Each year, our Docking team (consisting of both volunteers and professional staff from the Chicago Yacht Club) fit over 220 boats into a harbor designed for fewer than 70. With your help we can make the process as smooth as possible. Here’s how to do so!
When you are ready to dock (engine on, fenders out of the bilge, sails down) you will contact Docking Control on the radio. We use boat names; if your boat name is the same as another boat's name, tell us your type of boat, too. Radio channels are set out in the sailing instructions.
If you are docking in St. Ignace Marina or Straits State Harbor, you will be directed to a Touch and Go slip or to an inspection slip. These slips are on the main harbor dock, right in the middle near the dock master’s building. Touch and Go means that you have only about 10 minutes to complete your business and depart (see SI 23.4). A volunteer will accept your finish card and your transponder. You may want to consider dropping some or most of your crew off (quickly) so that there are fewer people taking the ferry back to the Island. Then you will head for your designated harbor. We will attempt to get a pre-assignment for your slip, but you should check with the harbormaster upon arrival.
If you are docking on the Island, please look at the zone map provided to you at check-in just before the race, which shows a rough assignment to a docking zone. You may or may not end up there! The final positioning depends on the order in which the boats arrive, and on the availability within the docking zones. We cannot honor any requests for specific locations or "traditional" spots; the fleet is different each year, as are docking conditions on the Island, so where you were last year will not necessarily be where you go after this year’s race.
When you contact Docking Control, you will be directed to dock in a specific place. This may include the inspection slip to have a few things checked. Most inspections will be done on the main harbor dock, right in the middle by the dock master’s building. Nothing leaves or is added to the boat, including people, until the inspection is complete.
Please bring and use appropriate dock lines and fenders. All the areas will have ferry wakes. Having good fenders, long dock lines and fender boards will make your stay on the island more comfortable. Remember, you must be ready to raft, and you assume all responsibility for damage. If you cannot live with these terms, please contact the Regatta Manager for assignment to an alternate location off-island.
Please be prepared to use spring lines! Every year we find one or more boats that forget to use spring lines, causing the whole raft to get out of control. Forward and aft spring lines are a requirement for the safety of all boats!
After you have rafted and are enjoying the island, we may call you if the raft seems to be at risk. Please be sure the cell phone number you give the dock squad at registration is a useful one and that someone will answer it 24/7. If you have made a mistake there, stop by the Docking Committee station at the main harbor and give us an update.
As a reminder, all boats need to be off the docks by noon on the Wednesday after the Race unless you have made prior arrangements with the Harbor.
Thanks for helping us all to have a great docking experience!