BTS: February 2012

Between the Sheets: News from Sail Chicago for February
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Sail Chicago is a community sailing program that has for over fifty years been
offering affordable sailing and water safety instruction, and recreational
sailing opportunities to people in the Chicago area.
Issue #2February, 2012 
Steve VanderVoort

By Steve VanderVoort, BTS Editor


If this is your first time reading "Between the Sheets," WELCOME!  We're delighted you're here.  This monthly newsletter from Sail Chicago will help to keep you informed about what we're doing and how you can become involved.  We're committed to helping everyone in the Chicago area experience the fun and enjoyment of sailing, and we hope you will join us in many of our activities. 


Several of our members have been working hard recently to update our website.  We have streamlined our membership renewal and class registration system, using technology to do most of the work for us instead of relying on a few over-worked volunteers to do the heavy lifting.  Now, perhaps those volunteers can spend more time sailing instead of pushing paper!


Our instruction programs also have a new look.  John Lemon and Mike Pancoast have been working hard to streamline Sail Chicago's course offerings.  "Sail into Summer" (see article below) is a new offering for anyone in the Chicago area who wants to learn the basics of sailing.  Basic keelboat instruction now comprises Basic Sailing, Intermediate Sailing, and Skipper Training.  The signup procedure for all of these programs has also been streamlined (see article below).


Many thanks to all our volunteers for all their hard work!


 It's time for all Sail Chicago members to renew their membership.  This year, thanks to the hard work of our technical volunteers, we've made it especially easy.  With our new internet-based renewal form, just a couple of mouse clicks and your 2012 membership renewal is complete.  Yes, it really is just that easy!  Of course, if you'd like to do it the old fashioned way, you can update your information online, print it, and mail it to Sail Chicago, P.O. Box 10169, Chicago, IL  60610-8914, together with your check, but why waste the stamp?

Many thanks to Ben Farmer and Ed Pescetto for all their hard work getting this up and running, and especially to Sam Veilleux for coordinating the effort.
New this year to our instruction program is a "Sail into Summer" package that encourages everyone in the Chicagoland community to get some basic sailing instruction without having to make a commitment to full membership in Sail Chicago.  It's perfect for people who think they might like to try sailing, but are not sure whether or not they'll enjoy it.  For a fee of $250, you receive one Pre-Sail Orientation session and a four-session on-the-water Basic Sailing course on a 26' sailboat.  In addition, you can sign up later for full membership in Sail Chicago for an additional $200. 

If you're new to sailing and you think you might be interested in getting a little sailing experience, sign up for "Sail into Summer."  It only takes a couple of mouse clicks.  And don't forget to encourage your friends to sign up as well.

If you're pretty sure you like to do a fair amount of sailing this summer, then explore our New Member Package.  It's an economical way to develop and practice your sailing skills all summer long, while getting to know some great people.  See you on the water! 
From the Editor
Time to Pay Your Dues!
"Sail into Summer"
Who to Contact
Annual Meeting March 22
Class is in Session!
Marketing Makeover
Spring is in the Air
Instructors Enlightened
Instruction Fleet Sees Changes
Sail Chicago Makes a Splash!
Sail Chicago at NSPS
Chicago Maritime Festival February 25

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Maintenance Hotline

312-409-9000 or

Chairman - Sam Veilleux
Announcements - Ann Weaver
Bookkeeper - Mark Fechner
BTS Editor  - Steve VanderVoort
Cruising Boat - Chris Riegel
Human Resources - Frank Loftus
Lead Instructor - John Lemon
Maintenance (Winter) - Joe Kucharski
Marketing - Mike Parapetti
Pre-Sail Orientation - Dan Flavin
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

 The Sail Chicago Annual Meeting will be held Thursday, March 22 at the St. Vincent DePaul Center, 6:30 pm.  More information will follow in the March issue of "Between the Sheets."  Mark your calendar now!.


Thanks to the hard work of John Lemon and Mike Pancoast, Sail Chicago already has some course offerings posted on our website.  Basic Sailing, Intermediate Sailing, and Skipper Training courses are listed for the months of May and June.
New this year:

  • Time frames have been shortened.  Although individual courses still consist of four separate sessions, instead of spreading out individual sessions over a four week period, many will now be offered on the twice-weekly basis.  This will allow you to complete a particular course more quickly, so you can move on to the next or get more informal practice through Tiller Times.  This may also allow you to check out as a Skipper sooner.
  • All Basic Sailing courses are being taught on our Colgate 26s.  Intermediate Sailing and Skipper Training will continue to be taught on the Rhodes 19s.
  • "Dryland" has been renamed "Pre-Sail Orientation." Since this one session course is now open to anyone interested in sailing, its contents have been re-focused.
  • Skipper checkout is now part of the Skipper Training course.

Explore the course details on the Sail Chicago website and sign up before it's too late!  Keep checking back; new course offerings will appear throughout the next few months.



