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Beneteau 36.7 Fleet at the COLORS Regatta - Skyway Yacht Works COLORS Regatta Zachary Johnston
Beneteau 36.7 Fleet at the COLORS Regatta - Skyway Yacht Works COLORS Regatta Zachary Johnston

Skyway Yacht Works COLORS Regatta

Starting Chicago’s racing season the right way

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 Columbia’s one level offshore racing series regatta 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.

The weekend regatta draws more than 80 boats annually with enticingly low entry fees and an all-inclusive party atmosphere thanks to Columbia’s kitchen and Lagunitas Brewing Company. ‘COLORS has been known as the best regatta party in Chicago since 1992. 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,” said Columbia’s Commodore, Craig Horton.

The Distance Race is a 15-20 nautical mile scenic race on the Saturday of COLORS along the Chicago shoreline drawing boats from 27’-77’. Columbia Yacht Club was one of the first clubs to debut the concept of the Distance Race in 2011 to appeal to those who preferred a single day of competition or were newer to the racing scene. The fleet has grown from four boats at its inception to as many as 19, and continues to be the fastest growing division of the regatta.

While any boat can register for the Distance Race, a bulk of the fleet opts to race both Saturday and Sunday around the buoys. The TP52 Imedi has been racing in the PHRF Section for six years, and is hoping that with the rising popularity of Columbia’s Chicago Beer Can Series on Wednesday nights, more boats will register for this section. “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 Imedi. “I’m hoping they change their minds and join us for COLORS this year.”

The Beneteau 36.7 Fleet on the other hand is traditionally the largest fleet racing COLORS along with Chicago’s iconic Tartan 10 Fleet. “It is the first of the season with two days of close racing and evening events. This setup allows our 36.7 fleet owners to get to know new members and crews to get together in a social setting,” said Chris Duhon, 2016 Chicago Race to Mackinac Section winner. “COLORS allows us to get back out on the water with the team in a competitive environment and try different crew positions, boat tuning, or sail settings. I don’t think my team has ever missed it.”

Skyway Yacht Works is proud to be the new title sponsor for 2017 aligning its values with Columbia Yacht Club in promoting the resurgence of racing in Chicago. Skyway Yacht Works is a full-service yacht yard conveniently located on the Calumet River just south of the city. “We’ve had an early spring, which means an early launch! Get your boat in gear and let’s race,” said Steve Kindra, owner of Skyway. “Tell everybody about COLORS, and come check out Columbia’s regatta scene.”

Captains are encouraged to register before April 15 to enjoy early bird discounts on the entry fee. Boats that register before this deadline will also receive a professional photo of their boat racing in the event. For more information and to register, visit website.

by Morgan Kinney

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