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. 

 

 

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. 

2nd Annual WYC trap shoot set for April 3

The second WYC trapshooting event is scheduled for Saturday, April 3, at noon. The event is open to all WYC members and guests.

The event will be hosted at the McHenry Sportsmen’s Club in Johnsburg, Illinois. You do not have to own or bring your own shotgun, there will be extra shotguns so everyone can shoot. Trapshooting is conducted in “rounds”. A round consisted of 25 clays at 5 separate stations. The shooting started at noon and everyone will be able to shoot as least three rounds. The fee covers three rounds but you are welcome to shoot more. An additional fee will be paid on site.

Trapshooting event
WYC members and guests shooting trap in 2020.

Click to Register and Pay in Advance

Get your own FOID card

Although you don’t need a FOID card to shoot you do need one to buy your own ammunition or a gun. We plan on scheduling future events. So you may want to apply for a card as soon as possible. You can apply for a FOID card by clicking the following button:

FOID Card website

Note processing of FOID cards has been very slow due to the pandemic. You may not be able to obtain the card before April 3rd. Children may also obtain a FOID card if sponsored by a FOID carrying adult or guardian.

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.

88th Annual Chicago-Waukegan Race amazing!

On June 22, the Waukegan Yacht Club hosted the 88th Annual Chicago-Waukegan Race. Over 120 boats participated in this year’s race. Over 500 sailors descended on the club and the weather turned out nicely although rain threatened all day. Want to know who won? Check out the list of finishers here.

Sailboats preparing to start a race
Chicago-Waukegan race start off Montrose Harbor

Over all the racers who participated in the race in 2019, many chose to dock and raft off at the club. The dock offered food and drink to the thirsty and hungry racers. Mount Gay flowed liberally.

Racers rafted off the dock by the club.

Dinner was served starting at 5:30pm and ending at 7:30pm. A live band played after dinner and well into the night and the dance floor was full. 

Many volunteers turned out to help with the committee boat, ticket sales, dinner, and the party on Saturday night and for the breakfast on Sunday. Thanks to all those volunteers who came out to help. We could not have done it without you!

Chicago-Waukegan volunteers Joanna Tarnawski, Eleanor Vick and Erik Hellquist.
Chicago-Waukegan volunteers Joanna Tarnawski, Eleanor Vick and Erik Hellquist.

Want to get a piece of history? Buy our 2019 commemorative Chicago-Waukegan Race t-shirt. The 100% heavy-weight cotton t-shirts were very popular Saturday and Sunday, but we still have some shirts on hand for sale. Order one today and pick it up tat the club, or have it shipped right to your house. Don’t wait. we only have a few shirts left in each size!  

Chicago-Waukegn comemorative t-shirt

Click here to order your shirt now

Last Race, Race to Kenosha Great Success

The Last Race, Race drew over 20 boats to participate in our last port-to-port race for 2018. Boats sailed down from Kenosha that morning and Waukegan boats came over to dock at the club for our Le Mans start sequence. The sun came out and the wind died as the racers left the harbor and for the first hour the boats floated just past the breakwater by the red lighthouse.

Photo from a racer in the last race, race
Winds were strong from the Northwest making the trip north a long slog.

About an hour passed and a line of clouds moved in from the west and brought some light winds that built all morning and into the afternoon. Most boats arrived in Kenosha before 3pm. Leading the way was Madcap Express which took the trophy but everyone had a great time for the last major race of the season.

The wind clocked around to the east overnight and built to 15 knots or higher. Four foot waves were pushed in from the east and provided a bumpy ride for the boats that stayed at the Kenosha Yacht Club that night. In the morning, the race back was canceled due to weather, but the concern over high winds and choppy waters was misplaced. The wind and waves fell off all morning until by 1pm the lake was nearly calm and the winds dropped to 5 knots or less.

Flying Spaghetti Monster passes Lucille Marie heading back to Waukegan.
Flying Spaghetti Monster passes Lucille Marie heading back to Waukegan.

On Sunday only two boats decided to race back to Waukegan. Lucille Marie was the only boat that completed the entire race under sail. At the 2019 Sail-A-Bration the Last Race, Race trophy was presented to Captain Jim Maivald and his crew Howard Larson. 

Howard Larson and Jim Maivald accepted the trophy for the Last Race, Race
Howard Larson and Jim Maivald accepted the trophy for the Last Race, Race

Race to Racine fun for all

The Fall Series of Waukegan Yacht Club kicked off Saturday, Sept 15 with light winds. Racers worked every gust and lift to make their way north. The first boat finished just after 2pm.

The lake was full of boaters coming out of every harbor.

Lanteen-rigged sailboat on Lake Michicgan
Lanteen-rigged sailboat sails from Kenosha, Wisconsin.Lanteen-rigged sailboat sails from Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Lighthouse at Racine Harbor entrance
This lighthouse welcomes visitors to Racine Harbor

crew of sailing vessel Spitfire at dinner
The Spitfire crew waits for their food order after finishing first