Although there’s no guarantee that some hot-shot kid on a jet-ski won’t cut you off, a lazy sojourn on the lake in a sailboat or a windsurfer is a sure way to unwind from commuter stress and city fever. Because on the lake, no one can hear you scream (which is fine if you are wearing the right floatation device.) A leisurely couple of hours out on the lake offers a lesson in re-evaluating the city, often from a perspective that too few people take advantage of, far away from the hustle and bustle, and with a clear view of the skyline that makes the sometimes overwhelming bigness of it all seem small again. For the land-lubbing urbanite there is a bevy of options for water sports activities, from renting jet-skis, catamarans and sailboats to scuba gear to plumb the murky bottom for tires, treasure and “missing” teamster officials. The following is just a partial list of the many options for water-sports summer fun.
Bill Gladstone’s Chicago Sailing Club: The sailing club offers basic lessons, racing classes and leagues, refresher and advanced courses and a club night every Friday and Saturday that runs $30 for three hours of sailing. Beginners can choose either weekday ($330 for five sessions) or weekend ($360 for four sessions) sessions that begin every week with sixteen hours of on the water instruction in classes no bigger than four students. Private lessons range from $45 to $70 an hour depending on day and number of students. Belmont Harbor, 871-SAIL.
Chicago Park District: Individual lessons, consisting of five one-hour sessions range from $85 for sailboards to $100 for Catamarans. Group and adult lessons are $85 for four three hour classes, as well as Junior Group lessons for a maximum of fifteen students (ages 10-17). Rental fees range from $15 for one hour on a Barnett 1400 to $40 for two hours with a Hobie 16. North Shore Beach/Pratt and Lake Michigan (742-7861), South Shore Beach/71st and Lake Michigan (747-6629) and Burnham Harbor/1362 S. Linn White Drive (747-7684)-(Sailboat rentals available only at North Shore and South Shore beaches.)
Lincoln Park Boat Club: In conjunction with the CHA’s Residents’ Organization, the Lincoln Park Boat Club offers a program to teach inner-city children, age 10-16, paddling and kayaking skills. Groups of up to twenty children (with an adult supervisor for every five students) will learn paddling basics in boats ranging from sea kayaks to Olympic racing craft with opportunities for advanced, individual instruction for highly motivated students. Call Tom Hall at 883-5230 for more information. (The Boat Club at 2241 Cannon Dr., 549-2628 also offers kayaking, canoeing, sculling and rowing memberships ranging from $125 for individuals to $52 for students.)
Northwestern University Sailing Center: A variety of classes from Beginning sailing ($90 for students, $140 for public) to Intermediate Windsurfing ($80 for students, $130 for public) are available from May through October, as well as seasonal memberships from $125 for students to $300 for the public. 2379 N. Campus Drive, (708)491-4142.
Windward Sports: For the brave at heart and strong of back, windsurfing is an option not to be missed. Course prices range from $120 for a full certification course that lasts two days to a mini-course with simulator instruction and limited windsurfer use for $25 with a maximum five-person class size. For those bitten by the bug, $150 will buy you a club membership with on-site board rentals at Montrose Beach as low as $10 an hour. 3317 N. Clark, 472-6868.
Underwater Safaris Scuba Center: Whether in search of lost treasure or missing co-workers, scuba certification can be obtained with class-pool training sessions and open-water training in as little as a week and a half. You provide the mask, fins and snorkel and the rest is taken care of. Private classes (where you create your own schedule) start at $375 and group classes, from one-and-a-half to three weeks, are limited to six students and cost $175, all including PADI Open Water Video crew pack. 620 N. LaSalle St. (337-7730) and 2950 N. Lincoln Ave. (348-3999).
Adventures in Scuba: Adventures offers two-to five day private classes for $400 and weekend classes for up to six students for $300, both including Open Water Course video. Group classes meet for five, four-hour sessions for $185, with all equipment costs included, except mask, fins, snorkel and boots. Riverpoint Center, 1730 W. Fullerton, 935-3483. (Gil Kaufman)