BTS: December 2011

Between the Sheets: News from Sail Chicago for December

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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 #12December, 2011 
From the Editor...

By Steve VanderVoort, BTS Editor


Winter is fast approaching, and with the onset of the snow and cold, the sometimes frantic activity that often characterizes Sail Chicago members is slowing down just a bit.  This gives us the opportunity not only to reflect on the good times we had during the past sailing season, but to look long term at the future of Sail Chicago.  The Board has approved the 2012 Strategic Plan Update for Sail Chicago (see the November issue of "Between the Sheets,") and is in the process of implementing the recommended changes.  We have already purchased a second Colgate 26 for our fleet (see below).  A comprehensive survey of Sail Chicago activities should be going out to the membership in the near future.  Watch for it, and please respond with your ideas and suggestions.


Because the newer additions to our fleet require less maintenance, Sail Chicago members will need to be more creative in finding ways to fulfill their annual service time requirements.  Joe Kucharski has a few suggestions in an article below that you may with to explore. 


In the process of moving out of its winter maintenance facility and restructuring its fleet, Sail Chicago has found many saiiling-related items it no longer needs or wants.  While these items will be offered for sale soon to the general public, we want our members to get first dibs on them.  To see a list of the items available for sale, please read the article below.  If you have no need for anything on the list, perhaps you have a sailor friend who does.


Finally, we wish you and yours the best of all Holiday Seasons.  We look forward to a New Year on the water, filled with many new and exciting sailing adventures that will become the basis for the stories we tell around the fire in the hearth next winter.

Sail Chicago Takes Delivery
Sail Chicago's New Colgate 26
On November 15, Sail Chicago became the proud owner of another Colgate 26. It was trucked in from Harbor Springs, MI and delivered to the Canal Street Boatyard.  The boat is of the same vintage as our first Colgate, and from all accounts, seems to be in excellent shape.  It's been sailed only in fresh water, and thus has not been subjected to the kind of damage that salt water can cause.

Thanks to the superb bargaining skills of Chris Riegel, our Cruising Boat Director, we were able negotiate an extremely reasonable price.  Together with the planned sale of Erica, our Shields, and one or two of our Rhodes, our new boat will have come to us with surprisingly little cash outlay. 

Most Sail Chicago members agree that Meridian, the Colgate 26 that we purchased last year, was by far our most popular boat during this recently past sailing season.  We are delighted to be able to add another to our fleet.  It's also good to note that, as an important part of our Strategic Plan Update for 2012, the purchase of this new addition was done in a timely manner.
From the Editor...
Sail Chicago Takes Delivery
Who to Contact
Board of Directors
Sail Chicago Barges In
Strictly Sail Chicago
Sail Chicago Sale
Cruising Program Revamps Instruction
Service Time Opportunities
Memorable Moments

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Maintenance Hotline

312-409-9000 or

Who to Contact 
Chairman - Sam Veilleux
Announcements - Ann Weaver
BTS Editor - Steve VanderVoort
Cruising Boats - Chris Riegel
Instruction (Dryland) - Dan Flavin
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
Sail Chicago Barges In
Michael Hart
Michael Hart
By Michael Hart

Pat, Annette, and Emily
The "End of Season Party" happened on a barge and not just any barge, a Chicago Yacht Club one.  A night to remember, as sixty members walked down the sturdy gang plank to the floating clubhouse at Belmont Harbor.  Once inside, they had to climb those stairs, but it was all worth it to be greeted at the top by Emily Case and Annette Faber.  All the festivities occurred on the scenic second level and most took advantage of the perfectly situated bar.  And, just as everyone was getting extremely comfortable mingling, dinner was served, an all-you-could-eat delicious buffet selection of mostly Pasta dishes.

