What to Know About the Grand Traverse Yacht Club

Molly Buttleman

The Grand Traverse Yacht Club (GTYC) is founded on a rich heritage and dedicated appreciation for the art of sailing and boating. This club is the gem of Traverse City, offering luxury amenities and exclusive access to calm, clear waters. When searching for Grand Traverse County real estate, here’s why its yacht club is one of the best in the state.

A rich history

The first iterations of the GTYC began in 1894 with the group efforts of Traverse City’s prominent business people and athletes. The rise and fall of the We-Que-Tong Club provided the three-story clubhouse space that became the original GTYC. However, members were left without a gathering place as the clubhouse was sold and dismantled for kindling in 1945. Although the next generation was left without a venue, they still actively participated in recreational boating competitions.

By 1960, 38 families formed the new wave of GTYC membership and set up base in the lower-level rooms of the Harbor West. Membership grew with the participation of the lightning class and cruising class sailors allowing a structure to emerge. In 1966 the making of a new clubhouse was on the horizon as a land contract was agreed upon for the former MontaMower factory. Over the years, this factory was repurposed to support club activities.

Tragically, the clubhouse caught fire in 2008, requiring a complete replacement. With the resources and support of decades of membership, GTYC completed the rebuilding and renovation process within the year. The new construction holds true to the history and design of the original while incorporating amenities and resources suited to the new generation of members.

Water excursions

GTYC supports many types of sailing, boating, cruising, and junior sailing for members and their families. Here’s a complete list of water activities that the club offers to all its members.

Sailing Fleets

  • Melges 24: The largest fleet of its kind in North America, the Melges 24 sail every Wednesday night and host two weekend regattas.

  • Melges 15: This is the newest small boat fleet in the club, featuring asymmetrical two-person dinghies.

  • Race Committee: Novice and veteran members are encouraged to volunteer in the starting and finishing of 160+ races a year.

  • Radio-Controlled Sailing: As the largest racing group in the club, the competing model yachts span a range of classes and sizes.

  • PHRF: Members can show off their skills in handicapped races where boats of all sizes compete with only spinners or the jib and main.

  • Interlakes: Centerboard boats are a large part of the club’s heritage and history. Racing for Interlake vessels spans three series in the spring, summer, and fall.

  • Virtual Racing: When the Michigan waters are frigid and leaving Grand Traverse County homes is impossible, virtual racing keeps the club active and lively.


There is no shortage of races to attend and partake in as a member of GTYC. Wednesday nights feature an hour-long roster of races with four PHRF races and a competition between the Melges 24. The Interlake and Melges 15 take center stage on Thursday nights with an equally full schedule. Monday nights are reserved for Radio Controlled Sailing races at Boardman Lake. The club also has a schedule of weekend races and regattas with an exciting mix of competition types.


There’s no better way to enjoy the forested bay and clear waters around Grand Traverse real estate than from a powerboat cruiser. In summer, the cruising community thrives in the shared discoveries along the shore, whether that be a historic treasure or a stunning display of nature.

Junior Sailing

GTYC is a proud supporter and partner of The Traverse Area Community Sailing, which offers summer youth programs and high school racing teams. Children can spend one or multiple weeks out on the water while an offering of adaptive sailing programs is open to people of all abilities.

The Clubhouse

The clubhouse itself provides stellar bar and dining service for members and guests in Flag Hall. The dinner menu offers a delicious mix of seasonal dishes and club favorites. The club’s bar is open on Wednesdays and Fridays starting at 4 p.m. for members to explore their selection of cocktails, beers, and wines.

The clubhouse’s Commodore’s Room serves as a regular venue for events and meetings. Also within the club is an upstairs mezzanine, a playroom for children, media screens throughout the premises, and a commercial kitchen. After a race, members can shower in the club’s general facilities. GTYC keeps its trophies and burgee collection on proud display for passersby to admire.

Although the launch ramp can only be used by active members, all members are welcome onto the beach and surrounding grounds. The water view from a lounger on the lawn is truly stunning and serves as a spacious outdoor venue for summer events. Other special events include award nights, races, and instructive lectures.

Membership and visitors

The GTYC is not open to the public, but members from other yacht clubs are always welcome to visit Michigan Lake’s shores. Visitors should know that this club does not operate a marina and does not have dockage available for those interested in reciprocal privileges.

Those in their search for Grand Traverse County homes who are interested in GTYC are welcome to apply for membership. Since the club is a non-profit led by volunteers, they’re always looking for individuals interested in frequent participation, no matter their skill set or specialization. Membership status includes Active Equity members, Associate members, and Life members.

Stop by GTYC

The Grand Traverse Yacht Club is an important pillar of the Traverse County community. Offering several opportunities to partake in sailing races and summer cruising, GTYC is a great spot to form long-lasting friendships while appreciating the intricacies of water sports. Homes next to Michigan Lake’s serene shores can be hard to find without the help of a professional. When you’re ready to start your search for properties in the area, contact experienced agent Molly Buttleman for expert guidance.


Molly is known for listening and problem-solving, often putting her own real-life buying, selling, and renovating experience to use for her clients. Her construction industry connections also give her clients an extra sense of trust, especially if they are looking to add value to a property with a remodel.

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