Traverse Tall Ship Company, home of the schooner Manitou and Sailing Yacht Scout, a summertime staple on Traverse City’s West Grand Traverse Bay, is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

“Our vessels give visitors to the area access to West Bay and an experience unlike anything else in the area”, says Dave McGinnis, company owner and longtime captain. “Watching kids’ eyes light up as they take the helm never gets old.”

Tall Ship Manitou is a replica of an 1800’s “coasting” cargo schooner, similar to those that sailed the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. With a 59-passenger capacity, an overall length of 114 feet, beam of 21 feet, and displacement of nearly 100 tons, Manitou offers a comfortable, relaxing motion, soothing to both landlubbers and “old salts” alike.

Specifically designed for passenger service, her hull was constructed in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1983 and finished by Vermont carpenters on Lake Champlain, and by 1987 she was sailing as a multi-day windjammer passenger ship.

Traverse Tall Ship Company

McGinnis joined the vessel as First Mate in Burlington, Vermont in 1990, and was hired as captain in May of 1991 to deliver her to West Grand Traverse Bay.

McGinnis recalls the delivery being quite the experience, especially for a young captain, “We pulled the masts out and laid them on crutches on-deck, then exited the south end of Lake Champlain via the Champlain Canal, turned west onto the Erie Canal, then north on the Oswego Canal to Oswego, New York on Lake Ontario. That portion of the trip took five days and 40 locks. We then headed west to the Welland Shipping canal, which bypasses Niagara Falls and connects Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, crossed Lake Erie to the Detroit River, Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River, Lake Huron, the Straits, Lake Michigan, and arrived in Northport (Manitou’s original home port).”

On March 16 of 2004, Dave purchased the Manitou and in 2013 added its sister ship Sailing Yacht Scout, a classic Cabo Rico 38 XL, specializing in a more intimate day sail and overnight experiences.

Combined, Manitou and Scout host an average of 350–400 sails per season, carrying upward of 10,000 passengers.

To celebrate 30 years of sailing, Dave and his crew (current and former) will be sharing their “Manitou Memories” all summer long via a blog and Facebook.

“We are also encouraging our previous and current customers to get involved with sharing their ‘Manitou Memories’ throughout the summer”, adds McGinnis. “It’s always fun seeing their photos and hearing their stories, and we’d like to share those experiences with others.”

For more information contact Traverse Tall Ship Sailing Company at (231) 941-2000 or online at

—Press release provided by Traverse Tall Ship Company

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