BTS: October 2015

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 Sail Chicago is a not-for-profit community sailing program. 
Its mission is to offer quality instruction in sailing and boating safety, and to provide affordable sailing opportunities to its members and others in the Chicago area.
Issue #10
October, 2015
By Steve Vandervoort, Editor
Steve Vandervoort
Our sailing season is closing down. Just a couple more weeks and our boats will be out of the water and safely tucked away for the winter. That doesn't mean that our volunteer maintenance teams won't be working hard, though. Our boats get a lot of use during the summer months, and there's much work that needs to be done in the off season in order to keep them fit for the following year. Motors have to be winterized and overhauled, rigging and sails inspected and replaced where necessary, repairs made, hulls gel-coated, and much more. If you're ever thinking about owning your own boat, come join one of our volunteer maintenance teams (see the notice on job postings below). It's a great way to learn many of the intricacies of maintaining a sailboat. And it fulfills your annual service requirement.

As I look back on my own participation in Sail Chicago this past season, I believe that the best times I had on the water were as a Tiller Time skipper.  I loved taking students out on a Friday afternoon or Saturday morning to help them practice the skills they had learned in their formal instruction programs.  Watching the smiles on their faces as they successfully completed a jibe or a figure 8 or a crew-overboard exercise, or when they'd just "kissed" the bow of the boat against a buoy or mooring ball as they completed a mooring maneuver, filled me with pride at their success. Hopefully, many of our students today will be "giving back" as instructors themselves in future years.

Likewise, I enjoyed just getting out on a boat occasionally to sail with others, either personal friends or other Sail Chicago members. One of the real benefits of being "on-the-water" for four or five hours at a time with someone else is that there's plenty of time to get to know them. I've had some absolutely fascinating conversations with other crew members while on an afternoon or evening sail that I could most likely have never had any place else. Why? Probably just because we have the time to do it.

I've also been a part of a couple of real sailing "adventures" with other Sail Chicago members this past summer, like the time when a front came through and the wind went from 0-25 kts in 30 seconds, just as we were attempting to moor, or the time we lost our way in the fog, or the time a sudden storm cell dumped a couple of inches of rain on us in 10 minutes and then the sun came out and the wind dropped so we had to motor in. These and other adventures will make great stories when I'm sitting around with family and friends on these upcoming cold winter nights. They also help me to look forward to next year's sailing season.

 Wearing shorts and going for summer
sails are, alas, at an end.
October 8 - Board Meeting
October 16 - Happy Hour at the Weather Mark
October 17 - Lowering masts on small keelboats
November 13 - End of Season Party 
Announcements - Gary Thrane
Boat Licensing & Registration - Ottilie Young
Bookkeeper - Jay Owens
Between the Sheets - Steve VanderVoort
Chairman - Chris Schuler
Colgate 26 Racing - Bob Cohen 
Cruising - Bob Lapin
Instruction - Michael Swisher
Lawrence Hall Youth Services - Norm Linde
Lead Instructor - Matt Stuczynski
Marketing - Adam Wisneski
Member Cruise Outings - Brandon Sanders
Membership - Faith Hillis
Monroe Parking & Tender Passes - Vlad Roshchin &         Annette Faber
Purchasing - Dana Smith
Reservations - Peter Dudak
Safety - John Lemon
Schuler Scholars - Tom Simms
Seminars - Paul Demmel
Service Requirements - Christine Garvey
Share-a-Sail - David Shayne
Social - Pat Webster
Strictly Sail Chicago Show - Emma Lynch
Surveys - Gary Thrane
Tiller Time - Steven Clar & Julia Liu 
Treasurer - Steve VanderVoort
Webmaster - Alfred Chan


Accident Reporting
Chris Schuler 
Steve VanderVoort
Vice Chairman
 Maya Teleki
 Christine Garvey 

Alfred Chan

Bob Cohen

Shawn Lord  

Martin Modahl 

Tom Peterson
Matt Stuczynski
Michael Swisher
Adam Wisneski   


Renew Your Sail Chicago Membership Now  

To renew your Sail Chicago membership online using a credit card,click here.  If you'd prefer to mail in your renewal and pay by check click here to print a paper form.


Fulfill your Annual Service Requirement - Volunteer Opportunities Available

All Sail Chicago members must fulfill an annual service requirement before they can participate in on-the-water activities.  To check out the many volunteer opportunities in Sail Chicago,  click here.

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.

Join the Share-a-Sail Program
If you need crew or you want to volunteer as crew, our Share-a-Sail program is for you.  Just go to 
Google Groups and search for Share-a-Sail and leave your name and email address there. You'll be able to post and receive emails from other Sail Chicago members who would like to get together and go sailing.  Both members and Sail-into-Summer students can participate.

How to take a Boat Out of Service

If you believe that a boat is, for any reason, not safe to sail, you may request that it immediately be taken out of service. Do this by e-mailing Make sure that the e-mail includes your name, phone number, and e-mail address, the reason why you believe the boat should be taken out of service, and a brief description of the accident or incident that caused the problem (if applicable).

Shop Amazon Smile and Donate to Sail Chicago
When you shop online at Amazon Smile, Sail Chicago will receive a donation of .5% of your eligible purchases.  It's a great way to both give and receive.  To get started, click here.

Share your Photos
We're looking for photos of Sail Chicago boats, members, and activities.  To upload your photos simply attach them to an email and address it to

Missing Previous Issues of Between the Sheets?
You can always find the current issue and an archive of previous issues of Between the Sheets
at the first (and open to the public) page of the Sail Chicago website.  Look under "News/Newsletter."


