Sailing on Lake Michigan
From merchant ships to casual races to leisurely days on the Lake with family and friends, Chicago has a notable history of nautical activity made possible by the eastside access to Lake Michigan. The Chicago Yacht Club (CYC) stands at the pinnacle of our nautical history, having opened it ships and docks to both first-time and expert sailors for over 140 years. This August, the CYC thoughtfully welcomed back SOS Children’s Villages Illinois to its marina for educational fun, a shared meal, and an opportunity to enjoy a couple hours on the Lake with some of the Club’s best captains. We are grateful for our partnership and the lifelong memories that were created for the youth in our Villages and communities.
Family Dinner at CYC
On August 19, 2021, about two dozen SOS Illinois children, teenagers, Foster Parents, and staff were welcomed with open arms aboard sailboats owned and operated by members of the Chicago Yacht Club. Committed to preserving and investing in the legacy of Chicago’s sailors, the experienced captains shared in the excitement as many of our youth embarked on their first adventures into the waves of Lake Michigan.
Prior to strapping up in life vests, our community shared dinner with captains and volunteers from the CYC, generously hosted by the Chicago Yacht Club Foundation. Together, we dined on grilled summer treats, snacks, and cookies, while getting acquainted with one another and learning about CYC’s commitment to educating children across Chicago on the art of sailing. Captain’s shared about the history of their experience with sailing, the interesting stories behind the names of their ships, and why they wanted to be involved with this special sailing day. Several of the children, who had the opportunity to sail with the CYC during previous year’s events, caught up with captains on activities in school, summer break, and what they loved most about their previous experience on the lake.
The Sailing Adventure
When dinner came to an end, CYC captains and volunteers helped the children and adults properly suit up in their life jackets, and offered additional safety information to follow before getting aboard a ship. While on board, the children, accompanying Foster Parents, and staff learned about different components of sailing, navigation, weather patterns, and boating mechanisms. While enjoying the cool breeze of the lake, the children on board were able to see the ways that science and mathematics merge in order to create an expert sailor, and how learning how to sail can further influence individuals on wanting to learn more about environmental science, geometry, physics, and more.
Before disembarking, captains offered the chance for youth to ask any final questions about sailing, and took time to complement each child for the safety demonstrated on board, and their newfound interest in the sailing history and activities on Lake Michigan. The children in our care gleefully spoke about their experience following the event, sharing that they cannot wait for another opportunity to hit the lake again with their new friends at the Chicago Yacht Club.
We offer our tremendous gratitude for the Chicago Yacht Club, the Chicago Yacht Club Foundation, and every sailor who took the time and energy to help create the next generation of captains on Chicago’s waterfront!
The Upcoming Chicago Regatta on September 11, 2021
In addition to offering the exciting sailing day to our children and families, the Chicago Yacht Club is continuing its generous support of our mission through fundraising. For a fourth year, SOS Illinois is one of three charity partners for the Chicago Regatta, presented by Wintrust and hosted by the Chicago Yacht Club.
According to the official Chicago Regatta website, “The Chicago Regatta is focused on raising funds for kids. Three Chicagoland charities devoted solely to helping kids; the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, SOS Children’s Villages Illinois, and the Chicago Yacht Club Foundation will all benefit from this wonderful event.
The Chicago Regatta presented by Wintrust and hosted by Chicago Yacht Club, offers something for everyone! Buoy racing and a 15 – 25 mile distance race for true competitors, and a Dragon Force 65 Regatta taking place immediately following the race events. Participants will enjoy familiar and new events this year, including a sunset lighted boat parade, one-design and distance racing, DragonForce model boat racing, a silent auction and the legendary Sweet Home Chicago dock party featuring remote and in-person options for everyone’s comfort and safety.
Representatives from SOS Illinois are excited to greet guests at the Regatta on September 11 at our mission table, inviting new friends and supporters to learn about our unique focus on sibling foster care and preventative services in the Chicagoland area. We look forward to seeing you there!”