Over the years Chicago has been a test base for many of SailTime’s innovations. Crew Connection, Lite membership, membership on Rinker Express Cruisers: all started in Chicago. This year they tested out having memberships on a Rinker Captiva 246 bow rider, called “2nd String.” This was the first boat of its kind in SailTime, and the base had a fun time getting it ready to go. Before it went into the fleet, they installed a FLoScan Fuel Flow Monitor to track fuel consumption. Base Manager, Ryan Remsing, also installed a 30amp shorepower system, making 2nd String the only Captiva 246 with AC power. “It was a successful run with 2nd String,” says Remsing. He continues, “we look forward to adding more “runabout” type powerboats next season.” The ASA-certified sailing school had its best year yet, holding twice as many classes as in 2012. Instructor Greg Gutirrez joined the staff, and has been a hit with students. North Point Marina in Winthrop Harbor has become the main training center for its’ Chicago boaters. The marina has wide fairways and open slips for docking practice, full amenities on shore, and is outside the hustle and bustle of the city. Winthrop Harbor is also easy to reach from Chicago via car or train. In 2014, the Chicago base is designating a Hunter 33 for training only so they can hold ASA101 courses every weekend. Ryan concludes, “We want to spread the love of sailing to as many people as we can!” The base also noticed a trend this year of members boating with babies. For so many, the birth of a child can be a temporary end to sailing or boating fun. We’re so glad that our customers were able to use membership to keep boating. It introduces a whole new generation to sailing, keeping the sport alive and giving the kiddies wonderful memories. Plus they send us adorable pictures like this! The #1 goal this winter for 2014 in Chicago is to add new boats in an effort to meet the growing demand for shared boating. Additionally, with several boats to retire and replace, the opportunity for owners has never been better! To help incentivize new boat buyers, Chicago came up with a great promotion for this winter. Buy a new Marlow-Hunter sailboat and you get a free week-long charter in the Spanish Virgin Islands at our Puerto Rico base. Or, if you buy a powerboat the base guarantees to cover your full boat loan payment for 3-5 years!