BTS: January, 2018

Sail Chicago Newsletter for January
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By Steve VanderVoort, BTS Editor
Although winter has now settled in around us, our thoughts can still turn toward the time, not so far off, when Lake Michigan will once again be free of ice and we can hoist a sail.  In the meantime, there are some events and activities right here in the Chicago area that can help to keep our focus on sailing.
One is the Strictly Sail Chicago Show, coming up January 10 - 14 at McCormick Place. Please consider volunteering to staff our booth at the show for a few hours.  It's a great way for you to share your love of sailing with others.  You'll also get into the Show for free. To learn more or to sign up contact 
Another is the Sail Chicago Annual Meeting, which will be held this year on Thursday, March 1, at   Be sure to mark your calendar now.  The meeting starts at 7:00 pm, but come early and enjoy some great eats with other members of Sail Chicago
Don't forget to meet your annual service requirement.  If it's not met by the beginning of the 2018 sailing season, you won't be able to participate in any on-the-water activities.  For more information on how to meet this requirement contact 

By Christine Garvey, Volunteer Coordinator
It's time to start planning for 2018.  I will have the detailed service time chart available for the February issue of Between the Sheets, but I know we need maintenance, winter seminar, and social programs coordinators.  We always need members to work in the boat yard and boat teams.  We need skippers to do Member Cruise Outings, Tiller Times and teach sailing.  So, start thinking about what jobs interest you and will work into your schedule.  Remember, there is always the opt-out fee of $400 if you do not want to or don't have the time to do service time.
Please contact me if you have any questions about the service time you've done or want to do.

By Ed Schroeder

John Muhlenberg, Jack Schubat, Art Witkiewicz, and I have reviewed the outboard-engine manuals and have updated our procedures.  They have also discovered new equipment that may improve our engine reliability.  

Sail Chicago is now in the process of updating all nine of the outboard engine fuel systems. We are updating the fuel tanks and hoses to EPA-approved equipment. This includes fittings not previously found on our fuel systems such as Fuel Demand Valves (FDV), EPA-approved primer bulbs, and tank-end sprayless connectors.

The FDV and the fuel connector have a sealing mechanism which prevents pressurized fuel from entering the engine which may cause the engine to stop from excessive fuel (flooding). They also prevent fuel system overflow and possible fuel spillage.  (The absence of these EPA-approved fittings is one reason our engines have sometimes been difficult to start as well as having a tendency to stop at inopportune times.)

By Bob Lapin

Two no-fee seminars are offered this winter to prepare you for the 2018 sailing season.  They will be held at Columbia Yacht Club from 7:00 P.M to 8:30 P.M. on the following dates:
  • Weather for Sailors February 5.   This seminar presents essential weather information for a safe and fun day of sailing on Lake Michigan.  The recently approved wind guidelines will be presented and discussed.  Key web sites and apps will be shared.   To register, 
  • Passage-Making - February 12.  Sail Chicago's cruising program has offered Basic Cruising and Bareboat Cruising for the past three seasons.  We now have enough experienced cruisers that we will add Coastal Passage Making this season.  Coastal Passage Making involves overnight transits requiring crew shifts, and sleeping and eating aboard a moving sail boat.  Come learn what is necessary for a successful passage.  Several Sail Chicago skippers will discuss last summer's successful overnight sails.  To register,   

By Tom Peterson, Volunteer Coordinator

Next year there will be a few changes in the people heading up our fleet-maintenance program.  Joe Cannon has graciously agreed to be the Board maintenance representative for the remainder of my term and will stand for the same position at the annual meeting next March.  I've really enjoyed working with maintenance, and will continue to do so, but it's become a problem because my busy times at work coincide with the busy spring and fall times for the boats.
While Joe is taking on the Board position, the actual maintenance manager position
Maintenance work for Sail Chicago
is going to be handled by a number of people, including Shawn Lord, Peter Nam (one of the boatyard managers), other people who wish to remain anonymous, and me when I have available time.  There are also a few positions that we still are in the process of filling.  We haven't worked out the general contact means yet, but it will probably be something like a shared phone or discussion list, that several active maintenance people can respond to quickly.  More on this will be coming as we become closer to spring boatyard work.
During the past few years, those who maintain the cruisers, Ideals, and Rhodes have been doing a great job using something of their own distributed method of maintenance. In the past couple of years, however, our Colgates seem to have had maintenance problems.  This is significant because much of Sail Chicago's revenue depends on our Colgates being in top condition for instruction, racing, and for personal use.  We hope that making some changes will help our Colgates have fewer problems than in the past few years.  Joe Cannon has already made many great suggestions, and we are hoping to get input from boat managers at the spring boat managers Meeting to be announced soon.  In addition, having more than one person managing maintenance should allow flexibility when someone becomes unavailable.
We have set up the address to distribute emails to everyone on the "maintenance committee".  This should be the contact method for maintenance in the future, whenever there are questions, suggestions, or matters that need immediate attention.  If you have any suggestions or comments about Sail Chicago boat maintenance, feel free to email to this address.

