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Sailor's Prayer


2016 Chicago Maritime Festival Presenters

Opening Event, Friday, February 15

Chicago Maritime Museum

Chicago Maritime Stories with Channel 11's Jay Shefsky


On Friday April 15th, Jay Shefsky, host of Jay’s Chicago and senior producer of Chicago Tonight will present a special maritime program at 8:00 pm at the Chicago Maritime Museum at the Bridgeport Arts Center, 1200 West 35th Street, Suite 0E-5010, as part of the 2016 Chicago Maritime Festival and the Chicago Maritime Museum’s “3rd Friday” series.  Jay’s presentation will highlight four nautical stories featured on Channel 11: the life of canoe guru and CMM founder Ralph Frese, paddling kayaks on the Calumet River, going over the water at 94 miles per hour during a power boat race, and sailing on a tall ship from Milwaukee to Chicago.Jay's work has been honored with numerous awards, including Emmys, Peter Lisagor journalism awards, and a Cine Golden Eagle. His work has been broadcast nationally on PBS and on the ABC NEWS Nightline program.  Jay is an avid cyclist, hiker, and paddler.  His wife Liz Feldman and daughters Hannah and Leah are the best part of Jay's Chicago!

Main Event Saturday, February 16

Old Town School and Grafton Pub


Diveheart Today with Tinamarie Hernandez

Tinamarie Hernandez is the Executive Director of this amazing organization dedicated to opening the underwater world of diving to people with disabilities. She will be doing an update of what Diveheart has been doing recently and talking about our local programs, research, and volunteer opportunities.

Educational Opportunities in the Maritime Industries

with Keith Michel, President and Matt Werner Dean

of the Webb Institute

 A brief overview of the design and construction of ships and offshore structures and a description of the educational opportunities available to those wishing to pursue careers in the marine industries.

Over 90% of world trade moves on ships.  Many resources are derived from the oceans and they serve as a base for recreational activities.  Keith Michel will discuss the wide variety of marine vehicles that are utilized in these endeavors, and some of the exciting challenges facing today’s naval architects, marine engineers, and ocean engineers.

The critical human resources necessary for the United States’ participation in the international maritime community are developed by a number of focused educational programs.  These educational programs are provided by a variety of institutions that range from union run trade schools to federal service academies to public and private colleges and universities.  Matt Werner will describe the marine-related educational opportunities available to young people, and then provide a more in-depth look at Webb Institute, a unique educational institution that has served the American maritime industry for over 125 years.

Founded in 1889 by William H. Webb, Webb Institute is a top-ranked undergraduate engineering college specializing in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. Webb provides full-tuition scholarships to all admitted students; admission to Webb is extremely competitive with a maximum of 28 students being accepted into the program each year. Webb Institute prides itself on a 100% placement rate for graduates who are highly sought after by all segments of the marine industry. The campus is located on a beautiful, waterfront site in Glen Cove, NY.  For more information, visit


 Keith Michel was appointed President of Webb Institute on July 1, 2013.  Prior to this appointment, he worked at Herbert Engineering Corp. (HEC), a naval architecture firm, for over 40 years.  During this time, he worked on the design of many ocean-going vessels, including containerships, oil tankers, LNG carriers, ro-ro vessels, and tug/barges.  He served as chair of the International Maritime Organization working group developing subdivision standards for tankers, as chair of the Marine Board of the National Research Council, and as President of the Society of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineers (SNAME).

President Michel holds a B.S. degree in naval architecture and marine engineering from Webb Institute of Naval Architecture.  He was awarded SNAME’s prestigious David W. Taylor medal for contributions to the field of naval architecture, and is a member National Academy of Engineering.

Matthew R. Werner was appointed the Dean of Webb Institute on July 1, 2015.  Dean Werner began his career in the ship design, construction, and operations fields and joined the Webb faculty in 2002.  In 2010, he was designated Webb’s first American Bureau of Shipping Chair in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering.  Dean Werner earned both his B.S in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering and M.S. in Ocean Technology from Webb Institute. He also earned a M.B.A from Long Island University. He is a registered professional engineer in the state of New York.

