LTS Race Team

Why Join the Race Team?

Laura Holmes Photography

The LTS Race Team is designed for committed sailors age 13-20 who want to take their sailing experience to the next level.  The program gives team members the opportunity to grow their sailing skills, learn advanced racing tactics, and build a passion for sailing in a fun team sport environment.  This experience is designed for sailors who are comfortable and confident sailing on their own; prospective team members need to have mastered all points of sail and basic boat-handling.

The objective of the LTS Race Team is to grow a passion for sailing with a focus on strong seamanship skills applicable to all types of boats. To achieve this, the program builds a strong sailing foundation in all team members while maintaining a fun learning environment.  Sailors are challenged to improve their sailing skills while learning to race.  Team members are strongly encouraged to participate in the local dinghy fleet races (Monday and Thursday evenings in the harbor, in Lasers or 420s), and to join in the racing that occurs throughout the summer in Harbor Springs under the auspices of the Little Traverse Yacht Club. (Race Team Members are given free junior memberships in the Little Traverse Yacht Club.)

Summer 2020 Schedule

The 2020 Race Team season is a seven week program, starting LTS Week 2 (June 29 – July 3) and running through LTS Week 8 (August 10 – August 14). We practice (or have regattas) Monday through Friday afternoons, from 1:00pm – 4:00pm — and there will likely be several weekend and evening opportunities as well.

Although we certainly understand that not every team member will be able to make every practice (and may even be absent for a week or more at a time for family or other obligations) — as with any sports team, we ask that Team Members commit to being available to work with the team for at least six weeks of the summer.

The Training Program

Skill transition between boats and constant exposure to a wide variety of sailing opportunities are highlights of the LTS Race Team program, allowing sailors to find their passion.  Over the past few years, the Race Team has competed and trained in Lasers, 420’s, JY-15’s, J/70s, J/88’s, J/105’s, 29ers, Alerion 28s, Alden 44s, and a Carkeek 40.  Indeed, the LTS Race Team is one of the most diverse advanced sailing opportunities provided at any youth sailing organization in the United States.

The team will compete locally in the LTS Youth Regatta Series, and seek to travel to other youth regattas within a few hours of Harbor Springs. A major goal of the Race Team is to have our interested team members competing in local, regional, and national events — such as the US Youth Championships and the US Sailing Sears, Bemis, Smythe Regattas. These events are the pinnacle of Junior Sailing in the United States.   The Race Team will also prepare our sailors for High School and Collegiate Sailing, including discussions about how to get involved in sailing as a lifelong sport.

The Race Team Fleet

LTS has a dedicated race team fleet of six Lasers and six Club 420s. Together, the Laser and 420 are by far the most popular junior training boats in the world.

Laura Holmes Photography
Race Coach, Dan Thompson, coaching on the 29er

LTS expanded the racing opportunities offered to Race Team participants with the addition of 29er to the LTS Fleet.  The 29er is a youth version of the 49er and 49fx, both current Olympic classes.  Designed and intended as a youth training boat, the 29er will offer the Race Team the next level of dinghy sailing.  As both a high performance boat and an olympic trainer, the 29er allows LTS Race Team members to experience new types of sailing and be the LTS Launch pad into modern high performance sailing.   As a skiff with single trapeze and asymmetrical spinnaker, the 29er expands the skills taught to Race Team members and give sailors valuable experience in modern high performance designs. With an active fleet in the USA and around the world, the 29er opens many doors for LTS sailors to pursue their passion in sailing.

The Race Team also has primary use of the LTS J/70 — a 22ft sportboat that is among the most popular and competitive racing fleets in the world right now.

If they have them, Team Members are encouraged to bring their own Laser or Club 420 for use during practices and regattas.

Coaching Staff

The Head Coach for the Race Team is Dan Thompson. Dan is the Assistant Sailing Coach at Cornell University in New York, and has over fifteen years of youth coaching experience and ten years collegiate coaching experience at one of the premier college sailing programs in the country.

Morning Options

We encourage Race Team participants to be involved with LTS in the morning.  Race Team members can take participate in the morning Learn to Sail programming, or potentially work or volunteer at LTS (limited space available), or be involved in other aspects of sailing in Harbor Springs.  If you are interested in learning more about morning options please email


The fee for the Race Team is $1,500.* The fee includes:

  • Season-long coaching, instruction and boat use for Race Team activities, including coaching during Monday/Thursday evening dinghy racing and LTS Youth Regattas;
  • A 2020 Race Team pinnie (to be designed this spring with input from the Race Team);
  • At least two other articles of Race Team clothing (last year we did fleeces and long sleeve performance shirts);
  • Entry fees for all LTS-run racing programs during summer 2020, including Dinghy Racing and the Youth Regatta Series;
  • A junior membership in the Little Traverse Yacht Club (LTYC);
  • A ticket to the LTYC Annual Banquet and Dance in August — where the seasonal awards will be announced.

*Please note: 2020 LTS Race Team participants will be billed in early June 2020.

Scholarships are available!  Please see our Scholarships Page for more information and to apply for a scholarship.

Application and Registration Process

Please complete the 2020 LTS Race Team Application in order to begin the registration process for the 2020 season. Team members will be invoiced for program fees separately. Please note: 2020 LTS Race Team participants will be billed in early June 2020.

Feel free to contact Dan Thompson, Director of Racing Programs at with any further questions.