The idea for a sailing school in Marquette came from Gregg Seiple and Babette Welch. Without knowing how it would all come together, they purchased three Optimist Prams and held an organizational meeting at their house with everyone interested in forming a sailing school. One of the attendees of that meeting was Chad Lewis, a new student at Northern Michigan University and certified sailing instructor. After many more meetings and an entire winter of planning, the Marquette Junior Yacht Club held its first class in the summer of 2007. Chad Lewis served as the Head Instructor and taught with his friend Andrew Thomson. The original three optis and borrowed sunfish were used for the first two years and classes ran off of the beach next to the Lake Superior Yacht Yard. In 2009 the MJYC moved to the Marquette Yacht Club and has operated there ever since. Also in 2009, the MJYC acquired its iconic Boston Whaler Harpoon sailboats. If you ever want to hear a good story, ask Chad or Andrew about their epic trip bringing them back from Harbor Springs! In 2011 the MJYC purchased its first Ensign class sailboat which is raced locally in Marquette. Racing classes also started being offered and two teams of students raced in the Ensign National Championships in 2012. Today the sailing school gives about 100 lessons a year and offers sailing opportunities for kids and adults.
In 2012, the national competition for Ensign racing was held in Marquette. MJYC helped three youth teams enter Ensign Nationals, and created the youth division for boats competing in Nationals with a crew entirely made up of younger sailors. Death Roll, skippered by Joel Florek, won the youth trophy for MJYC. Last year, MJYC again sent youth teams to Nationals. They were held in Toms River, New Jersey, and the two youth boats traveled to the East Coast to compete. Eugenia, skippered by Maggie Guter, took the youth trophy, bringing it back to Marquette. Nationals were held in Pentwater, Michigan, last year, and the Junior Yacht Club helped to send Eugenia to Nationals again, and hopes to send her and perhaps another boat to compete this year in Connecticut.