BTS: August 2013

Between the Sheets: News from Sail Chicago for August
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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 #8
August, 2013

By Steve VanderVoort, Managing Editor

Steve VanderVoort

Sail Chicago has always emphasized boating safety as our most important priority.  And our Instruction Program has traditionally had safety on the water in everything we do. Here I'd like to discuss aspects of boating safety in Monroe Harbor.  I've talked with several experienced Sail Chicago skippers and these are some points they brought up that may serve as guidelines to to enhance our experience of boating safety in the Harbor:

  • Before leaving the mooring, a skipper needs to consider at least the following factors: current wind speed and direction, potential changes in the weather, the sailing experience of everyone on board, boat traffic in the lanes and fairways, and the "chop" in the harbor. 
  • When sailing off or on a mooring, the skipper needs to make sure that the appropriate sails are raised and that all hands know the specific procedure for leaving the mooring. The skipper should have clearly explained to the crew Plan A, B, (and perhaps C) for contingencies in leaving the mooring.  As an additional safety precaution, the skipper may consider starting the motor and leaving it in neutral.
  • When sailing out of Monroe Harbor, depending upon conditions, the Skipper may consider using the motor as an assist.  When using the motor, normally the mainsail should be up and sheeted in (not "banging" in the wind), and the jib furled.
  • If projected wind velocities are stronger than 15kt, the skipper should consider reefing the sails. In the harbor.  Reefing should be done while the boat is still secured to the mooring.  It's much easier to shake out a reefed sail in the middle of the Lake than to reef it there, without the protection afforded by the harbor and the steadiness of the mooring. Reefing in open water should be done while sailing on the jib alone with the main eased or the boat in a hove-to position, away from the lee shore.
  • Prior to leaving the mooring, the skipper should choose a channel by which to leave. Typically, this should be shortest practical route to the east channel, by the breakwater. There are several reasons for this:
    • Since the west channel is closer to land, winds there tend to be "fluky,"
    • Powerboats tend to cruise the west channel, particularly on weekends, and some powerboaters do not understand the constraints that a sailboat is under.
    • If a sailboat is in the west channel when the wind is coming from the north or east, there's a risk of being forced onto the seawall along the west channel.
  • In general, the skipper should be careful to choose the course that involves the fewest potential conflicts with other boats and offers the most sea room to get out of a "jam."
  • Sail Chicago boats should ALMOST NEVER sail through the moored boats in order to get to the fairway and out of the Harbor or to return to the mooring. The danger of collisions with other boats and moorings is much greater when sailing through the moorings. Use either the west (or preferably the east) channel when leaving or coming back to the mooring.
  • If a crew member ever feels unsafe while on the water, the crew member needs to tell the skipper immediately.
  • Always remember that we are trying to be good neighbors to our fellow boat owners in Monroe Harbor. This means that we need to make sure they feel safe when they see our boats leaving or returning to our moorings.

The above points are guidelines, not rules. The first priority of skippers must always be the safety of themselves, their crew, their boat, and other boats in the harbor. Any decisions the skipper makes MUST be based upon the principle of SAFETY FIRST!


If you have additional points you'd like to make regarding safety while in the Harbor, or if you disagree with any of the points mentioned above, please let me know, and we'll publish them in future issues of Between the Sheets.

From the Editor...Boating Safety
Answers to Your Questions
August, a Great Month for Sailors!
Member Cruise Outings
Family and Friends Picnics
July Sail Chicago Board Meeting
Sail Chicago Reminders
August 7-11 - Chicago Match Cup Race*
August 7-11 - Tall Ships, Navy Pier*
August 11 - Friends & Family Picnic*
August 24-25 - Verve Cup Regatta

*  See articles below.

Announcements - Gary Thrane
Bookkeeper - Jay Owens
BTS Editor  - Steve VanderVoort
Chairman - Chris Schuler
Colgate 26 Racing - Bob Cohen 
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 Wilkens
Seminars -Paul Demmel
Safety Director - Andy Miller
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

Chris Schuler 

Steve VanderVoort
Vice Chairman
 Rob Wakerly

Fiona Ray 

Alfred Chan

Dan Flavin

Chris Garvey

Maureen Huston

Frank Loftus
Mike Parapetti
Pat Webster

Handbook CoverHave questions about Sail Chicago procedures or rules? There's a great place to find all the answers: the Sail Chicago Handbook is a treasure trove of information regarding our organization.  It contains answers to virtually any question you might have regarding how Sail Chicago works, who to contact, rules and regulations, policies and procedures.


Brig for Tall Ships
A tall ship, the brigantine Flagship Niagara, under tull sail

By Steve VanderVoort


August is a great time for Sail Chicago members and friends. In addition to our own Friends and Family Picnic and Sail scheduled for August 11 (click here to register), Navy Pier is hosting a dual sailing extravaganza.  Both the Chicago Cup Match Race and Tall Ships Chicago will be at the Pier August 7 - 11.


During the Tall Ships Festival, visitors can walk the festival grounds to view the Tall Ships, board a Tall Ship for a dockside tour, or get a taste of life at sea with a sail-away cruise on select Tall Ships. This nautical event also includes fun-filled festivities and educational opportunities for the whole family.


A tall ship is a large traditionally rigged sailing vessel. A tall ship can be a schooner, ketch, sloop, brig, barque, brigantine, barquentine, or a full-rigged ship depending on the number of masts and the cut of the sails. Traditional rigs may include square rigs and gaff rigs with separate topmasts and topsails. There will be 14 tall ships at Navy Pier for the festival.


