Welcome to the Adrenaline Sailing Blog. We own a C&C 110 and do casual racing with friends and family out of Chicago and Columbia Yacht Club. Take a look under the RACING link for our most recent activites or C&C110 to find out more about this boat.

Hey everyone,

Just a quick note about last nights practice Beer Can Race. Despite the threat, the weather cleared up very nicely last night and we had a great first night out. Winds were 8–10 out of the NNW, Adrenaline had a good position on the fleet at the start, and hit the line with speed and clear air. As we played and tweaked the sails Sorcerer seemed to point a bit higher than us and have a tad more speed but we covered and held off most of the other boats in our section—including some of the larger, faster boats.

We rounded the first mark and Ryan made some great calls on tactics picking out the faster wind lanes. We tacked twice and hit the layline perfectly getting us up and around the Crib ahead of most of the boats in our section, and passing some in the section ahead of us.

We rounded the Crib and despite some spin pole fumbles the boat screamed along at 7.5knts in 9knts TWS. Again we tactically held off some of the larger boats in our section sailing hotter angles and crossed the finish line ahead of them.

We ended up missing first place in Spin 2 by 24 seconds behind, yes, Sorcerer! Not bad for the first night out.

Go team!

A big thanks to Zac and Lauren for bringing the beer and food!

Next Wednesday is the first official race. Boat call is 5:30pm—we leave the dock at 6pm sharp. Everyone should bring beer and food to share.

Don’t be late.




Well 2009 is certainly proving to be an interesting year so far, the theme being cold and windy. It actually feels like late fall as opposed to late spring and everyone is wondering if Summer, let alone Spring, will ever show up.

MAY 27, 2009: Beer Can #1
In the first Beer Can of the summer (May 27th) winds were relatively light and out of the North, but just strong enough to get everyone around the entire 3.5 mile course. Being quite rusty having only sailed together with a spinnaker for the first time in last weeks “practice” race, it took us most of the second leg just to get the pole up and the spinnaker set, and then it was time to gybe. Gybing, we headed away from the fleet so as not to foul anyone with our antics, and once set, headed toward the finish line, happy to have just done it without any incidents. We ended up in 8th place out of a fleet of 11 boats that evening having only flown a small 1.5oz chute to make things a bit easier for us the first time out. Spirits were high and confidence in our abilities had everyone thinking about the next race.

JUNE 3, 2009: Beer Can #2
As I said windy and cold are the words to describe this spring and tonight’s Beer Can was true to form! Winds again were out of the North but blowing between 15 and 20 knots so you can imagine the fetch coming down Lake Michigan. We were about 30 seconds late to our start (captain’s error) and fought our way up the left hand side of the course to Mark 1. The wave action tended to slow us down (captain’s error) as we headed up on starboard but with the left side favored, tacking onto port wasn’t an option as we head to the layline. We tacked to early and the winds and fetch pushed us below the pin but we had just enough momentum to head the boat up and round the mark without touching it. Whew!

Reaching towards the CRIB we gained on the fleet and made up some of our losses, and gybed around the CRIB inside the other boats. By then we had decided it was too windy to risk a chute and instead sailed wing-on-wing with the #2 poled out. Adrenaline seems to be nearly as fast sailing that way (have hit 11.5knts under similar conditions) as with a chute, and given our ‘skill set’ felt it was the safer choice. We gybed our way to the next mark, tacked around it and headed to the finish line with less than stellar speed in the chop. We finished 8th out of 10 boats in our section with the only thing to hang our hat on that we missed 6th place by 2 seconds, and 1st place by 41 seconds. That’s an improvement.

JUNE 10, 2009: Beer Can #3
We were jazzed up for this evening with the same conditions as last Wednesday. Winds in the 15-23knt range out of the north—again. We were setting up for our start and went to tack onto starboard when the leech line on the #2 got caught and unzipped the leech of the sail. With scraps of Dacron blowing in the breeze I decided it was better to withdraw with the start less than 1 minute away so as to not cause anymore damage to the sail. Maybe I should have started and then withdrawn as it would have saved us 2 points but instead we got a full 13. Our record was now 8-8-13 — OUCH! Everyone was disappointed but buoyed by the knowledge that we know we can and will do much better.

