Macatawa Bay Juniors Association

About Us…

Back in 1982, a group of local sailors had the vision for an organization that would promote junior sailing and create opportunities for both members of Macatawa Bay Yacht Club (MBYC) and youth in the Holland community who were interested in sailing. This shared vision, along with a couple of borrowed sailboats, became the birth of Macatawa Bay Junior Association (MBJA). At the time, there wasn’t even an instructor boat, yet the organization held the course and began to grow. 

Over the past 40 years, MBJA has enabled countless participants and graduates to learn the joys and thrills that come from sailing on the open water. For many, this has even become more than a sport or activity – sailing has become their way of life. 

A Dependable Resource for the Holland Sailing Community

With the help and financial support from the Holland sailing community and MBYC members, our association has instructed graduates who go on to achieve great things, like becoming collegiate All-Americans and Academic All-Americans, joining the U.S. Optimist Dinghy International Travel Team, and competing internationally in the Laser Radial and 420 class, as well as becoming part of the sailing industry (American Magic and Heartbreaker programs, as captain of a freighter, and sailing professionally). 

With that said, we consider the most significant impact of our program to be the number of kids who graduate with sound, water safety fundamentals and a lifelong love of water and sailing. 

If you are looking for an example of the impact junior sailing can have on a young person’s life and the importance of this investment in our youth, you need look no further than the chairman of our own board of directors, Roger Gamache, who has been part of the board from 1984-97 and 2010 to present. He has been instrumental in the expansion of our High School and College race teams as well as summer WMYSA successes and revamping our sail and powerboat inventory. Roger and his wife Anne have had two daughters go through our program. Danielle continued on with collegiate sailing at SUNY Maritime Academy and was All American in 2009. Their next generation is now part of our learn to sail and race programs! 

MBJA’s Bright Future

Our sailing director, Marie Mell Colville is not only a passionate and accomplished sailor, but also a life-long educator, coach, and athlete. Marie is a top women’s sailor in MBYC’s JY15 ladies racing program, and before that, she campaigned her own Melges 24 in a plethora of Holland-area races.  

Thanks to Director Marie’s leadership, our dedicated board of directors (listed below), and the incredible support of our donors, we’ve been able to make major improvements and expansions to our fleet, facilities, and programs that will help us better serve our students and community. We have big plans to continue that growth so we can bring the joy of sailing to even more who want to learn. 

Learn-to-sail instruction is only part of what we do here at MBJA. We also provide first-rate training for serious junior racers, hosting high school and college sailing programs during the spring and fall, and offering racing-focused summer camps where students are encouraged to join Team Macatawa and compete in club races and regional events throughout the summer. We host two regular fleet collegiate races each year, plus in November 2023 we hosted the 15-team Midwest Collegiate Sailing Association Fall Championships. 

We maintain an ever-growing fleet of Optimist Dinghies, SailCubes, Club 420’s, Lasers, and J22s, along with inflatable coach boats that ensure on-the-water safety and instruction. 

Find out how you can support our programs.

 

Our Board Members

We are lucky to have a great group of volunteer sailors sitting on our board to provide us with direction and work on fundraising efforts.

  • Michael Norris 
  • Roger Gamache 
  • Juli Petter 
  • Kelly Cramton Garvelink 
  • Lou Moran 
  • Lou Nykamp 
  • Mitch Padnos 
  • Susan LaFontaine 
  • Evan Rodgers