By Pat Webster, Social Coordinator
The Weather Mark Tavern
Meet and mingle with other Sail Chicagoans for a happy hour at the Weather Mark Tavern on Friday, October 16th from 6:00-9:00 p.m.  The Weather Mark* is a nautically themed bar and restaurant in the South Loop, and is an all-around great place to connect with fellow sailors.  There will be drink specials ($3 for draft beers, Bud Light and Miller Light, $8 for Dark and Stormies), and fish and chips for $10.95.  We've met up at Weather Mark for other events, and everyone has had a great time, eating, drinking, and catching up with old friends and making new ones.
Although this is a pay-as-you-go, no-charge event, the Weather Mark would appreciate advance registration for a head count. To register, please click here.
Questions: contact Pat Webster.
* The Weather Mark is located at 1503 S Michigan.  Pay-at-the-box street parking is available.
By Pat Webster, Social Coordinator
Pat Webster
Sail Chicago will celebrate the season and honor our dedicated and hardworking member volunteers with a gourmet dinner at the Columbia Yacht Club on Friday evening, November 13.
It is because of the collaborative efforts of all of our volunteers that Sail Chicago is a successful community sailing program.  We look forward to an evening of dining and relaxing with friends in this nautical setting.  The cash bar will be open at 6:30 followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m.  A delicious menu has been planned by the yacht club's chef including salad, roasted Amish breast of chicken with field mushrooms, seasonal ravioli, fresh vegetables, roasted redskin potatoes, assorted gourmet cookies and coffee and tea.  After dinner the Board of Directors will recognize our many dedicated volunteers and those who have excelled in the organization.
Register by clicking here or look for registration information in an upcoming email. Space is limited, so be sure to register early.
* Columbia Yacht Club is located in the big ship at Randolph and Lake Shore Drive.  It is a members-only club, so we're fortunate to have it open for a Sail Chicago event. 
By Tom Peterson, Maintenance Coordinator

The dates have been scheduled for the mast lowering and river trip for this year. We are only about two weeks away from getting the boats back in the boat yard.

October 17, Saturday, 9AM   Mast Lowering (probably at Dusable harbor but could be 31st Street). Rain date is Sunday, October 18.  We can use many people during this process to make the work go quickly. It's much better to have too many people than too few, we are hoping to have all the masts lowered and stowed, ready for the river trip, by early afternoon.  There will be coffee and other things in the morning, and sandwiches in the afternoon.  We can use both skilled an unskilled labor, the work is generally not difficult and there is a good opportunity to meet other members and learn about the boats.

October 19, Monday   Motor through the locks and up the river to Canal Street boat yard.  Trips could be scheduled from early in the morning until the evening, depending on crew availability.  Each boat will need at least three people to handle the boat through the locks.  It can be difficult to control the boat when the lock doors open and the water rushes in.  This is an interesting trip up the river and there will probably be a need for a few extra people, although people on the maintenance teams will have first priority.  Anyone else interested, please email
By Matt Stuczynski, Lead Instructor

Last month, in the article, "Saving Our Sails," we gave some reminders aimed at reducing wear and tear on our sails. Maintenance has also asked us to remind everyone NOT to raise the main with the winch--it's too easy to permanently stretch the luff; raising the mainsail by hand should be enough for best performance.
Leaving and returning to the mooring are two aspects of every sail that can get a careless sailor in trouble. Here are a few reminders regarding Harbor exits and returns to minimize the risk of stalling and losing control in close quarters; these can also help to avoid complaints from other boaters with whom we share the harbor.  Of course, we like to avoid hard and fast rules, leaving it to the skipper's best judgment given the current realities of wind and wave.  But in normal circumstances, please give these guidelines your consideration:
  • When returning to the moorings, either under sail or power, it is preferable to use the outer (east) channel.  This allows the skipper to set up his/her approach on a close reach, avoids the often fluky air in the inner channel, and avoids the frequent power-boat traffic there.
  • Do not tack your way through the mooring field either coming or going.  Use the channels or the area near the channels for tacking.  If you can lay a line from the harbor mouth directly to your mooring, fine. Otherwise, stick to the open water in the channels for tacks.
  • Don't forget to have clearly discussed back-up plans with crew and all on board when departing and returning to the mooring.  Know what you'll do if the wind shifts or things don't go as planned.
  • Use the controlled, close-reach approach to the mooring, also known as the "fail-safe approach." It is the standard approach taught by Sail Chicago and US Sailing.  We are no longer teaching the "point-and-pray" method which leaves you at the mercy of wind, waves, and traffic.


By Christine Garvey, Secretary

The Board met on September 10, 2015, and the following items were reported:
  • Treasurer  Our income is down, but so are our expenses.  So, we are in a good financial position.  $20,000 was transferred to savings, and the book keeper was given signing rights.
  • Instruction  We gave the written US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification test on Saturday, 9/19/15.  We also just completed two single-handed sailing classes on the Ideal 18s.  In order to take this course the student must be an Ideal skipper for at least a season.
  • Programs  The end-of-season sailing dinner will be November 13th at Columbia Yacht with cocktails at 6:30 p.m. and dinner at 7:00 p.m.
  • Operations  The many inquiries on the voicemail have nearly ceased although we are still getting email inquiries.  It appears the changes with the website may be working.
  • Maintenance  Plans are being made for de-commissioning our boats.


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