BTS: February 2013

Between the Sheets: News from Sail Chicago for February
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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 #2
February, 2013
Steve VanderVoort

By Steve VanderVoort, BTS Editor


It seems that this issue of Between the Sheets is mostly about racing.  The Sail Chicgo Board has approved two racing programs for 2013:  the traditional "Fun Racing" program, and a new and exicting Colgate 26 racing program that is part of our overall instruction program.  At least four articles in this issue discuss some aspect of racing.  Other areticles highlight the following activities:

  • Registration for our basic keelboat instruction classes is now open,
  • The Strictly Sail Chicago Show saw over 40 Sail Chicago volunteers turn out to staff our booth
  • Over 30 people turned out to hear John Lemon's presentation on coastal navigation basics.  More seminars are planned for February and March.   

Don't forget to review upcoming dates for Sail Chicago events and activities (see "Dates to Note" to the right).


If you're still wondering how you're going to fulfill your annual service requirement, don't forget to review the list of ways you can do that (see notice below). 


Sail Chicago membership renewals are available NOW!  If you sign up before February 28, you'll receive a $50 credit in your reservation account.  Take advantage of this limited offer!  Just a couple of clicks of your mouse, and it's done.
By Bob Cohen, Colgate 26 Racing Program Committee 
This summer Sail Chicago will launch an educational program for new and experienced sailors and racers.  Participants will have an exciting opportunity to pit their skills against other skippers and crews at Monroe Harbor during four weekly Wednesday night races.

Sail Chicago's newly expanded fleet of four sleek and swift Colgate 26's will each race with a skipper and four crew members. Throughout each session, they will learn to work the racing positions of helmsman, foredeck crew, jib and spinnaker trimmer, main trimmer, and pitman working the halyards.  Sailors will learn racing tactics in the context of U.S. Sailing's most recent "Racing Rules of Sailing- 2013-2016".  Racing sailors will also learn the fine points of sail trim to make the most out of shifts, puffs, and lulls in the wind. They will hone their powers of observation so they can read the water and watch for signs of changing conditions.

Colgate 26 RacingThe course includes a pre-racing seminar and two weeks of training before on-the-water racing begins. Each racing session will last for 4 Wednesday evenings in June, July, and August. Sailors new to racing may sign up for a berth as crew, while experienced racing skippers may sign up as individuals, or consider chartering the boat for an entire session and recruit their own crew. The cost will be $100 per four week session per individual; $400 to Charter the Boat for a four week session.

The capstone event for the summer will be the Verve Inshore Regatta, August 24-25 at Belmont Harbor.  Our goal will be to create a Colgate 26 class and we will be reaching out to the Chicago Park District and private Colgate owners to get together five boats, the minimum fleet size. This will be a big accomplishment for Sail Chicago and will help put us on the map as serious racers.

To get more information on this program, to learn if you qualify for participation, and to sign up for one of the sessions, click here.  Our hearty thanks for putting this all together go to the Sail Chicago Colgate 26 Racing Program Committee: John Lemon, Sam Veilleux, Fiona Ray, Adam Collins, