Blessing of the Fleet Fun Family Affair

The Waukegan Yacht Club conducted its annual Blessing of the Fleet Saturday, June 11, 2022. The club was open all day Saturday for the first time this year. The club offered a sumptuous menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was great to see people in the club on a Saturday.

Blessing of the Fleet breakfast
Members came early to have breakfast before the Blessing.

All boaters were invited to participate and several brought their boats to the club decorated smartly for the ceremony. Families were in attendance with their kids and grandkids

Blessing of the fleet
Participants dressed their boats for the Blessing.

Commodore Jason Fergurson kicked off the Blessing by welcoming our members, guests and participants and introducing Mayor Ann Taylor of Waukegan. The mayor spoke and remarked how Waukegan’s past, present and future were tied to Lake Michigan and the harbor. She talked about how the city was focused on developing the harbor as a major attraction to draw people and business to the area. Following the mayor’s remarks, an Episcopal priest from Waukegan began the blessing ceremony.

After the Blessing, everyone gathered inside the club in our lobby to install the name plates for our last four commodores. Over the last seven years the club was focused on building membership, providing fun events and serving our members, not on honoring our commodores. But, over the last year WYC doubled our membership and the board thought it was time we recognized the hard work invested by our commodores over the last decade. Name plates were ordered and received earlier this year. The board decided that the best time to install these name plates was during the Blessing of the Fleet. Plates were installed for Barbara Gunther, Kathy Sivia, Jim Hellquist and Jason Fergurson. Unfortunately, two of these commodores, Barbara Gunther and Jim Hellquist, have passed away prior to having their name plates created and installed. We were fortunate to be joined by Jim’s daughter, Kristin, who spoke about her father’s legacy and dedication to Waukegan Yacht Club.

WYC Commodores name plates
Name plates for our last four WYC commodores were installed in the lobby of the club.

Kathy Sivia and Jason Fergurson spoke to thank everyone for coming and accept the honor of joining the long list of people who dedicated their efforts to continuing the history and traditions of Waukegan Yacht Club. We thank all of them for their hard work. Also, kudos to Bo Harper and his crew for making it a great day for everyone! The food and service at the club has never been better.

Upcoming events at WYC! Save the dates!

The WYC event calendar is coming together for 2022. All members are welcome to attend any club event and bring family and guests. WYC does not have full time paid staff, so our events are planned, organized and managed by member volunteers. Come out and join the Social Committee and help make our events fun and successful. We need your help! The next social committee meeting is set for Sunday, May 15th at 5pm at the club. Come out and join the team.

Bookmark this page, we will update it from time to time with new items.

June

June 3 – Hamm it up. Cancelled due to shortage of staff.
 
June 4th – Used Equipment Sale. 9:30am-12:00pm at the Harbor Patio. Come sell your old gear and equipment. Get some great bargains. 

June 11 – Blessing of the Fleet. 10:30 am. Bring your boat to the club for the blessing. You do not need to be a member to participate. 
Mayor’s cup. 2pm. Race is open to anyone, but only members can win the Cup!
Mayor’s Cup Dinner. 6pm. Dinner to honor the racers and winner of the Mayor’s Cup.

 
June 25 – Chicago-Waukegan Race. Come join the party. We need volunteers.

2022 WYC spring clean up big success!

WYC worked with the Waukegan Port District this Earth Day to clean up the harbor and the yacht club grounds! Volunteers arrived early to get a head start on the tasks. First on the list was clearing the leaves from last fall. 
2022 Spring Clean up at WYC
The clean up started at the front of the club.
We filled up a ton of lawn bags and ran them over to the Port District where they supplied a dumpster. There were considerably less leaves than last year. In 2021, the clean up was the first one in at least 3 years. 
2022 Spring Clean up at WYC
There were not as many leaves as last year, but we still plenty of lawn bags.
Once the front and sides were tackled we moved on to the boatyard and cleared out the leaves back there too. In fact, some of the leaves were still from 2021 there were so many last year we could not get them all.
 
This time, we got them all and more. It’s been a long time since the boatyard has been this clean.
2022 Spring Clean up at WYC
Once the front of the club was done, we moved to the boatyard.
2022 Spring Clean up at WYC
The boatyard was so full of leaves last year we couldn’t clear them all. We did this time.
After the boatyard was finished, some of the volunteers moved inside the club and shampooed the carpeting. 
 
2022 Spring clean up at WYC
We even cleaned up inside the club.
We had a smaller crew than last year, but the volunteers made up for their small numbers with enthusiasm and energy! The volunteers were then treated to drinks and food, including their choice of hamburgers and brats.

I want to take this opportunity to personally thank the volunteers by name. Waukegan Yacht Club does not have full time paid staff, so many things at the club has to be done by members and other volunteers. If you see the following people around the club give them a high-five and a personal thank you! Come by the club and check out how good it looks! Hope to see you in the club soon. 

2022 Spring Clean Up Volunteers:

Andy and Ed Barrie
Fred Byergo
Bob Christenson
Matt Dolinar
Ellen Hunter and Sandie
Bob Klueg
Howard Larson
Nikki Sullivan

Thanks to everyone who participated!

First Milwaukegan fantastic race!

The inaugural Milwaukegan Race went off beautifully over the weekend. We had 23 boats register and 20 boats started the race Saturday morning.

Waukegan Yacht Club hosted an amazing party Friday for the racers supplying all the racers with tasty food and cold beverages! A live DJ entertained the crowd and got people up and dancing. We even had a fun raffle of great prizes.

Milwaukegan welcome dinner.
Milwaukegan welcome dinner.

Everything was set for the start of the race the next day. The start of the race was greeted with sunny cloudless sky and light winds from the northwest. It looked like the race would be a challenge for many of the boats. Light wind boats moved out nicely and soon were leading the pack. But by the time the fleet got to Kenosha the winds flipped around to the south and rose and fell the rest of the day but held steady from the south.

