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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!

 

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. 

 

 

Racing Rules Class 2021

Sunday April 18, 2021 11:00 AM UTC to 3:00 PM UTC
 

If you plan on racing your boat or participating as crew aboard a racing sailboat you should be familiar with the Racing Rules of Sailing. The rules are formulated to make racing safe, fair and enjoyable for all participants. It is critical that everyone is informed and knowledgeable about the rules. Racers who know the rules can often use them to gain an advantage over other boats in the race. 

This class will cover the basics for beginners and refresh your understanding of the rules so that everyone is on the same playing field. If you are a US Sailing member you should have received a copy of the rulebook as part of your membership. Please bring your copy and pen and notebook.

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Racing Crew Class 2021

Sunday April 25, 2021 11:00 AM UTC to 3:00 PM UTC
 

The Waukegan Yacht Club has a long history and tradition of sailboat racing and competition. Each year since its founding in 1927 the club has hosted a series of races for members and fellow sailers. You do not need to be a member of the Club to race or participate as a crew member.

This class will introduce you to the terms and terminology of sailboat racing and expectations of crew members on a racing boat. It is free of charge but you must RSVP in advance to attend. This class may be held aboard a member’s boat, so please dress appropriately. Wear soft-soled shoes preferably with white non-marking bottoms. 

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Members’ Wall of Fame

For years, the Waukegan Yacht Club has displayed photos of members boats on the walls of the bar inside the club. Unfortunately, many of the photos hanging on the walls today are of boats of members that are no longer part of the club. The WYC Sail Committee has decided that the photo wall should be updated with photos of the boats of current members. 

All members in good standing are invited to submit a framed 8″ X 10″ photo of their boat to be hung within the club for 2021. We will have one wall dedicated to members who participate in our weekly races and the photos will be displayed each week in the order of that week’s race results. Each week after the race on Wednesday we will have an impromptu ceremony at the club to honor that week’s winners and set their photos in the proper order. All racers are encouraged to attend and participate.
 
Framed photo of member boat
Submit a photo of your boat to hang on the wall of Waukegan Yacht Club


Another wall will display photos of all other members’ boats. Photos can be of sail or power boats and may include your skipper and crew. Photos may include name plaques identifying the boat or skipper’s name. 

The first WYC race is scheduled for Wednesday, April 21. This will be a practice race and not count toward flags or awards. All racers are encouraged to participate to get their boats and crews into shape for the upcoming season. The club is also planning a Fish Fry for April 23. You may bring your photos on either dates or anytime afterward, whenever the club is open. 
 
framed boat photos
Frames should be plain black or brown and no more than 1″ in width on all four sides.


We hope that all members submit photos for our “Wall of Fame”! If your photo does not have a plaque identifying the boat or owner, please identify your photo in another way so we know who it belongs to.
 
Please make sure all frames are plain black or brown and no more than 1″ in width on all four sides. The maximum dimensions of any framed photo should be no more than 12″ x 13″. At this time we’d like to hang photo only in portrait mode. 

RC Iceberg Regatta

Saturday March 20, 2021 12:00 PM UTC
 

Date/Time: March 20 at 12 noon. 

Cost: $20 at the door. 

Food/Beverage: pizza and beverages. (Donation to consume) 

Prizes: First, Second and Third place trophies. 

Races: 2 practice races.
3 prize races.

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