Forget running a turkey trot on Thanksgiving. Every year since at least the 1980s, Rob Morley has celebrated the holiday with morning sail, maybe out to the Cleveland Water crib and back. (They call it a “crib-bean cruise.”)

“It’s going to be lousy and snowing probably,” said Morley, “If the weather’s really bad, I don’t encourage anyone to go outside the breakwall. If the weather’s nice, the horizon’s the limit.”

So why go, exactly?

“It makes the turkey taste better,” says Morley, 60, the owner of Riverfront Yacht Sales and Service in the Flats.

Really? Well, that, plus, to give thanks for Lake Erie and mark the end of the sailing season.

“Where else can you have a beautiful lake at your doorstep and not have a $1 million income?” said Greg Group, who’s going out with the group.

Last year, Morley was the only Cleveland sailor to take out his boat. This year, he’s expecting four or five – a 32-foot, a 33-foot and two 44-foot boats, very rugged boats that can take the punishment of Lake Erie, he said.

On Thursday, they plan to leave from Edgewater Yacht Club, with a dock time of 8:30 a.m. They’ll dress warm and fortify themselves with some hot chocolate. And then they’ll sail for an hour or two before heading home to cook the turkey.

“There have been years where I’m like, why are we doing this?” Morley said. “One year we were sitting on patio looking at a white out. You couldn’t even see the breakwall it was snowing so hard.”

After that sail, the group calls it quits. They’ll haul their boats out of the water and store them for the winter.

“One guy kept it in for Christmas,” he said. “It was a fantastic sail.”

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