BTS: August 2011

Between the Sheets: News from Sail Chicago for August

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Sail Chicago is a community sailing program that has for over fifty years been offering affordable sailing, water safety, and racing instruction, and recreational sailing opportunities to people in the Chicago area.

Issue #8August,, 2011 
From the Editor

By Steve VanderVoort, Between the Sheets Editor


During the week of the July 4 holiday, my wife and I attended the family camp owned by the alumni association my university.  We've been traveling to the camp on Walloon Lake in Michigan for the past 30 years.  Many of the same people come back year after year, and we've formed a kind of community that's almost like family.


One of the people there is a man we've come to know and love.  He's a great sailor, and we've bareboated all around the Caribbean with him and his family during winters past.  Last year he discovered that he had a rare form of spinal tumor.  By the time it was excised, he had lost the use of both legs.  Although hes been practicing physical therapy, he's been pretty depressed that he may never walk again.


When I saw him at camp this year in his wheelchair, I was determined to get him "on-the-water" at all costs.  The camp has a small fleet of Ensigns (similar to our Rhodes 19s), and, with the help of the camp's boating staff, I was able to get him on a boat and behind the tiller every day.  A truly remarkable change overtook him.  As the week progressed, he began to realize that he could get at least some of his old life back.  He started smiling again and talking about other things that he would be doing when he returned home.  The positive changes I saw him him were truly remarkable.


In thinking about my friend and his experience, I was reminded of the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Program for people with disabilities, located right here in Chicago.  The program runs out of Burnham Harbor and is available to all people with physical handicaps.  If you know a handicapped person who you think might enjoy learning to sail a small keelboat, please contact the program. 

Summer Solstice Celebrated

 The Summer Solstice was celebrated with Tiller Times on five consecutive Tuesday evenings at Montrose harbor beginning on the Summer Solstice, June 21.  Two or three boats went out each time.  Just before sailing, everyone joined in sharing a light snack and conversation.  This extended celebration was great fun for all those who attended.

News from the Board

June Board Meeting 

  • We will be soon moving out of our indoor maintenance facility, thereby saving approximately $1,500/month in maintenance costs.  These funds will be put toward other Sail Chicago programs.
  • Board members expressed concern that some Sail Chicago members are signing up for multiple Tiller Times, thereby limiting the number slots available to others.  Current Tiller Time guidelines will remain in place for this season, but will be reviewed for the following year in hopes that more people will be able to take advantage of Tiller Times.  
  • Because of concern for boater safety, The Board set new standards for the maximum number of people on Sail Chicago boats.  They are:
    • Dinghies - 2 people
    • Rhodes - 4 people
    • Ideal - 3 people
    • Colgate 26 - 6 people
    • Shields - 5 people
    • Hunter - 7 people
  • In another concern for safety, the Board changed the Sail Chicago incident procedures to state that if a boat makes contact with another boat or fixed object, that boat will be taken out of service until an inspection can be made.  The skipper's on-the-water privileges will also be suspended  until cleared by the the Safety Director or the Board.
  • In order to clarify the role of the Safety Director, the Board stated that the Safety Director's role is to, "Conduct safety investigations and to make safety recommendations to the Board."
  • Rob Wakerly was appointed Insurance Director.
Summer Solstice Celebrated
News from the Board
Who to Contact
Board of Directors
Friends and Family in August
Regatta Scheduled
It's Never Too Late to Learn
Handheld Flares - Be Careful!
Friends & Family Gather
Open Racing Continues in August
It's a Priority!
New Incentives for Tiller Time Skippers
Sail Chicago Reminders

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Maintenance Hotline

312-409-9000 or

Who to Contact 
Chairman - Sam Veilleux
Announcements - Ann Weaver
BTS Editor - Steve VanderVoort
Bookkeeper - Mark Burns
Cruising Boats - Chris Riegel
Fleet 12 Racing - Sally Hamann
Instruction (Dryland) - Dan Flavin
Instruction/Registration - David Bowen
Lead Instructor - John Lemon
Maintenance (Summer) - Dean Hackenberg
Maintenance (Winter) - Joe Kucharski
Marketing - Mike Parapetti
Membership - Lois Lawson
Open Racing - Tom & Hewly Prucher
Safety - Ed Schroeder
Social - Pat Webster
Swim Test - Rob Wakerly
Tiller Time - Chris Garvey
Treasurer - Jay Owens
Sam Veilleux