The pageantry kicks-off with an opening day Parade of Sail on Wednesday, August 7 from 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. on Lake Michigan with Chicago's skyline forming the perfect backdrop as the historic Tall Ships sail into dock at Navy Pier. You can even sail on a Tall Ship during the Parade of Sail and stand on deck as you get a breathtaking one-of-a-kind view of the ships sailing past Navy Pier.


Match Cup Racing
Match Cup racers
Sailing of another kind will take place inside the festival grounds as 12 of the world's best teams compete against each other in the Chicago Match Cup. This professional match race sailing competition is the only U.S. stop on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. If you've never seen a Match Cup race before, be prepared for some thrills and chills. These folks are some of the best sailors in the world, and  they really put their boats through their paces. The March Race is also sponsoring a Youth Day on August 7, and has reserved a special viewing on the third floor of the Navy Pier Ballroom. For more information, click here.
Colgate 26

By Mehmet Ali Tasci


Member Cruise Outings (MCOs) are informal pleasure sails for all Sail Chicago members and their guests. It's an opportunity for you to get on the water without the responsibility for skippering a boat. It's free for Sail Chicago Members and $20 for each guest. You can reserve your seat by clicking "Reserve Program Seats" and "Member Cruise Outing on the Sail Chicago web page.


Becoming an MCO skipper is a great way to meet other sailors. As an MCO skipper, you have the option to bring a first mate of your choice. You can fulfill your duties by becoming an MCO skipper five times in a season. If you've already fulfilled your duties for this year, you can work towards satisfying next year's duties by becoming an MCO skipper this year. To find out more, please contact




F&F 2013 Picnic
Brats, burgers, and more!

It was predicted that the day would be very hot, with thunderstorms in the afternoon, and yet over 50 stalwart Sail Chicago members, Sail-into-Summer students, and their guests showed up at the north end of Belmont Harbor on Sunday, July 22, to enjoy the first Friends and Family Picnic of the season. It turned out to be a beautiful day. A brisk breeze off the Lake cooled things off and allowed folks to really enjoy themselves without becoming overheated. Old friends connected with each other over the Captain's table, laid out with all sorts of picnic goodies and a number of "fancy fixin's" fit for an admiral. Guests, new members, and Sail-into-Summer students had an opportunity to meet some of the "older" members, learn a little more about Sail Chicago, and connect with future sailing buddies.


Niral Patel took a lot of great pictures and you can view the album here.


Two of our boats, Priorities (our cruising boat) and Naked Dance (the newest addition to our Colgate fleet), were on hand to take people on a series of short "pleasure sails," giving them a feel for the boats

F&F Sailing
Sailing Priorities at Friends and Family Picnic

and an experience of the joy of sailing. The brisk 12kt wind was strong enough to give them a thrill, without overpowering the boats.


Our heartfelt thanks go out to Pat Webster, our Social Director, who organized the event and spent countless hours on its planning and execution. Thanks go also to the many members and friends who helped in various ways: Peter Dudak who hauled all the gear to Belmont Harbor and then pitched in to cook the brats and burgers, Chris Schuler, who skippered Priorities, Dan Flavin who skippered Naked Dance, Debbie Natali, who managed the registration table, Niral Patel who helped set up, and many, many more. You all made it a truly a great day!


Mark your calendar now for the next Friends and Family Picnic, Sunday, August 11. To register,  click here.



By Fiona Ray


Sail Chicago's Board of Directors held its monthly meeting on July 11th, 2013:

  • The Treasurer reported that instruction income for the year has exceeded projections (congratulations, Instruction!) and that membership dues income has been solid. There are now more than 200 members.
  • Dan Flavin and Christine Garvey will co-chair the Sail Chicago Strategic Planning Committee. It begins work in September. The Board has nominated six active members to participate on the committee and will confirm their participation this month. Any other members who are interested in playing a role on this important committee are asked to contact the Board.
  • The Board discussed several breakwater grounding incidents that have occurred this season. Three groundings caused damage to Sail Chicago boats (Albatross, Eclipse, and Two Fish). The Board is reviewing new procedures with the Safety Directors to determine appropriate steps to review skippers involved in incidents causing damage or injury.
  • The Board discussed a replacement for Lois Lawson who is resigning after many years as Sail Chicago's membership director (thank you, Lois!)  Members interested in this position should contact Christine Garvey.

The next Board meeting will take place on Thursday, August 8th. Rob Wakerly will chair as Chris Schuler will be out of town.


Tiller Time 
New members and "rusty" skippers can hone their sailing skills by participating in Tiller Time.  If you took a class last year (or have attended at least one class session this season), there's no charge for Tiller Time excursions.  You can sign up for particular sailing dates by visiting the Sail Chicago web site.  Questions?  Contact 

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-iinto-Summer students can participate.  Questions:  email David Shayne.

Get a $50 Credit for Referring a New Member
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.)

Using a Dinghy
When using a dinghy in either Monroe or Belmont Harbors, be sure to wear a life jacket.  If the Coast Guard sees you in a dinghy without a life jacket, you may be ticketed.
Monroe Tender and Parking Passes
Tender and parking passes are available from two lockboxes by the Monroe Harbor Master's office.  See the head of the "Boat Statuses" page at the Sail Chicago web site for details. 

Emergency Action Plan
All skippers should familiarize themselves with the Sail Chicago Action Plan.  Please review it either here or in the 2013 Sail Chicago Handbook (published on the Sail Chicago web site). There is also an "Emergency Reference Guide"  that will be placed on all boats in the Sail Chicago fleet. Skippers may also want to print the "Reference Guide" and keep it with their sailing gear.

Sail Chicago Board Meeting Agenda
Members can view the agenda for the next Board meeting on the membership page of the Sail Chicago web site.

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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