BTS: April 2012

Between the Sheets: News from Sail Chicago for April
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Sail Chicago is a community sailing program that has for over fifty years been
offering affordable sailing and water safety instruction, and recreational
sailing opportunities to people in the Chicago area.
Issue #4April, 2012 
Steve VanderVoort

By Steve VanderVoort, BTS Editor


If you're receiving "Between the Sheets" for the first time, WELCOME!  Hopefully, this newsletter will help to keep you informed about the great things that are happening at Sail Chicago this sailing season.  We hope you take advantage of our many instruction programs and varied activities.  Read on....


The early spring this year has made a lot of people more anxious than ever to start sailing again.  Not to worry!  the annual spring launch is scheduled for the end of April (see article below).  Before that takes place, however, there's still plenty of work that has to be done to put our fleet into tip-top shape for the upcoming sailing season.  Come down to the Canal Street Boatyard on Saturday mornings to learn how you can help.  Earn your service requirement in the process.


Our instruction programs are off to a great start!  All of our May classes are full, and June classes are filling rapidly.  If you'd like to take sailing instruction at any level this summer, sign up now (see article below).


Remember, there's lots of ways members can sail for free this summer.  You qualify for Tiller Time if you're a student in any of our outstanding instruction programs.  Member Cruise Outings are always free to members (guests pay a charge).  And this year for the first time Fun Racing on Sunday mornings will be free to members.  Take advantage of these programs and get out on the water. 


Grab your calendar and a pencil right now.  The dates for our summer social events have just been announced (see article below).  Here's another opportunity for still more free sailing for our members and guests.


If you've got a friend who might be interested in sailing, bring them to one of Sail Chicago's Pre-Sail Orientations (formerly known as "Dryland").  In addition to getting acquainted with some sailing basics, they'll learn a lot more about Sail Chicago. It's open to all people in the Chicago area.  And our Sail into Summer Program allows non-members to take one four-session basic sailing course on one of our Colgate 26s. 


This summer we want everyone out sailing!

 At its March meeting, your Sail Chicago Board approved a program for inviting new members to join Sail Chicago.  While current members have always been asked to encourage their friends to join, now there is an incentive for doing so.  For every new member who joins Sail Chicago at the invitation of a current member, the current member will receive a $50 credit to their account.  If your friend participates in the "Sail into Summer" program, you will receive a $25 credit.  There is no limit on the number of credits you may receive for encouraging your friends to join Sail Chicago.  Credits will be issued only to current members in good standing after their friends have actually joined and paid appropriate fees.  The new member needs to make reference to the referring member on the Sail Chicago membership application.  
Invite a Member - Get a Credit
Instruction Programs More Popular Than Ever
Get Ready to Sail - Come to PSO!
Get Ready for Launch
Skippers Needed for Tiller Times and MCOs
Spring is Here!
Dates Set for Summer Social Activities
Join the Fun (Racing, That Is)
Two Ways to Renew
2012 Annual Meeting Highlights
Get your Bonus Credits
Cruising Courses Now Available

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Maintenance Hotline

312-409-9000 or

Chairman - Joe Kucharski
Announcements - Ann Weaver
Bookkeeper - Mark Fechner
BTS Editor  - Steve VanderVoort
Cruising Program - Ilya Letuchy
Fun Racing -Dolores Baron
Human Resources - Frank Loftus
Lead Instructor - John Lemon
Maintenance (Winter) - Joe Kucharski
Marketing - Mike Parapetti
Member Cruise Outings - Emily Case
Pre-Sail Orientation - Dan Flavin
Safety - Ed Schroeder
Social - Pat Webster
Tiller Time -Chris Garvey
Treasurer - Jay Owens
Joe Kucharski 