JUNE 17, 2009: Beer Can #4
Has summer really arrived? With temps in the mid 70s and light winds we headed out for the 4th Beer Can of the summer (I can’t believe that I can actually use that word now) with something to prove. We knew from last summer that we tended to sail better in the lighter winds so we focused on our start—BINGO! With Ryan calling the start and the line we hit it about perfect which was important in the very, very light wind. The wind was between 2 and 4knts for the entire race so staying focused and clear air were crucial. The light winds—mostly around 2knts—were barely enough at times to even make the speedo register, but the GPS showed SOG at 0.1 and 0.2 knts from time to time. We found some wind on the right hand side and head towards it listening to the sections behind us singing and talking in the evenings dying breeze. Tonight the early sections got the wind and made out, while the later ones struggled to find any wind at all. We ended up in the middle, found a few zyphers in the second half of the now shortened course and finished in 2nd place with many of the boats behind us dropping out. Oooh La La, something to celebrate

JUNE 24, 2009: Beer Can #5 and the Yacht Club Challenge
Last night was comfortable with temps around 80 out on the lake. Very light winds saw the first 4 sections start but they postponed ours for 5 minutes due to the dying breeze. Good thing because as we set up for the start, the wind died and we’d never have made it to the line on time. Fortunately we recovered and ended up having a decent start in relatively clear air and for the most part sailed around the fleet to the first mark, rounding just barely ahead of most of the boats in our section. One of our competitors even asked across the water “What’s your rating?” as we sailed past them. They rate 9 seconds per mile faster than us so I know they didn’t feel to good. Fluctuating light wind speed and direction had us constantly adjusting sails and tacking 8 times or so on the headers and lifts to stay on the favored, right hand side of the course.

In heavy traffic we rounding the mark and put up the spinnaker which turned out to be fouled with a couple of wraps (looked like an hour glass) but once cleared, we took off and sailed from small patch of wind to small patch of wind, gybing back and forth all the way from mark 4 to the CRIB. Because of the light winds they shorted the course and on another dying breeze crossed the line in 2nd place. A number of other boats didn’t finish before the 9pm deadline.

After finishing we took down the sails, stopped the boat, and about half the crew jumped in for a swim in the lake before heading back to our slip to clean up and put the boat away.

Adrenaline moved up from 9th place to 5th in a fleet of of 14 boats.


On Friday May 1st we got all the gear loaded, rig tuned, sails bent on, recalibrated the course computer, and cleaned out and filled the water tanks. Around 8:30pm or so Kyle and Everette arrived by Metra and we popped a pizza in the oven for dinner and watched the geese chase each other around the harbor. We decided to spend the night on the boat so we didn’t have to get up early and catch the 6:35am train. Ted, Adam, Jason and Patrick we’re due to arrive by 8:30am on Saturday to join in the fun and sail to Adrenaline to Chicago. I had little hope of Patrick showing up as he was the best man at a wedding Friday night—and such was the case. At 8:30 on Saturday Jason and Ted arrived but Adam had had literally missed the train.

The weather on Saturday was perfect for the ride south. We left Larsen’s at 9am and once out on the lake we found the wind on the beam at 10-15knts and were quickly reaching SSE along the Illinois shoreline doing 7s and 8s, frequently breaking into the 9s. For most of the ride we had the wind on the beam but saw it oscillate between 30° and 120° apparent. With wind speeds as low as 5knts and gusts to 25 we found ourselves paying attention to trim for the entire ride. The morning started out chilly and everyone wore hats and gloves but once the sun came around the sails, it warmed up wonderfully. We passed Gross Point by 11:30 and entered Chicago harbor at 1:30 making the 35 mile trip in 4.5hours—an average speed of 7.77knts under main and 135%!

Ted brought great sub sandwiches and refreshments but as we got close to Chicago we alerted Adam to bring reinforcements. Meeting us in the harbor we enjoyed the rest of a beautiful sunny day. 

