volunteers under the guidance of Sue Corwin and Steve Rutkowski.

Captain Steph taught several women how to handle keel boat sailing on West Grand Traverse Bay. This program was made possible by the generosity of Dave and Kristin Conrad, the owners of Great Lakes Sailing Company.

TACS high school and middle school sailing teams include kids from Traverse City West High School, Traverse City Central High School, and Saint Francis. The mixed teams came together to make up the TACS High School/Middle School Sailing Team. The Sailors traveled to several regattas and hosted many regattas both on Boardman Lake and at the Grand Traverse Yacht Club on West Grand Traverse Bay. Coaches Ben Ferris, Jason Massaroni, Katie Zimmerman and Jim Menzies worked tirelessly to ensure our high school and middle school sailors were well prepared for the competition they faced. Thank you to the Grand Traverse Yacht Club and Commodore Bob Clark for allowing our sailors to train and compete at your fantastic facility.

James "Mac" Van Stratt

Volunteer Corner

Farewell Gordy, Hello Glen!

Gordy and his family have had a wonderful opportunity arise this year to move back to Gordy’s family home place in Michigan’s upper peninsula. Gordy has served on the TACS board as the Fleet and Facilities Vice President since 2016. Gordy leaves to his successor a fleet that is in the best shape it has ever been in and a few exciting projects for the upcoming sailing season.

Glen is the proprietor of a local auto repair facility that specializes in imported cars. He and his family have been in Traverse City for nearly 14 years and his two boys have been involved in TACS since they were old enough to attend their first session.

In Glen’s own words, he is goal driven and he specializes in getting things done/fixed/built/repaired. If you see his sons race and his thriving businesses you can tell he is not kidding!

Welcome aboard Glen!

Donating and Volunteering

Because of our many generous and supportive friends in the community, TACS can provide life-long sailing skills to children and adults in our area. We are able to keep our youth program fees affordable, offer sailing opportunities to some of our physically challenged community members, and continue to offer scholarships to those in need. We are able to develop new and unique programs, such as SheSails, our women-only big-boat sailing program. And we can purchase new boats, gear and equipment (such as the floating docks) to keep all our participants safe in the water.

Want to lend a hand? Here are some ways to help:


It’s easy to do and greatly appreciated. There are multiple levels and benefits to our sponsorship program. For more information, please see our sponsorship page.

High School Boosters

Parents pay a registration fee to TACS for coaching, fuel, repairs and MISSA registration fees. To help offset the cost of attending regattas (travel expenses, regatta fees, etc), we have a “Boosters” fund managed by the parents of the sailors.

Scholarships for Area Youth

About 10-15% of our young sailors attend our programs on scholarships. You can help support this program by donating a full or partial scholarship.

Buy-A-Sail Featuring Your Name

TACS is giving sponsors an opportunity to include their name, company name and/or logo for $1,500 per set of sails.

Donate to TACS Permanent Endowment Fund

You can support the work of TACS by making a contribution to the Community Foundation for the TACS Endowment Fund.


Our organization thrives because of the incredible volunteers who steadily make everything happen each year. Volunteer opportunities include Dock Day, boat maintenance and regatta support. You can also help by lending your expertise in marketing, fundraiser events or grant writing. Grants are a major revenue source for TACS. Our program, run by Eric Lind, has met with great success this year; it can be expanded with help from some volunteer grant writers.

Participate in Fundraisers

This year’s annual gala was our biggest ever. You can help by purchasing tickets and by donating items for the silent and live auctions. And watch our website for notice of smaller events throughout the year. You can also hold your own event, big or small, to benefit TACS. Your generosity is deeply appreciated. To donate, please complete the online form at www.tacsailing.org/donations.

Questions? Ideas? Looking to volunteer? Please contact:

Susan Kraus


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