By Steve VanderVoort, Editor

The 2015 summer sailing season is in full swing at Sail Chicago. We are both excited and a bit overwhelmed by the numbers of people who have signed up to take our sailing instruction courses this summer. Our newly-designed website has most major functions up and running.  We continue to add features that will make it easier in thelong run to register for classes and social events, to find information regarding boat availability as well as rules and regulations.  When the web site is complete, it promises to make our organization run more smoothly and be more functional for our members and students. We are well on our way to that goal.

We have also added a seventh Colgate 26 to our fleet: River Folk.  It's one of our newer boats.  We have consolidated our Colgate fleet at Monroe Harbor. That way, if a boat is put out of service for a class or other program activity, another boat can be easily substituted. We also have two Rhodes 19s at Monroe Harbor. Colgate skippers can sail these boats after a brief orientation (see article below).  Being qualified to sail a variety of small keelboats enhances skills and also allows for some flexibility on days when many boats are being used at once.

Several of our Sail Chicago stalwarts are resigning from positions that they've held for several years (see article below).  Please remember, we are an all-volunteer organization.  Won't you consider stepping up to take your turn at helping us to serve our members and thegreater Chicago community!  You'll fulfill your annual service requirement, in some cases receive sailing credits, and get the satisfaction of knowing that you're playing a vital role in this community sailing program.

From the editor ...

By Gary Thrane, Associate Editor

So, we've already endured a lot of what Old Man Winter throws at Chicagoans.   And the days have indeed been getting longer for more than six weeks now.  Can the summer solstice be far off?   Well, at least we can start thinking about enjoying Lake Michigan this coming summer.

Now may be a good time to replace worn sailing gear. At any rate, I keep getting ads from marine suppliers for sales on equipment that can only be used months from now.   Practicing essential sailing knots is always a good use of indoor time (see "Fit to Be Tied" below).   And now is definitely a good time to "re-up" and renew your Sail Chicago membership.   If you want to vote at the annual meeting on March 3 (see article below), you must be a paid-up member.

One final bit of nagging: have you fulfilled your required service time?   If not, see another article below.

Board endorses candidates for Sail Chicago board

Each year four positions on the Sail Chicago Board open up for new candidates or for current Board members whose three-year terms are expiring.  This year, your Board has endorsed four candidates to fill those positions.  They are:

Bob Cohen

Dan Flavin

Martin Modhal

Maya Teleki

The names of these candidates, together with the names of any other Sail Chicago members who would like to run for the Board, will be placed on the ballot and voted upon by the entire Sail Chicago membership at the Annual Meeting (see article in this issue of Between the Sheets).  

If you'd like to find out more about the candidates who are endorsed by the Board, click on each of the names above.  If you'd like to have your name placed on the ballot, contact Steve VanderVoort.

Coastal Navigation course fills up fast

By Bob Lapin, Cruising Coordinator

The 2015 Sail Chicago Cruising program is off to a fast start.  All 13 places in the March Coastal Navigation Course have been filled by Sail Chicago members eager to add cruising to their sailing skills. If you are interested in attending this class but missed signing up, pleasecontact me by March 1.  If there is sufficient interest, we will schedule an additional class.

Annual Sail Chicago meeting

By Pat Webster, Social Coordinator 

Sail Chicago members and guests are invited to attend our Annual Membership Meeting on Tuesday, March 3rd, at Chief O'Neill's™ Restaurant & Pub, located at 3471 N. Elston, Chicago.  Free street parking is available nearby. The meeting will start promptly at 7:00 pm, but do come early to join friends for a drink or dinner.

The meeting will feature the annual "State of Sail Chicago" report by our Board Chairman and program heads, election of Directors for new three-year terms, and a question-and-answer period with the Board. This year, presentations will be streamlined so that there will ample time for discussion and socializing. The anticipated end time of the meeting is 9 pm.

If you have not renewed your Sail Chicago membership on line, paper membership forms will be at the meeting registration desk.  We CANNOT accept credit card payments at the meeting, so remember to bring your checkbook. In order to vote for Board candidates, members MUST have paid their dues for 2015.

We hope you will be able to attend and help us roll out our 2015 sailing season!  

Strictly Sail Show a success!

By Emma Lynch, Strictly Sail Show Coordinator

The newly combined Chicago Boat, RV & Strictly Sail Show brought nearly 50,000 visitors to McCormick Place Jan 14th-18th to check out the latest in boating equipment and services and learn more about sailing.  This is the largest event of its kind in the Midwest, and thanks to our wonderful volunteers, Sail Chicago was well represented among the exhibitors.   More than 40 Sail Chicago students and members generously donated their time to staff our booth and share their enthusiasm for sailing with newcomers and veteran sailors alike.

