Return to the Torresen Marine Home Page

American Sailors – A West Michigan Connection

Torresen Marine’s vision of connecting people to the sport of sailing is something we take pride in. We are so pleased that West Michigan’s film production industry has taken a major step forward toward this when the visually stunning program American Sailors debuted to a national television audience.

Produced by Holland-based Grooters Productions, American Sailors takes a behind the scenes look at the stories of four West Michigan skippers racing in the 100th running of the Chicago to Mackinac sailing event. WGN America aired the primetime special on Saturday, July 4th and again on Sunday, July 26.

The show’s tag line is “The Wind Shows No Favorites – Anyone Can Win” and the debut episode of the program proved that to be true.The Chicago to Mackinac is the world’s longest and oldest freshwater race, and 2008 marked its historic 100th running. The tradition and drama of this celebrated event were beautifully captured in high definition by the producers of American Sailors as they followed four West Michigan skippers for the entire race. Three of the four skippers sail from the Muskegon Yacht Club and the other hails from Holland’s Macatawa Bay Yacht Club. “This was an amazing opportunity for us to tell the story of one of the most celebrated events in North American sailing,” said John Grooters who produced and directed the program. “The pictures and the stories behind them are an incredible part of our maritime legacy.

The Holland boat is the well-known 86’ Windquest, owned by Dick and Doug DeVos. Windquest, captained by Holland’s Tom Giesler, is one of the most decorated boats in freshwater racing history, and is fresh off a three flag victory in the prior week’s Queen’s Cup. Windquest also won the 2007 Chicago to Mackinac race by being first to finish, first in class, and first overall.

American Sailors also sails with Muskegon’s John Nedeau and his boat Windancer. Nedeau is the most experienced racer in Mac history, and is running the race for a record 61st time.

Also from Muskegon are skipper Brian Torresen of Torresen Marine who is at the helm of his own boat, Peerless, for the very first time and Muskegon middle school teacher Steve Schiller who races on the longtime family boat Souvenir.

American Sailors was shot in high definition from air, land and sea with nine cameras both on and off the featured boats. Shooting began in March 2008 and concluded in August. The finished show is sprinkled with graphics, slow-motion race footage, and original music and is narrated by John Grooters. American Sailors has already won a national award for production excellence and has been picked up for international distribution by Solid Entertainment, who is shopping the show overseas under the moniker Champion Sailors. Here’s what the website Sailing Anarchy had to say about the program:What a pleasant surprise it was then for us to hear today that Chicago-based national cable network WGN has picked up the Grooters Productions’ “American Sailors” documentary. The program has great production quality and awesome racing scenes, but more importantly, it focuses on four interesting characters and follows them for the entire race. SA’s own longtime member Brian Torresen and his heavily turboed Melges 30 ‘Peerless’ is one of those sailors, and anyone who knows BT knows that his appearance on the screen is guaranteed to be entertaining, at the very least., 06/26/09 American Sailors is Grooters Productions’ first nationally broadcast prime-time special. John Grooters says his hope is to produce a full season of American Sailors, and to expand the program to cover other iconic races around the world.

“We are going to look for the interesting and passionate stories wherever we can find them in locations all over the world,” Grooters said.

Torresen Marine is the only source for the DVD of American Sailors. You will find it available at or call us at 231-759-8596. To view the program trailer visit the show’s website at

Share or bookmark this story:
[Digg] [Reddit] [] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon]

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 30th, 2009 at 1:20 pm and is filed under News From Torresen Marine. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply