Scouting magazine

Come sail away on a Great Lakes Sailing Adventure

Let the mighty winds guide you north for a Great Lakes Sailing Adventure. You and your Scouts or Venturers arrive at the home port of Mackinaw City, Mich., and step aboard the Retriever, a 52-foot, two-masted sailboat. From there, you’ll set sail for a medley of memorable destinations in the Great Lakes. The Retriever has room for up to 12 participants (typically 10 youth and two adults) — plus two trained staffers. Choose from weeklong trips (six days, five nights) or an extended weekend (four days, three nights). 

The experience offers hands-on training in sailing, meaning even landlubbers are welcome. Participants learn the fundamentals of sailboat handling, navigation, marine safety and techniques used by seasoned sailors. They cook meals on the boat, sleep on the vessel, and learn to live and work as a cohesive team.

“Just seeing how a sailboat really works …, ” says Michael Delphia, a 14-year-old from Troop 889 of Livonia, Mich. “It’s just amazing to see how it all functions together with the troop working together. It’s crazy.”

You and your sailing crew point the boat’s bow toward your choice of Great Lakes ports. Stop for some famous Mackinac Island fudge. Hike the trails of Beaver Island. Visit some picturesque lighthouses. Itinerary possibilities abound. Plan your unit’s visit at michiganscouting.org

*For vessels more than 20 feet in length, life jackets need not be worn when the qualified supervisor aboard the vessel determines that it is prudent to abide by less-restrictive state and federal regulations concerning the use and storage of life jackets.