It was a bright, sunshine-filled, clear, and windy day – a perfect day for the Chicago Yacht Club Spring Team Racing Series, much to my surprise and delight. I had decided to explore a small area of Chicago’s Belmont Harbor area to photograph park sculptures I had seen on my regular commute. One of my photography instructors once advised me to stay watchful, you never know when you find something unexpected to photograph.. It was definitely a bonus when I saw the sailboats as I photographed a mosaic-lined street tunnel leading to the harbor.
(Note: Be it known: I am not a boater. Nor do I know much about sailing. Hopefully I got some of the terminology right!)
It was such a pretty day that I couldn’t resist stopping. The high winds challenged the racing teams, from what I could see – from near horizontal leans over the boat’s edge to the crew that spent what seemed like a half hour (but was really less than 10 minutes) trying mightily to turn their boat right side up. Well, I enjoyed my time watching the teams, and had a hard time selecting these 5* images:
- The Racing Team – The brightly colored sails of the six boats were eye-catching, especially clustered as they are. I watched the teams practice their maneuvers for a while, and they didn’t come together like this often at all.
- Control – In this wind, it seemed to take a great deal of strength and concentration to keep control of the craft.
- The Lean – This female crew member is nearly fully horizontal, in her lean. I love the end of her ponytail gracing the water.
- Fighting the Inevitable (1) – I suppose, with the high winds, it was inevitable (at least to me, and my lack of knowledge about controlling the boats) that one of the boats would overturn. At first, with the help of an assist vessel and its crew holding the boat, the two crewwomen grabbed the boat’s keel, trying to turn it over.
- Fighting the Inevitable (2) – When after several minutes, the two-person crew could not turn the boat back over, a third racer, from the assist vessel, swam to help the original two crewwomen. This three person team was successful.
- Success! – After they righted the boat, the teammates are pulled from the lake. As you can see, it ain’t pretty, but it is effective!
- Lessons Learned – I imagine there is some sharing of information here to help the crew member for the next time a sailboat capsizes in the lake (surely, it happens to even the best of sailors!).
I know I was cold, standing by the harbor. I also know the lake was cold, because the remnants of a cold winter remain, and it takes a long time to warm up Lake Michigan. My guess – despite the chill in the air and in the water, these teams welcomed this sign of spring. Hope you enjoy these 5* images of the Chicago Yacht Club Spring Team Racers.