Five recipients were awarded  the coveted engraved stein.  The award presenters, John Lemon and Joe Kucharski announced the selections for instructor, student, volunteer and maintenance guru of the year....
  • Instructor of the year

    John Lemon congratulates

     Chris Schuler

    Chris Schuler spent over a month going out this season on our new cruiser instructing classes, in charge of checkouts and even skippering MCO's.  Chris accumulated valuable insight on how to properly handle Priories in a variety of situations and as an instructor conveyed his knowledge to his students while making them feel very comfortable and at ease at the helm.
  • Winifred Ormond lead the cause for the single-handing instruction.  The Ideals used are so sensitive to weight distribution and are perfect candidates for such a class.  Winifred showed students the proper way to sail by oneself and demonstrated techniques steering without always relying on the tiller.
  • Michael Hart came to Sail Chicago four seasons ago, took the new Cruiser and Single-Handing class and was very fortunate to have been taught by both award winning instructors.  He shares his passion for sailing with his ten year old son and as soon as they are out of the harbor, Michael relishes being his 1st mate.
  • Charlie Carpenter, volunteer of the year, not only contributed his required winter maintenance hours, but also drove to Sault Ste. Marie with his Jeep and brought back the very popular addition to the fleet, the Colgate.  A big thanks to Charlie for going way beyond just an extra mile AND CUSTOMS for Sail Chicago.
  • Iwona Awlasewicz was willing to do the most challenging of painting jobs.  The prep work, the chemicals and their work time, always having to adjust the lighting and giving it a second coat. Iwona, our maintenance guru winner, filled in the blanks whenever help was needed to get the job done.
Renewing Friendships
Are we having fun yet?
Pat Webster, our Social Director, has strung together a series of successful events for Sail Chicago.  She really put the icing on the cake for this one, and we certainly did dig into the most awesome cake for desert.

And finally, door prizes were awarded.  Ilya Letuchy won a pair of binoculars, Victor Mateevitsi got a very needed dry bag, and Fiona Ray received one of those expensive inflatable PFDs.  Overall, we all won, being part of a great organization that continues to adapt to it's members needs.  As Joe Kuchaski proclaimed, "It is not the end of the season, just the start of a new one".
Strictly Sail Chicago January 26-29
Strictly Sail LogoThe annual Strictly Sail Chicago show, the City's largest sailboating extravaganza will be held again this year at Navy Pier, January 26-29.  For Sail Chicago members it's a great opportunity to see what's happening in the sailing community not only here, but around the nation.  There'll be vendors selling all kinds of boating gear, from boating gloves to 50 foot sailboats.  There's also a variety of instruction classes for people at all skill levels.  Best of all, Sail Chicago members can enjoy the show for free if they volunteer to help staff our booth.  Watch for more information in "Between the Sheets," announcements, and e-mails early in January about how you can sign up to be part of the fun. 
Sail Chicago Sale
Updates to our fleet have created some excess vessels that are being offered to Sail Chicago members and their friends prior to the general public.  Below are the vessels being offered and their asking prices:
  • Erica (30' Shields) with trailer and full compliment of sails - $7,500
  • Shark (Rhodes 19) with trailer and full compliment of sails - $1.200
  • Albatross (Rhodes 19) with trailer and full compliment of sails - $1,600
  • 4 fiberglass dinghies with oars - $200 each
If you are interested in any of these offerings contact Joe Kucharski
Cruising Program Revamps Instruction
Chris Riegel
Chris Riegel
By Chris Riegel, Cruising Program Director


2011 was a truly memorable year for the Sail Chicago Cruising Program.  What with the decision to sell Little Isis and the sudden and unexpected loss of Emotional Rescue early in the season, it seemed for a while as if we wouldn't have a cruising program this year.  Thanks to the quick work of a number of people, however, we purchased Priorities, a Hunter 34 only a couple of weeks after ER's demise.

By purchasing a more modern cruising boat we created the opportunity to teach the principles of modern day cruising on a boat equipped with the necessary features.  We invested the time and energy early on to reshape the cruising program from the bottom up.   The reshaping involved an entirely new training curriculum for the cruising course.  The new curriculum centers around teaching competencies of cruising vs instructions to sail one particular boat. 

