Sailboat-Races-DuluthKentucky has its derby and Boston its marathon, but where in Duluth can you experience the thrill of a race? Winter has dogsled marathons and ski meets and summer does have its share of marathons, but for a truly lake-oriented experience, you have to stay for the sailboats.

Every Wednesday night of the summer, you’ll see the usually calm Lake Superior fill up with white sails. This fleet of boats looks peaceful at first. But in reality, every boat is on a mission. Each captain is striving with wind and crew, giving his or her all against the vicissitudes of the big blue water in an effort to reach the top. Faster, just a little faster, onwards to the goal!

Because Beacon Pointe is as close to the water as possible (even the Lakewalk is routed in front of us instead of behind us) you can get a good view of the races from your own room. If you’d like to go out on the town, the Fitger’s Courtyard is another good place to watch. It is just a couple of miles down the Lakewalk, meaning you could actually walk there and back–or you could walk while watching.

Besides the Wednesday races (at 6pm), there are also races on Sunday and races in nearby locations.

Do you want to participate in the races yourself? Racing isn’t ideal for rookies or casual sailors, because the boats are quite close together and also quite fast. But if you know what you’re doing (or you’re the kind of bold extrovert that we all know and love) you can still get on board. Frederick Duddrear, Commodore of the Duluth Keel Club, says that you don’t have to live in Duluth to join the fun.

Send him an email at [email protected] with some information on your experience level and he will help you out. Newer racers can potentially help crew another boat or find an experienced sailor to help them keep everything untangled. Races are normally 5 nautical miles, windward-leeward.

It’s not every day that you’re next to the world’s largest lake. Take advantage of a truly local sport and watch the boats fly by.

Photo by Dan Jandl. Used with Permission.