Jay Owens
Vice Chairman

Frank Loftus 

Maureen Huston

Ilya Letuchy
Mike Parapetti

Fiona Ray

Chris Schuler
Steve VanderVoort
Rob Wakerly
Pat Webster
By John Lemon - Lead Instructor 
John Lemon
Although it is barely April and the boats are not in the water yet, our Basic Keelboat instruction program has hit the ground running.  As a result of implementing our online class registration system, the pace of enrollment in learn to sail classes is significantly ahead of previous years.  Almost 60 people have signed up for Basic, Intermediate, and Skipper classes to date, as well as a dozen who have signed up for advanced sailing classes.  Our May Basic Sailing, Skipper Training, Introduction to Cruising, and Colgate Qualification classes are now full.  Intermediate Sailing classes are right behind them and will fill up very shortly.  Don't delay a day longer if you are thinking about signing up for classes in June or July! 
Rhodes 19
Spring Sailing Class
Our new offering, Sail into Summer, has gotten a very good response, and our New Member Package continues the popularity we enjoyed last year.  Registration for both options is about even, so we have over 30 new sailors already signed up to get out on the water with Sail Chicago.  Those of you who have signed up for Sail into Summer always have the option to upgrade to full membership for an additional $200. This is the best way to further your sailing education. And New Members may add a second sailing class (Intermediate or Skipper Training) for $200.
Our Pre-Sail Orientation classes (see article below) are proving popular.  This year we have partnered with REI and are holding the classes in REI's Lincoln Park store community room.  As part of our enhanced effort to promote sailing, and Sail Chicago as one way to get into sailing, Pre-Sail Orientation classes are open to the public.  REI has publicized the April sessions on their website and through their member emails.  Quite a few new sailors are bringing friends as well.
Plans are underway to offer Spinnaker and Single-Handed Sailing classes; watch future issues of "Between the Sheets" for details.
Whether you have never sailed before or are an 'old salt', there is a Sail Chicago class that will enhance your sailing skills.  And if you are an experienced skipper and wish to pass along your passion for sailing through teaching others to sail, you may want to consider joining our dedicated group of volunteer sailing instructors.  Email me If you are interested.
By Dan Flavin, Pre-Sail Orientation Coordinator
Dan Flavin


Thinking about taking sailing lessons this summer?  Come to Pre-Sail Orientation and find out what you need to know in order to get out sailing on beautiful Lake Michigan.  You'll get an overview of how sailboats work, sail theory, nautical terminology, sailing gear, knots, and boating safety. You'll learn what you need to know in order to be prepared for your first on-the-water lesson.  You'll receive your textbook, boating safety materials, and details of your class schedule.  This is also a great opportunity to meet other sailors and find out about sailing-related activities for the entire summer.  Do you know someone who wants to learn to sail? Bring them along.


Our Pre-Sail Orientation (PSO) is for people who signed up for the "New Members Program", "Sail into Summer", or anyone who wants to learn more about getting into sailing.  In order to attend you MUST register.  Currently we are taking reservations for the first and second sessions.  Click on the link for your desired PSO to register.


Session 1 - Tuesday, April 17, 6:30 - 8:30 PM*

Session 2 - Saturday, April 28, 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM*

Session 3 - Saturday, May 19, 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM*

Session 4 - Tuesday, May 22, 6:30 - 8:30 PM*

Session 5 - Tuesday, June 26, 6:30 - 8:30 PM*

Session 6 - Tuesday, July 24, 6:30 - 8:30 PM*

*Doors Open half hour prior for check-in.  Class topics repeat each session


All sessions will be held in the REI Lincoln Park Community Room, 1466 North Halsted, Chicago.

Pre-Sail Orientation Topics Include:


Sail Chicago - boats, people, fun! 

Sailing Concepts - how sails work, basic sail trim, sailing directions

Sailing Preparation - what to wear, what to bring, where to meet  

Sailing Environment - weather, rules of the road, basic navigation aids


All new Sail Chicago members are required to attend PSO.  It's your orientation to your on-the-water class and introduction to Sail Chicago.  And it's included in your New Member package!  If you haven't joined Sail Chicago yet, you don't need to prepay to attend.  But if you do join, you'll get the Basic Keelboat text, plus a ton of helpful handouts! 
We're looking forward to meeting you!  Questions?  Contact us!   


