FAQ - Frequently asked questions
How many people? Although Phenix is a roomy vessel, we specialize in small groups of 2, 3 or 4. We are not a party boat or a booze cruise.
Why do you specialize in weekday and morning trips? We avoid charters on Saturday or Sunday afternoons because Lake Michigan is crowded with 100s of powerboats and the wakes they create do not make for good conditions. In contrast, on weekdays (and the occasional weekend morning), there are very few boats out, so that is when we go out!
Where do we go on the trip? We spend the trip along the Chicago shore of Lake Michigan. How fast we go and what direction is determined by the wind. We hate the sound of the engines, so sailing is a top priority.
Can I help sail and steer? Of course! You can do as much as you like, with the captain's supervision.
How is a catamaran different than a monohull sailboat? The difference you will notice the most is the roominess of the catamaran because it is so much wider than a monohull sailboat. There is lots more space to relax. Also, there is almost no "heeling" while sailing - the boat stays flat and your drink probably won't spill.
What should I make sure to bring? Bring your camera and dress accordingly. It is usually a bit cooler on the lake. A hat and sunglasses are always good. Bring sunscreen, but please, NO OIL sunscreen. 'Spray' sunscreen should be applied on the dock before boarding.
What about shoes? You'll be asked to take off shoes while on Phenix. It's easier to relax without shoes on anyway.
How early can we go? You can depart anytime in the morning. The view of the city when we are the only boat on the lake in the morning is an amazing sight (and a unique photo opportunity) with the sun shining across Lake Michigan onto the city. Honestly, morning is the best time to be on Lake Michigan.
Are your sailing times flexible? Yes, when booking, you can request a specific time if you like. Your charter will begin and end at the time we agree on, so try not to be late and lose sailing time!
Is there a toilet on board? Yes
Can I bring food? Most people eat before or after their trip on Phenix, as Chicago has some great restaurants. If you bring food, please limit it to something that is easily eaten without spilling. Small sandwiches are a great choice.
What about drinks and alcohol? You may bring soft drinks, beer or wine, and you must be 21 or over to consume alcohol. The amount of alcohol should be a reasonable quantity so everyone enjoys the trip. We are not a booze cruise ... if you are interested in a booze cruise, we can recommend a few in Chicago.
- NO hard liquor permitted on-board
- Cans or plastic are preferred
Should I bring a cooler? You can bring a cooler, or even better, you may put your beverages in the large cooler on Phenix.
Can food and drink be purchased nearby? The DuSable Harbor store next to our dock sells a limited supply of snacks, soda, iced teas, etc. Other stores (Bockwinkels at Harbor Point 155 N Harbor Dr and Mariano's Fresh Market 333 E Benton Place) are a 15-20 minute walk away. It is best to buy your supplies in advance.
How about music? Phenix has a sound system to pair with your bluetooth phone. If you don't bring music, don't worry, Phenix has lots of music to suit all tastes. Or no music, just the sound of water.
What if the weather is bad? The captain will contact you the day before the trip and discuss this with you. If the weather is deemed unsuitable, then we will not go out and you will not be charged.
What about parking? You can usually pay for parking at the DuSable Harbor parking lot. If you are driving, you should discuss this with us prior to the trip.
Marijuana or other drugs? No drugs (not even medical marijuana) are allowed on boats per Federal Law, and the Captain is required to immediately notify the Coast Guard and Chicago Police if any drugs are aboard.
Do I need to tip the crew? Gratuity is customary in the service industry. All tips are shared amongst the entire crew.