The 2021 Milwaukegan race was a spinnaker duel.
The 2021 Milwaukegan race was a spinnaker duel.

Boats with symmetrical spinnakers had the definite advantage over racers with asyms or none at all. With the winds dead from the south it was a run the whole way to Wind point. Many of the racers headed out northeast looking for more wind but that turned out to be fruitless for most.

By sunset, the fastest boats were starting to pull into Milwaukee and tying up at the Milwaukee Yacht Club (MYC). The first boat finished around 7:30pm and the last one came in around 9:30pm. The MYC kitchen stayed open late for the racers and the club treated everyone to free beer. It was satisfying ending to a wonderful day of racing.

Boat arriving late in Milwaukee
Boats started arriving around sunset. The last around 9:30pm.

Since no one knew what time the racers would arrive in Milwaukee, the race committee decided on a morning award breakfast. On Sunday, the sun rose in a cloudless blue sky and the racers assembled in the MYC boat house for the awards ceremony. Waukegan provided nearly half of the racers for this years’ contest and we took home our share of flags.

WYC racers took home several awards.
American Dream took home 2nd place in the PHRF 2 section.

Thanks to all the planners, volunteers and racers for making this a new tradition on the Great Lakes! We could not have done this without you!

Racing and Weather Reports

Before the race, some boaters expressed concern over the weather reports. Everyone should be aware that most weather reports are formulated and based on the land and usually are not pertinent or accurate for Lake Michigan. The lake creates its own weather patterns and modifies any weather moving from the land to the water, sometimes dramatically.

Wall cloud in Waukegan
Wall cloud in Waukegan in 2017.

In some cases, the weather happening on shore is the same as what’s happening over the water, but this is rare. Last night was a good example. Many boaters reported rain falling all over northern Illinois before they left home. From 3pm until well after the race little rain fell at all in the harbor or over the water by Waukegan.

Waukegan Yacht Club has and will cancel races whenever the weather conditions are dangerous or even potentially dangerous in any way. We will not jeopardize anyone’s health or safety for a sailboat race. The race committee arrives in the harbor at least one to two hours in advance of the race and monitors the local conditions. If conditions are not safe we will send out an email as soon as we can. If conditions are questionable, we will poll various skippers and go with the consensus.

Weather over Lake Michigan
Weather on Lake Michigan is unpredictable and can change quickly.

If conditions deteriorate closer to race time an announcement will be broadcast over VHF Radio, Channel 69. Please monitor this channel prior to leaving the harbor. If you do not hear a radio broadcast look for the committee boat on station by 5:45pm. If you don’t see the committee boat by 6:00pm, it’s likely the race has been cancelled.

The best practice is to plan to come to the harbor unless you receive an email from the club. We have two email lists for members and non-members. We ask that all skippers and crew sign up for the non-member list (if you are not a member) so that you receive these notices directly. If you think you are on the list and don’t receive regular emails, check your spam folder. Some recipients have unsubscribed from our emails, either intentionally or unintentionally and no longer receive our communication. If you unsubscribed we cannot add you back ourselves, you will have to opt back in.

Storm clouds over Lake Michigan
Storms are often moderated once they move over the lake.

Basically, all this is to say that you should ignore the weather reports and local weather conditions near your home or office. If you have not received notice of a race cancellation, the race is on. Come to the harbor and be prepared to race until 5:30pm when any cancellation will be announced.

Thanks to all who joined us yesterday. Fair winds!

 

Milwaukegan Race is ON! Register now for this new port-to-port race!

The Milwaukegan is a reality! We now have the minimum number registered to hold the race! This new port-to-port race from Waukegan to Milwaukee is now official. Register now for “The Milwaukegan” and be a plank owner for this race sponsored by Waukegan Yacht Club (WYC) and Milwaukee Yacht Club (MYC). The fee increase for Aug 1 was reversed. The low registration fee has been extended until further notice Don’t wait. Register now! This year’s race, featuring early morning starts in Waukegan with the finish in Milwaukee, will divide sections based upon PHRF brackets and more. 

We’re looking for new racers!

Have you ever participated in a sailboat race before?
The Milwaukegan is an ideal race for new racers. The course stays close to shore. Waukegan Yacht Club (WYC) will conduct pre-race seminars and training to make it easy for new racers. Come make the Milwaukegan your first port-to-port distance race? 

Not a racer? Then, register for our cruising division. 

Click Here to go the Milwaukegan Race Page

The Milwaukegan races from Waukegan to Milwaukee

The starting line will be hosted by the Waukegan Yacht Club and will feature multiple early morning starts for cruising, shorthanded and PHRF sections. WYC is planning pre-race festivities including food & drink, live DJ and other fun activities. Ample free docking on the club’s dock wall is available providing easy access to the club and all the fun.

Pre-race festivities are being planned by Waukegan Yacht Club for August 13.

Click Here to Register for Milwaukegan Race

Chicago-Waukegan Race Amazing Success

Ninety-eight racers participated in the 88th Annual Chicago-Waukegan Race in 2021. After being cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic it seemed that everyone was ready to get out and have a good time. The weather cooperated, too. The original forecast was for light winds from the north. That would have created a slow slog to the north over the 25.5 miles to Waukegan.

Fortunately, the wind did not read the forecast. Saturday morning the wind swung around to the west and built to 10-15 knots by start time at 0900. As the boats crossed the line the wind was gusting periodically over 20 knots. Boats were hitting hull speed and more with just jib and main. A few boats launched their asymmetrical spinnakers.

It looked like this year’s race could be a record breaker. By 1230 the first racers were crossing the finish line and headed into the north harbor to dock by the club. 

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