Wintrust Expands Their Long Term Support of Sail Racing in Chicago

April 19, 2017

CASRA is pleased to announce and welcome Wintrust as the Official Bank of CASRA, and a Gold Sponsor as well.

Wintrust's demonstrated commitment of supporting several Chicago area sports teams, sporting events, and programs make them an ideal partner with and sponsor of CASRA.  With prior and current involvement in major sail racing regattas, Wintrust is known and respected by racers, yacht clubs, and the community at large.

Through it's network of community banks Wintrust has been serving Chicagoland communities for 25 years.  As a strong supporter of Chicago based sports teams, sailing regattas, and community outreach activities, CASRA looks forward to a long term relationship with Wintrust.  We are proud to have them on board.


April 11, 2017

Following the creation of CASRA by the five premier yacht clubs in Chicago, over the winter representatives got to work on several topics.  One being to determine how they could collaborate to extend this passion for sailing and improving the sport to junior sailing in Chicago. 

CASRA club reps were joined by our friends at the Chicago Park District Sailing Program, who also run a youth sailing program in the city.  Recognizing the need to encourage youth sailors and grow the sport, the five clubs decided to jointly organize and host a new event, Chicago Junior Race Week, this summer.  The notices of race are published at

This exciting multi-day event will draw youth sailors from ages 7 to 18 from all over the Great Lakes, and beyond, to Chicago for three days of high-caliber racing on Chicago’s beautiful lakefront this June and July. 

In cooperation with the Sheridan Shores Sailing Schools, the event will kick off with the “Mini-Mac” - an 8nm distance race for Optimists, Lasers and C420s from Wilmette Harbor to just off of Chicago’s Belmont and Montrose Harbors.  This distance race down the lakefront will expose youth sailors to distance racing strategy and tactics in a safe manner close to the Illinois shore, and will let them get a taste of what many of their families get to experience in the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac a few weeks later as well as during the many other distance races run by other clubs in Chicago and throughout the Great Lakes.  The Mini-Mac is an optional part of the Race Week and will be particularly fun for those who participate in the Wente Cup at Sheridan Shores held June 28-29.  

Following the Mini-Mac, on July 1 and 2 youth racers in Optimists, C420s, 420s and Lasers, as well as ‘Beginning Racers’ who may be attending their first regatta will enjoy two days of high-caliber, fun fleet racing in Chicago. Optimist sailors will race out of Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club in Montrose Harbor, while C420s, 420s and Lasers will be racing out of Chicago Yacht Club’s Belmont Station in Belmont Harbor.  At the end of the regatta, an overall winner of the Chicago Junior Race week will be announced.

For those youth sailors new to racing, perhaps attending their first regatta or just dipping their toes into competitive sailing, Jackson Park Yacht Club will host a ‘Beginner Racer’ class in the protected waters of Jackson Park’s Outer Harbor.  Sailors of almost any ability level, in any type of singlehanded youth dinghy, will get to try out racing and see what their older or more experienced friends love so much about the sport.  This is another way the five Chicago yacht clubs are trying to share our passion for the sport of sailing with all sailors, of all ability levels.

The five clubs will bring their combined resources to bear to ensure that this event is world-class.  These clubs have tremendous race committees and judges, dedicated volunteers both on the water and off, and great facilities on Chicago’s lake front, supported by top-notch professional staff.  Our friends in the power fleets and cruising sail fleets of our clubs will be supporting this event, as they do all the racing events at our clubs, through their volunteer time and great support on the water.

Families of youth sailors will get to experience Chicago in the summer, over a holiday weekend, and all that it has to offer visitors.  Members of the five organizing clubs will take families out on the water to help them see their kids race. Coupled with fun social events at the host clubs, this will be an excellent way for racers and their families to enjoy a fun weekend of racing in America’s greatest summer city.

Growing participation in the sport of sail racing has to include starting at the bottom - in the next generation of sailboat racers.  By offering fun, competitive racing in a world-class city, the five clubs comprising CASRA are working towards providing a great experience for youth sailors, helping them to develop a life-long passion for the sport.

Registration for Chicago Junior Race Week is open now at or via  We encourage you to follow them at  for the latest information on this great event which will certainly become an annual summer tradition.


April 5, 2017

CASRA is working to make our sport more accessible and fun. In its inaugural season, CASRA has partnered with Westrec Marinas to offer new Casual Races to the Chicagoland boating community. This new Casual Series will offer six races, including the following:

  • Abe Jacobs Regatta - Sunday, June 25th, 2017
    Hosted by Burnham Park Yacht Club
  • Columbia Yacht Club Casual Race - Sunday, July 9th, 2017
    Hosted by Columbia Yacht Club
  • Verve Cup Casual Race - Saturday, August 12th, 2017
    Hosted by Chicago Yacht Club
  • Air Show Regatta - Sunday, August 20th, 2017
    Hosted by Burnham Park Yacht Club & Jackson Park Yacht Club
  • Hobelman Regatta Casual Race - Sunday, August 27th, 2017
    Hosted by Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club
  • Chicago Regatta Casual Race - Saturday, September 9th, 2017
    Hosted by Chicago Yacht Club

These races are designed to be fun and easy for new and experienced racers alike. All races will start at 12:30 PM, to allow more time for racers to get on the water. Races will be approximately 7-11 miles, and will end by 4:00 PM. All six races will be free to all boats renting moorings from Westrec in the Chicago harbor system. 