By Joe Kucharski, Maintenance Director 

We are preparing the boats for launch and the process will take 3 weeks to complete. Below is the schedule and locations for each activity. The launching activities are a great opportunity to not only get the boats in the water but build relationships with you fellow sailors.

  • Saturday April 14 9:00AM    Canal Street Marina           Prelaunch (Load gear in boats)
  • Saturday April 21 9:00AM    Montrose Harbor                Launch (Put boats in the water)
  • Saturday April 28 9:00AM    Montrose Harbor                Sail down to Monroe harbor


Look for further announcements in next month's issue of "Between the Sheets.".


Tiller Times and Member Cruise Outings (MCOs) have a new look this year.  In previous years they were tied together by the same Coordinator.  This year there are two different Coordinators, Chris Garvey for Tiller Times and Emily Case for MCOs.  Although both programs are free to Sail Chicago members, the qualifications for participation have changed.

Chris Garvey
Chris Garvey


Tiller Times are now reserved exclusively for on-the-water-sailing practice by student members who are enrolled in a Sail Chicago sailing course, new Skippers, and "rusty" skippers.  for more specific information and qualifications, please refer to the Tiller Time Guidelines

Emily Case
Emily Case


MCOs are informal pleasure sails for all Sail Chicago members and their guests.  People who would like to get out on the water without the responsibility for skippering a boat can do so under the guidance of a qualified Sail Chicago Skipper and crew.  For specific details on how the program works, please refer to the MCO Guidelines


Both programs need skippers.  If you're an experienced Sail Chicago skipper please consider signing up to skipper in one or both of these programs.  It's a great way to meet new people and to pass along your sailing skills to folks who really want to learn to sail.  In addition, if you skipper five or more times in one of these programs, your annual service requirement will be met.  Tiller Time skippers have the added benefit of receiving a $50 credit to their sailing accounts once they've completed five Tiller Times.  Program Coordinators may determine skipper qualifications. 


To find out more, review the Guidelines above or contact either Chris or Emily


Joe Kucharski
By Joe Kucharski, Maintenance Director 
2011 Haulout
Launching Equinox

Spring has arrived early in Chicago and from the looks of things the sailing season will also get an early start. Westrec and the Chicago Park District have announced that the harbors will open effective March 31. We are feverishly working to get our fleet ready for launch and there is the possibility that we will be launching one or more boats early provided that an adequate number of people participate in getting the boats ready for launch. If you have not yet met your service requirement, now is the time for you to come to the boat yard and help prepare the fleet for launch.

If you have a desire and a willingness to serve Sail Chicago, the following functions are in need of a team leader.  Serving as a team leader earns you sail credits and gives you the opportunity to learn new skills while serving Sail Chicago.  The following positions are currently available:
  • Sail team
  • Electrical team
  • Summer Maintenance coordinator
If you have an interest in any of these positions, contact me for details and responsibilities.
Come down to the boat yard on any Saturday between 9:00 AM and noon (except April 7) and see either Frank Loftus or Joe Kucharski for a project that allows you to complete your service time. Once you have received a project you will be able to perform the task on schedule that fits your personal schedule.
See you at the boat yard!
By Pat Webster, Social Director 
2010 Picnic Raising the Main
Friends & family prepare to go sailing

Saturday, June 16 will see the first of two Friends & Family get-togethers.  This first one will be held from 1-5:00 pm at Montrose Harbor.  Members are encouraged to bring along their friends and family who may be interested in exploring summer sailing opportunities with Sail Chicago.  Priorities, our 34 foot Hunter and our Colgate 26 will be available to take folks out on sailing excursions.  Don't hesitate to join in the fun!  More details about the event will be available as the date approaches.
 A second Friends & Family picnic is planned for Saturday, August 4th also at Montrose Harbor. 
Sail Chicago members and friends can also join fellow sailors to watch the Alpari World Match Racing Tour being held at Belmont Harbor on Saturday, July 14th.  According to the Chicago Match Race Center website  the event will bring 12 of the world's top-ranked skippers and their teams to compete.  Details to follow.
And finally, preliminary plans are also under way for Sail Chicago's annual post-season party later in the fall.  Please be sure to look for more information in future issues of "Between the Sheets."
 By Dolores Baron, Fun Racing Coordinator  
Dolores Baron
Dolores Baron


 Come join us for Fun Racing Sunday mornings at Monroe Harbor.  This activity will be free to all members, so come on out and race with us.  It's a great way to have fun, make new friends, and improve your sailing skills all at the same time.   


