Photo was provided by Karen K Harris — POSTED August 15 2016 2: 41 PM


Karen K. Harris (right) a partner at Amstein & Lehr LLP and her Jacksson Park

Yacht Club teammates set out on a 333-mile race from Navy Pier to Mackinac

Island, Mich." on July 22, 2016 Their sailboat a 38-footer named the Mise en Place,

was one of 326 boats participating (Partcial printing)


Arnstein & Lehr Partner Sails Stress Away



If you're cruising Lake Shore Drive on a Wednesday evening. you may

look out at Lake Michigan to see a partner of one of the country‘s oldest

law firms sailing in what's called a “beer can race."


Karen K. Harris, a partner at Arnstein& Lehr, LLP is Vice Commodore of

the Jackson Park Yacht Club. In July, for her fifth year, she sailed 333

miles up Lake Michigan in the Chicago Yacht Club's Race to Mackinac

with one of the races only predominantly black teams.


For Harris, sailing is how she avoids burnout after long hours of legal



”Being able to get out on the water and being one with nature is my

way of recharging, destressing and balancing life." she said.


As a black woman. Harris notices that both the legal practice and sailing

are predominantly white. When her team placed fifth in its division in

2012, she said she was the first black woman to be on the Champion's

podium since the contest to reach Mackinac Island, Mich. was founded in 1898.


She said she was proud and hoped her accomplishment as the first

black woman on the podium would encourage a second and third to follow.

Eight of the nine sailors on Harris' Mac Race yacht were black including fellow Attorney David A. Shelton.

The Mac Race is ”no luxury cruise." said Shelton a sport and entertainment solo practitioner who lives on his sailboat. It is an endurance

race, sailing to the island between Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas as fast as the wind allows.

In this year’s race, Harris and Shelton’s team sailed 67 1/2 hours straight through the nights, leaving Chicago at 3 pm. Friday and arriving at

Mackinac Island at 10: 30 a.m. Monday. They split into three teams of one skipper and two crewman sailing in two—hour shifts and

sleeping when off duty“


Their vessel. owned by another member of Harris’ yacht club. was a 38-

foot sailboat named the Mise en Place. which gets its name from a

French cooking term meaning “everything in its place. "


”Theoretically. it would be nice if all equipment were in place.” Harris



This year, the Mise en Place's alternator broke, which meant they sailed

the old—fashioned way with basically no power. They used flashlights

for boat lights and their refrigerator was out. They knew they needed

to go north, but they had to use a handheld, backup GPS device to find

their heading. And they could sense a storm was coming in-but couldn't

use the ship's radar to figure out exactly how or when.


There were a few periods with no wind. and they passed the time

swimming off the back of the boat in the middle of the lake.


Harris explained she had to wake up at 3am. to prepare for her 4—to—6

a.m. piloting shift, but at least she was able to appreciate the night sky as the boat cut through the waves.

She said more stars are visible from the middle of the lake.


Sailing, Harris said, is such a different environment from her firm’s

office downtown.


"There are many a days when it's nice outside and I'm sitting inside like. 'Why did I go to law school?”

Harris said.


She can often be seen sitting on the boat with her laptop open. rushing

to answer the last few e-maiis before she loses cell service. Amstein &

Lehr partners cover for her during the race and until she is back online

after she reaches the island.


When not serving clients or working on her firm's diversity efforts.

Harris is out on the water three times a week.

(For more of this story, CLICK HERE)



By Howard Ludwig | July 27, 2017


JACKSON PARK — It's not uncommon for off-duty police officers to join a bowling league or softball team, but Marlon Harvey thinks his fellow officers ought to consider sailing as well.

Harvey is a 30-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department. The Beverly resident works as a mounted patrolman and has been sailing for more than a decade at the Jackson Park Yacht Club, near the department's stables.

"When I am out here sailing, I call it my religion. It is very peaceful," Harvey said Tuesday. "The water, the wind — you just forget everything."

Harvey started the Chicago Police Sailing Association in March 2016 in the hope of encouraging more law enforcement officials to take up the pastime. He's hoping to further this cause with the Gold Star Regatta.

About 30 sailboats are expected to participate in the inaugural race that begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday from the club in Jackson Park. Two races are available to entrants — a distance race and a buoy race, said Karen Harris, the commodore in Jackson Park.

A party after the race will be held at 2 p.m. with beverages, local food trucks and entertainment for children. Proceeds from the regatta are slated for police charities, including the Brotherhood for the Fallen, the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and the 100 Club of Chicago.

Those not racing can sponsor a boat, and Harvey encouraged his supporters to look no further than the Maggie Marie — a 35-foot sailboat named for his mother, grandmother and granddaughter.

extralarge1 extralarge2

Marlon Harvey of Beverly has been actively sailing for more than a decade.
He started the Chicago Police Sailing Association in March 2016 and hopes his fellow police officers take up the pastime. [DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig]

Karen Harris is the commodore of the Jackson Park Yacht Club. Marlon Harvey is a member of the South Side club and started the Chicago Police Sailing Association. [DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig]

Harvey's boat will feature a seven-member crew made up entirely of law enforcement officials. Besides himself, there are also two Chicago police sergeants, two patrolmen, a retired officer and an officer in the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.

Harvey said the sailing community is very supportive of law enforcement overall. By Wednesday afternoon, $2,725 had been raised for the race.

"He's nervous, but I'm calm. It's such a great cause," Harris said of the race Harvey has dedicated to the late James Webb, who served as commodore in Jackson Park before he died in May.

Another boat participating in the regatta will be crewed by military veterans. And Harvey is hoping a boat from the Chicago Fire Department will register this year or next year to build on the natural rivalry with police.

Harvey was introduced to sailing by a fellow police officer. Soon he was spending his free time at the yacht club, volunteering as a crew member for four or five boats. He bought his own boat in 2008.

He's on his third boat now and said it's a common misconception that sailing is something that only the elite can enjoy. In fact, he said, sailors are always looking for free help, and experience typically isn't required.

"A lot of what I am doing is to show that this is something you can do. It is within your reach," said Harvey, who was raised in Grand Crossing and later Morgan Park.

Harvey said those interested can check out "intramural races" Wednesday nights. These casual races among club members often have boats willing to take curious sailors out on the water. And after docking, a "beer can" or post-race party is enjoyed by all.

"It's a good way to just get your introduction," Harris said.

Captain Shelton — His Pursuit


Police Officer Finds Peace Through Sailing, Hopes Others Will As Well







Compass Rose

January 2016 marked the twelveth aniversary of the Black Chicago Sailors' website. Since our inception, we have had over 11,120 visitors, like yourself from all over the U.S. and abroad. It is one of our goals to keep this site current with updated information. Our "Captains" section is updated on an annual basis. If there are captains you don't see listed, please feel free to contact us at: bcs@black chicagosailors.org


“The largest group of black sailors of both men and women in the countrycruising and racing.”


From the Navigation Station

The only black captains in the Chicago-Mackinaw Race 2017 - Finished AND Placed!

Captain David Ward
Fouth in Section 8

Captain Paul Thompson
Fifth in Cruising 3