Starting procedures are simple and easy to understand. The start line will open at 12:30 PM and close at 1:00 PM, and boats may cross the start line any time during that half-hour period. The Race Committee will record each boat’s start time, and subtract it from its finish time. The Race Committee will use the resulting elapsed time to score the race. CASRA will offer informal ratings for all boats free of charge, so new racers need not pay for a rating certificate. Yacht clubs will separate new racers from experienced racers, to the extent possible. Each sponsoring yacht club will host a fun party and awards event after each race. 

Easy. Fun. Simple. If you are new to the sport, this is a great way to try sailboat racing. If you are an experienced racer, this is a great chance to have some fun on the water, and introduce less experienced people to the sport. Watch for further information in the coming weeks at, and special thanks to Westrec Marinas – CASRA’s first Gold Level sponsor – for making this new series possible! 


April 3, 2017

All five founding clubs that created CASRA (Chicago Area Sail Racing Association) have races scheduled all season long.  See the 2017 race schedule at  For those wanting to learn to sail and race in these events, check out the programs of the CASRA clubs below.

Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club Sailing Crew Training PrograM

Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club’s “Crew School” is a hands-on training program for anyone who is interested in learning the skills to become a valued crew member on a racing sailboat.  Crew School is held on six consecutive Wednesdays from April 5 through May 10.  Experienced skippers at CCYC will introduce you to nautical terms, points of sail and sail trim, crew roles and responsibilities, behavior on board, what to wear, safety equipment, racing rules and more!!  At the end of Crew School, graduates will be introduced to racing skippers at CCYC, and will have an opportunity to begin racing immediately!

Click here to learn more, email or call 773-334-9100, ext 707.


Chicago Yacht Club Crew U

Chicago Yacht Club Crew U is a seven-week program that starts in May and goes through June. This class is led by members of the Chicago Yacht Club who offer their boats and wisdom to help you get the skills you need to crew on a boat. The course includes some classroom instruction, but the vast majority is taught on the water. The classes are held on Tuesday nights, and many students get additional practical experience racing on offshore boats during Wednesday night racing. If you are interested in being part of yacht racing on Lake Michigan, this is a great way to up your experience and build relationships that may yield a position all summer long on one of the boats.

Click here to learn more and to sign up >


Columbia Yacht Club Sailing & Crew Education

Columbia Yacht Club's Skipjacks program is a social introduction to sailing which takes place Tuesday evenings over the course of seven weeks with club member captains doing the on-the-water instruction on their own boats.  The class sizes are appropriately sized allowing students to sail on many boats, meeting all captains and students.  It’s a tremendously fun program and helps people get comfortable on boats and learn the basics of sailing and racing.  Lifelong relationships begin here.  Many Skipjacks participants become cruising and/or racing crew with the Columbia captains they meet in the Skipjacks program.  This course runs May 9-June 27, 2017, Tuesdays at 6:30pm.

Columbia Yacht Club's Skipjacks Advanced program is an accelerated Keelboat Certification program for those having previously completed the Skipjacks program.  This course runs May 23-June 27, 2017, Tuesdays at 6-9pm, or July 25-August 10, 2017 Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6-9pm.

Click here to learn more or email


March 22, 2017

Since the Dec 2016 Survey of Racers and subsequent CASRA Town Hall Meeting, significant work has been underway by CASRA and the five founding member yacht clubs in Chicago.

The 2017 race schedule is a thorough coordination by all five clubs. There are no overlapping events that conflict with others among these five clubs. Boat owners, racers, and crew are now able to race any/all events in the Chicago area without having to prioritize one event over another due to scheduling.

The prior 'dry spell' of buoy racing, brought to CASRA's attention by one of Chicago's largest and competitive One Design fleets, has been eliminated. The 2017 schedule has been reconfigured to eliminate clumping of buoy racing and thereby also eliminating buoy racing dry spells of prior years. 

Addition of new distance races along the Chicago waterfront, and racing later in the season has been added per input from racers via the survey and at the town hall meeting.

See the full schedule >


DECEMBER 14, 2016

Recently, CASRA conducted a survey of sailors in the Chicagoland area.  The purpose of the survey was to learn what sailor like and don’t like about the racing in Chicago.  And most importantly, to learn what CASRA can do to make things better starting in 2017. Almost 200 sailors responded to the survey and provided some great input.

Read a summary of the results >


DECEMBER 10, 2016

On December 10, 2016, the Chicago Area Sail Racing Association (CASRA) sought input from racing sailors across the City.  CASRA hosted a “town hall” meeting at Columbia Yacht Club at which CASRA leaders reviewed sailors' responses to a survey which had been distributed to sailors three weeks prior the meeting.

Approximately 100 sailors braved the bitter cold temps and early hours of the first winter storm of the season to attend.  Interest in the survey results, posted here on the CASRA website, was significant.   29% of those polled responded to the survey.  Given the significant response, sailors attended the meeting to voice concerns and learn what the 2017 sailing season may look like.

CASRA leaders fielded questions, comments and observations from participants on how to improve racing in 2017 and grow our sport.  Sailors’ concerns will be addressed by each of the five clubs comprising CASRA’s Board as they work to complete the DRAFT 2017 Race Schedule which had been introduced at the meeting.


proud gold-level sponsors of CASRA: