Evening Events and Speakers

2015- TBA

2013- The Chicago Match Race Center

Located at the north end of Belmont Harbor, CMRC is hosting the sailors for the third year in a row.  This year (weather permitting) the clinic sailors will head out to the lake on the CMRC houseboat for a BBQ dinner, get to meet some of the staff and sailors, and take turns sailing on some of CMRC’s Tom28’s, the boats used at most match race events here in Chicago. The CMRC is a new, state-of-the-art facility, host to some of the most competitive match racing regattas in the country and brings in some the best sailors in the world to compete throughout the year.

The participants will also enjoy a casual dinner at the Sailing School and have a chance to sit down and get to know the coaches and each other.


2013-Ken Read

Ken ReadKen Read, born June 24, 1961, is an American yachtsman who is considered one of the world’s most accomplished and celebrated sailors. He was two time Rolex Yachtsman of the Year  (1985, 1995) and has over 40 World, North American, and National Championships to his credit in a variety of classes including the J/24 and Etchells 22.  While sailing at Boston University, Read was a three-time Collegiate All American (1981, 82, 83) and is a member of the BU Hall of Fame. Read won the “Everett B. Morris Trophy”, awarded to the ICSA’s College Sailor of the Year in 1982.  Read was helmsman onboard two (2000, 2003) of Dennis Conner’s Stars & Stripes America’s Cup campaigns.  He also served as strategist and coach with America’s Cup entry Young America in 1999.

Read first began racking up offshore miles when he joined the Ericsson Racing Team for the last four legs of the 2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race.

Read was skipper of Puma Ocean Racing Team’s il Mostro in the 2008-2009 Volvo Ocean Race—his first complete circumnavigation.  Read took a sabbatical from his job as Vice President of North Sails, to skipper PUMA Ocean Racing’s entry in the race.

On October 29, 2011 Ken returned as skipper for a second time to lead PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG’s entry Mar Mostro in the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race.

In July, 2012 Mar Mostro finished it’s circumnavigation in Galway, Ireland in 3rd place, securing a 3rd place overall victory in the 2011-2012 Edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.  Alongside a 3rd place podium finish, Read lead PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG to a 1st place overall victory in the In-Port Series.  Read has stated this will be his last entry in the Volvo Ocean Race.

Volvo Ocen Race








2012-Bora Gulari


Gulari was born in Istanbul in 1975.  His parents were active 505 sailors in Turkey, and named their son after the northern wind that sweeps the Aegean Sea.  He immigrated to the States as a small child when his parents both professors landed jobs in academia.  While the young Gulari would accompany them-Bassinet style-in their 505, his forays into singlehanded sailing didn’t come until age 5, when his dad set him up with a modified windsurfing rig. It didn’t take long before Bora was hooked on the thrill of white-knuckle speed.

Growing up in Detroit, Michigan, Gulari sailed out of Grosse Point before attending the University of Michigan, where he earned a degree in aerospace engineering.  While he sailed in school, his career didn’t take flight until post graduation when he became active in the 49er class, narrowly missing an Olympic berth. Given his windsurfing background, he considered an RS:X campaign, but fate intervened when he discovered YouTube videos of Moth legend Rohan Veal flying on foils.  A purchase was made, sight unseen, and Gulari never looked astern. Two Moth World Championships

Bora is the first American with two Moth World Championships under his belt since 1959. His first win was in 2009, a banner year in which he not only cracked the 30-knot barrier, but was also named US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. He repeated his World’s win in 2013, beating a strong fleet of 80 competitors in Hawaii. Bora ascribes his success to the year he spend working on the boat, tweaking systems, and making dozens of other subtle changes. This, plus two months of all-day sailing before the Worlds gave him the balance, speed, and smarts he needed to become the champion.


2011- Budy Melges

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWorld-renown sailor, premier boat builder, and former America’s Cup skipper Buddy Melges was the keynote speaker at our very first Neill Clinic!

The little town of Zenda, Wisconsin (population: 100), is famous for two things: an eight pound meteorite that was once found there, and Buddy Melges, who has long been known as “The Wizard of Zenda.” From his home waters on nearby Lake Geneva, where he has been equally adept in both scows and ice boats, Melges has become one of the more successful and acclaimed racing skippers in the world. He has two Olympic medals; world championships in Stars (2), 5.5 Meters (3), E-Scows (5), and Skeeter Ice Boats (7); and an America’s Cup win as co-helmsman. He is also a three-time Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. Those are just the highlights of a stunning career on the water.

He was inducted to the America’s Cup Hall of Fame in 2001 at the America’s Cup Jubilee in Cowes, on the Isle of Wight off Britain’s south coast. Cowes is where, in 1851, a schooner named America won a trophy that now bears its name and began a 132-year winning streak for the New York Yacht Club.

His Cup efforts include being the primary helmsman for America3’s successful defense in 1992.

“That’s the pinnacle, that’s the last step in your accomplishments,” Melges, 68, said when asked to compare the honor to the legion of laurels received during a career that includes a Soling-class gold medal in the 1972 Olympics; a Flying Dutchman-class bronze in 1964; world championships in everything from ice boats to scows to big boats; and, of course, three “Yachtsman of the Year” awards in 1961, 1972 and 1983.

Thanks to a reliable set of sound, basic observations, Melges is one of the few seat-of-the-pants skippers who flourished beyond sailing’s high tech revolution. “Instruments are great,” he once remarked, “but you have to look at the water, present the boat for Mother Nature.”