Lake Forest Sailing is a true gem in our community.
Lake Forest Sailing is a program of the City of Lake Forest’s Recreation Department offering sailing instruction for all ages and skill levels. The program is nationally recognized and sanctioned as an accredited training center by US Sailing. Lake Forest Sailing was recognized as the Best Community Sailing Program of the Year by U.S. Sailing and the Best Recreation Program of the Year from the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association in 2002.
We truly provide opportunities to sailors of all ages and ability levels, from beginners to aspiring National Champions in dinghies and keelboats. 2020 has been a record year for our youth programming with over 130 Lake Forest children participating in our learn to sail programs since only July 6th.
Within the sailing program, the Club 420 is a key entry point to a lifetime sailing for many juniors as it is the basis of over 470 high school sailing programs and core to 233 collegiate sailing programs. We have an estimated 500 high school alumni sailors who sailed through our program.
Our current fleet of Club 420 Sailboats has reached the end of its useful life. The Lake Forest fleet of Club 420s currently consists of 18 boats with an average age of 12 years and the oldest boats at 21 years. It is recommended that 420s be replaced every 6-8 years to ensure safe, reliable, and contemporary equipment.
Historically, boats have been added / retired on an irregular schedule resulting in a motley assortment of Club 420s. The insufficient number and quality of our boats has created an inconsistent sailing experience for our community members, makes race training challenging for our competitive sailors, and limits our ability to host regional and national events. We have not acquired a new Club 420 sailboat since 2015 and have retired four in recent years.
We have the opportunity to acquire a full fleet of 21 420E sailboats to serve our community and competitive racing needs. The 420E are generally viewed as the “next generation” Club 420. The 420E sailboats are more durable, built for scholastic sailing, and the most common 420 at well regarded college sailing venues. Most importantly, the 420Es have a longer useful life.
The 420E is the clear direction for competitive collegiate sailing. This fleet will become the backbone of our highly decorated high school sailing teams and provide a springboard for the students desiring a competitive collegiate career. Additionally, the 420Es have less hardware and fewer internal components which improves the overall experience for our introductory and intermediate community sailing for teenagers and adults.
With your support, we will be able to continue to invest in this important program for our community and support and inspire the next generation of Lake Forest sailors.
Will Howard, Sailing Director
Lake Forest Sailing