BTS: April 2013

Between the Sheets: News from Sail Chicago for April
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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 #4
April, 2013
 By Gary Thrane, Associate Editor


One of the best things about learning to sail, and becoming a skipper, with a group like Sail Chicago is the almost automatic

Gary Thrane

assurance that it gives to others that you can handle a sailboat on big waters like Lake Michigan.


Many years ago, I learned to sail with Sail Chicago's predecessor organization, American Youth Hostels.   I was soon sailing the AYH 31-footer, Endeavor, and teaching newcomers.   I convinced a sailing friend who had his own boat that we and our wives should look into bareboating in the Caribbean.   He was game, and we rented a 34-foot sailboat for ten days in the British Virgin Islands.   When I told the rental company that I had sailed on Lake Michigan for several years, they replied, "You won't have any problem down here."


This trip turned into one of our most memorable vacations.   We sailed where we wanted every day and enjoyed the freedom of dropping anchor in whatever cove seemed most inviting.


After ten days of cruising, we were due to return the boat. The last night we anchored by Peter Island across Francis Drake Channel from Tortola where we would return the boat.   We had pretty much eaten all our provisions, and we were menaced by what threatened to be our last dinner: canned hot dogs.


Ashore, we knew that the Peter Island Yacht Club, an elite resort, featured a fine-dining restaurant.   After ten days on a 34-foot boat, none of us looked like "elite diners."   So, on one hand, we faced the shameful prospect of being turned away by the restaurant's maître d', and on the other, we faced a "feast" of canned hot dogs.


In the end, canned hot dogs seemed worse, and we headed ashore.   A peek into the dining room revealed the well-dressed diners we had dreaded.   We began by apologizing to the maître d' for our salt-encrusted garb.   "It's not a problem," he assured us.   Then, he added with a sly grin, "We just tell our guests that you're visiting adds to the local color."  So, if nothing else, sailing with Sail Chicago may earn you a spot as "local color."



By John Lemon, Lead Instructor


May 4 marks the beginning of Session 1 classes, with a full complement of students.  Thanks to our dedicated volunteer instructors, 50 students will be heading out during that week.  We are all hoping for a blast of warm weather before the end of April.


If you are thinking about signing up for a sailing class this summer, we encourage you to register soon.  At the current pace, we will fill up most of our classes by mid-May.  There is still space in June 
Basic Sailing and all July and August classes.  Check out our 
learn-to-sail web page for more information.  If you tried to sign up for a class that is currently full, or would like to take a class earlier in the summer, you can add your name to a waiting list.


See you on the water!




Sail Chicago members have always been encouraged to invite their friends to join, and now there is an incentive to do so.   Members will receive a $50 credit to their account for every new member who joins Sail Chicago at their invitation.   (Even if your friend decides to just participate in the "Sail into Summer" program, you will still 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.  To assure proper credit, the new member must identify the referring member on the Sail Chicago membership application.  


From the Editor
Sailing Classes Are Filling Rapidly
$50 Credit for Referring New Members
Who to Contact
Mandatory Pre-Sail Orientation
Bringing Skippers and Crew Together
The Colgate Racing Program
Fun Racing
Skippers Needed for MCOs
Weather for Sailors
The End of Summer Maintenance
Sail Chicago Reminders
May 11 - Midwest Women's Sailing Conference
July 13 - Chicago/Mackinac Race begins
August 7-11 - Chicago Match Race Cup
August 7-11 - Tall Ships, Navy Pier
August 24-25 - Verve Cup Regatta
*See article in this issue
Chairman - Frank Loftus
Announcements - Gary Thrane
BTS Editor  - Steve VanderVoort
Chairman - Frank Loftus
Colgate 26 Racing - Fiona Ray
Cruising Program - Nick Petrovits
Fun Racing -Dolores Baron
Human Resources - Frank Loftus
Instruction Scheduling - Lorna Luebbers
Lead Instructor - John Lemon
Maintenance - Frank Loftus
Marketing - Mike Parapetti
Member Cruise Outings - Mehmet Tasci
Membership - Lois Lawson
Pre-Sail Orientation -Peter Hays & Mary Ann Wilkins
Seminars -Paul Demmel
Share-a-Sail - David Shayne
Social - Pat Webster
Tender & Parking Passes - Arleen Prairie
Tiller Time - Anke Heinrich
Treasurer - Steve VanderVoort

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Maintenance Hotline

312-409-9000 or

John Lemon SC T-Shirt
John Lemon Models Sail Chicago T-Shirt

If this is your first season with Sail Chicago, you must attend one Pre-Sail Orientation session before you head out on the water.  Pre-sail Orientation is intended to give you an introduction to the sport of sailing and Sail Chicago. The course includes preparation before going sailing, sailing terminology, equipment, basic boat handling, seamanship, safety rules, emergency procedures, and a review of knots. Students who have enrolled in on-the-water classes will receive US Sailing handbooks, handouts, and a Sail Chicago T-shirt. 

