Why Join the Race Team?
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, basic boat-handling, and passed at least the LTS Mate 3rd level. (Team members can continue to work toward Skipper Certification while on the Race Team.)
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 2018 Schedule
The 2018 Race Team season is a summer-long (nine week) program, starting Monday, June 18th and running through Friday, August 17th. We practice (or have regattas) Monday through Friday afternoons, from 1:15pm – 4:00pm — and there will likely be several weekend and evening opportunities as well. Note that we will not have Race Team activities on Friday, July 20 (the coaches will be away sailing the Chicago-Mac Race).
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, 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.
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.
New for 2018! LTS is expanding 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 will allow 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 will expand 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.
If they have them, Team Members are encouraged to bring their own Laser or Club 420 for use during practices and regattas.
The Head Coach for the Race Team is Dan Thompson. Dan is the Assistant Sailing Coach at Hobart-William Smith College in New York, and has fifteen years of youth coaching experience and nine years collegiate coaching experience at one of the premier college sailing programs in the country.
The Assistant Coach for the Race Team is Ben Finkelstein. An experienced coach from the Grand Rapids area, Ben brings a strong passion for sailing and a desire to push his students to be their best.
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 Director@littletraversesailors
The fee for the Race Team is $1,600. There is a 10% discount until April 1st. The fee includes:
Summer-long coaching, instruction and boat use for Race Team activities, including coaching during Monday/Thursday evening dinghy racing and LTS Youth Regattas;
A 2018 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 2018, 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 on Sunday, August 19 — where the seasonal awards will be announced.
Scholarships are available! Please see our Scholarships Page for more information and to apply for a scholarship.
Application and Registration Process
Race team spots are very limited, and given the size of the 13 and 14-year old age group we anticipate high demand this year. Last year’s race team members have the opportunity to sign up first; we will take applications for new Race Team members starting March 24th, 2018. The exact number of slots will depend on team skill level; in any event we don’t anticipate having more than 18-20 Race Team members for 2018. Once we have reached capacity we will create a wait list. To register for the Race Team please click the link below and follow the instructions.
Note that new applications to the race team will be reviewed by the coaching staff, and in some cases we may have to ask you to do another year of the Learn to Sail Program before joining the race Team. (In this case, you will receive a full refund.)
If you have any questions or comments please contact our Director of Racing Programs, Dan Thompson at RaceCoach@littletraversesailors.org.