Along with the new curriculum and instructor's syllabus, we also took steps to retool our instructor and user base.  We realized that many of our members may not have had an opportunity to sail or train on a modern cruising boat.  The need stood out early on to provide additional training with docking, motoring, and steering with a wheel in place of a tiller.  To accommodate a larger number of learning methods we developed a series of training videos intended to offer a refresher or advanced peek into some of the systems and processes that are covered in the courses.  The videos are housed on YouTube and you can view them here.  Based on the positive feedback to date we will look to continue creating more clips next season.


Skyline from Priorities
Chicago skyline from the deck of Priorities

We took a few bumps and bruises early on that forced some down time and a slower start to the Cruising classes.  Once we sorted things out, implemented the changes to the curriculum including an internal certification of instructors, we were able to move forward at full speed.  We finished  the season with three full cruising classes complete.  This marked a significant increase in new skippers over years past.

The revised Cruising course for 2012 will consist of four on-the-water classes spread over a two week period, and will contain some material based on the US Sailing Basic Cruising Course guidelines.  All instructors will be US Sailing certified, and the textbook will be the Basic Cruising textbook in the US Sailing Certification Series.  Study aids, including instruction videos and links to relevant websites will be provided.  A written examination covering the material learned in the course and in the textbook will need to be successfully completed prior to skipper checkout.  Expanded Tiller Times will give students the opportunity to practice the skills learned in class for the entire sailing season and the following season as well.

Other cruising programs will include more port-to-port cruises, and classes in bareboat sailing competencies in a variety of situations.  We look forward to a vastly expanded season in 2012, and we hope that many Sail Chicago members will take advantage of the program.  As always, please feel free to contact me with any feedback.


Service Time Opportunities
Joe Kucharski
By Joe Kucharski, Winter Maintenance Director

Winter is upon us and traditionally this is the start of what Sail Chicago members have come to know as winter maintenance. This year we are breaking with tradition as we have vacated our in door facility and have made fleet upgrades that require less.

This will not end the requirements of service time for all our members, but it will significantly change what and how we perform the necessary maintenance tasks. The major task that is on tap this year is apply bottom paint to several boats that previously had not had bottom paint applied to them.

The application of bottom paint requires two basic steps:
  1. The first step is to remove all waxes and oils and lightly sand the bottom.
  2. The second step is to apply 3 coats of primer and finishing with the VC-17 bottom paint.
To accomplish this task we will be looking for people to work in teams of 3 or 4 and work on a single boat until the task is complete. The team will be able to decide how and when they would like to work but each member of the team is expected to contribute equally.

We are also be looking for people to clean the interiors of Priorities and Meridian including some sanding and vanishing of some of the woodwork. Varnishing will not be performed until the temperature moderates in the spring but the prep work can be done throughout the winter. These tasks need to be completed by the mid April so that the boats are ready for launch.

If you have questions or are interested in signing up for any of these projects contact Joe Kucharski
Memorable Moments
At the Post-Season Party early in November, Sail Chicago members in attendance were asked to jot down their most memorable sailing moments during this past summer.  Below are some of their responses.
  • Annette Faber:  any time on Meridian
  • Ed Stasica:  surviving a bit of a storm!  As always, sailing with good friends
  • Steve Vander Voort:  sailing on Priorities when the gear shift stuck in reverse, and we had to back into the slip
  • John Lemon:  new boats
  • Frank Loftus:  sailing on Sundays with Minna
  • Tom Peterson:  sailing the Hunter in 25-30 knots
  • Edie Heinemann:  rain!
  • Chris Garvey:  each time I sailed Meridian!
  • Karen Nimrouzi:  out in the Monroe Harbor during the big wind/rain/hail storm in July
  • Andy Miller:  going out in the Colgate 26
  • Arleen Praire;  deciding not to go out on a stormy night.  Radar told us what was coming.
  • Michael Hart:  every time going out
  • Walter Popp:  6 ft waves when taking Meridian form Montrose picnic to Monroe
  • Chris Schuler:  sailing Priorities and watching the sunset with 15 Knots out of the west and no waves

Look for more in future issues of "Between the Sheets."  If you've got a memorable moment you'd like to share, please send it to the BTS Editor.

Chicago Skyline
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