Sailboats hit Lake Michigan for Milwaukee Community Sailing Center’s annual Big Boat Day

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) — Friday’s sunshine paired well with a busy day on Lake Michigan, with many setting sail for the first time this season.

“It’s the start of summer for us,” said Teresa Coronado with Milwaukee Community Sailing Center.

On this year’s Big Boat Day at the Sailing Center, more than two dozen large sailboats were taken out of storage.

“They’ve been working on their boats all winter, and now they get to get them on the lake and play,” Coronado said.

Sailing Center volunteers and boat owners filled up the marina with the help of a 20-ton crane.

“We rent it for one day to get all the boats in, and then we rent it again in the fall for one day to get all the boats out of the water,” Coronado said.

For seasoned sailors like Todd Fillingham and Dick Prodehl, Big Boat Day marks the first of many days out on the water this year.

“It’s just very relaxing, very rewarding,” Prodehl said.

“Just the feeling of the wind pushing you and taking you, and all of a sudden you’re part of nature. It’s just a great feeling,” Fillingham said.

After a quiet winter, summer can bring more than a hundred people to the Sailing Center each day.

Their mission is to make Lake Michigan accessible to everyone.

“Lake Michigan is enormous and can be scary, and what we have here is a community that says, let’s all do this safely and together, and have fun,” Coronado said.

It’s a way to experience Milwaukee from a nautical point of view.

“You can get out sailing in the evening and see the sunset, see the moon come up over Lake Michigan. It’s magic,” Prodehl said.

The Milwaukee Community Sailing Center offers classes to the public all summer.

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