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Hey guys, I'm in the west burbs of Chicago. I've been interested in learning to sail for a while now. Just got back from a vacation to Mexico where I rented a hobiecat and I was hooked after that.

I had been eyeing a home built boat on craigslist for a few weeks and decided to pull the trigger. It's a home built wood boat Arch Davis Sand Dollar.

Just wanted to say hello to everyone. Also, if anyone else is in the area looking for some help finding some smaller nearby lakes to sail on. So far I've founde Busse Lake in Schaumburb and Shabbona in Dekalb. I saw a small lake in Bolingbrook but sailboats not allowed. Looking for some smaller park district lakes near the Aurora, Naperville, Lisle area if anyone has any suggestions.

Look forward to learning a bunch from this forum.
 

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Pretty boat! Welcome to the forum.
 

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what about that big ol' lake to the east :)

friends used to powerboat in the chain of lakes in Antioch area.

As a former western suburbs guy...welcome!
 

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what about that big ol' lake to the east :)

friends used to powerboat in the chain of lakes in Antioch area.

As a former western suburbs guy...welcome!
I'm assuming your referring to Lake Michigan? I'd love to get out on Lake Michigan but assumed an 11' boat would be too small to go out there. Could I go out on Lake Michigan on my boat? I'm assuming from reading I've done I'd first need to get a radio and some lights to be allowed out? Also, my sailing experience is basically 2 hours on a hobiecat lol so probably have a bit of learning to do first but I'd love to get out on Lake Michigan if that's a possibility.

Chainolakes was one of the first places I was thinking but every report I've seen online from people with sailboats basically says "did that, way too many drunken powerboaters zipping around, never again." So that had kind of turned me off to that idea.

For starters I was hoping to find some smaller maybe less crowded forest preserve lakes that allow sailing

For now still reading some stickys and trying to learn but hope to learn alot from you guys. Thanks.
 

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Ahoy, Pirate. I'm a frequent visitor to Chicagoland, I've got kids and grandkids in Aurora, Evanston and Highland Park. There are small sail boats sailed and rented on the Tower Road launch in the Skokie Lagoons. Looks like a smallish lake more suited to kayaks which they also rent. Evanston has a municipal small boat rental facility, Sunfish/Hobies, on Lake Michigan. No radios or lights required. I've kayaked in the area several times on rivers and at Busse Woods. It is a lot more difficult to access the big lake around Chicago. Hard to find a public launch directly to Lake Michigan. I'm in Kalamazoo, Michigan and there are a lot of inland lakes around here. Got to love the large inland lakes along the shoreline of Lake M. Lots of free public launch ramps. Have a great summer with your new boat. Dave G
 

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I see people sailing lasers & hobies on Biscayne Bay and the open Ocean (calmer days). Why would an 11 foot sailboat be bad on lake michigan. Maybe sail the inner harbors? As for large lake based forest preserves...well, I'd imagine you can sail the Fox River iself. Just stay away from the dams!

This looks promising in Des Plaines: Lake Park Marina
 
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