Thank you to everyone who helped us out!   Your efforts paid off as we have many new Chicago area residents signed up to learn more about the great instruction and racing programs available through Sail Chicago.  We also had many former members stop by the booth to share stories about how they got their start in Sail Chicago and about the positive impact our organization has on the community.

This was a great way to make ourselves known to potential new members, and we look forward to participating again next year!   If you have suggestions on how to enhance our presence at this show or other venues in future, please email Emma Lynch.   Thanks again for helping us get a head start on our 2015 season!

Fit to be tied, waiting for spring

By Matt Stuczynski, Lead Instructor

Winter is a perfect time to sit by the fire, or a window with a snowy view, and practice knots.  There are hundreds of books on knots and, these days, of course, "there's an app for that."   In fact, there are lots of knot-tying apps, but one that I have found particularly helpful and practical is "What Knot to do in the Greater Outdoors" from Columbia Sportswear.   It seems to be one of the more straightforward apps that I have seen. You can search the app for knots by category or name and then follow step-by-step screen instructions to tie the perfect knot.   The graphics are simple, clear, and easy to follow.   Check it out...and good luck with that bowline!

What's in a word: flotsam and jetsam

How often have you said that you've seen some flotsam and jetsam when you're out for an afternoon sail?   Likely what you're referring to on Lake Michigan is plastic bottles, half-deflated Mylar balloons, or water-soaked, partially-submerged lumber.  But what really is flotsam and jetsam?

Flotsam and jetsam are, in fact, two different things, but it's easy to see how they got linked like "ham and eggs."   Technically, "flotsam" is defined as goods that float upon the sea after a ship has sunk; "jetsam" refers to goods that have been thrown overboard during an emergency to lighten the ship.  So, probably what you're seeing on the lake is neither flotsam nor jetsam, but just someone's carelessness. But when you're out sailing, if you spot any of these objects, it can be a great opportunity to practice your Crew Overboard maneuvers while cleaning up the lake at the same time.  And it won't matter what you call it.

But if you spot a trail of what is truly jetsam, you should probably hail the vessel responsible and ask if they need assistance.  And if you see what is truly flotsam, look for survivors.

Strictly Sail show needs your help!

By Emma Lynch, Strictly Sail Show Coordinator 

If you are looking for a sailing fix in the city this winter, join Sail Chicago January 14th-18th at the Chicago Boat, Sports & RV Show at McCormick Place.  This is a fun opportunity for new and veteran sailors and racers to browse vendor exhibits, attend instructional seminars, make sailing connections, and, of course, stock up on sail gear at a discount!

Sail Chicago needs your help to represent our organization to the Midwest sailing community. Volunteers will get into the show for free, and will have the chance to browse the show before or after their shift. Spend a few hours talking about your love of sailing, and leave with new connections and gear to get you excited for the upcoming season.

Below are the time slots we still need volunteers for:

  • Wed, Jan 14: 2-6pm or 6-9pm
  • Thurs, Jan 15: 11am-3pm, 3-6pm or 6-9pm
  • Fri, Jan 16: 11am-3pm, 3-6pm or 6-9pm
  • Sat, Jan 17: 2-6pm6-9pm
  • Sun, Jan 18: 2-5pm

Please consider volunteering a few hours of your time during the Show. For questions, or to sign up, please contact Emma Lynch via email.  Be sure to include "Strictly Sail" in thesubject line, and indicate your 1st and 2nd time slot preferences and phone number where you can be easily reached.  Hope to see you at the show!

To find out more about the show and exhibitors, visit the Strictly Sail Chicago website.

New Bareboat cruising program for 2015

Have you ever wanted to sail from port-to-port around Lake Michigan or learn thefiner points of bareboat cruising so you can charter a boat in the Caribbean orthe Mediterranean?  Well, now Sail Chicago can provide you with theopportunity.  A new Bareboat Cruising course will be offered in 2015 aboardPriorities, our Hunter 34. In order to qualify for the course, you must be a Cruising Skipper or plan to become one early in the2015 sailing season. You must also complete an on-shore Coastal Navigation course that will be offered in March, 2015.  To learn the details of both the Bareboat Cruising course and the Coastal Navigation Course,click here.  To register for the Coastal Navigation Course, click here.  Questions? Contact me!