Home to some of the best inland sailing in the United States, Green Lake’s horizon is often decorated with brightly colored sails. Sailing has been an important Green Lake summer activity since the earliest visitors discovered the area.

Since 1894 the Green Lake Yacht Club provides an active, competitive fleet sailing program and brings annual national and regional regattas to Green Lake. The Yacht Club also hosts racing every Sunday in front of the Heidel House and encourages participation from those with experience in the sport.

You don’t need to be a competitive sailor to sail on Green Lake. The Green Lake Sailing School offers lessons to suit every skill level, from first-time beginners to experienced sailors. Courses are offered for adults and children and are taught by certified instructors throughout the summer. The Green Lake Sailing school also offers private lessons to residents and visitors with advance reservations.


There's something so serene—almost like a spiritual awareness of nature—being on a sailboat powered by the wind.

Peter Vandervelde is described as a “salty sailor” by family and friends who respect his nautical knowledge and seafaring sensibilities. 

Growing up on Green Lake, Vandervelde was taught by his father to appreciate sailing, which was more of a lifestyle than a sport. Summer weekends were spent sailing with the Green Lake Yacht Club. When the lake froze in winter, ice boating took its place.

Over Vandervelde’s nearly 70-year sailing career, he has navigated many water bodies, from awe-inspiring Lake Superior to the Baltic Sea during the 1973 470 World Championships in Germany’s “Sailing City” of Kiel. But one of his favorites remains the deep, introspective waters of Green Lake which offer a vital lesson in going with the flow. 

“I’ve always liked the part of not knowing what’s going to take place,” Vandervelde says. “You’re relying on nature and the wind to take you where you’re going to end up.”

Vandervelde recommends Green Lake Sailing School which offers private and drop-in lessons by appointment. Visit to learn more.