Chicago lakefront: A late summer rideContinue reading.
Chicago lakefront & Chicago River: Perfect ride
As part of the Progressive Insurance Chicago In-Water Boat Show, which runs through Sunday at the 31st Street Harbor, there is a parade of boats.
The boats leave from 31st Street Harbor, go through the Chicago Locks, then group around Roosevelt on the South Branch before beginning a parade back to the Locks and back to 31st.
As things were organized this morning by Maria Blevins, the PR lead for the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the Chicago-based group putting on the show, I chatted with Keith Ogulnick about shows and boating.
Ogulnick is the show manager, a veteran show manager in the Chicago market. He was happy to note that sales bumped up several percent points last year and the projections are for another 5-7 percent this year.
In fact, the boat they hoped to be the Queen of the Show, a 72-footer, was sold weeks before the show. So the top end boats are a couple 54-footers, still lively boats.
I rode in the lead boat with Capt. Rob Newsome, with whom I have ridden many times in NMMA functions. They just received the boat NMMA will have for the boating season, a Cobalt A 28 from Gordy’s.
Somebody voiced what many of us were thinking, “Look at that water, glass.”
It was one of those rare days where Lake Michigan was glass.
The parade included two Cobalts, four “woodies,” as Newsome called the four antique boats from the Blackhawk Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society, two classic fiberglass boats, a Grady-White and a 45 Cantius cruiser.
It was a parade.
Ogulnick got into it as the parade swung through downtown and used a bullhorn to announce, “Life is better in a boat. This weekend, the Chicago In-Water Boat Show.”
And, “Life is better in a boat, DiscoverBoating.com.”
It was hard to argue with him a morning like today.
Newsome, ever the mood-setter, found the Eurythmics doing, “Sweet Dreams” on the radio.
Something apt about hearing this while on a boat on a perfect morning:
Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree
I travel the world and the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something
The obligatory finger was given to Trump Tower, former site of the Sun-Times. The sun caught the new home of the Sun-Times on Wolf Point in good light.
When we came back up the South Branch of the Chicago River, welders had sparks flying from under he Van Buren bridge. On the main stem, much construction was being done on the shoreline.
We had an extended wait on the locks upon our return for some reason, even though two water taxis were waiting with the parade to lock out.
Both Cobalts pushed their limits on the way back in an impromptu race, much like two boys deciding to race home.
It was time.
Back to the building heat on shore.
Ogulnick said they ended up with about 110 new boats. There’s also nautical accessories, kayaking, paddleboarding, banana boat rides, Hobie Kayak spin classes, boating lessons, scuba diving and Flyboard.
And there are multiple ways to save on parking. Personally, I just park south of McCormick Place for a couple dollars and walk down.