BTS: April 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 #4
 April, 2015
Steve VanderVoort

By Steve VanderVoort, Editor


After a long, cold winter, our fleet will be in the water and ready in less than a month. Many thanks to all our volunteers who worked so diligently over the winter months, making sure that each of our boats is in tip-top condition for instruction, racing, and private use. We are fortunate to have you as a part of Sail Chicago.  

For those who are not familiar with our fleet, we have four classes of boats available for instruction and for private use. All are keelboats. For many years Rhodes 19s were our main boat of choice. They have a roomy cockpit and are very stable. They have also been among the most successful classes of boat ever developed. We currently have two remaining in the water.

A few years ago, we began a fleet renewal project. We initiated it by purchasing two Ideal 18s, a small maneuverable craft that's great in light winds and for single-handed sailing. Because of its small size, however, it was not particularly useful for our rapidly expanding instruction program.

The next class of boats we considered were Colgate 26s. These were considerably larger, had cockpits that could seat 6 people comfortably, and were designed specifically as instruction boats. We found that these met our needs perfectly, and we've continued to add them to our fleet as our needs have expanded. We will have seven in the water during the upcoming sailing season.

We've always had a cruising boat as a part of our program. When our Alberg was destroyed in a storm that pounded Monroe Harbor a few years ago, we decided to purchase a Hunter 34. That boat has met our needs beautifully. We continue to add new features to it that make it easier for us to take longer trips around Lake Michigan. Our Cruising program also has expanded instruction opportunities this year.

In summary, we've got a great fleet in excellent shape that should continue to meet our needs for years to come.



We've recently had two important positions become available that need to be filled prior to the start of the sailing season. They are:

  • Member Cruise Outing (MCO) Coordinator  This person is responsible for scheduling MCOs throughout the summer, and coordinating specific times with MCO Skippers.  Good administrative skills are helpful.
  • Monroe Parking and Tender Pass Coordinator  This person will organize the parking and tender passes in the lockboxes located at Monroe Harbor.  At the start of the sailing season they will obtain the passes from the Harbormaster. Throughout the summer they will occasionally check the lockboxes to make sure that all passes are accounted for.

If you're interested, or if you'd just like more information, please go to the Sail Chicago Jobs website or contact Christine Garvey.


Colgate Sailing
April 9 - Board Meeting
April 26 - Colgate Launch
April 29 - Hunter Launch
May 2 - Rhodes & Ideal Launch
May 9 - Kickoff the Season Event
May 14 - Board Meeting
June 20 - Summer Sailstice
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 - 
Membership - Faith Hillis
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
Tender & Parking Passes (Monroe) - Bill Prindible
Treasurer - Steve VanderVoort
Webmaster - Alfred Chan

Maintenance Hotline and 

Accident Reporting

Chris Schuler 
Steve VanderVoort
Vice Chairman
 Maya Teleki
 Christine Garvey 

Alfred Chan

Bob Cohen

Dan Flavin

Bob Lapin

Shawn Lord
Martin Modahl
Matt Stuczynski
Michael Swisher  


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.

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.

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.



Registration for classes in Sail Chicago's Instruction Program is now open.  To review the available courses, click here, scroll down, and sign up.  To filter classes by type, date, or time, click "Tags."  

If you are already a member of Sail Chicago and would like to register for a class, click here.  If you have questions about the class registration process, click here.


Racers running before the wind under spinnaker

By Maya Teleki, Racing Coordinator


Registration for all three racing sessions is now open and spots are filling up quickly.   Don't let the cold weather fool you--racing season is just over a month away!   We will have a pre-race orientation on April 25th and the first on-the-water practice session is Wednesday, May 13th.  Wednesday night Beercan Races begin May 27th.  As a reminder, this year we will be doing an inshore course, rounding marks just off the Adler Planetarium and the south end of the breakwater.   We hope to get 2-3 races in each night, weather permitting.

New this year is the Sunday evening "Intro to Racing" practice and instructional sessions. These will be two, four-week sessions on Sunday nights with the first session starting May 24th and the second one starting June 14th.   Priority will be given to intermediate-level sailors with little to no racing experience, but the sessions will also be open to experienced racers who want more time on the water.  Sign up here.


Pat Webster
By Pat Webster, Social Coordinator

Join us on Saturday, May 9th at 6:30 PM at the Weather Mark Tavern* for our first social event of the season. The Weather Mark is a nautical-themed bar and restaurant which makes for a great place to connect with old sailing friends and make new ones. 