Jay Owens
Vice Chairman
Joe Kucharski

Frank Loftus 

Maureen Huston

John Lemon
Mike Parapetti

Chris Riegel

Chris Schuler
Steve VanderVoort
Rob Wakerly
Pat Webster
Friends and Family Sail - Doing it Again in August!
By Pat Webster, Social Director


We had so much fun at our Friends and Family Sail earlier this season that we're doing it again on Saturday, August 27th.  It will be held at Montrose Harbor (in the grassy area just east of Corinthian Yacht Club) from 1:00 - 5:00 pm.  We will be barbecuing and taking members and their guests out on our Rhodes 19 fleet, Meridian our Colgate 26, and on Priorities our 34 foot motor cruiser.  This will be a great opportunity to introduce your friends and family to sailing and to Sail Chicago.  It might also give you an opportunity to go out on a boat you haven't previously sailed.  Sailing of course is weather dependent.  (We had hoped to hold this event earlier in the month at Monroe, but logistically it just wasn't feasible.)
Although there will be no charge for sailing, $7 per person will be charged for the picnic lunch.  It will include brats, burgers, veggie burgers, salads and sweets as well as soft drinks and water.  Money will be collected at the harbor.  Please register by August 22, 2011  so that we can be sure to have enough food for all who attend.  Similarly if you have registered and find that you cannot attend, please cancel as soon as possible.  Contact Pat Webster by email to register.  Also, if you would like to help out with the picnic, please indicate that when you register.

Street parking is available and there is also a pay at the box parking lot just west of the Corinthian Yacht Club.
If you have friends or family members whom you think might be interested in an introductory sailing experience, please invite them to join us for a great afternoon so sailing and socializing.  They'll have a chance to take a sail and meet some great people who love to share their enthusiasm for sailing.
Come to the Regatta on September 10
Tom & Hewly Prucher

Tom & Hewly Prucher

By Tom & Hewly Prucher, Open Racing Coordinators


AHOY RACERS AND ALL OTHER SAIL CHICAGO MEMBERS! Mark your calendars for the End-of-Season Regatta and Picnic, Saturday, September 10 at Montrose Harbor. The regatta starts at 8:00 am. The picnic starts at approximately 2:00 pm, after the regatta.



Preparing for the Regatta

End the racing season with a bang. Whether you're racing for the first time or the hundredth, the excitement and adrenaline rush never fade. You'll experience the thrill of converging on the upwind mark and jockeying for position on the run downwind. Competition is keen and always fun.

Several races will be held so that everyone gets to participate and experience the thrill at the tiller. Experienced skippers will captain each boat. Others will crew or skipper individual races.

To register for the Regatta, sign up on line at Member Sign In/Reserve Program Seats/Open Racing/Find Seats/Sept 10.  The cost is $20.

After the race, join friends old and new for the picnic. Relive the race and reminisce about the summer's sailing. The cost of the picnic is TBD, payable at the door. Please let us know if you are coming so we can have enough food.


It's Never Too Late to Learn

 Although summer sailing is well underway, Sail Chicago has a few spaces available in sailing classes on all our boats. Take advantage of this opportunity to sharpen your sailing skills and expand your experience. We have openings in the following classes. Course fee is $200 unless otherwise noted.

  • Basic Sailing
  • Intermediate Sailing
  • Single-handing on the Ideal 18 (must have skippercard)
  • Colgate 26 qualification (must have skippercard)
  • Shields skipper/crew (must have skippercard to qualify as skipper)
  • Introduction to Cruising on our new Hunter 34 (must have skippercard if you want to try to qualify)

Follow this link to the registration form for dates and times. Refer to your Sail Chicago Handbook and recent issues of BTS for course descriptions. If you want to sign up for any of these courses, email   your selection and follow up by sending the form and payment as indicated. Don't delay--space is limited!  



Handheld Flares - Be Careful!
Ed Schroeder

Ed Schroeder

By Ed Schroeder, Safety Director 


All of our boats are equipped with handheld flares; in an emergency, pyrotechnic signals remain one of the best ways at attracting attention. Recently, however, a burning flare caused more problems than it solved.


FlareAccording to a recent article in "Practical Sailor" magazine, during a training course at the Annapolis School of Seamanship, a USCG-approved Orion handheld flare melted through its handle and began dripping hot slag on the trainee who was, luckily, wearing leather gloves. The hot slag had burned all the way to the plastic end cap and then melted its way through the cap itself.


