Category Archives: Sailing

Sail-A-Bration Goes Off with a Bang!

Almost 90 members and guests came to Waukegan Yacht Club on Saturday, November 16, to celebrate the 2019 boating season, our racers and Commodore Jim Hellquist. The club opened at 6pm and our guests started to gather for cocktails and appetizers.

Cocktails at the Sail-A-Bration
Cocktails at the Sail-A-Bration

Dinner was served at 7pm. The buffet of mandarin orange salad, roast beef, chicken piccata, grilled vegetable medley and mashed potatoes was generous and delicious.

Dinner was served at plentiful and delicious.

The sail awards were given out at 8pm. Among the winners were crews of Sirocco III, Spitfire, American Dream, Unplugged, FasTen, Elecktra and Lucille Marie. Click here to check out all the awards.

Sirocco III took home many honors at the Sail Awards.

After the awards were completed, the band Sons of Chicago kicked off the dancing. The dance floor was full of revelers most of the evening.

The Band Sons of Chicago played after the awards.

Last Race, Race (Kenosha) hard slog north!

The Last Race, Race to Kenosha kicked with a bang on Saturday. The weather was cold and rainy and the wind was gusting over 20 knots according to the weather reports. Although it looked doubtful any racers would brave the conditions, 9 boats eventually appeared in the harbor and docked alongside the club.

One boat, Flying Spaghetti Monster, came all the way from Chicago, one from the Waukegan Yacht Club, Lucille Marie, and the rest were from Kenosha, having sailed down just that morning.

The Last Race, Race uses a reverse PHRF starting sequence. The boat with the highest rating leaves first and the rest of the fleet takes off based on their handicap.

The first racer left the club at 10:30 on the dot. The boat was cast off and motored out of the harbor into the gusting north wind and biting rain. The rest of the racers departed in sequence with Husaria bringing up the rear 40 minutes later.

The race north was a slog through 4-6 foot waves and strong winds.

The wind and waves were roaring in from the north so all the racers hauled their sails in tightly and prepared for a long slog to Kenosha.

As the race wore on the winds calmed a bit but stayed strong and hard from the north. Most of the racers tacked far out into the lake and then cut back to shore.

The 12.7 mile race turned into a 20-25 mile race as all the boats tacked into and away from shore. By 3:00pm all the racers had pulled into harbor. Some of the boats went to the Kenosha Yacht Club. Others rented piers in Kenosha harbor.

The rain disappeared for while but made an appearance off and on all night.

Flying Spaghetti Monster sailed back to Chicago on Sunday.
Unfortunately, they used their motor and were disqualified from winning the race.

The next morning only two boats made the trip back to Waukegan. Lucille Marie was declared the winner although it had been the slowest boat on both days. Sometimes the hare wins and sometimes the tortoise. Congratulations!

Cruise to St Joseph Wonderful

The Waukegan Yacht Club Cruisers completed a successful cruise to St Joseph, Michigan this Sunday. The weather was perfect and the lake provided no surprises. 

Three boats had planned to cruise on Friday, but one had to drop out for personal reasons. The Cruisers departed from the fuel pier around 1100. The wind was fresh from the northwest and the boats were able to achieve hull speed for the first 20 miles. Unfortunately, the wind dropped to 3-4 knots and the cruisers resorted to their engines for the remainder of the journey. 

Caramar pulls out toward the fuel pier to rendezvous with the other cruisers.

The boats covered the remaining 40 miles in good time and arrived just after midnight Eastern time at the entrance of St Joseph. The boats docked at the St Joseph River Yacht Club shortly afterward and watched in amazement as a huge lake freighter backed out into the channel. From the conversation heard on channel 72, the freighter had actually waited until the cruisers had passed safely out of the channel.

Dawn found the cruisers in good spirits and ready to explore the town. Some discovered a breakfast venue nearby and then crossed the drawbridge into downtown St Joe. The main street was alive with people shopping and dining at the local restaurants. A farmer’s market was still in full swing in a park overlooking the lake. 

Cruisers assemble at dawn at St Joseph River Yacht Club
Cruisers assemble at dawn at St Joseph River Yacht Club after a late arrival.

A couple of WYC members flew over to St Joe and met the cruisers for dinner at the Yacht Club. Everyone had a wonderful meal and enjoyed the great company.

The Cruisers and some surprise guests met for dinner at the St Joe Yacht Club
The Cruisers and some surprise guests met for dinner at the St Joe Yacht Club

Sunday morning came early and the cruisers were up and ready to go. The sun was bright and the sky partly cloudy. The wind was fresh again this time from the southwest. As soon as the boats passed the last lighthouse sails were up and they were off toward Waukegan at hull speed.

