Fall Series closes racing for 2022 in style

The last race for 2022 October 15 could not have been better. The sun was out, the air brisk and blowing hard. Winds came out of the west at 12-15 knots with gusts into the 20s. Once again Anchorage and Waukegan Yacht Clubs combined fleets this time to race down to Great Lake Naval Station. 

It was another fast race with boats completing the 7-mile course in a little over an hour. As the boats crossed the finish line many kept going to enjoy the conditions, getting one last sail in for the year. It’s been a great year for sailing and racing. it’s really been fun racing with Anchorage and we hope we can keep doing it next year and into the future. 
Race to Great Lakes
Race to Great Lakes

As the season comes to an end, it’s time to celebrate our victories and achievements. The  

Another record year for Last Race Race

Another record year for the Last Race Race! This year we had 18 boats participate in our last port-to-port race, a new record! The weather was great with the wind coming out of the south at 10-15 knots. Although it was cloudy the rain held off all day until after 10pm.
Racers gathered early in the morning at the dock wall outside of the club. We never know exactly how many will race until Saturday morning. Weather is a big factor in the numbers, but some racers come no matter what.
Last Race Racers
Racers gather on the dock wall at WYC.
Although the weather looked threatening, there was no rain during the race and it held off until after 10pm. With the wind from the south, many boats launched spinnakers as soon as they left the harbor making it a fast race. Many boats finished in just little more than 2 hours.
Spinnakers on sailboats
Spinnakers launched on the Last Race Race.
Traditionally, racers dock at Kenosha Yacht Club for a late lunch. The service, food and drinks were all wonderful. A great ending to another great race.
Racers docked in Kenosha
Racers docked at the Kenosha Yacht Club.
Hot food and tasty drinks and cocktails. Some racers and cruisers stayed the night and ventured into town.
Lunch at Kenosha Yacht Club
Lunch at Kenosha Yacht Club
Thanks to all the participants! Don’t forget to send your finish times in to the Sail chair at Waukegan Yacht Club!

Racine Race Fast and Fun

The Racine Race is an annual September tradition at WYC and signals the coming end of Summer and our Racing schedule. At 22.1 miles, the only WYC race that is longer is the Chicago-Waukegan. The Milwaukegan is 42 miles but is hosted jointly by WYC and the Milwaukee Yacht Club. 

Racine Race
The Racine Race was a downwind contest of spinnakers 

This year the sun rose in a partly cloudy sky and the southerly winds started to pick up and swing around to the southwest. Racers started to assemble out by the bell buoy and the race kicked off on time with most boats launching their spinnakers right off the starting line. The predicted winds of 15 knots never materialized but the winds of 8-10 knots kept the fleet moving spritely to the north.

In less than 2 hours, the racers passed Kenosha and winds alternated from southwest to southeast. The boats with asymmetrical chutes turned out to the east to maintain their speed while the symmetrical spinnakers jibed several times to optimize their course.

Racine Race
The Race to Racine was nearly a record with boats finishing in a little over 4 hours.

The first boat crossed the line at 2:09 pm averaging over 5.3 knots. At times, the boats were hitting 7-8 knots and surfing off the 1-2 foot waves. Overall, it was nearly a record run to Racine. The boats doused their sails and gathered at the Racine Yacht Club to celebrate the amazing race. 

Racine Race
Racers gathered at the Racine Yacht Club

Following the WYC tradition, most of the racers and cruisers reserved slips at Reefpoint Marina and gathered for dinner at the Brew House Pub and Grill. We all sat at one table and exchanges stories from the day. After dinner the party continued on the pier with lawn chairs, whiskey and rum. 

Racine Race
Racers enjoyed a well-deserved cocktail at Racine Yacht Club

In the morning, crews prepared breakfast and got their boats ready for the trip back to Waukegan. It was another great day of sun and wind, even though it was from the south again making progress a bit slower than the day before. 

Racine Race
The Racine Racers gathered one last time before departing for Waukegan.

Hope you’re ready to do this again. The Last Race, Race to Kenosha is coming up next Saturday! As with the Racine Race everyone is welcome to participate. You do not have to be a member of WYC to race or cruise with us. The Last Race, Race is a Reverse PHRF race that starts at the club. We look forward to seeing you at the club or in Kenosha!

Racine Race
Heading out of Racine and back to Waukegan.

Click to Get the Details of the Kenosha Last Race, Race

WYC Luau Fun and Tasty Event

People answered the call and wore their best Hawaiian shirts and blouses. The WYC Luau and Pig Roast  transported the club to the Pacific ocean where it became a tropical island. The club was decorated with fun banners and bunting, grass skirts and leis. 

Tiki torches were lit outside on the dock welcoming passing boats and harbor denizens. Grass shirts were arrayed around the tables and bar. Beer and tropical drinks flowed freely and everyone got into the spirit of the evening. 

WYC Luau and Pig roast
Hawaiian music entertained diners as they ate.

Hawaiian music was piped in to entertain the guests as they as they dined on whole roast pig, peel-n-eat tiger shrimp, fried spam, grilled pineapple, and freshly made chips with mango salsa. The food disappeared as everyone ate their fill of the sumptuous fare.

We want to thank Alli Jakubco and her great crew for a great evening of food and entertainment. We hope that the WYC Luau become a new annual event.

Oktoberfest is coming Saturday, October 1st! Save the date and don’t miss it!




Seafood Friday was a blow out success!

The interest was amazing for our first WYC SEAFOOD FRIDAY! We sold out for all seatings! Everyone had a great time and said the food was delicious.

WYC Crab boil
Tables were set up along the dock and diners were greeted by great food and a beautiful view.

WYC offered seatings at 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 & 9:00pm. Reservations snapped up all the options quickly and we were sold out before we knew it. 

“Best event I’ve ever attended at Waukegan Yacht Club!”

WYC Crab boil
Food came out hot and tasty and little remained except used napkins and empty plates.

Each table received a generous portion of shrimp, Cajun sausage, potatoes, onions and crab.

WYC crab boil
The food was hot and tasty and there was plenty of it.

We will be scheduling another date in September! Stay tuned for details. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Sea you there!

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.

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!