Weathermark Tavern

We would especially like to welcome our new members/sailors that evening.  Sail Chicago will provide one drink and limited appetizers for members and for students currently registered for a class.  Guests are welcome to join us for $8/person, pay at the door.  The Weather Mark also serves a nice dinner, with some discounted food and drink specials; so plan to stay to continue talking sailing, after you've enjoyed an appetizer or two.


Watch for an email announcement for more details and to register.  Although there is no charge for this event (except for guests) we'd appreciate your early registration so that we can be sure to have enough food available. 


*The Weather Mark is located at 1503 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago.  

Schuler Scholars under sail
By Tom Simms, Schuler Scholars Coordinator

Looking for an opportunity to have a positive impact on some of Chicago's underserved youth and at the same time fulfill your annual service requirement? Consider volunteering in the Schuler Scholar Sailing Program.  The Schuler Scholar Organization prepares under-resourced, high-potential students to succeed at the most competitive private colleges and universities.  These students are typically the first generation in their families to be college bound and are from populations that are under-represented on college campuses.


You can share your love of sailing with these worthy high school students by volunteering to skipper or serve as first mate on a Colgate 26. We sail Wednesday afternoons from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. from mid-June though mid-August.  All volunteers are greatly appreciated, whether you join us for one Wednesday sail or throughout the summer.  You can find detailed information about this and other volunteer opportunities on the Sail Chicago website.  You can also contact Tom Simms, the Schuler Scholar coordinator.



By Steven Clar & Julia Liu, Tiller Time Coordinators


Soon it will be time to sign up for Tiller Time.  For members who are taking classes, new skippers, or rusty established skippers, Tiller Time offers additional learning on the water with a qualified Sail Chicago skipper.  This is an opportunity to practice skills and maneuvers that were learned in classes and to build more confidence.  Learning to sail is much like learning to play a musical instrument--improvement and "muscle memory" require practice beyond just going to lessons.  So, the best way to feel more confident about sailing is to get out there and spend more time sailing!

This year, we will continue our policy of allowing students to register for a maximum of two Tiller Times at any given point.  This was initiated last year as a way to assure all students fair access to a limited number of Tiller Times.  In response to student and member feedback, the number of available slots was increased near the second half of last year's season.  

Specific Tiller Times will be added to the schedule throughout the sailing season.   Once they become available, you can sign up by logging onto Check this site frequently for new times.  For more information on Tiller Times, click here.

If you are a qualified Sail Chicago skipper and would like to help out by skippering some Tiller Times, email either Steve Clar or Julia Liu with your general day-and-time availability.  If you skipper five (5) or more Tiller Times during the current sailing season, you will fulfill your service requirement for the following year and earn a $50 credit.  Thanks in advance for your help in this very important part of our instruction program.


David Shayne
By David Shayne, Share-a-Sail Coordinator

Ahoy mates!  We often want to go out on Lake Michigan but don't have a full crew. Share-a-Sail is the answer. Sign up for our distribution group and you can send and receive email invitations for a particular date and time.  And the responses go only to you-there is no reply to all. It's an easy way to make it possible to go out and cut the cost. 

New sailors can team up with experienced ones-at least one skipper has to be on board and you can practice while making new friends who share your enthusiasm for the sport. Just go to Google Groups, search for Share-a-Sail and leave your name and email address there.  Please list your whole name so you can be identified. Then you'll be able to post and receive emails from other Sail Chicago members and students who would like to get together and go sailing. Questions: Contact me. If you were on the list last year, you remain unless you tell me to drop you.

By John Lemon, Safety Coordinator


Soon, Sail Chicago members will be heading out on the water. It is important to remember that wearing a life jacket is the single most important thing you can do for your safety. And Sail Chicago's policy is that life jackets must be worn any time you are on or near the water during an official Sail Chicago activity.


Now is a good time to inspect your personal life jacket. If you have a vest-type life jacket, check for tears and wear on the fabric covering. If there is any damage, you should replace your life jacket. The US Coast Guard discourages the use of damaged life jackets and may not consider a damaged one to be part of the legally required complement on a boat.


For inflatables, BoatUS has a great description of inflatable life jacket care on their website at Inflatable Life Jacket Care    Inflatable life jackets require more regular inspection and care because it's not always obvious if the integrity of the life jacket has been compromised.  You should inspect the cartridge to ensure that it hasn't been discharged and the inflator for corrosion and serviceability. The vest should be inflated with the mouth tube to ensure that it does not leak.


