Unsalted Sailing Flotilla – June 2020

Explore the Best of the Great Lakes!

Contact us today to book your boat during the Unsalted Flotilla! (231) 941-0535  GLSC@GreatLakesSailingCo.com

Sets sail Saturday, June 20 – 26, 2020 with a complimentary reception dinner and sleep-aboard on Friday, June 19.

Great Lakes Sailing Co. Captains will be leading the way.  You’ll have assistance and guidance all throughout the event.

This is your opportunity to explore the islands, beaches, towns and harbors of beautiful Northern Michigan with the comfort and safety of sailing with others.  Plus, Unsalted Flotilla sailors gain access to the highly exclusive YELLOW HAT CLUB!

All sailors welcome – beginners to ol’ salts!  We’ll harbor hop in Grand Traverse and Little Traverse Bays with expected visits to Suttons Bay, Northport, Charlevoix, Omena Bay, Elk Rapid or Old Mission Harbor, Bower’s Harbor and Marion Island.  There will be presentations, wine tasting, nature hikes and the “Twisted Sheet Regatta” along the way.

Meet the Flotilla Leaders!

Kimberli and Ken Bindschatel have both been at home on the water, whether on a ski boat, sail boat, kayak, or aircraft carrier since before they met, in 1989.

In 2013, they took the plunge and purchased their Hunter 40, Priorities.  Since that time they have enjoyed cruising the Great Lakes, with an occasional Caribbean bareboat charter added in when Priorities is on the hard and they need their sailing fix.

This will be their fifth year volunteering to lead the GLSCo flotilla and are proud of the fact that they haven’t lost anyone yet!

They live in the Traverse City area, with their dog Josee, and are very familiar with all of the “Up North” marina destinations and fun, local things to do.  When not on the water, Kimberli writes the Poppy McVie fiction series and Ken is an operations manager for a local electric utility.  Kimberli enjoys birding and nature hikes while Ken would prefer to explore local brew pubs and tap rooms.  They are both self-described foodies and wine snobs and recently perfected their Mai Tai recipe.

From Kimberli and Ken…Ahoy!

Red 8 Rum Tasting

During the reception and into presentation time, the good folks from Steam Devil Spirits will offer samples of the new “Red 8 Rum”, which seems fitting since everyone will be updated on the history of rum from Steve’s presentation!

Red 8 rum is locally distilled and gets it’s name from the iconic Red 8 navigational buoy right outside our marina.  Red 8 is quickly becoming a local favorite and is offered in area restaurants and stores and will also be available for purchase at the flotilla reception party.

You can join us by:

  • Charter a boat from the GLSC fleet – bareboat or hire a captain
  • Learn to sail and take an ASA course along the way.  Cruising courses also available for those with basic sailing experience.

Check out scenes from past Unsalted Sailing Flotillas below or on Facebook 

Proposed Itinerary

  • Day 1 – Suttons Bay – quaint town with art galleries, great restaurants and beaches.  Anchoring outside the marina is an option.
  • Day 2 – Elk Rapids or Old Mission with the “Twisted Sheet Regatta” along the way.  This is a fun, informal regatta race with a humorous awards ceremony afterwards.
  • Day 3 – Northport – Jack Klang will meet us there and with one of his nationally recognized sailing presentations.
  • Day 4 – Charlevoix – a favorite stop-over in an amazing setting.  Explore the town, galleries, beaches and restaurants or even the self-guided walking tour of the famous Earl Young Mushroom Houses.
  • Day 5 – Omena Bay – enjoy a private wine tasting at the Leelanau Wine Cellars waterfront tasting room and dinner available at the adjacent “Knot Just A Bar”.
  • Day 6 – Bower’s Harbor with a stop over at Power Island – we’ll explore this diverse nature preserve island with a personal tour from the park ranger and then anchor for the night at Bower’s Harbor where a shuttle awaits to take us to the very popular “Jolly Pumpkin”; a historic landmark that is now a brew-pub restaurant in a beautiful setting.  On site wine and beer tasting followed by famous perch, whitefish, ribs and other great menu options.
  • Day 7 – return to Traverse City (about 5 miles away) at a nice leisurely pace.


  • Bareboat – regular 7-day bareboat charter rates apply. Visit the “fleet & rates” webpage.  Available for qualified sailors.
  • Captained Charter on Private Boat – regular 7-day bareboat charter rate plus $325/day captain fee. Open to anyone. A friendly, USCG licensed captain will be on board and you can be as active (or inactive) as you like with the sailing.
  • ASA and Sailing Instruction
    • ASA 103 and/or 104  -This course is designed to turn the ASA 101 graduate into a comfortable coastal cruiser. Focusing on “life aboard”, this course will familiarize you with the systems of a cruising yacht. The fresh water system, fuel system, battery charging system, steering and rigging are covered to name a few. Each student is also given ample time at the wheel in close quarters to improve harbor handling skills. Heavy weather sailing skills also covered in this class to assure that the graduate will be comfortable in most coastal cruising situations on a yacht in the 36′ – 39′ range.
    • Private cabin for 2 students – $2800
    • Private cabin for 1 student – $2100
    • Private boat for up to 4 students – $5600 total for up to 4 students ($1400 per person)
    • The rate includes the boat, the captain, the instruction, text books, study guides, fuel, pump-out and marina fees.

For reservations or to check availability, call Great Lakes Sailing Company 231-941-0535 or email GLSC@GreatLakesSailingCo.com.

What is Flotilla Sailing?

Flotilla Sailing offers a safe and fun way for people to get to known a new cruising area.  A lead boat guides the fleet to the best anchorages and harbor towns.  This “follow-the-leader” style of sailing makes for a very relaxing vacation knowing that your flotilla neighbors are nearby.  A Reception Cook Out in the marina will start things off the evening before we sail.  We’ll review the charts of the area, discuss the weather and the planned itinerary, and before departure, a Great Lakes Sailing Captain will familiarize you with your vessel in regards to operation and location of gear.  There are several planned events along the way and you’ll enjoy the camaraderie with fellow sailors.  You’ll also have ample time to branch off and explore the towns and islands on your own.

Learn More About Sailing Northern Michigan

Did You Know?

You can fit the US & British Virgin Island (minus St. Croix) into our sailing area?!