Photo by David Vernon
Most Peorians, I suspect, are unfamiliar with the Great Loop. I first learned about it late last year through a press release touting a “historic number of transient boaters” hosted by the IVY Club in 2018. Many of these visitors were so-called “Loopers,” attempting this 6,000-mile circumnavigation of the eastern United States. With our June focus on tourism, we thought it would be a great story to kick off another Peoria summer.
Along with IVY Club board member Nicole Roberts and photographer Jeffery Noble, we sketched out plans for a dramatic photo shoot of sailboats on the Illinois River at sunset, coordinating multiple dates in case of inclement weather. And then came the floodwaters…
While Davenport, Iowa had it much worse than Peoria, significant flooding led to an indefinite ban on all watercraft from Chillicothe to Grafton, where the Illinois meets the Mississippi River. Needless to say, our photo shoot was off. That’s when I connected with Charity Monroe, who joins her husband racing their Capri 22 sailboat on the Illinois River every Saturday from mid-May through September.
“Dave and I have been involved with the IVY Club since he joined in 1975,” Monroe notes. “I’ve been photographing sailboats ever since I had my first camera, and have thousands of photos of boats from Argentina, British Columbia, Michigan and Peoria.” After considering some three dozen, we landed upon our cover photo: a colorful image taken in October 2012 during the IVY Club regatta on Peoria Lake. (I’ll admit our team did a little Photoshop work, turning the fall foliage into a more summer-like green.)
Having beat back the floodwaters, the IVY Club is open and ready to welcome the public, no boat required. Their summer membership preview runs through Labor Day, with no initiation fee, while sailing lessons for youth and adults—a mainstay of the club for 16 years—begin on June 10th. Learn more at ivyclub.org/membership, or call (309) 682-5419 to schedule a tour. In the meantime, check out the June 2019 issue of Peoria Magazine! —Jonathan Wright, Editor-In-Chief