The user needs to recognize that they are literally holding fire in their hand and should be prepared to cope with a malfunctioning flare, including holding the burning flare at an angle, holding the flare over the water and wearing heavy leather gloves.


It would be good practice, while on a pleasant sail, to read the directions on one of the flares that might save your life.


Friends & Family Gather 

John Lemon

By John Lemon, Lead Instructor


Over 85 friends, family and members attended the picnic Saturday, July 16. Everyone had a great time and many friends and family members attended. There was a great mix of new and seasoned members and a number of children attending.  The only downside was that due to light winds, we were unable to bring Erica and Meridian to help with sailboat rides so not everyone got a chance to get out.

Pat Webster did a tremendous job and she deserves our thanks for her hard work.  Special thanks also goes out to Marilyn Shipley, Lexie Antonio and Annette Faber.  Marilyn lent her hand in transporting all of the gear and food and also in doing a fantastic grilling job, and Lexie and Annette were instrumental in making the event happen with all of their behind the scenes work.  Lois Lawson and Ed Schroeder were also on hand to help set up.


Open Racing Season Continues Through August
Tom & Hewly Prucher

Tom & Hewly Prucher

By Tom & Hewly Prucher, Open Racing Coordinators 



We even race in the fog!

Open Racing closes the season with four Saturdays in August.  Come out on Saturday mornings from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM.  The racing is for old salts and for anyone who has taken just one Basic Sailing class.  Positions are assigned in each boat to balance the skill levels and to allow beginners to learn from more experienced sailors.

Sign up on line at Member Sign In/ Reserve Program Seats /Open Racing/Find Seats/pick a date, pick a boat.  The cost is $20.

E-mail for more information.


It's a Priority!


Hunter 34

Hunter 34

The Board has recently heard from several members that they are disappointed that Priorities, Sail Chicago's new Hunter 34 cruising boat, has not been available to more people.  the Board recognizes this and has scheduled twice-weekly Member Cruise Outings for the remainder of the season.  We hope to schedule more as skipper availability increases.  


Several problems compounded to make it difficult to schedule these activities on Priorities previously. 

  • We did not expect to have a new cruising boat this year, but when Emotional Rescue, our former cruising boat, was damaged beyond repair in a big storm early in the summer, we immediately searched for and purchased a new cruising boat.
  • A few weeks after Priorities was purchased, the engine broke down, and it took almost two weeks to get a new part installed.
  • Since Priorities is new to Sail Chicago, current cruising boat instructors and skippers have had to become familiar with it's operations, and this has taken more time than expected.  The safety of everyone on board has been a primary concern here.

 As the summer progresses, we hope to have increasing numbers of people out on Priorities. There are currently openings in skipper classes.  If you're interesting in skippering this marvelous curising boat please sign up.  For more information, contact the Curising Boat Director, Chris Riegel.  If you'd like to get a feel for the boat, please come to the Friends and Family outing on August 27 (see article above).


Incentives for Tiller Time Skippers

Thinking about skippering a tiller time?  Here's a couple more things to think about.  Basic keelboat skippers who do 5 tiller times:

  1. Get $50 in sailing credits
  2. Get service time for next year satisfied
  3. Get to meet new people
  4. Get to have "boat loads" of fun!

Who could ask for more???  Contact Chris Garvey to sign up, right away!


Sail Chicago Reminders


Summer Maintenance

If you haven't signed up for Summer Maintenance, do it now by e-mailing or phone the Maintenance Hotline at 312-409-9000.  As part of our Annual Service Requirement, all members of Sail Chicago (except new members in their first summer) must register for one week of  Summer Maintenance if they would like to participate in any on-the-water programs. 


Boat Status

Prior to your scheduled sail, check the Boat Status page on the Sail Chicago website to learn whether or not your boat is in service.  Don't be disappointed by getting to the harbor and finding that your boat is out of commission.  If you experience a problem with your boat notify Summer Maintenance immediately using the phone number or e-mail above.  If you think the problem is serious, you may remove the boat from service through the Boat Status Page on the Sail Chicago website.


Incident Reporting

If you are a skipper and the boat you are sailing comes into contact with ANY other object (another boat, a seawall, rocks, etc.) you MUST immediately notify Summer Maintenance by calling the Maintenance Hotline at 312-409-9000 or e-mailing, or 312-409-9000.  You must also file a complete written report (see checklist) with the Safety Director .

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