 Dean Werner has taught as a visiting professor of engineering for the University of Michigan and an adjunct professor for both the United States Merchant Marine Academy and Stevens Institute of Technology.  Since joining the Webb faculty, Dean Werner has maintained an active consulting practice in the areas of ship design, naval architecture, marine engineering, and ship operations. Dean Werner is a member of the American Bureau of Shipping and the Society of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (SNAME).

Seaworthy Shakespeare: Shipwrecks, Scenes & Songs

with Shakespeare All-Stars

"I to the world am like a drop of water that in the ocean seeks another drop." -- William Shakespeare

The All-Stars bring the Bard to life in a fast-paced, interactive montage of Shakespearean songs and scenes that celebrate the sea! Shipwrecks are common theme in Shakespeare's works, and his colorful shipwrecked characters have mystical adventures, encounter danger, and sometimes fall in love.  Fun for audiences of all ages!

The mission of the All-Stars Theatre Company is to inspire, educate, and entertain diverse audiences through performances and workshops.

The All-Stars present interactive touring performances, in-class workshops, and after-school enrichment programs at schools, parks, libraries, special events, and community centers in and around Chicago. Our ensemble enlivens the works of Shakespeare and other great playwrights in a fresh, accessible way by suiting "the action to the word, the word to the action." 

Stormy Weather with Amy Seeley

Learn how weather influences our sailing lives today and how it has influenced our maritime history.

Amy is a Meteorologist and has been with the National Weather Service for over 21 years. For 14 years, she was the Port Meteorological Officer for the Great Lakes, and trained commercial mariners on how to use NWS marine products and how to take marine observations while on the water. Now she works with recreational boaters and training them on what to expect weather wise while on the water. She graduated from Northern Illinois University with a degree in meteorology in 1992 and has received an NWS award for her presentations. She is involved in numerous organizations, such as the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the U.S. Power Squadron, and International Shipmasters Association.

Wisconsin as well as the Western Michigan Underwater Preserve at the Ships and Technology show, the Indiana Dept of Natural Resources, the Knox Indiana Public Library, and the University of Michigan, Munising at the Land of Lakes Festival.Sail

 Aboard a Tall Ship in 2016! with Patti Lock


The tall ships return to Chicago in time for Navy Pier’s 100th anniversary.  The stellar line-up of ships includes two rare international visits.  Don’t miss the Spanish galleon, El Galeon Andalusia of Cadiz, Spain, a three-story floating history museum. This 500 gross-ton vessel harks back to the 16 and 17th centuries when the Spanish crown explored the world. Also attending will be a recreation of a Viking ship from the 13th century, Draken Harald Hårfagre. Designed from archeological digs, the Draken will be rowed from Norway (yes! rowed) departing April 24th.  This session talks about the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Race Series 2016 Great Lakes, the port stops, the ship stories, the participating vessels and how you can be a part of this amazing festival here in Chicago.

Patti is the Director, Special Projects, Tall Ships America. She has worked the marketing and consumer side of special events for over 30 years, and has focused on tall ships and maritime festivals since 1998.  She has worked extensively with many tall ship organizations, port cities and maritime stakeholders around the United States, promoting the visitor experience to achieve a successful end result.  A former sports agent and concert producer, Patti has extensive festival and event production experience, having worked many of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® events since its inception in various capacities, including directing the Parades of Sail. She was TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Director for Tall Ships America from 2008 – 2014.  Patti transitioned over to Director, Special Projects to focus on port city logistics when the tall ships visit, and community involvement.  A US Coast Guard Auxiliarist from 36-06 Wilmette Harbor for six years, Patti is an advocate for youth on board sail training and fresh water conservation and preservation. She is currently assisting Navy Pier with the return of the tall ships in 2016 in celebration and commemoration of their 100th anniversary.

E. Gale Huntington, The Gam, and His Life as a Scholar

with Larry Kaplan

Elon Gale Huntington (1901-1993) gained recognition as the local historian of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, and for his meticulous collection of the songs that were sung and shared by whale men around the world. First published in 1964, and reprinted in 2005 by Mystic Seaport, his Songs The Whalemen Sang, reflects a personal journey that defines Huntington’s unique evolution from collector to respected scholar. This is no more evident than in his posthumous publication of the sequel to that volume, The Gam, which was released on June 12, 2014. This workshop will introduce participants to the life and work of Gale Huntington through the songs he collected and sang. The illustrated lecture will give participants the opportunity to hear Gale sing these important songs himself, exactly as he learned them, made possible through primary source recordings made by Larry Kaplan during his lifelong friendship with Mr. Huntington.  Larry is also one of our featured performers.