If you are interested in learning more about the importance of wearing your life jacket and the testing of different types, you'll find a good start at The Life Jacket Test.


2014 Coastal Navigation Seminar Attendees
Students in a coastal navigation seminar

or three half-day sessions in late March, 13 bareboat cruising wannabes showed up in the REI Lincoln Park Community Room for the first in-depth Coastal Navigation Course that Sail Chicago has offered.  Taught by seasoned skipper Bob Lapin, this hands-on course explored the finer points of 

Bob Lapin

navigating coastal waters.  Participants learned how to plot a course, calculate time/speed/distance, take bearings and fixes, adjust for and set drift, and much, much more.

Due to the popularity of the March course, it's being offered again in April. The April course is also filled to capacity.  Coastal Navigation is a requirement for an on-the-water Bareboat Cruising Course that will be offered aboard Priorities, our cruising boat, later in the year.



(Your Sail Chicago Board has three new members and one returning member elected at the Annual Meeting in March. Over the next few issues of Between the Sheets we'll give you an opportunity to get to know them a little better. First up is Bob Cohen.)


Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a pulmonary and critical care physician with a specialty in occupational lung disease. I worked for 32 years at Cook County Hospital, last as chair of the department, and then retired from there and moved to UIC in the School of Public Health and to Northwestern to run their Occupational Lung Disease program. I love teaching and training the next generation of health professionals, caring for patients, and research.

What about your sailing experience?

I first learned to sail on a sunfish in high school, sailed at Northwestern as an undergrad, and then intermittently on J22's a few times a summer until four years ago when I met Sail Chicago. I then joined, took my skippers class, and checked out on the Hunter 34, Rhodes 19, Ideal 18, Colgate 26, single handing, and then became an instructor, got certified as an Instructor by US Sailing, and have enjoyed teaching and racing since then. I have sailed as crew on a Farr 38 in beer can races and sailed on a Catalina 400 in the 2013 Mackinac race. For the last four years, I've become addicted to sailing, and I sail anywhere and any time I can.

What's been your involvement with Sail Chicago?

I've been an instructor for three years, and have taught basic classes as well as single handing on the Ideal 18. I started the Colgate 26 racing program and led it for the past two years. I have, with the help of our racing committee and coaches built the program up to five boats fielded over 17 weeks of sailing. The program has received a good deal of positive feedback with sailors enjoying the advanced sailing skills they learn as well as the social aspects and comradeship of the program.

What motivated you to join the Sail Chicago Board?

I would like to help support Sail Chicago's mission of sailing education and outreach to the community. I would like to see if we can broaden our appeal to attract more African American and Latino members as well as continue the trend in attracting younger members and women to our organization.   I would also like to continue to develop the racing program and instructor development to advance our sailing knowledge to even higher levels so that we can pass this along to our members.

What's your vision for the future direction of Sail Chicago?

I'd love to see us continue to broaden our appeal to wider sectors of the Chicago Sailing community. Continue to go beyond basic, intermediate and skipper training to include cruising courses, spinnaker courses, more single-handing courses, beginning and advanced racing, as well as instructor and racing coach training. I also think our relationship with US Sailing is a wonderful opportunity to advance our goals and I fully support deepening that relationship and offering as wide a range of US Sailing training courses as possible. I think our outreach to the other Chicago Sailing Community organizations including the Park District, and some of the yacht clubs is an important strategy.


Stars & Stripes and Abracadabra, two of America's Cup racers

Two of the world's most famous America's Cup Class sailing yachts will be seen regularly racing along Chicago's lakefront this summer.  Stars & Stripes and Abracadabra are being made available to individuals and groups to participate in the fun of sailing on a world-class racing boat.  Teams of 20 sailors on each of the boats can also compete in racing activities.  Both boats have competed in the America's Cup and can reach speeds of up to 25 knots.

The new company, appropriately named  Next Level Sailing, has both boats for charter at a cost of $3,150 per three-hour period.  It will be catering to corporate team-building activities and to private groups for entertainment. Chicago will be the only city in the United States where guests can be involved in racing these World Cup yachts.  The boats will be docked in Burnham Harbor.

Sail Chicago welcomes this new addition to the Chicago sailing community and wishes it much success. We are convinced that its activities will enhance interest in sailing among old salts and landlubbers alike.


Several items were discussed at the March Sail Chicago Board meeting:
  • Boat use fees for weekday mornings have been reduced.
  • US Sailing certification will be offered to Sail Chicago members in the Instruction program.
  • Dates for the launch of the fleet were announced.


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