All Pre-Sail Orientation sessions will meet at the Lincoln Park REI Store.   Six different dates and times are available, starting Saturday, April 20.   To see dates and times and to register click here: Pre-Sail Orientation Session.   Everyone interested in attending, whether new sailor or not, should register for a specific date and time.

Current Sail Chicago members who would like a review or interested non-members are encouraged to attend free of charge  (Note: Auditors do not receive handbook or Sail Chicago T-shirt.)  This is an excellent way to check out Sail Chicago and sailing!




On March 13, more than sixty Sail Chicago members and students gathered at the St. Vincent DePaul Center in Chicago to review the prior year's activities and to learn of new plans and programs for the coming sailing season.


After Chairman Frank Loftus called the meeting to order, Treasurer Jay Owens reported that Sail Chicago ended a successful financial year with a cash balance of almost $45,000.  These funds are being used to pay expenses before member dues and class registration fees start coming in. Remaining funds will be directed toward our continuing fleet renewal program.


Last year, the basic instruction program was opened up to non-members through the Sail into

John Lemon accepts Lifetime Achievement Award
John Lemon accepts Lifetime Achievement Award

Summer Program.  Lead instructor, John Lemon, reported that this new program was highly successful and virtually doubled the number of students enrolled in basic instruction.   John gave special thanks to the many instructors and instructors-in-training for their service and dedication to the program.   After John's report, former Sail Chicago Chairman Bob Gerber presented a surprise, and well-deserved, "Lifetime Achievement Award" to John for his many years of service and leadership to Sail Chicago.


This year, all basic keelboat instruction will be on our fleet of Colgate 26s, with skipper certification also available on our Rhodes 19 and Ideals.   Registration for the 2013 instruction season began February 3, and enrollments are far ahead of this same time last year.


Two new programs for the 2013 season were also highlighted. Fiona Ray shared plans for a new Colgate 26 racing program that will be held on Wednesday evenings for 

Colgate 26 Racing
Colgate Racing

three months this summer in conjunction with races of the larger Chicago sailing community.   The first month is already at capacity, and spaces for the second month are filling rapidly. 


Four Directors were elected to fill vacancies created by expiring terms: Alfred Chan, Chris Garvey, Mike Parapetti, and Steve VanderVoort.   Finally, Board member Rob Wakerly fielded questions from the membership to the Board, after which many attendees continued an informal meeting across the street at the Halsted Harp.




At its March meeting, the Sail Chicago Board gave full approval to:

  • A continuation of the $50 bonus credit for any current Sail Chicago member who refers a new member to Sail Chicago,
  • A plan (proposed by Fiona Ray) to encourage last year's Sail into Summer students to become members of Sail Chicago,
  • A "Share-a-Sail" Plan (proposed by Steve VanderVoort) to provide a communications forum for skippers who need crew and for crew looking for opportunities to sail.

The board also confirmed Anke Heinrich as Coordinator of Tiller Time and Mehmet Tasci as Coordinator of Member Cruise Outings.


Skippers, have you ever wanted to take out a boat in our fleet for private use, but can't find crew to go with you?  Newer members or Sail-into-Summer students have you ever wanted to go sailing at a particular time and date, but you can't find a skipper who's able to take you out?  Now there's a solution to both problems!

Sail Chicago now has a list-serve on Google Groups called, "Share-a-Sail."  Members of this group can email one another to arrange sailing dates for private boat use.  Just send an email to the group and wait for responses.  Examples of possible emails might be:

  • "Skipper looking for crew to sail on weekday afternoons during July."
  • "Sail-into-Summer student looking for a skipper to crew with on a Friday evening in June."

If you're interested in signing up for this new communication tool, go to Google Groups and search for "shareasail."  Request to join the group and, if you're a Sail Chicago member or a current Sail-into-Summer student, you'll be admitted to the group.  If you have problems locating the group or if you have questions, please contact our Share-a-Sail Coordinator,  David Shayne.


By Bob Cohen, Colgate 26 Racing Program Committee 


On March 20th, Sam Veilleux met with representatives from Columbia Yacht Club to formalize Sail Chicago's participation in the Monroe Harbor Wednesday Night "Beer Can" Racing Program. Members of Sail Chicago will now be invited competitors, along with members of Columbia Yacht Club, Chicago Yacht Club, Burnham Yacht Club, an d Midwest Open Racing Fleet (MORF).  The Sail Chicago Racing program will enter our four Colgate 26's each Wednesday night for racing throughout the summer. Our members will also be encouraged to participate as Race Committee volunteers--look for more details soon.  This recognition gives Sail Chicago wider exposure in Chicago's sailing community, and racing in a larger fleet will be even more exciting. 