Each Sunday before the race, we'll have a brief review of racing rules (room at the mark, timed start, right of way, etc).  Then we'll rig the boats, set the marks, and start racing!  An experienced skipper will be assigned to each boat, and the crew will be varied

from week to week.  The races will be short, so that everyone has a chance to be at the

Rhodes 19
Rounding the mark at Fun Racing

helm for at least one race.  The rest of the crew will trim the jib, work the traveler and watch for other boats.

 Fun Racing will start Sunday June 3rd and continue through the second Sunday in September (skipping the labor day weekend).  We meet at Montrose Harbor at 8:00 am and finish around noon.  We will need to leave the boats not later than 12:30 pm. To register, sign up on-line at the Sail Chicago website.  Sign on with your password, click on "Reserve Program Seats," choose "Open Racing," click on "Find Seats," pick a date, pick a boat, reserve a seat.   For more information please e-mail me.


 It's time for all Sail Chicago members to renew your membership.  This year there are two ways to do it:
  1. With our new internet-based renewal form, just a couple of mouse clicks and your 2012 membership renewal is complete.  Yes, it really is just that easy! 
  2. If you'd like to do it the old fashioned way, download a paper renewal form, print it, and mail it to Sail Chicago, P.O. Box 10169, Chicago, IL  60610-8914, together with your check payable to Sail Chicago.


Michael Hart
Michael Hart

By Michael Hart 


 If you were one of the unfortunate who couldn't attend the recent Sail Chicago Annual Meeting, you are in the minority.  The sailors came out in droves to hear about all the great changes that continue to be put in place.  Even potential and brand new members joined the assembly on the 2100 block of N. Halsted in the clean, bright and accommodating DePaul Center.

More than likely you will never hear the following words uttered during a meeting of a sailing organization, especially within a non-for-profit focused one like ours.  Efficiency, standardization, streamline, realignment, and reengineering are just a few.  We are already on the path toward decreasing expenses through a reduction in storage facility costs, centralizing and maintaining the correct balance of Rhodes at Monroe Harbor and a considerable savings accrued without the former Shields, which was seldom used.  With these being the major cost cutters, many other smaller steps toward savings and efficiency cumulatively add up to be just as noticeable.

2012 Annual Meeting
2012 Annual Meeting

 The doors are now opening, the barriers have been lifted, and now everyone can experience the joy of sailing.  Access before membership, bringing sailing to the masses, totally progressive and labeled, "Sail into Summer."  A new member package and a variety of specialized classes will turn one summer into multiple and hopefully a lifetime of seasons with Sail Chicago.

Printing and filling out the class registration form, writing a check, preparing the envelope, getting a stamp and finding a postal box are a thing of the past.  Today, now, the adventure in sailing starts this second.  You are registered instantaneously for classes, membership, and ready to begin or continue your adventure on the water with great people, in the most beautiful of cities.

This article is certainly a synopsis of all that was said and other articles have and will elaborate in more detail the many changes that are taking place in Sail Chicago.  To relive the flow and content of the event, the Annual Meeting slideshow presentation includes usage statistics for the boats and website, dates for planned events and the results from the survey taken by members.  During these tough economic times we haven't participated in any creative financing, only appropriate leveraging of our assets.  Jay Owens, the Treasurer, elaborated with his Financial Results.          

Our leaders, two of whom will be serving for the first time, IIya Letuchy and Fiona Ray, have a chance to build upon the positive direction we are already taking.  After the election, a quarter of our leadership are outstanding women with most of the representatives being under the age of 40.  The twelve member board is comprised of individuals that understand the need to incorporate the latest trends in marketing and technology while at the same time possessing a great passion to sail.  Also, congratulations to returning Board members Pat Webster and Robert Wakerly.

