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Large Or Small, Sturgeon Bay Sail Maker Does Them All


In a small loft at Great Lakes Yacht Service in Sturgeon Bay, a man and his three employees design and construct canvas coverings and sails for boats across the country with an occasional international order.

That man is Charlie Klein, owner of Dorsal, LLC. He’s been working with sailboats and yachts since he built his first boat at the age of 12 and Dorsal does all of the exterior canvas cover work for Palmer Johnson Yachts. One of their most recent projects was the 210-foot yacht that Palmer Johnson finished a few weeks ago.

Klein had to travel to Washington to measure the furniture for the yacht and says about half of his customers are from Chicago or Milwaukee who keep their boats in northeastern Wisconsin.

Charlie Klein, owner of Dorsal, LLC, takes a few minutes to patch up a hole in a windsurfing sail for a customer. The extended arm on the sewing machine gives more room for the fabric so Klein and his employees can work on large projects.


Klein has three very good sewers who individually follow up on projects he designs. Klein says he has to work pretty hard to stay ahead of his employees.

The digitizer plots points into a virtual, 3D space, allowing Klein to get exact measurements.

Right now, projects are in full swing as Dorsal gets boats ready for the summer season. Klein says things pick up in March or so and they hope to get everyone settled by August so they can enjoy their boats.


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