The response to the Colgate 26 racing program has been tremendous. Spots for June were sold out within the first few weeks, and July is almost sold out.  If you would like to participate in this exciting

Race week 2
Rounding the Mark

program, don't delay. Sign up now!


The program is designed to race each Colgate 26 with a skipper/racing coach and four crew members. In the course of each session, crew will learn to work the racing positions of helmsman, foredeck crew, jib and spinnaker trimmer, main trimmer, and pitman (working the halyards).   Participants will learn racing tactics conforming to U.S. Sailing's most recent Racing Rules of Sailing:  2013-2016.   Special emphasis will be placed on the finer points of sail trim and taking advantage of shifting winds.


The program begins with a pre-racing seminar and two weeks of training before the actual racing session begins.  Each session includes races on four Wednesday evenings in June, July, and August. Sailors new to racing may sign up as crew, while experienced racing skippers may sign up as individuals, or consider chartering the boat for an entire session and recruiting their own crew. The cost is $100 per four-week session per individual; $400 to charter a boat for a four-week session.


The capstone event for the summer will be the Verve Inshore Regatta, August 24-25, at Belmont Harbor.  To get more information on this program, to learn if you qualify for participation, and to sign up for one of the sessions, click here.


By Dolores Baron


Last year, we had a lot of fun, sharpened our sailing skills, and made new friends.


This year will be a bit different. First, we are going to meet SATURDAY MORNING at 8 a.m. at the tender dock in Monroe Harbor.  Second, if you skipper a boat, it will be free. Otherwise, there will be a $10 fee. 


Crew will sign up as usual on the web site.  Those who wish to skipper should email mRhodes 19e to find out if there is a spot open.


I want to encourage every one to come.   New sailors (who have had at least one class) will find that, besides being fun, it is a great way to sharpen your sailing skills.   And we really could use some of our experienced people to rejoin us.  I hope you will come and join the fun.


Each Saturday 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 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 Saturday, June 1, and continue to August 31.  We meet at Monroe 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. (Except for those who want to be skippers who will email me.)  For more information please e-mail me.



Colgate Sailing
 By Mehmet Tasci

Member Cruise Outings (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.

We need MCO skippers for the sailing season. If you're an experienced Sail Chicago skipper please consider signing up to skipper. 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.To find out more, please contact




 By Michael Swisher


Tuesday evening, March 12, thirty-four hearty souls braved the elements for Sail Chicago's seminar,

Michael Swisher
Michael Swisher

Weather for Sailors.  Erik Schneider educated us on many facets of weather and how it affects our time on the water--from avoiding potentially dangerous situations to using it to enhance our sailing experience.  We learned about off-shore winds and thermals, air-pressure highs and lows, the cause and meaning of various cloud formations, advancing fronts and much more.   The weather is not just something you check before you go out--subtle changes can also tell you of approaching storms that could otherwise creep up on you if you're not paying attention.  Some points Erik thinks are especially important are:

  • The prudent skipper should always check official advisories and expected weather conditions before setting sail.
  • Skippers should always monitor the weather while sailing, using a marine radio or smart phone and observe if other boats are heading to harbor en masse.
  • A storm crossing into the lake miles away, but still within view, can still create strong wind and waves affecting your boat.  Don't assume your distance is safe.

Erik also informed us of a number of Internet sites, some for forecasting and tracking current weather

patterns, and others more geared for education. We will be making these available to members in the near future.

Sail Chicago's Summer Maintenance Program, for so long a vital part of our sailing program, has been discontinued.  Each boat in our fleet now has a permanent, year-round maintenance team headed by a Boat Manager. Thus, there is no longer a need for a Summer Maintenance Program.


Remember, however, Sail Chicago members (except new members) must still fulfill an Annual Service Requirement if they would like to participate in any on-the-water activities. To view a list of positions available and contacts, click here.

Fulfill Your Service Requirement Before the Sailing Season Starts  
A list of opportunities&nbsnbsp;to fulfill your annual service requirements is still available.  Please review it, and if you find one that appeals to you, follow the online instructions to contact the program coordinator named in the list to learn how you might become involved.  Remember, unless you meet your annual service requirement, you will NOT be able to participate in any Sail Chicago on-the-water activities this season.
Renew Your Sail Chicago Membership Now  
Renew your Sail Chicago Membership online using a credit card.  If you'd prefer to mail in your renewal together with a check, click here to print a paper form.

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 web site, Sail Chicago.

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