CHICAGO —More than 150 sailboats launched from Monroe Harbor Sunday morning, racing for a chance to compete in a championship regatta in the Caribbean.
John Schellenbach won the NOOD Regatta two years ago.
"It’s challenging because the wind is always shifting," Schellenbach said. "We prefer heavier air typically. Move faster and crew performs well in those conditions."
Like Schellenbach, 90 percent of sailors in the regatta are amateurs who love the sport and race as often as they can. The sailing season in Chicago is pretty short, leaving less time to practice. So whenever there’s an event like this, they all come out to sail.
Dave Reed of "Sailing World Magazine" says the NOOD Regatta — not the "nude" Regatta — includes one design boats being launched from shore. And no one takes their clothes off.
"I think it would be cold to go naked right now though in Chicago," Reed said.
There are 18 classes of sailboats, the largest being 52 feet, so each class competes against each other. Boats race around markers a couple miles out into Lake Michigan in a shape like a baseball diamond.
It sounds difficult, but sailors say it’s never too late to learn.
"It takes a day to learn to sail but a lifetime to perfect it,” one sailor said.