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 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.


The broad definition of singlehanded sailing is “no available experienced crew to cover all possible tasks on a sailboat at a given moment.” Expanding on that, sooner or later every skipper will likely face a singlehanded situation due to crew inexperience, injury, or illness. Subsequent gear failure or deteriorating weather is capable of tasking even a seasoned skipper – when this occurs, it is typically not at the skipper’s convenience.

Mission Statement:
The Great Lakes Singlehanded Society is an organization established for the perpetuation of the sport of solo sailing. Its purpose is two-fold, the first being to encourage the development of and education concerning suitable techniques, equipment, and gear for shorthanded passage under sail; its second being the recognition of accomplishments of singlehanded sailors in the Great Lakes region. The camaraderie of like-minded sailors, borne of the competition on the race course, is the one of the greatest benefits the Society is able to bestow upon its members.

The Society views all skippers who successfully complete one of the membership granting challenges as winners!

Membership in the Society is conveyed only to those individuals who successfully complete one of the following Solo Challenges:

Port Huron to Mackinac Island
Chicago to Mackinac Island
Sault Ste. Marie to Duluth
Lake Erie Solo Challenge
Lake Ontario 300 Solo Challenge

The satisfactory completion of any one of these challenges is viewed as a significant individual accomplishment – there are fewer than 300 skippers world-wide who are able to make that claim. Will you one day be able to count yourself among them?
The GLSS believes that every sailboat owner should develop adequate singlehanded skills to deal with the unexpected. Participation in the racing program developed by the GLSS will assist you in the development of these skills. For additional information and to get started in your solo sailing adventure, please contact us.