Thursday, July 9, 2015

2015 Race to Mackinac

After winning the J105 section of the 2015 NOOD regatta our gnarly crew of sailors look to the next big event on our schedule. The Chicago Yacht Club's prestigious Race to Mackinac. There has been a resurgence in our fleet and as a result the J105 class is the largest one design section in the Mac for 2015. It should make for an exciting fleet.

We will again be racing with seven crew:  John - 32, Gyt - 26, Steve - 26, Michael B - 21, Keith - 16, Michael C - 15, William - 9.  Our well seasoned crew of seven has a total of 145 Mac races!

For our friends and family ashore Chicago Yacht Club will again be utilizing the Yellowbrick tracking application. You will be able to track us and all the other boats in the fleet as we make our way North.

From Your Computer: Tracking is available via a link at the top of the Mac homepage, under the "Race Tracking" tab. Ensure that your computer has a relatively recent (2012 or later) browser installed, such as Internet Explorer 10 or later, Google Chrome 23 or later, Firefox 20 or later, or Safari 6 or later. The link for tracking will go live the afternoon of July 9.

From Your Phone or Tablet: For the best experience on your mobile device (iOS or Android), download the free app.
1. Visit the YB Tracking website to download and install the app.
2. "Buy" the 107th CYC Race to Mackinac in the YB Tracking app. There is no cost; Chicago Yacht Club is covering that for our friends and families and fans. The Race will appear in available races on Thursday, July 9.

Follow the Race via Social Media.  The Race has a strong presence on both Facebook and Twitter. This year, the Chicago Yacht Club is proud to announce our new Race to Mackinac Instagram account. Our new handle is @RaceToMackinac. Leading up to and during the Race, we will frequently post updates and photos from Chicago, the lake and the island updates so competitors, friends and family can stay tuned in with what's happening.

Additionally, many crew members and boats have their own Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as accounts on Instagram and other similar social media outlets. All participants are encouraged to tag their posts and Tweets and photos with #CYCRTM to make it easier for you to search for them.

For those interested in real-time updates while the Race in under way, more than a dozen boats will be enabled with GPS transponders to Tweet during the Race again this year. They will all appear under the Race's Twitter account and be tagged with the tweeting boat’s name. For live updates, follow @RaceToMackinac and join the conversation with #CYCRTM.

Our start is at 1150am Saturday. Wish us well.

Lets go win a bottle of rum and a little flag!

Monday, July 14, 2014

2014 Race to Mackinac!

Friends and Family,

The 2014 Race to Mackinac is almost here! Our gnarly crew of seven spent a few hours this past weekend loading gear and preparing for the start of the race this Saturday, July 19th at 1150 am.

Last year we had a wonderful celebration on the island for Gyt and Steve's 25th "Old Goat" races. Here is the current Vytis Crew race total rundown. John - 31, Gyt - 25, Steve - 25, Michael B. - 20, Keith - 15, Michael C. - 14 & Antanas - 3. Our crew total is 133 Mac Races!

Again this year, we are happy to announce that our friends and family can track us in the Mac via Yellowbrick. Race tracking will go live on Friday evening when the cruising division starts, but our start is not until Saturday at 1150am. A link to tracking will be on the Mac homepage ( On iOS and Android, the best experience is via the Yellowbrick App. Download it for free at On Friday the 18th, you’ll be able to ‘buy’ (in app) the actual race at no cost.

There will also be extensive social media coverage of the race. We likely will not participate, but it may be fun for you to keep up on the experiences of others.

a. Instagram @racetomackinac – New in 2014
b. Facebook:
c. Twitter @racetomackinac
d. Flickr

Should you be interested in monitoring the weather conditions on Lake Michigan during our race, one good place to look is at the NOAA Radar covering the lake: Or on the Chicago Mac Weather Page

That is all for now. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

2014 Waukegan Race

A couple members of our crew had to drop out to tend to other obligations so we were left with Keith, Mike Brown, Antanas, and Julyte for the race. Fears of incredibly light winds spread through the harbor as we prepared the boat to race. Julyte was hoisted up the mast to attach the wind indicator, we bent on our sails, and off we went. As we drove the the starting area a thick fog surrounded us in all directions. 