By Matt Stuczynski, Lead Instructor

New Skippers
New Sail Chicago skippers
A Sail Chicago group has been hard at work revising and updating our curriculumgrids for the Basic, Intermediate, and Skipper Prep classes.  We have also been revising the On-the-Water Skipper Skills Standards (the "checkout sheet") as well as the Skipper Skills Standards packet that further explains the Standards.  Next on the list is the Pre-Sail Orientation curriculum and, eventually, working with the board, the Sail Chicago Rules and Regulations.  Thanks go to our hard-working and eagle-eyed committee members: Nick Brait, Bob Lapin, Tom Prucher, and Simeon Stairs with new member Fiona Ray now on board.  The committee welcomes comments from members, so please contact any member of the group with your suggestions.

By Bob Lapin

There are many interesting seminars at this year's Strictly Sail Show.  Here are a few that caught my eye which may be of interest to you:
  • Wed, Jan 10 at 3:30 - Navigation Strategies in room 102a
  • Wed, Jan 10 at 4:45 - Diesel Engine Maintenance in room 102bc
  • Thurs, Jan 11 at 11:45 - Weather:  Low pressure in room 103a
  • Thurs, Jan 11 at 2:15 - Weather:  Thunderstorms in room 102a
  • Friday, Jan 12 at 11:45 - Cruising the Michigan Shore in room 101b
  • Friday, Jan 12 at 4:45 - Docking and Anchoring for Two in room 103a
  • Saturday, Jan 13 at 10:30 - Demystifying the Wind in room 102a
  • Saturday, Jan 12 at 11:45 - Asymmetrical Spinnaker in room 102bc
For more details, check them out on the Strictly Sail Show website.


As you probably know, Sail Chicago is an affiliate of U.S. Sailing.  U.S Sailing been
US Sailing Logo (new)
extremely helpful to us in offering guidance on getting many of our programs started.   We also use its materials in many of our instruction program. U.S. Sailing recently published its "Year in Review."  If you'd like to learn more about its many involvements, 

By Bob Lapin, Board Secretary

The Sail Chicago Board met by phone on December 14. 

Lead Instructor Matt Stuczynski recommended wind guidelines to the Board which were discussed and approved. The wind guidelines had been discussed
A thunderstorm bears down on the lakefront
at the Instructors' meeting on November 18 where there was also general agreement. The instructors wanted more training on weather and to have the guidelines discussed at pre-sail orientations.  Matt will follow-up on these issues.  The guidelines are:
  • Up to 15 knots, acceptable conditions for all boats
  • 15 - 20 knots, proceed with caution for more experienced skippers
  • Greater than 20 knots, don't go out or return to harbor once that wind level is reached.
  • It is strongly recommended that the engines on the Colgates and Rhodes be running anytime the boat is between the mooring can and the inner-harbor mouth.  A trained member of the crew should man the engine and be ready to engage it immediately if needed.
  • The ultimate decision to sail or not to sail is the skipper's.  Should a skipper not observe the above guidelines and an accident occurs, existing rules and regulations provide for possible Board responses.  Every skipper should review Sail Chicago  paragraph 5, section 2 for possible consequences.


Who to Contact
Need information on an area in Sail Chicago, but don't know who to contact?  Find that person in the Sail Chicago Organization Chart.
Help our Community Outreach Programs
Please consider volunteering to skipper or crew on a weekday afternoon sail with one of our three groups that take underprivileged children sailing. Skippering five or more times will fulfill your service requirement for the following year. For more information on the Lawrence Hall Youth Services, Urban Youth, and Schuler Scholars, go to the Sail Chicago Website.
Join or Renew Your US Sailing Membership at a Discount Through MVP
Sail Chicago members can join or renew their US Sailing membership at a $10 discount through the US Sailing Member Value Partner program.
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