Unrivaled Beauty

Departing from Marquette, this skillful sailing duo showcases the wonders of Lake Superior.
The 46-foot Tsuru is based out of Marquette.

As an American Sailing Association accredited school and private charter, the U.P. Sailing Co., based in Marquette, offers guests a chance to see the breathtaking sights of Lake Superior — including Pictured Rocks, the Huron Islands, Keweenaw, Grand Marais, and more — while letting them try their hands at raising the sails, rigging lines, and even steering the boat.

After selling out their first season last summer, owners Brian and Kristen VanWieren invite all levels of sailors, whether beginners or those who are preparing to bareboat charter somewhere, to join them on an excursion or for lessons.

“What you see (sailing) on Lake Superior is a different environment than you could get almost anywhere else in the world,” Kristen says.

The response since opening has been “mind-blowing,” she adds. The couple is looking to add a third boat to their fleet (currently a Freya Colgate 26 made for training and instruction, and a custom-crafted Bennett 46 named Tsuru for day sails and trips).

The idea to start their venture began with their mutual love of sailing. Brian, who grew up in Hudsonville, has sailed and raced for more than 30 years. “He’s on the board of the Great Lakes Singlehanded Society,” Kristen says, “and he’s done nine solo Chicago races, two Mackinac races, and a solo Trans Superior (race) across Lake Superior.”

Kristen, a native of Fowlerville, fell in love with the sport “after going sailing (on a date).” Living in Chicago at the time, she signed up for classes soon after. “I actually bought four lessons and never went back for the last two,” she says. “I bought my boat, and that was it.” She’s been racing and sailing for more than 15 years.

Owners Brian and Kristen VanWieren invite guests to experience exciting Lake Superior adventures.

Married in 2021, the couple met at a marina. “We were both living in Holland,” Kristen says. “One day I came back in from sailing by myself, and a man walked up to me and said, ‘Hey, have you ever thought of doing solo long-distance races? I see you sailing by yourself a lot.’ And I thought, oh, that’s quite a pick-up line!”

Not long after, they discovered a new hobby Up North — snowmobiling — that wound up leading to the opening of their business. The couple purchased property with the hope of building a cottage, but instead they built a home
and relocated.

“We thought sailing on Lake Superior with this beautiful clear water, black rocks, the Pictured Rocks, and everything that you can see only from the water — what an opportunity to be able to take people out on that,” Kristen says.

From Memorial Day weekend through September, the duo offers private multi-day (customizable) adventure trips, sunset (and daytime) sails, events (bachelor/bachelorette parties, corporate teams, etc.), and instructional classes.

Plan it!

U.P. Sailing Co.

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