Category Archives: Sailing

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. 

 

 

First WYC Cruise set for Montrose Harbor, Saturday, May 29

Plans for the first 2021 WYC Cruise to Muskegon had to be modified due to the latest bout of inclement weather. Winds that swung around to the north on Wednesday, May 26, have not relented. At first the Cruise Committee targeted New Buffalo as an alternate destination, but the strength of the wind and wave conditions scrapped that idea too. The goal of the Cruise Committee is to have fun cruising. It’s one thing to get hit with bad wind and waves when you are already out in the lake, it’s another thing to run out willingly into it. So, the best option for this weekend is Montrose Harbor in Chicago.

Montrose - Chicago Harbors

The winds and waves are suppose to ease by noon Saturday. Boats are planning to leave Waukegan before that time. Winds are predicted to be around 20 knots. That seems like a lot except that the course to Montrose is due south, with the winds. WYC raced up to Racine last year in stronger winds and everyone had a great time. 

logos for the Corinthian and Waukegan | Joseph Conrad Yacht Clubs
Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club is open for dinner and cocktails.

Cruisers have already made reservations for the harbor using the service Dockwa. Rates are charged at $2.25 a foot. You can also obtain electrical connections and water. Toilet and showers are included in the price. The facilities in Montrose modern and up-to-date. Dining is available at Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club (CCYC) and nearby in the Uptown, Lake View and Edgewater neighborhoods of Chicago. 

Come join the fun! Cruise with WYC!

 

Off Shore Race #2: Waukegan to Zion

Saturday, May 22, Waukegan Yacht Club will hold Off Shore Race #2 from Waukegan to Zion. All racers are invited. You do not have to be a member to race. 

Starting Line

WYC race starting line
WYC race starting line when no committee boat is on station.

The starting line for the Zion race will be a line between the Committee Boat and Waukegan Green Bell Buoy #3. First Warning is 1055. Starting time is 1100 for all boats. 

No Committee Boat

On any race when no committee boat is present the racers will assign an official starter among themselves. The starter will establish and announce the official race time. That time will pertain to the start and finish times. Please adjust your timepieces accordingly to conform to the official time during the race. 

When no committee boat is present, the starting line will be an imaginary line between the Green Waukegan Lighthouse and Green Bell Buoy #3. After the first warning, 

Restrictions

Spinnakers are not permitted prior to the race start. If appropriate, you may launch spinnakers after crossing the starting line when it is safe to do so. 

Course

Racers will proceed north to Zion to make the finish line in a safe and appropriate manner. 

Finish Line

Zion finish mark
Waukegan-Zion Race finish line.

The Finish Line is a imaginary line 090º T extending no more than 600 feet east from the Zion intake marker. Boats finish when any part of the boat or sails cross this line. Mark your time and the names of the boats ahead and behind and report to Sail @waukeganyachtclub.com. Although there is no exclusionary zone at Zion any more, racers are asked to stay east of the Zion intake marker until after you finish. Once you finish you are free to operate in any manner as appropriate.

Zion Intake Marker

The Zion intake has been given a facelift with a completely new light and day markers. The intake marker is a steel pole and all boaters should stay well clear of it. Depths are charted between 10-12 feet west of the intake. 

Passing Zion marker during Winthrop race
Passing Zion marker

Off-Shore Race/Cruise wonderful day on the water!

“Don’t ever believe the weather reports,” is one of Jim Maivald’s favorite aphorism, especially when it come to sailing. “You can’t know what the weather is until you get to the harbor.”

If you believed the weather report for Saturday, May 8th, you would have thought there would be no wind and a long boring race to Winthrop harbor. But, you would have been wrong. The wind was blowing lightly from the northeast at 10am and kept building until start time. At 1100. the wind was at 4-6 knots from ENE. 

Sails call crew on Winthrop Race
Sails call crew on Winthrop Race trims sails.

The WYC Committee Boat was already on station by 1030 waiting for the fleet of racers. Unfortunately, it was a poor turnout for our first WYC Off-Shore race. Only three WYC racers appeared on the line. The first warning went off promptly at 1055. At 1100, the cannon sounded and the racers were off!

As we raced north the sun broke out of the overcast and the rest of the race was in bright sunshine that belied the chilly temperature. We passed east of the new Zion intake marker at over 5 knots.