Strictly Sail 2012 Banner Sail Chicago is taking a giant leap forward in its marketing effort this year.  Under the direction of Mike Parapetti, all of our marketing materials have a new, cleaner look (just look to your left).  Now we have a common theme and colors running through all of our print materials and our website, even on this publication's masthead.  The flyer and brochure that we used during the Strictly Sail Chicago Show both do a great job at clearly explaining the Sail Chicago programs that are open to both new members and the wider Chicagoland community.  Please don't hesitate to download both of these items, print some copies, pass them out to your friends, and post them on bulletin boards at your office or local Starbucks.
In addition, Mike Kozubek is handling the social media angle, making sure that we are up-to-date with announcements on Facebook and Twitter.  Mike Parapetti has organized a Meetup Group, where people in the Chicago area who are interested in sailing can sign up.  As of right now, the Group has over 100 members.  We plan to invite them to the Sail Chicago Pre-Sail Orientations that will be held later in the spring.  Hopefully, many of those attending will decide to become members of Sail Chicago.
Steve VanderVoort has organized a seminar for people in the Chicago area who are interested in sailing.  It will be held in the REI Lincoln Park community room on Thursday, March 29.  Three other sailing organizations have been invited to participate.  They are, Chicago Sailing, Third Coast Cruising, and the Columbia Yacht Club.  Each group will have a ten-minute formal presentation, followed by an opportunity for participants to chat informally with representatives from the organizations.  Everyone is invited to attend this seminar.  Space is limited to not more than 50 participants, however.  If you plan to come, you need to  register with REI in order to make sure you've reserved a space.



By Joe Kucharski, Winter Maintenance Director

Joe Kucharski

Normally by this time if the year Sail Chicago members have spent many hours cutting, sanding, fiber glassing, painting, varnishing, etc. This year we begin a new era where there are fewer projects, and the work is being done outside. Within the next few weeks we will begin the maintenance projects necessary to launch our vessels at the end of April.
This year we are launching two boats in Monroe Harbor that were formerly dry-moored at Montrose Harbor.  In addition to anti-fouling paint, we must apply three coats of primer to their hulls.  Weather is a consideration in completing this project so we are looking for teams that can make short work of this task.

Skyline from Priorities
Chicago from the deck of Priorities
One team has already been working on Priorities, our cruising boat, since fall and have accomplished much to get it ready for launch. We've been replacing some old through-the-hull valves, repairing the compression post, correcting some wiring that was damaged and tightening over 100 deck bolts that were potential sources for leaks. We aim to eliminate as many leaks as possible and repair the damage that previous leaks have caused,  We will complete most of these repairs this spring, but the final work will not be completed until next fall. 


In the coming weeks we will start our spring maintenance program and are looking for volunteers to participate in getting our boats ready for the late April launch.  If you have already submitted your name, you will be contacted shortly with an assignment.  If you would like to meet your service time requirements through our maintenance program, please contact me.


In addition to workers for specific projects, we are seeking a Rigging Leader and a Miscellaneous Gear Coordinator.  If you are interested in either of these positions, let me know.  In addition to meeting service time requirements, both positions offer sailing credits as compensation for the extra effort that is required.



By Michael Hart

Michael Hart
Michael Hart


On an exceptionally warm Saturday in January, a day when the instructors could have been mentoring, John Lemon was enlightening 30 attending skippers on the new horizons for 2012.  A streamlined fleet of eight will be moored at Monroe Harbor:  2 Colgates, 4 Rhodes and 2 Ideals.  The 34' Hunter will remain docked and ready for it's second season of service up at Belmont.


Lead Instructor
Lead Instructor John Lemon

 New sailors will now begin instruction on either one of the two Colgates as their first experience with Sail Chicago.  Even those who opt out of becoming members will be able to enjoy the same introductory Basic Sailing sessions.  And yes, the Rhodes 19s will continue to play a very active and important role in teaching close-quarters boat handling skills for the Intermediate Class and Skipper Training. 

Classes will still meet four times, but at a faster pace. We are moving away from one class a week to a Mon/Wed, Tues/Thurs and Sat/Sun schedule.  With the new online student registration system in place, the registration process should be much easier.  We thank Dave Bowen for his dedication in the past several years for manually coordinating both student and instructor assignments.  This year, Michael Pancoast will be assisting with the remaining task of assigning instructors to  scheduled classes.  

2012 Instructors Meetring
2012 Instructors' Meeting

 We have certified instructors and must maintain them. The U.S. Sailing Keelboat Certification enhances our credibility, makes for better skippers and demonstrates various teaching styles.  Lead Instructor, John Lemon, is committed to continuing this great tradition with both our existing and the following new instructors:  Iwona Awlasewicz, Michael Hart, Jake Worley-Hood, James Porter and Matt Stuczynski.


By John Lemon, Lead Instructor

John Lemon


Since the late 1950s, Sail Chicago has relied on the Rhodes 19 as the workhorse of our adult learn-to-sail program.  Back in 2009, your Board of Directors adopted a strategic plan that included a major effort to modernize our fleet.  In 2010 we purchased two Ideal 18s, and in 2011 we purchased two Colgate 26s, our second one arriving after the end of the sailing season.   Last year, we focused our efforts on familiarizing Sail Chicago skippers with the Colgate 26 and were able to qualify over 70 skippers and instructors.