Yes, summer has finally arrived!



It’s been one of those winters that you think will never end. A fair amount of snow has fallen, even threatening us as recently as a week ago. I typically figure were safe after the first week of April but spring has been struggling to show itself. This year the cold temps have lingered at below normal levels until the recent 70 and 80 degree days that have been teasing us that spring might actually arrive at some point.. Don’t hold your breath. Even though Adrenaline is stored indoors, it’s been much too cold to do anything useful other than replace this or update that. Trying to wash and wax the boat, and do the bottom has been difficult at best as the cement floors and lead keels keep everything far too cold to work on. Even though it hit 86° the other day, it was a cool 70 in the building. We’ve also had our fair share of rain (the boat yard was flooded making the boats still in their cradles appear to be hovering above the water), the heavy snowfall has raised the lake levels a good 10 inches or so making boaters very happy indeed.

However, there’s light at the end of the tunnel and we managed to get everything done in time for our launch this Wednesday or Thursday. A big thanks to the “Blue Man Group” for their perseverance and putting in the time to get the job done despite the cold temps and working conditions. And now, as they say, “It is Time!”

Current plans are to tune the rig on Friday, load gear, and reset the course computer. Also rinse down the boat as our ‘neighbor’ was over zealous with sanding his teak toe rail 😦 We’ll spend the night on the boat and celebrate with the other boats and their crew planning on making the Saturday sail south to Chicago. The current forcast is partly sunny, 65°, and winds West at 10-15knts. Can you say power reaching? If it goes NW, pop the chute! Yee ha.


Well the snow’s really been falling around here—probably 3 feet in the past month. And of course most of it came in two major dumps. But that doesn’t slow us down as we get our ya-yas out with virtual sailing by watching Ice Boat Racing on the inland lakes here in the midwest, the Sydney-Hobart Race over the holidays, the Key West Regatta in January, the Vendee and Volvo Ocean Races, the list goes on. We got about a foot of snow today so I spent better than 3 hours snow blowing instead of working on boat projects but that hasn’t slowed down progress on getting things ready for our May 1st launch. There’s always something.


Everyone’s getting together for the Strictly Sail Show here in Chicago at the end of the month and I have my list of things to discuss with various vendors so that Adrenaline will be a bit better equipped shall we say.

I’ve updated our polars and targets and have a new chart ready, I’ve been researching a number of ‘go-fast’ tweaks for this spring, we have our rig tensions, the spring commissioning list is pretty well outlined, and I’ve outlined our crew development program. The race schedule is starting to take shape despite the lack of an official finalized schedule but the goal is to get the skill levels up at the Beer Cans and do several of the distance, or port-to-port, races. Most of the races are regular stars and the Leukemia Cup is no exception. This year our goal will be to have each crew member raise a minimum of $1,000 in an effort to help find cures for Leukemia and Lymphoma.

Well, back to those winter projects . . .


Here are the 2008 Beer Can results. One thing I find interesting is that all summer it seemed that we came in around 7th compared to the Tartan 10 SPIN Fleet but that we ended up with a better overall score. Also, we ended up in a three-way tie with the best overall score in “fleet”!



Well it’s official. Adrenaline is snug as a bug in a rug.


Ryan, Kyle, Everett and I sailed Adrenaline from Chicago to Waukegan on Thursday, October 9th—the day after our last Unofficial Beer Can and some serious ‘trophy’ emptying. Fortunately Kyle drove the first 3 or 4 hours as we motored into headwinds, but we got a break the last two hours and were able to sail. The weekend before we had begun taking things off the boat—about 8 big Tupperware bins of stuff but when we got to Waukegan it was remove more gear, making it home just in time to meet the pizza delivery guy. I went back the following Saturday and began taking the cushions and remaining gear off the boat and began the process of winterizing systems—oil and filter change, drain water tanks, clean the bilge, etc., all the glamorous things that boat owners look forward to. I got most of it done and now only have to make one more trip back to do a little cleaning and make sure that all the thru hulls are open and drained.

