Going the Distance for Chicago Racing

Aboard the Beneteau 36.7 Endeavor, Julian "Skip" Schink enforces an all-inclusive crew policy for beer-can races and Sperry Top-Sider NOOD regattas alike.

Sailing World

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Julian "Skip" Schink trims the spinnaker of his Beneteau 36.7 Endeavor toward the end of the 2011 Sperry Top-Sider Chicago NOOD Distance Race.Michael Lovett

Many racers talk about the importance of bringing new blood into the sport. But how many go so far as to print up business card sized cheat sheets for new crewmembers? With the help of crew boss Barbara Benstead, Julian "Skip" Schink created a handy reference for newbies aboard his Beneteau 36.7 Endeavor. The card includes a map of the Chicago shoreline with directions to Endeavor's slip at Chicago YC's Belmont Station; on the flip side, there are hints like "Wear non-marking, soft-soled shoes" and "White wines and hors d'ouvres always appreciated."

I showed up empty handed for Saturday's Sperry Top-Sider Chicago NOOD Distance Race, but I don't think Schink or anyone else aboard Endeavor would've wanted a glass of chilled chardonnay as we made our way around the 30-mile course in a cold fog on Lake Michigan. The first leg was a 12-mile upwind slog to a turning mark off Evanston, Il. As we set the kite—which Schink, an oncologist, adorned with a turquoise ribbon to promote ovarian cancer awareness—the fog lifted just enough so we could see the Baha'i Temple and other landmarks along the shoreline. Approaching the finish near Navy Pier, we marveled at the cottony cloud formation weaving its way over the Hancock building. Mostly, though, we were happy to have finished ahead of the other Beneteau 36.7 in the 19-boat fleet, and happy to be headed toward a warm shower

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On the flip side of _Endeavor's rookie cheat sheet, you'll find the gate code for Chicago YC's Belmont station._

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Along with Chicago YC Rear Commodore Gregory Miarecki and Mark Norris—owner of the Beneteau 36.7 Split Decision—Schink has been making a push to strengthen Chicago's one-design racing scene. They've added starts for Tartan Tens and Beneteau 36.7s to the weekend series for Etchells, Shields, and Luders; they were also instrumental in bringing the Sperry Top-Sider Chicago NOOD Distance Race to fruition. "There are a lot of sailors around here who prefer distance racing," says Schink. "So we've been doing our best to include them in our buoy-racing regattas by adding a short distance race."

Like the beginner's cheat sheet, the addition of a distance race to the Chicago NOOD is a no brainer. Efforts like this go a long way toward growing the sport, and the inclusive spirit is contagious. Well done, Skip. Next time, I promise I wont show up empty handed!

  • For more coverage of the Sperry Top-Sider Chicago NOOD, click here.
  • For results, click here.
  • For photos by Jeremiah Tamagna-Dar/ www.timwilkes.com, click here.