Category Archives: Sailing

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.

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. 

 

 

Saturday RC Racing Postponed

 

The RC Regatta scheduled for Saturday, February 13, 2020 is POSTPONED due to weather. The RC Boat build is still on for Saturday!

Unfortunately, Waukegan harbor froze solid over the last week and is unsuitable for sailing or swimming.

Saturday – Feb 13 – RACING POSTPONED

RC Build – Continues at 10 am Saturday, Feb 13

The RC Regatta has been tentatively moved to May 6, 2021.
If the weather permits racing at an earlier date,
we will send out another notice.

RC Build at WYC

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.