About the GLSS
About the GLSS
The Great Lakes Singlehanded Society is an organization established for the perpetuation of the sport of solo sailing. It is one of the few organizations where no amount of money will purchase a membership - only by successfully completing a Port Huron to Mackinac, Chicago to Mackinac, Sault Ste. Marie to Duluth, the Lake Erie Solo Challenge, or the Lake Ontario 300 Solo Challenge is lifetime membership conveyed by the Society. Pick a Great Lake, and we are there to accommodate you!
To date (January 2014), there are less than 300 members, far fewer than the number of astronauts who have orbited earth, or climbers who have scaled Mt. Everest. Within our ranks, you will find the true spirit of singlehanded sailing, a spirit which is not defined by age, gender, or boat type. You will find competition on the race course, as well as assistance. Annual meetings, scheduled social functions as well as impromptu get togethers, ensure that the camaraderie developed on the race course is allowed to grow into lifetime friendships.
Does this echo within your spirit? If so, then perhaps you have discovered a new course on your sailing horizon. We would be delighted to help you get involved in singlehanded sailing participate in our shorter races or assist you in earning one of the commemorative medallions that you will receive for successfully completing a Singlehanded Challenge and being granted membership in the GLSS. These Frequently Asked questions will help you to learn about THE GLSS.
Please feel free to contact us if you need any further information.
A Few Frequently Asked Questions...
Solo Challenge Questions
I'd like to become a member of the GLSS - how do I join?
Click on the links above for more details. Successful completion of one of those events entitles you to lifetime membership! But to vote at the annual meeting and for future race discounts you must pay modest annual dues.suggestions that are already posted. If you think a screen should be displaying information that isn't there, please let us know!
What types of events does GLSS sponsor?
GLSS sponsors or co-sponsors three types of races. These include shorter races typically between 50 and 100 NM, the GLSS Solo Challenges in each of the Great Lakes which are between 230 and 336 NM (completion of which confers on one life time GLSS membership) and longer races such as the Super Mac at 517 NM and the Super Mac and Back at 1034 NM. GLSS also sponsors educational safety / shorthanded sailing seminars in the spring of each year in various places around the Great Lakes. Early in the year, usually January, GLSS holds an annual general meeting or AGM for short. Nonmembers are welcome at all these meetings. The GLSS web calendar provides more detailed information on GLSS events. Last year's events typically remain posted until specifics are available for the next year, to give sailors an idea of what to look for in the coming year. Click on the link below to access the GLSS web calendar.
What are the GLSS safety / shorthanded seminars all about?
The GLSS safety / shorthanded seminars are held to educate sailors about shorthanded sailing techniques and safety. The agendas vary but typically they may cover such issues as autopilots, rigging and deck layout, watch standing, electronics, clothing, sails, safety equipment, collision avoidance, and solo voyage experiences of GLSS members. These seminars have material that will be of interest to both the experienced sailor and novice weather one sails singlehanded or with a crew. This is also a great opportunity to talk to experienced singlehanded sailors. These seminars are held in the winter and spring of each year at various locations in Detroit, Chicago, and Port Credit. Check the GLSS web calendar for exact times and locations. Also sign up for the GLSS blast e-mail which will announce these seminars.
How can I learn more about shorthanded or singlehanded sailing?
This is a question we like and can help you with! Whether you are just contemplating kicking the crew off and single handing for the first time, are contemplating doing a Solo Challenger or are an experienced singlehanded sailor we have resources that will be helpful. On the web we have a section dedicated to shorthanded sailing education and safety. It has articles on a variety of subject to choose from:
Another resource is our Short Handed Education and Safety Seminars. These are typically held in the winter and early spring (when our boats are still on dry land). These are listed on our calendar web page:
We also send out periodic e-mail about GLSS activities and publish a quarterly (more or less) news letter called the Solo Challenger. To get on our mailing list go to the following link and sign up:
If you still have questions you can always send us an e-mail and we will answer your questions or point you in the right direction:
What is the Annual General Meeting or AGM all about?