Passing Zion marker during Winthrop race
Passing Zion marker during Winthrop race

Winds filled in nicely and we had nearly a record run to Winthrop. The first boat crossed the finish line at 12:32:52 for an average speed of over 4.9 knots.

Winthrop race finish line
Winthrop race finish line

The racers opened the patio at The Tropics restaurant in the Northpoint marina and had a great lunch before heading back. The sail back was just as fun but not as sunny.

Sunny skies replaced by overcast
The sunny skies were replaced by overcast.

Don’t miss our next Off-Shore Race, May 22 from Waukegan to Zion and back!

Click here to see the entire WYC Racing schedule

First WYC Race Amazing!

After two failed attempts Waukegan Yacht Club finally got our first 2021 race under our belt. The wind was very unpredictable at first. It shifted 20-30 degrees several times before the race started and almost died. But after delaying the start of the race for 20 minutes section one responded to the cannon on the Committee boat and jumped off to windward. Fortunately, the wind filled in and the race was on. 

Conditions would have been warmer but ideal for the first race.

As the picked up the bunched up racers started to separate. The skies were spackled with thin clouds the temperature brisk. The air was crystal clear and the visibility unlimited. Chicago sat proudly on the southern horizon begging for a visit. 

First WYC race 2021
Crew of Sails Call seems to be having fun

As the wind picked up the mark, so tiny on the eastern horizon, approached quickly.  Most racers made the mark with only two tacks. 

first race
Weather conditions were brisk but clear. Perfect for the first WYC race.

Although we started late, the fleet made it to and around mark in record time. The wind shifted finally to the south allowing everyone to sail right to the mouth of the harbor.

You could not have asked for better conditions for the first race, although 70 degrees would have been appreciated by everyone. Is your boat in the water? Are you signed up for WYC racing? It’s never too late! Come out and join the fun! All racers are welcome.

Click here to see our 2021 Race Schedule

All racing skippers must provide crew on the WYC Committee boat a minimum of three times during the season. Please schedule your time on the boat by clicking below:

Click to schedule your Committee Boat duty

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

Learn Remote Control Sailing!

All interested Members, Guests and Racers are invited!

Come learn  how to build and sail DragonForce 65 sailboats and other radio control boats.

Boat Build and Discussion
Wednesday, Feb 10
4-9 pm
$10 cash at door, for non members and guests

Click here to RSVP for Boat Build and Discussion

Final build and Regatta
Saturday – Feb 13
10:30 am

Practice Race starts at 12:30

$10 cash at door, for non members and guests

RSVP for Practice Sailing and Racing

Come experience the fun and the joy of sailing from INSIDE the club!

Limited food and beverage, feel free to bring your own.

Email treasurer@WaukeganYachtClub.com for club discount code

Click these links to reserve your spot for Boat Build and Regatta

Waukegan Yacht Club, 199 N Harbor Place, Waukegan, IL 60085

links:

https://www.theamya.org/join/

https://dragonforce65.us/

https://radiosailing.net/

https://youtu.be/5XG2h9toP50

Super easy to operate, Mate !

https://youtu.be/qcvbZziZMEg

WYC Cruise Committee starts planning for 2021

2021 is starting off on a good foot. The Club has not been this active for many years! Plans are underfoot to really have an amazing year. 

Last night, the Cruise Committee of Waukegan Yacht Club had its first planning meeting. The members of the committee discussed various possible cruise destinations on Lake Michigan for this year. Among those named were Chicago, Milwaukee, New Buffalo, Muskegon and our perennial favorites Kenosha and Racine.

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 

The Cruises are open to all members, and even non-members. Our goal is to promote cruising and comradery in the boating community. Cruising can be done on sail or motor boats. We try to obtain berths at the destination harbor close to together and plan group meals and activities while in the harbor.  

Cruisers assemble at dawn at St Joseph River Yacht Club
Cruisers assemble at dawn at St Joseph River Yacht Club

If you would like to participate in the planning or the cruises, please send your name and contact information to Jim Maivald at sail@waukeganyachtclub.com. Our goal is to finalize our port-to-port cruise schedule by April 1 and have at least one cruise each month. Impromptu cruises are also a possibility, where we pick a beach or nearby location, such as Winthrop harbor and cruise to it for a swim party or cookout.

Come cruise to distant ports with the club
Come cruise to distant ports with the club

Don’t miss the fun this year. Join the WYC Cruisers!