GREAT LAKES SAILING CO.

Started in 1983 as Bay Breeze Yacht Charters, Great Lakes Sailing Co. has grown to become the most recognizable name in sailing on the Great Lakes.

Our charter fleet is one of the largest fleets of cruising yachts on the Great Lakes and offers meticulously maintained sail and power yachts for bareboat and captained charter.

Our charter management program offers yacht owners affordable and hassle-free ownership. We currently have over 20 yachts in the fleet owned by folks from all over the country who enjoy sailing our pristine fresh water cruising grounds.

Our sailing school is consistently ranked as one of the top ASA schools worldwide. Over 200 adult students come to us every year for sailing instruction on boats ranging in size from 30-50’. Many Great Lakes Sailing Co. sailing school instructors have been named “ASA’s (American Sailing Association) Outstanding Instructor” and Great Lakes Sailing Co. has twice been named “School of the Year”.

New Yacht Sales from Jeanneau and Gemini Catamarans. Our new boat owners enjoy customized instruction and yacht systems familiarization as well as service and support long after the sale. In 2020 we were honored to receive the Jeanneau North American Dealer of the Year award.

Dave Conrad

Dave is the owner, pencil pusher and chief shop vac operator of Great Lakes Sailing Co. Dave was General Manager at Bay Breeze before purchasing the company and changing the name in June of 2008.

Dave has been sailing the Great Lakes, Caribbean, Gulf Coast and beyond for over 20 years. He has extensive experience in captaining charter vessels up to 90 feet and managing charter companies in the Caribbean and the Great Lakes. He holds a USCG Masters 100 ton Captain’s license and is an American Sailing Association Instructor certified for levels 101, 103, 104 and 105.

Paul Davis

Paul Davis is the parts manager and ASA instructor. Paul is an avid racer sailor and has delivered vessels all over the Great Lakes and from Manzanillo, Mexico to LA.

He’s a veteran of numerous Port Huron to Mac and Chicago to Mac races and on his home waters of Traverse City, Paul sails his Lightning and races on Capt. Dan’s Cal 40. Paul has a 50 ton USCG Captain’s License and is certified to teach ASA classes 101, 103, 104, and 105.

Joanie Sweitzer

As Operations Manager, Joanie handles the day-to-day tasks that keep the operation running smoothly. In addition to her business and accounting background, she’s pretty darn creative. A past upholsterer and pattern maker, Joanie operated a marine canvas business in Seattle before moving back to Traverse City.

Joanie grew up boating on Grand Traverse Bay and thinks a day isn’t complete without a view of the bay. She learned to sail on a boat docked at “Black Mountain Yacht Club” and spent most of a decade racing sailboats in the Puget Sound.

Captain John Martin

John is our Jeanneau Product Specialist and is available for private instruction for new Jeanneau owners that are looking for certifications or an experienced captain for new sailing experiences.   

John is a proud recipient of the ASA Outstanding Instructor Award and completed a five and a half year circumnavigation with his wife Cyndi aboard their Moody 46. 

John has a rather diverse background. He is an Orthopedic Surgeon (ret), a Flight Surgeon, and a pilot with 17 years in the USAF/ANG. He has been racing sailboats from the age of nine and has over 20 Port Huron-Mac and Chicago-Mac’s under his belt. Holds USCG 100 ton Master Captain and is a certified ASA instructor on multiple levels. Personally has well over 50,000nm of offshore experience as captain. John is also author of the children’s adventure sailing story “Tommy Tiller and his Dog Rudder”.

Captain Jenny McCain

Jenny is the Captain Liaison and Sailing School Director. She is an educator first, having taught in public schools for 15 years, and now she tutors kids during the school year.

Jenny has been an ASA captain with us since 2018. She previously taught youth and adults to sail small sailboats through Traverse Area Community Sailing for 8 summers. She is certified through ASA to teach 101, 103, and 105, and she is also a Small Boat Instructor certified through US Sail since 2002. She has sailed throughout the Great Lakes and in the Caribbean.

Jake, Dirk and Glen make up the service team that keeps the fleet humming along. Rigging, fiberglass, electrical, mechanical and electronics – they do it all. Together they are a very talented team of boat technicians, each specializing in their own specific skill set.

Izzy heads up the housekeeping department and is involved with the woodwork projects and keeping the fleet in top-notch condition. 

Our sailing school instructors consist of over a dozen friendly, professional USCG licensed captains. Click here to meet the instructor staff.