Ronstan

An inclusive plan to cast a wider net

Published on September 10th, 2019

For decades, sailboat racing was pretty simple. You go out on the water, race around some buoys or to a different port, and come back to the dock. Sometimes there’d be a party afterwards. But participation in sailboat racing has generally been trending downward.

The fact is how the dominant variable for encouraging participation is event format, as long days of multiple windward leeward races have proven to be a failing format for the casual crowd. To address this trend, Chicago Yacht Club is offering a more inclusive plan to cast a wider net.

What if you offered a wide variety of races to different types of sailors? What if you combined sailing events with power boating events, and built them in a way that people could participate in multiple events? What if you capped off the event with an awesome party in the evening? And what if all of this was designed to benefit worthy charities?

This is what Chicago Yacht Club is doing with its Chicago Regatta, scheduled for Saturday, September 14th. As part of the Chicago Regatta, Chicago Yacht Club will run three different races: a traditional windward-leeward race for one design boats; a distance race for PHRF boats; and a casual race for newer racers and those looking for a more laid-back experience.

Those who do not own boats can charter them from the Club or win a seat on a competitor or spectator boat. At the end of the offshore racing day, all participants will return to Chicago Yacht Club, where the club will host a dinghy poker run and a Dragon Force 65 regatta. And capping it all off, the Club will host a post-race party, silent auction, and awards presentation.

This year, Chicago Yacht Club is not charging an entry fee for any of these on-water events. Event costs are being supported by Wintrust, the Presenting Sponsor of the Chicago Regatta. Participants are simply asked to make a donation to one of the Chicago Regatta participating charities: all three of which are focused on improving the lives of kids in the Chicago area:

• University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital
• SOS Children’s Villages Illinois
• Chicago Yacht Club Foundation

Last year, the Chicago Regatta raised more than $100,000 for these three charities, despite the fact that all offshore events were cancelled due to 35 knot winds and 12 foot seas. This year’s event is on pace to exceed that number. To learn more about the Chicago Regatta: www.chicagoregatta.com

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