We started the race and immediately made a couple tactical gybes to get ourselves into clear air. For the next four hours, nary a boat was seen. We cruised along averaging 7 knots of boat speed, Julyte, Mike, and I alternating turns trimming the spinnaker (even Keith trimmed for a while!). Keith drove and Mike trimmed main when he wasn't taking a shift on the Spinnaker. 

Not seeing any boats had us very cautious that either we were doing phenomenally, or we were in the cheap seats. 

As we approached the finish line we had to throw in a gybe to make the finish. We sailed along at what felt like .5 knots of boat speed for what seemed like a half hour -- finally Mike made the call and we gybed back onto course and crossed the finish line shortly thereafter. 

Not completely certain on how we had done, we buzzed the wall outside of the yacht club and only found big boats and a couple of T 10s tied up. Confident in our victory we made our way to the slip and had a few victory cocktails. Once we docked the sky became angry, like an old man trying to return soup at a deli, and we hustled over to the yacht club to celebrate and collect our brag flag. 

(Not Pictured: Keith and Julyte)

Mirth and merriment commenced, and on Sunday we woke up early and motor sailed the boat back home. It was a fun race and a nice relaxing trip home. We are all looking forward to doing it again next year!

2014 NOOD Regatta

Day 1:

Friday we had a crew of Gytis, Steve, Andy, Mike, and Antanas. An early boat call of 7 AM had everyone a little groggy as we headed into day one of the 2014 Chicago NOOD. As we worked to knock off the rust we accumulated from many months of not sailing, we took a 5th, a 4th, and a 3rd; we ended the day in 5th place. Mild winds and a lake of glass made for very pleasant sailing. After a nice day of sailing we adjourned to hotel Petkus for pizza and cocktails.

Day 2:

Saturday we had a crew of Gytis, Steve, Keith, Mike, and Antanas. We encountered very similar lake conditions, but the wind grew more variable throughout the day. We began to lock in to a consistent rhythm and ended the day taking a 4th followed by two 3rd place finishes. The boats ahead of us had some mishaps, and our consistency propelled us into 3rd. The two boats ahead of us were in a tie for 1st and only only point separated us from the leaders. As we made our way to the party at Chicago Yacht Club we were looking forward to Sunday to attempt to overtake the leaders. 

Day 3:

Sunday we had a crew of Gytis, Steve, Andy, Mike, and Antanas. After sitting through 3 hour long postponements, the race was abandoned. We ended the race where we had left it on Saturday -- in 3rd place. We spent a couple hours at the Chicago Yacht Club, collected our brag flag, and made our way home, lamenting the fact that we didn't have the opportunity to try to better our lot in the standings due to the high winds (30+ knots) and choppy seas.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Boat Work Part 2014

On Saturday we completed our first day of boat work. Wet sanding and soft scrubbing abounded. 3 weeks until the boat is in the water!

The Vytis in her winter home

Senor Soft Scrub

Julyte finishing up some soft scrubbing

Lively conversation after a hard day's work

Same time next week

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Crew Party

As the snow buffeted our cars outside, we sat at Keith's house reminiscing about races we've done, and looked forward to another year of memories. The worst winter in recent memory did not stifle our enthusiasm for the rapidly approaching sailing season. While we dread the cold lake, and pray for an incredibly hot summer (but only on racing days), a sailor is happy to be out on the lake regardless of the conditions.

 Mahoney cracking wise

 Skeptical Kelly laughing at Ryan for saying parenting will be a breeze

 Dick stories

 Uncle John is wanted in 8 states -- no photos

 Cate, not crying while Andy holds her -- I'm reconsidering this godfather thing (just kidding)

 Browner -- the coolest 50+ year old I know

Our gracious host -- thanks for hosting, Keith!