St Joe Lighthouse
The view of the St Joe Lighthouses as the cruisers motor out of the harbor.

The wind held most of the day until the boats came within 10 miles of home. Engines were revived and the last short distance passed quickly.

Cruising back to Waukegan
Cruisers enjoying the sail back to Waukegan.

The first cruiser entered harbor around 6:00 pm. After the boats were tied up and closed down, the cruisers met for a celebratory dinner at Casa de Samuels on Belvidere in downtown Waukegan. A fitting end to a wonderful adventure.

You do not need to be a member of the Waukegan Yacht Club to cruise with us. All motor and sail boats are welcome. Come join the fun!

If you want more info, send an email to sail@waukeganjosephconrad.org.

Cruise to Kenosha great fun!

The first cruise for Waukegan Yacht Club went off with a bang Saturday! We were supposed to cruise to Montrose Harbor in Chicago, but the wind and weather dictated a change. The Cruisers decided to switch it up and sail to Kenosha, Wisconsin instead.

The cruise north went off smoothly. Departure started after 9 am and sails were raised by 9:30. The wind was a steady 12-14 knots from the south and the pace was a good 6 knots most of the way. 

Kenosha Harbor lighthouse
Kenosha Harbor lighthouse marks the entrance

A storm blew up just after the first boat arrived and fog settled down for most of the afternoon, but we had a blast. One boat docked at the Kenosha yacht club while the other reserved a pier in the marina. 

We found a great Irish pub near the harbor and waited out the rain with food and drink. Afterwards the cruisers met up at a wine bar. As the evening closed in we decided to gather aboard one of the boats and had an impromptu party. 

The cruisers all met up on board Caramar.

The next club cruise is set for Aug 9-11 to Michigan! Don’t miss it. 

88th Annual Chicago-Waukegan Race amazing!

On June 22, the Waukegan Yacht Club hosted the 88th Annual Chicago-Waukegan Race. Over 120 boats participated in this year’s race. Over 500 sailors descended on the club and the weather turned out nicely although rain threatened all day. Want to know who won? Check out the list of finishers here.

Sailboats preparing to start a race
Chicago-Waukegan race start off Montrose Harbor

Over all the racers who participated in the race in 2019, many chose to dock and raft off at the club. The dock offered food and drink to the thirsty and hungry racers. Mount Gay flowed liberally.

Racers rafted off the dock by the club.

Dinner was served starting at 5:30pm and ending at 7:30pm. A live band played after dinner and well into the night and the dance floor was full. 

Many volunteers turned out to help with the committee boat, ticket sales, dinner, and the party on Saturday night and for the breakfast on Sunday. Thanks to all those volunteers who came out to help. We could not have done it without you!

Chicago-Waukegan volunteers Joanna Tarnawski, Eleanor Vick and Erik Hellquist.
Chicago-Waukegan volunteers Joanna Tarnawski, Eleanor Vick and Erik Hellquist.

Want to get a piece of history? Buy our 2019 commemorative Chicago-Waukegan Race t-shirt. The 100% heavy-weight cotton t-shirts were very popular Saturday and Sunday, but we still have some shirts on hand for sale. Order one today and pick it up tat the club, or have it shipped right to your house. Don’t wait. we only have a few shirts left in each size!  

Chicago-Waukegn comemorative t-shirt

Click here to order your shirt now

Buy your 2019 Chicago-Waukegan Race T-shirt now

The commemorative t-shirt for the 2019 Chicago-Waukegan Race is now available for pre-order. This year’s shirt features an original design that honors two great cities and a historic sailboat race. Over 100 sailboats are participating in this year’s race and all the names of the racing boats are featured on the back of the shirt.

Order your shirt(s) today to be guaranteed delivery on Saturday, June 22. Shirts ordered before Saturday, will be available for pickup at the club after the race. Only a limited number are being made. Don’t miss your chance to capture a bit of history.

Click here to order a shirt now

Last Race, Race to Kenosha Great Success

The Last Race, Race drew over 20 boats to participate in our last port-to-port race for 2018. Boats sailed down from Kenosha that morning and Waukegan boats came over to dock at the club for our Le Mans start sequence. The sun came out and the wind died as the racers left the harbor and for the first hour the boats floated just past the breakwater by the red lighthouse.

Photo from a racer in the last race, race
Winds were strong from the Northwest making the trip north a long slog.

About an hour passed and a line of clouds moved in from the west and brought some light winds that built all morning and into the afternoon. Most boats arrived in Kenosha before 3pm. Leading the way was Madcap Express which took the trophy but everyone had a great time for the last major race of the season.