History in Our Back Yard: Lake Michigan, Chicago

with Eugene Hasiak


They once sailed for all to see. Now their memory calls out, "Tell our story!"  Join those who would brave a world beneath the waves to bring back untold mysteries to share. Come be a seeker of maritime history and see how to present your discoveries to the world.

Gene Hasiak has been a member of the Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago "UASC"; has worked as a volunteer Scuba dive buddy for Diveheart and Imagine Diving (Both groups work with people with limited abilities and veterans to help in their recovery.) as well as Doll Smith Residences, "Veteran's Village Project: Homes for Homeless Veterans” and served on the Leane Beach Advisory Committee to promote more water access for water sports/diving.

Hasiak has presented to schools and libraries in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and at the Western Michigan Underwater Preserve's "Ships and Technology Show” as well as for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and the University of Michigan, “Land and Lakes"Festival." He is scheduled to do a seminar for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in July of this year.

Chicago River Bridges with Patrick McBriarty

Patrick is the author of the book of the same title.  This presentation recounts Patrick’s journey into the amazing history of Chicago's bridges detailing the innovation, architecture, engineering, and contribution by Chicagoans to moveable bridge technology.  The Windy City has long been a center for drawbridge testing and development to make Chicago the Drawbridge Capital of the World for at least the past hundred years.  Today Chicago still boasts the greatest collection of working drawbridges and the most unique moveable bridge designs of any city on earth

McBriarty is author of the PTM Werks Series of children’s picture books Drawbridges Open and Close (Oct. 2014), Airplanes Take off and Land (April 2015), and City Railways Go Above and Below (Summer 2016).  After earning a Masters in Economics, Patrick learned he would have been better suited as an engineer. Decades later he created the books he would have wanted as a child about how things work.  His first book was the three-time, award-winning history Chicago River Bridges (Oct. 2013) and basis for the documentary Chicago Drawbridges (April 2013) co-produced with Stephen Hatch.

Chicago Maritime Museum: Exciting News! with Jerry Thomas


The goal of the Chicago Maritime Society it is to establish a Chicago Maritime Museum. In pursuit of that goal, the Society moved its facilities to the Bridgeport Art Center at the end of January. Planning the new museum, a daunting but exciting task, is being carried out with the help of some very able people. The seminar will focus on the plans for the new museum while weaving together some of the facts about where the Society has been and the vision of what it can become.  See what people can do to help make that vision a reality!

Changes to the new museum site are now in construction with. The new floor plan will allow the museum to display a small number of exhibits and also store its extensive inventory of small artifacts. Larger artifacts such as the Ralph Frese Canoe Collection and other watercraft are currently housed at Crowley’s Yacht Yard; Grant Crowley is Treasurer of CMS.

Jerry Thomas has had varied experience from research in high energy particle physics at CERN to industrial applications at Bell Labs and Motorola. He is an avid sailor and competitor and extremely interested in Chicago’s maritime history. Jerry is active in a number of Chicago not-for-profit organizations and is currently President CMS.


Model Boat Building for Kids with Alex Jones

Design and built your own model boat – from motor vessel to tall ship – it’s up to you. Take your model home. Alex Jones is a maritime enthusiast and musician who has designed and grown this Chicago Maritime Festival mainstay since 2004. All materials provided.

The Art of Knots with John DeWilde & JP Honeywell  

Exhibit & Demonstration


Join John and JP at their amazing display of bell ropes, mats, and turkheads made of traditional and modern material. Most of the pieces have been created recently and have not been displayed at the festival in any previous year. Learn about Marlinespike seamanship, functional knotting, and decorative knotting.

John DeWilde and JP Honeywell are both members of the International Guild of Knot Tyers. 

Make Your Own Turkshead Bracelet with Katie Koontz

Learn how to make a turks head bracelet with tall ship sailor, Katie Koontz.  All materials provided.