Monday, August 6, 2012

Multi-Day Themed Windjammers Highlight Schooner Manitou's 25th Year in Traverse City

Since 1987, the Traverse Tall Ship Company has been offering sailing adventures on the freshwater Grand Traverse Bay – and beyond, into Northern Lake Michigan.

As one of the largest sailing ships on the Great Lakes, the Manitou is a replica of an 1800s “coasting” cargo schooner. A traditional two-masted, gaff rigged, topsail schooner, Manitou measures 114 feet in length with more than 3000 square feet of sail.

During the month of September, the Manitou is once again offering its popular windjammer excursions. These multi-day outings give passengers a one-of-a-kind experience to head out into the open waters and enjoy a relaxing, stress-free get-away, while visiting quaint coastal villages and soaking up the panoramic views of the northern Michigan shoreline.

This year’s schedule includes a Four Day Getaway Cruise (Sept. 7-10 | $635pp), a Wine Tasting Cruise (Sept. 14-17 | $685pp), an Astronomy Cruise (Sept. 21-24 | $685pp) and a Three Day Fall Color Cruise (Sept. 28-30 | $570pp). Accommodations are provided in 12 double-bunk cabins, and fare includes lodging, all meals and sailing activities.

Throughout the summer months, three two-hour day sails are offered each day – at Noon, 3pm (Moomers Ice Cream Sail) and Evening (6:30pm). Speciality cruises include Microbrew Tastings on Sunday evenings featuring Short’s Brewing Company, Entertainment Cruises with “Song of the Lakes” on Wednesday evenings, and the Wine Tasting Cruises featuring Leelanau Cellars (Tuesday evenings) and Left Foot Charley (Thursday evenings) both including specially-catered Mediterranean cuisine from Silver Swan Homemade foods.

With a 59 passenger sailing capacity (24 overnight capacity), there is plenty of space for sitting and moving around the decks while under sail. While aboard the Manitou, passengers are free to leave the sailing to the experienced crew or lend a hand and learn the arts of the sailor. An excursion aboard the Manitou allows you to remove yourself from the trappings of modern life: no TV, phone (cell phones are discouraged), internet, email and definitely no itinerary.

In addition to public day sails and multi-day windjammer cruises, the schooner Manitou works with Inland Seas Education Association, providing hands-on environmental education to school kids from throughout the region and state. The Manitou is also available for private charters, making it ideal for corporate outings, wedding parties and family reunions.

Earlier this year, thanks to a community effort involving the City of Traverse City, Discovery Center Great Lakes, Elmwood Township and Traverse City Light and Power, Traverse Tall Ship relocated just a short distance north of its former home, to the Discovery Center Great Lakes at 13258 S.W. Bay Shore Drive (M22), Traverse City (right across from what long-time residents refer to as the “coal dock.”). The dock has served as home for the Maritime Heritage Alliance fleet for some time, and the Manitou ads to the nautical experience of the area.

To make reservations for any of the 2012 Manitou sailing adventures, call toll free 800-678-0383. Gift certificates are also available. For additional information about the Manitou, including its corporate charters, log on to (

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