Chicago River trip - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 4 Old 04-06-2013 Thread Starter
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Chicago River trip

Hello All,
I'm up early, in anticipation of today's trip to my harbor on Lake Michigan, (Montrose for those who know the area).
For those of you who don't know the area, for me this involves the unique experience of going down the Chicago River right through downtown Chicago and out on the lake.
I say it's a unique experience, because there are around 22/100yr. old Bascule Bridges that have to be raised, as we go, pretty much bringing downtown Chicago, (a metropolitan area boasting 7mil. people), to a standstill. This, of course, brings everyone to the rivers edge to view the spectacle, (making quite a spectacle for us boaters too!).
Today is the first scheduled river trip of the season, which has it's drawbacks because the bridges have sat all winter, subject to the weather and 6mo. of municipal neglect!
What they do is have 2 or 3 teams, hop scotching from one bridge to the next to try to get them up in a timely fashion.To give everyone the flavor of this, two years ago I did the same "first trip" and made the mistake of tuning my radio to the Bridge Tender's channel. the first bridge took 20min. to get to move, and I swear to god, at one point I heard one of the tender say, "George is looking for a hammer!".
But usually the chatter goes something like this: " OK, now Ralph you push #2 relay, George you release the brake, and I'll pull the lever................. Nothing? .........OK...... Ralph you pull #2 relay, I'll push the lever, then George releases the brake! There we go! NO???.. OK.....", and so on, and so on, for the whole trip.
This, of course, is all part of the adventure and adds to the excitement, (if not to the reputation of one of the worlds most important cities),as long as you don't mind if the trip turns into a 12hr ordeal, which it frequently does.
So anyway that's the day I have ahead of me, which reminds me, I need to start loading the refreshments into the car.
If any body is interested, there are Youtube videos from some of the past years, just search 'Chicago river boats, Chicago bridge raising, Chicago river bridge', Chicago boat day, some combos like that, and you can get a look at what I'm talking about.
Joel H.
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post #2 of 4 Old 04-06-2013
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Re: Chicago River trip

How the hell did you get your boat prepped for the season Outside mast up? Wax & compound do not like cold.
It's still in the 40's although it seems you picked the right day with temps reaching 60 today. Lake Temperature is still below 40F, that will make for a cold trip up to Montrose.
Have fun, enjoy. Better you than me, still too early for us. Spring has not sprung and winter is clinging on. This is going to be the nicest day of the year so far and our first full day of yard work is ahead for us.

Courtney is My Hero

If a man is to be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most - E.B. White
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post #3 of 4 Old 09-12-2013
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Re: Chicago River trip


Just moving to Chicago, and had to leave my first boat behind. I'm 22 and starting with PwC downtown. Any advice on how to get some time sailing on the a lake before purchasing a boat?

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post #4 of 4 Old 09-12-2013
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Re: Chicago River trip

Originally Posted by lsseckman View Post

Just moving to Chicago, and had to leave my first boat behind. I'm 22 and starting with PwC downtown. Any advice on how to get some time sailing on the a lake before purchasing a boat?

Why don't you start a new thread? You might get some members here willing to take you aboard. In the meantime, you could check with the timeshare outfits in Chicago. They might have some openings.

I remember seeing in Larsen Marine's office (Waukegan) a flyer advertising day sails from Waukegan to Chicago (one day) and another from Chicago to Waukegan. They might still be doing that.

You could also walk the docks at Montrose or Burnham and introduce yourself. Who knows? You might get a ride. On a nice day (there might still be a few left) there should still be a good amount of activity at the harbors.

Welcome to Chicago!
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