The meeting after the meeting

Samuel T. Veilleux has been the major influence in bringing about most of the aforementioned changes.  His announcement that he is stepping down as Chairman after six years led to a genuine standing ovation in appreciation. Our Vice Chairman, Joe Kucharski, moves to the top of the chain of command.  Joe will certainly do well in controlling expenses, reducing maintenance even further and has the luxury in working with a Board that will bring in new sailors.  As for the one responsible for training those sailors, Lead Instructor John Lemon has left the Board to not only focus on a greater influx of students, but to organize and oversee a more diverse curriculum.

Our thanks to our Social Director, Pat Webster, for once again putting on an Annual Meeting that will long be remembered! 


 If you're a Skipper who sails a boat for private use, you may want to think about adding to your reserve account early.  If you add at least $100 to your account by cash or check, you will receive a bonus in sailing credits based upon the total dollars you add.  Here's the schedule:

  • By April 30 - 20% of the amount added
  • By May 31 - 10% of the amount added
  • The rest of the sailing season - 5% of the amount added.

Remember, you must add at least $100 by check (no credit cards) in order to receive the credit.  Mail your check together with a note to add the amount to your account, to Lois Lawson, 2019 W Thomas St, Chicago, IL  60622. 



By Ilya Letuchy, Cruising Program Director 

Ilya Letuchy
Ilya Letuchy


 I am very excited to be taking over the Cruising Program this year!  We got off to a great start last year and I look forward to another great season!  Here is a sneak peak at what we have planned:


May Refresher Clinics - Since Priorities, our Hunter 34, is still fairly new to Sail Chicago, we invite everyone who earned their skipper card on Priorities last year to refresh their skills.  There will be 4 individual sessions scheduled throughout May for current Priorities skippers to get together and reacquaint themselves with the boat.  These clinics are free, and we strongly encourage every Priorities skipper to attend at least one.

Introduction to Cruising Course - Once again, we'll be offering an Introduction  to Cruising course.    It's open to any member who has completed another Sail Chicago on-the-water sailing course.  Whether you are just interested in finding out what it's like to sail a larger boat, you are on track to become a skipper, or you are thinking about chartering a sailboat in an exotic locale, this is the course for you (skipper candidates must possess a Sail Chicago Skippercard).   It's designed to teach the basics of operating a larger sailboat with an inboard motor.  In addition to a review of sailing skills, students will be introduced to reefing a larger sail, docking, motoring, anchoring, inboard diesel operation, VHF radio, nautical charts (maps) and crew coordination.  Our May course is already full.  To register for our June, July or August courses click here.

Tiller Time - This year we'll be hosting Tiller Time on Priorities.  Tiller Times will be open to all students currently enrolled in a cruising course.  The purpose of Tiller Time is to provide an opportunity to practice sailing skills learned in class with a different skipper.

Docking Clinic - This year we are introducing Docking Clinics.  Docking Clinics will be specific Tiller Time sessions dedicated completely to docking.  This is a great opportunity to supplement the sailing skills that you learn in the class and get additional practice time.  These will be scheduled to coincide with the classes and are open to students registered in our Introduction to Cruising course.

Member Cruise Outings (
MCOs) - this is a great opportunity for any member to sail on Priorities, Sail Chicago's large cruising boat.  It's a chance to experience a larger boat whether you want to "get your feet wet" or just come out for the ride.  Regular Sail Chicago MCO rules will apply.

Port-to-PortThis year we will bring back port-to-port cruises.  Spend the entire day cruising on Lake Michigan.  These are one day or overnight cruises to a nearby ports that give you the chance to enhance your cruising skills.  On each of these cruises, those interested will be introduced to plotting and maintaining a course using both chart and compass techniques and the GPS.  Marine radio techniques and radio communications will be introduced as well.  Watch future issues of "Between the Sheets" for more details on dates and cost.

I'm excited about our many program offerings for this upcoming sailing season.  If you've got questions regarding anything outlined here, please contact me
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