Our Mission is guided by our History
Crooked Lake Sailors was formed in the 1980's by Margie Graham to offer sailing and seamanship lessons to the area youth — including many who are now parents and grandparent of upcoming new sailors.
The Crooked Lake Yacht Club was formed in 1948 to provide sailing opportunities to the youth on the Lake. That heritage combined with the Club’s waterfront location and Crooked Lake's warm water and variable winds encouraged some members to find a way to again offer sailing lessons at prices local families could afford.
In the late 2000s, several members wished to reinvigorate sailing on Crooked Lake. They came together to reincorporate the Crooked Lake Sailors (CLS) in 2010 as a Michigan non-profit corporation. The IRS later recognized CLS as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization in 2011, allowing donations to be tax-deductible.
Chris Weber purchased and donated 6 Opti sailboats with a trailer and equipment to get the program started. Over the next several years, Margie built up CLS's fleet of boats, built boat ramps and storage racks, obtained all the necessary equipment and supplies, and installed a storage shed and sail box. This enormous investment of time and money has allowed the program to grow and develop immensely since its revival.
During last year’s silent auction fundraiser, several of our junior sailors took turns at the microphone to express their excitement about our sailing classes and racing. Everyone present was truly touched by these students’ sincerity and enthusiasm in thanking the adults at the auction for their support. One of these students said, “I am so excited about being able to participate in races.” Another teen said, “I hope to sail competitively in college.”
Their enthusiasm was also a key to get a $8,000 grant from the Petoskey Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation for a new and far more efficient safety boat motor.
As Crooked Lake Sailors looks to the future, there are many reasons to be excited. Last year, CLS added its first Laser, granting higher performance and greater challenge to our veteran sailors. Also, following years of instruction, many former students have transformed into CLS's current instructors. This has helped foster many unique traditions that make CLS a great place to learn to sail.
Crooked Lake Sailors places major emphasis on offering youth lessons at reduced prices to ensure every child has an opportunity to learn to sail. Last year, a generous donor established scholarship fund to further increase access. Like many other such organizations with similar goals, tuitions only cover part of the costs of running the program — contributions and volunteers are an essential part of the program's success.
Please consider volunteering or contributing a tax-deductible donation. Everything helps!