Boats launch for Milwaukee sailing season start

If you've ever wanted to see a boat flying instead of sailing, now is your chance.

Several big boats were launched into the water this morning to kick off the sailing season at Milwaukee's lakefront.

It's all hands on deck as sailing season kicked off Friday, May 7 at the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center.

"It’s the day the boats go into the water," said Mike Soika, Milwaukee Community Sailing Center member.

"We have about 30 boats going in the water today. Each boat on launch takes about 15 minutes," said Holly Church, the center's director.

The process is smooth sailing for the fleet of boats launched into the water on Friday. A 20-ton crane lifts privately-owned sailboats after they harbored away all winter.

"Each of these boats is anywhere between three and five tons, and this special crane comes in today, straps go underneath the boat, it’s lifted out of its winter cradle and flies through the air to the water," Church said.

Volunteers and boat owners help strap up and paint before setting sail. Milwaukee sailors can't wait to dup their feet into summer.

"It’s the wind and the waves," Soika said.

Newcomers hopped on board last season during the pandemic; it was one of the biggest summers for the sailing center.

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With another season on the horizon, excitement for summer is just getting started.

"The sun is shining, the boats are going in the water, the water is gleaming we’re ready to sail how can you not get excited about that," said Church.

If you're interested in trying sailing this year, the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center said classes are filling up fast – so you'll want to sign up soon at


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