Sailing fun on a Colgate 26


With the addition of our second Colgate 26, Albatross, we are now in a position to integrate our Colgate 26s into our instructional fleet.  Beginning in the 2012 sailing season, all Basic Sailing classes will be held on the Colgate 26. This boat is the premier sail training keel-boat in the US today.  Everyone who sailed Meridian last season was delighted with how well she sailed and her large, comfortable cockpit. Beginning this year, all our new sailors to learn to sail on our "newest and best." Both boats will be moored at Monroe Harbor.

The boat handling skills and close-quarters maneuvering we are able to teach on our small keelboats are very important in our sailing training programs.  We will continue to teach Intermediate Sailing and Skipper Training on the Rhodes 19s and Ideal 18s.  Because we are still transitioning our fleet, qualification to skipper on the Colgate 26 will follow as a separate short class after members obtain their Basic Keelboat skipper qualification.  Details for the Colgate 26 qualification class will appear in future issues of "Between the Sheets."


2012 Strictly Sail
2012 Strictly Sail Show
 Sail Chicago once again made its presence felt in a big way at the 2012 Strictly Sail Chicago show, January 26 - January 29, at Navy Pier.  The event is the largest of its kind in the Midwest and contains virtually everything a sailor or boat owner needs to know about boats, gear, accessories, where and how to sail, certifications, and much, much more.  Hundreds of exhibitors jammed Festival Hall (see picture) to display their wares and discuss the finer points of sailing with those attending.

Sail Chicago was one of those exhibitors.  Over 30 Sail Chicago members generously donated their time to help staff our booth during the event.  Our motto, "Come Sail with Us," could be heard echoing throughout Festival Hall during the show.  New for us this year was a slide show broadcast on a large overhead monitor that highlighted Sail Chicago's many program offerings. 
2012 Strictly Sail Volunteers
Volunteers Jaqi Green, Peter Dudak, and Nate Conley
An additional benefit of attending the event for the Sail Chicago members was the occasion to renew acquaintances and friendships with other sailors in the Chicago area.  Many of the people who stopped by our booth told us that they had first been introduced to sailing by taking lessons through Sail Chicago.  Most were current boat owners, and several had assumed important roles in other sailing organizations in the Chicago area.  It was rewarding for our current members to learn what a significant impact Sail Chicago has had on the Chicago sailing community over the years.

Many thanks to everyone else who helped to make the show such a success.  We look forward to doing the same thing next year.

By John Lemon, Lead Instructor

John Lemon


US Sailing LogoOver 250 program directors, instructors, volunteers, parents and industry representatives looking to rejuvenate their sailing programs attended US Sailing's 2012 National Sailing Program Symposium (NSPS) January 11-14 in Long Beach, California.  Chairman Sam Veilleux and Lead Instructor John Lemon braved the warm weather, sand, and palm trees to attend.  Sail Chicago supports our leadership and instructor development by helping to sponsor Sail Chicago members at  events like this and others, including last year's Yacht Club Summit, and instructor certification courses. 


2012 NSPS
Taking a break at NSPS

The Symposium was jam-packed with workshops and panels (over 50 total) and presentations that covered every aspect of running a sailing program, from communications and marketing, to community outreach, to recruiting instructors and keeping sailors active in the sport.  Working lunches afforded the opportunity to network with sailing programs from around the country.  Other attendees from Chicago included representatives from the Judd Goldman program (Chicago Park District), Chicago Yacht Club, and Columbia Yacht Club.

Community sailing programs like ours played a significant role in the gathering, reflecting their growing role in providing access to sailing throughout the country.   A common theme  was the need for sailing organizations to expand their efforts to make sailing available to everyone and to lower the obstacles to getting people out on the water.   We learned that our "Sail into Summer" initiative is right on track-many programs have reduced or eliminated membership requirements and now offer sailing lessons to the general public, with resounding success.

It was not all work-there were hands-on equipment demos with manufacturer representatives at a sailing program nearby. Sam and I sailed a Laser Bahia, a fun, fast, stable dinghy.  The impressive program, the wide range of experiences shared, and the enhanced networking gave us new, fresh insight into challenges affecting Sail Chicago and sailing programs nationwide. To read more about the program, click here.

2012 NSPS
Ready to Sail at NSPS



2012 Maritime Festival Discover Chicago's diverse maritime community and heritage!  A full lineup of seminars, demonstrations, exhibits, and workshops explore a range of topics, including underwater archeology, boating safety, marine art, tall ships, lighthouses, and privateers. Several seminars will focus on the War of 1812. 


At the evening concert enjoy music by acclaimed performers from around the world, including Serre l'Écoute, Tom Lewis, Jerry Bryant, Calico Jack, and Tom and Chris Kastle.  For more information click here.


Chicago Skyline
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