Last Wednesday night I headed down to the club to see if anyone was going out but the weather wasn’t cooperating and I found the regulars in the bar. The Obama/McCain debate came on and silenced the crowd. Maybe I can grab a ride this Wednesday night.


Adrenaline and her hula skirt


The Beer Can Awards for the summer of 2008 were held on Saturday, October 11. There was a buffet dinner at Columbia Yacht Club and a keg of Goose Island Beer, one of our sponsors along with UK Sails and Mt. Gay Rum. None of the kids came because it was Home Coming and apparently ‘jukeing and grinding’ was more important than sharing the glory of a 1st Place finish with their crew members. Although given the choice I might have done the same but we ended up with a good representation by the ‘old’ guard anyway.

After dinner we headed to the upper salon where they began handing out the awards for all the sections. Adrenaline was awarded 1st Place for JAM1 with slip neighbors Veloce taking 1st for Spin 2, Whisper for Spin 3, and Accord for JAM 2 — congrats to all! We were awarded a brag flag, and of course, more rum. What we didn’t know was that Columbia was also starting a new Beer Can trophy to remember John Finn and Jason, a J35 that we raced against in 2007. John along with two other crew died in a tragic boating accident in October of 2007 while delivering the boat to be put away for the winter. The trophy recognizes the Best Overall JAM and SPINNAKER boats of the summer. ADRENALINE was 1st overall for 2008 and is the first JAM boat to be listed on the trophy along with CANCAN DEUX from the spin section. And of course there was a lot more rum . . . and another party into the evening.

The evening ended in the bar with a lot of talk about ramping things up and doing the Beer Can spin section next year, along with the MAC and several other Area III races. But most of all we had a lot of fun. It was a terrific summer—what a year 2008 was!


1st Place JAM1 winner and 1st Place overall JAM and SPIN section winners, 2008


We didn’t get out for the last two Unofficial Beer Cans. On September 24th I had to deliver my committee report to Columbia Yacht Club and got a lot of crap for not sailing instead. And then of all things, the following Wednesday October 1st was canceled due to the weather. On October 8th we got the usual suspects together and it was once again a beautiful evening, Jason stunning us with his fine sailing outfit. We headed out of the harbor with the 135% on the roller furler so it was an easy evening to get going. We had a great start and were the first boat over the line only 2 or 3 seconds late. The wind was out of the SSW at about 8 knots so it was a reach to broad reach out to the CRIB. Some boats flew their asym’s but we successfully fought to keep clean air and rounded the CRIB in good form with only 2 boats rounding ahead us. Cutting tight inside we overtook one and came up on the transom of the other and played cat and mouse for clear air. First we’d head up for clear air and then he’d protect his position. We came close to overtaking them but couldn’t quite get the job done.

It was a cool but clear evening and the Chicago skyline was incredible with an indigo sky above, then revealing all the colors of the spectrum behind the buildings lining the lake front. Only one other boat seemed to gain on us and came up close behind. Sometimes we’d open the gap while other times Whisper was only a boat length behind us. We ended up crossing the finish line with a time of 42 minutes, 15 seconds. After cleaning up things we began working on the remaining 2 bottles of Mt Gay Rum and never made it up to the club for food or to hear the results. With 4 of us working the rum over until late in the evening, Pat finally ended up being driven home and Tom took a cab. Tom from Whisper came back out to the docks and told us that he had beat us by 1 second for first place. Not bad for another casual evening and flying a 135% to his 155% headsail.

With plans to take Adrenaline to Waukegan the next day to put the boat away for the winter, ee spent the night on the boat. The idea was to leave bright and early, say around 6am, so that we’d get in around noon but the rum had it’s full effect and we didn’t leave until 11:15am. Besides the wind was now blowing 10–15 out of the NW—basically the direction we needed to go. It was a long day and Kyle drove for the first 3 hours or so leaving me to catch up on my ‘beauty’ rest. Taking over for Kyle I eventually found the wind backing enough to allow us to put up our main and 135% which increased boat speed significantly. We got into Waukegan, unloaded everything we could into the van and had a Lou Malnati’s Pizza meet us at the door.

At the start