The Annual General Meeting or AGM is the official annual meeting of the Great Lakes Single Handed Society. We have an official meeting and vote on new GLSS Board members and handle any other official business but this is usually short. We also have dinner and one or more guest speakers. We also spend a lot of time just talking to each other and sharing stories and having something to drink. Nonmembers are welcome and this is a great time to make contacts with other solo sailors. These meetings are usually held in January and alternate between Chicago and Detroit.
How do I use PayPal from your website?
Are members available to answer questions I might have?
I have questions that do not seem to be answered on the web site, who can help me?
The best way is to contact us at the e-mail link below:
How can I learn more about the Solo Challenges?
The best way to learn more about a Solo Challenge is to go to the GLSS web page for that event. Links to these pages are provided below. We try to post the dates for next years events in the fall of the year on our web calendar which has a link below. The details on the specific Solo Challenge page are not published until late winter or spring of the event year but the details of the last years event typically remain on the web until the next years details are posted. Event details including the Notice of Race (NOR), Equipment Requirement, and Sailing Instructions (SI) of the last event will give one a good idea of what to expect as the details are usually little changed. Be sure to review the qualification requirements at the bottom of the page which include early submittal or a sailing resume and evidence of a solo passage in the boat you intend to sail in. A great resource is the article: 20 Steps to the Starting Line which includes a step by step guide in preparing to do a solo challenge. If you have more questions contact the event Chairman or Director even if it is last years information.
What are the basic requirements to enter a Solo Challenge?
Details of the requirements to enter a Solo Challenge are spelled out in the Notice of Race or NOR for each event. Be sure to read these carefully if this is your first Solo Challenge. Detailed resume and solo passage requirements are spelled out at the bottom of each Solo Challenge web page. Basically they require that you have at least 1000 NM of sailing experience either solo or with a crew, that you submit a sailing resume and complete a solo passage in the boat you intend to use of both at least 24 hours and at least 100 NM. This requirement is waived after successful completion of you first Solo Challenge. In addition your boat must meet requirements spelled out in the required equipment list referenced in the NOR and typically published on the web page.
If I complete one of the shorter GLSS solo races, will I be able to use that as a qualifier to enter one of the Solo Challenges?
What are the boat length requirements to participate in your events?
What kind of equipment do I need to compete in a Solo Challenge?
What is the procedure for passage through the Locks at Sault St Marie or Soo Locks or the Welland Canal Locks between Lake Huron and Lake Superior?
What is involved in Customs or border crossing issues between the US and Canada?
For 2014, we are trying to accommodate both camps. The GLSS board feels the Spot device and tracking in general provides an important safety feature for participants as with a Spot device, it would be far easier to locate a boat that was having trouble and notice lack of progress or unusual course headings. Yes, it is true that AIS can provide some of this, but no one is tracking the AIS signal during the challenge, where the race committee and others will be watching the Spot tracking page. In addition, the Spot device and tracking in general (in 2014 we will be using Kattack tracking services to consolidate all the spot trackers on one web page) add visibility and hopefully interest to the GLSS events. For these reasons, the spot device is strongly recommended for all GLSS events, but it will only be required for Challenges that are over 350 Nautical Miles in length. The duration of these events and distance between the participants makes radio checkins difficult and so Spot tracking is required for these events.
The bottom line is unless you are doing a Challenge longer than 350 NM, you can choose not to be tracked, and do not need a Spot device or the service. If you want to be tracked, you will need to buy or rent a Spot tracker. If you own a spot device, in order for the tracking to work, you must ensure your tracking option subscription is renewed for the race (this is around $149/yr to support tracking in any use of your Spot, not just on your boat). We track the boats using your Spot share page and tracking service. As we get close to the Challenge start, we will let all registered skippers know how to set up a share page and what information we need to track them on the course. If you have questions on this, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Ken Verhaeren has arranged for 4 Spot devices that can be rented for each event on a first come, first serve basis for $60 per event. Please contact Ken if you want to use a rental Spot.
The Spot and the tracking web page do not have anything to do with ship to ship avoidance, only website displays in real time of a fleet of boat positions. The Spot discussion and tracking is very separate from the goal of AIS. They serve different functions and have no overlap.