Looking Back on a Year of Interclub Competition

2023 was a very fruitful year for Chicago Yacht Club’s Interclub Competition Committee and the sailors that represented CYC around the nation. Leading up to 2023, this committee was formed with the idea of competing on a larger scale than has ever been done before in Chicago Yacht Club history. We sat down and put a slate of events on the calendar that we thought was realistic, yet pushed the boundaries of what had been done before. In addition to the events, we gave a series of chalk talks explaining team racing to the uninitiated. We hosted team racing practices on Tuesdays throughout the summer to stay fresh in the boats and spread the knowledge to other team members. The practices turned out to be a big hit, and anecdotally it was the main draw for multiple members to join the Club who are now competing regularly with CYC.

In addition to the many fleet racing and world-class sailing opportunities that CYC has to offer, the Interclub Competition Committee wanted to replicate the college sailing model that many of us had learned under. We wanted to work on building up the local talent base. On Tuesdays sailors of all skill levels learned how to team race as well as how to do bow, trim a spinnaker, and do enough gybes to make your head spin on the downwind. Team races are typically short but action-packed, concentrating your sailing efforts into short 20-minute spurts. Even if you start in last, your teammates can help you out and bring you to the front of the race and finish with a win. It’s an exhilarating format preferred by many and is gaining popularity at yacht clubs around the country.

CYC competed in events at Boston Yacht Club, New York Yacht Club, Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club, and Southern Yacht Club in addition to hosting our own local 2v2 team racing event at Belmont with all Chicago-based teams. None of this would have been possible without the help of the CYC Competition Fund and Foundation, which we are constantly thankful for.

The highlight of the team racing season was winning the Seawanhaka Corinthian Young Guns Trophy, where all of the sailors have to be under 35. CYC went undefeated against teams from the east coast and abroad across the two-day event. Of the 11 team members, nine sailors were junior racers at CYC, a testament to the power of our sailing program at Chicago Yacht Club and a glimpse into what’s possible.

We hope to sail more events and eventually set our eyes on the Morgan Cup—the most prestigious trophy in all of Interclub Team Racing. Additionally, our friends at other yacht clubs are looking for opportunities to come out and race in Chicago when we are able to host an event. I look forward to another year and to teaching more members how to team race and share the love that we all have for the sport of sailing.