Chicago’s Largest Race Yacht OCEAN Donated to California Maritime…

Feelings in Chicago run deep about this beautiful boat and everything good she stands for.

The yacht OCEAN, Chicago's flagship and largest racing sailboat, has been donated to California State University Maritime Academy in Southern California, with an appraised value of $1.35 million.

OCEAN is the biggest race yacht in Chicago and second in size on all the Great Lakes. She is a marvel of technology with a mast soaring 100 feet, a lifting keel that allows the boat to enter local marinas, a computer-controlled ballast system and a variety of high-tech weather and navigation systems. Her largest sail is 5,000 square feet which is flown from the forward tip of the yacht that measures 86 feet from stem to stern. She has a distinctive deep blue hull upon which the boat’s name OCEAN glistens in assertive gold calligraphy.

“Cal Maritime is incredibly honored and excited to be receiving such an amazing yacht. We look forward to carrying on the OCEAN legacy.” said Tyler Wolk of the academy. “I know she is going where she was born to run. We'll always treasure the memories of racing this great yacht.” said Jim Banovitz, Captain and Pinnacle Foundation board member.

The boat was christened OCEAN upon her arrival in Chicago. Her name was inspired by the poet Satoro who said "Individually, we are a drop of water. Together, we are an ocean." Sentiment that rings clear to her tight crew of sixteen who consider each other family.

OCEAN made her local debut at the Strictly Sail Show at Navy Pier in 2011. In a very rare occurrence, Lake Shore Drive was shut down as the massive boat was trucked to the pier on a blustery winter Sunday.

Her appearance in Chicago shook the race scene. Some in the race circuit said she was too much boat for her crew. Her record of line honor victories and flawless safe sailing eventually won over the early naysayers and propelled the boat and her crew to rock star status in the Great Lakes.

But OCEAN has done far more than win boat races.

She was a platform for fundraising for the Pinnacle Foundation which was created with her arrival, and the centerpiece of the Chicago Regatta, the foundation’s signature event which has since been adopted by the Chicago Yacht Club. To date, the Pinnacle Foundation and affiliated individuals and organizations have donated about $350,000 to child-related organizations, including the University of Chicago's Comer Children's Hospital, Northwestern's Lurie Children's Hospital, Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, SOS Illinois and others. "These are the best wins she gave us." said Gary Feracota, Person in Charge of the yacht and President of the Pinnacle Foundation.

The boat also paid tribute to the heroes of 9/11 with veterans and an honor guard including the US Coast Guard, Navy, Marine Fire and Marine Police. On the infamous anniversaries, she could be seen flying a 40 x 60 foot American Flag from her ten-story mast as she screamed across Chicago's Lakefront in a show of American strength and fortitude.

OCEAN is crewed and owned by sixteen equity partners who raced the yacht hard and gave their time and finances for various charities. “It has been a very emotional time for us.” said Patti Feracota, Partner and Crew Person of the yacht. “Feelings in Chicago run deep about this beautiful boat and everything good she stands for."

"Our team has always known we were caretakers of a work of art and science that would someday pass to the next generation. That day has arrived, and we are all grateful to have had her in our lives. Heartfelt thanks to our dear friends from around world who have helped us campaign the boat on the race course and rally hearts and minds to do good in the community." said Gary Feracota.

OCEAN will depart the Chicago area from Larsen Marine on November 15.

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