The wind clocked around to the east overnight and built to 15 knots or higher. Four foot waves were pushed in from the east and provided a bumpy ride for the boats that stayed at the Kenosha Yacht Club that night. In the morning, the race back was canceled due to weather, but the concern over high winds and choppy waters was misplaced. The wind and waves fell off all morning until by 1pm the lake was nearly calm and the winds dropped to 5 knots or less.

Flying Spaghetti Monster passes Lucille Marie heading back to Waukegan.
Flying Spaghetti Monster passes Lucille Marie heading back to Waukegan.

On Sunday only two boats decided to race back to Waukegan. Lucille Marie was the only boat that completed the entire race under sail. At the 2019 Sail-A-Bration the Last Race, Race trophy was presented to Captain Jim Maivald and his crew Howard Larson. 

Howard Larson and Jim Maivald accepted the trophy for the Last Race, Race
Howard Larson and Jim Maivald accepted the trophy for the Last Race, Race

Race to Racine fun for all

The Fall Series of Waukegan Yacht Club kicked off Saturday, Sept 15 with light winds. Racers worked every gust and lift to make their way north. The first boat finished just after 2pm.

The lake was full of boaters coming out of every harbor.

Lanteen-rigged sailboat on Lake Michicgan
Lanteen-rigged sailboat sails from Kenosha, Wisconsin.Lanteen-rigged sailboat sails from Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Lighthouse at Racine Harbor entrance
This lighthouse welcomes visitors to Racine Harbor

crew of sailing vessel Spitfire at dinner
The Spitfire crew waits for their food order after finishing first

87th Chicago-Waukegan Race Great Success!

On June 16th the Waukegan | Joseph Conrad Yacht Club hosted the 87th annual Chicago-Waukegan sailboat race. Nearly 130 boats registered for the race and over 100 took part in the race.

Sailboats preparing to start a race
Chicago-Waukegan race start off Montrose Harbor

This year the weather was unpredictable as usual. The wind started briskly coming from the south from 5-7 knots. Most boats immediately launched their spinnakers and the various sections started to battle it out for the lead.

sailboats preparing to start a race
Chicago-Waukegan race start off Montrose Harbor

A little over an hour after the last boat crossed the starting line the wind abruptly swung around to the northeast at over 10 knots. The shift caught many boats unprepared as their crews jumped into action to dose their chutes.
Now the race had shifted to a close hauled beat to windward. But, as they say, “if you don’t like the weather in Chicago, wait five minutes.” Less than another hour passed and the wind began to shift around to the east and not long afterward back to the south once more.
Chutes came out again and this to stay. At first, the wind was steady and strong, but ebbed over the next few hours. Fortunately, for most of the fleet they were able to stand to Waukegan and the finish line. By 2:00pm, the majority of racers had crossed the line and retired to the north harbor where they rafted off the club dock, or to berths they had rented in the south harbor. Waukegan racers simply went off to their own berths.

sailboats finishing race with spinnakers
Boats finishing the 87th Chicago-Waukegan race

The weather in Waukegan was sunny and warm and perfect for a cookout. Grills were fired up and many racers grabbed a burger, brat or hot dog and a cold brew or rum and coke. The club and dockside was alive with members, racers and guests.

dockside at the club
The dock was filled with members, racers and guests

Dinner was an Italian buffet and was served starting at 5:30pm. Food went fast and actually ran out by 8:00pm. Live music started by 7:30pm and rocked the club for a few hours before the awards were made. The party continued well into the night.

people drinking at the club
All parts of the club were humming with conversations, laughter and sea stories.

Sunday morning came early and many sailors and guests took advantage of Bo Harper’s Bloody Mary bar! Many took advantage of the hot breakfast provided by the club. By 8:00am, the Committee boat cast off to set up the starting line. The first section started at 9:05 and each following section went off in 5 minute increments. In less than an hour all 9 sections were gone.

sailboats racing away
In a blink of the eye the racers were gone, headed back to Chicago

The Board of Directors would like to thank the following volunteers who made this event a major success:
Claudia Aisenberg, Larry Beliant, Jeff Bernachi, Colin Classen, Richard Fee, Yvonne Fee, Mary Ellen Giffels, Jose Guzman, Bo Harper, Lynne Hellquist, Erik Hellquist, John Johnson, Barbara Klupiec, Chris Klupiec, Mark LeVan, Jim Maivald, Paul McEntee, Aaron Milks, Kim Nerheim, John Rouse, Viktoriya Rouse, Tom Sivia, Nikki Sullivan, and Al (Jeep) Trefts. Let us know  if we missed your name.

volunteers selling tickets for food and drink
Volunteers made this year’s event a tremendous success