The Boats


Sailing instruction at MBJA is conducted in a large variety of boats. We have fleets of Optis/SailCubes, Club 420s, Lasers, and J22s. Between these classes of boats, we have curriculums to suit all ages, abilities, and sizes.



The Optimist Dinghy, nicknamed Opti, is the largest junior racing fleet in the world and the international standard in junior instruction. The boat’s simplicity and stability make it ideal for teaching young beginners while the popularity of the Optimist class makes the boat extremely challenging for pre-teen racers. MBJA owns a fleet of 12 well-maintained Optimists to use in its programs. Some of our Team Mac sailors who travel bring privately owned boats for practice and regattas but MBJA  does offer charter boats to students who would like to try racing.

The class website is

420 Sail BoatClub 420

The Club 420 is the most popular and versatile double-handed junior boat in North America. The 420 is sturdy and safe while providing the challenge of having a spinnaker and trapeze. The boat is best suited for sailors 12-18 years of age and over 100 pounds. MBJA has a fleet of 9 well-maintained, competitive Club 420s for use in the summer program. Club 420 sailors participating on Team Mac are our most experienced 420 sailors and although boats are supplied during practices, students must charter or supply their own boat for regattas away from MBJA.

Additional information about the 420 Class Association is at:

Collegiate 420

The Collegiate 420 is used for our College and High School sailing programs in the spring and fall. The boat is the same as the Club 420 except it additionally features a trapeze and spinnaker gear. Sailors enrolled in the High School sailing program use boats owned by MBJA and Hope College and therefore, are not required to own their own boat.

Laser Sail BoatLaser – Progressive Rig

The Laser is the single-handed option for sailors who are too big or too old to sail the Optimist. The Laser can be configured with three different sail plans, providing great versatility across a wide range of sizes. Lasers are best suited to sailors 13 years of age or older, over 125 pounds, and focused on racing. Lasers are one of the fastest-growing one-design classes in North America and the primary singlehanded boat used in youth sailing events.

Additional information about the Laser Class Association is at:


The J/22 class sailboat is a very popular racer/daysailer that is well suited for the Macatawa Bay area. Its dinghy-like steering and handling, relatively small overall size, and large cockpit make it ideal for 3-4 person racing. The non-overlapping jib makes for easy boat handling. For additional performance and challenge, a spinnaker can be flown by one person in the cockpit and one person doing foredeck.

Additional information about the J/22 is at:


SailCube boats are designed for intro sailors, just like the Opti but better! They self-bail and are 50% lighter than an Opti with more durability, a larger cockpit, and better flotation, while still being compatible with Opti parts. This will make an intro to sailing much easier for our younglings!

Additional information about the SailCube is at:



Make a 501C3 Equipment Donation!

Have any old sailing equipment stashed away in your barn or garage that is no longer in use? We would be grateful to take any of the following items off your hands!


  • Gently used J22 spinnakers
  • Used Laser sailboats
  • Used Opti sailboats
  • Hardware for J22, Laser, 420 or Opti