Chicago’s Opener for Over 20 Years

Published on March 28th, 2017

The city of Chicago will be kicking off its racing season with the Skyway Yacht Works COLORS Regatta June 3-4, 2017 at Columbia Yacht Club. Not only is this the first major event of the season on lower Lake Michigan, but it is also one of the largest with its sights set on breaking 100 entries in a time when racing is perceived as a sport experiencing declining rates of participation.

“COLORS has been known as the best regatta party in Chicago since 1992,” said Columbia’s Commodore, Craig Horton. “At Columbia, we want to encourage and celebrate everyone coming out of the woodwork to compete whether they’re racing PHRF, distance, or one design.”

While low entry fees and party atmosphere help sell an event, no regatta succeeds unless the race format meets consumer needs.

To appeal to those who prefer a single day of competition or are newer to the racing scene, a 15 to 20 nautical mile scenic race on the Saturday tours the Chicago shoreline. Columbia Yacht Club was one of the first clubs to debut the concept of a distance race in 2011, and it has since become the fastest growing division of the regatta.

“A lot of my friends have come out to race on Wednesdays, but they haven’t made the jump to weekend buoy racing,” said Alan Yates of TP52 Imedi regarding the rising popularity of Columbia’s Chicago Beer Can Series. “I’m hoping they change their minds and join us for COLORS this year.”

For those that want to race both days, windward-leeward courses are offered, with the Beneteau 36.7 and Tartan 10 fleets well represented. “It is the first of the season with two days of close racing and evening events,” said Chris Duhon. “This setup allows our 36.7 fleet owners to get to know new members and crews to get together in a social setting.”

An innovative early entry program offers both a discount and a professional photo of their boat racing in the event. Details:


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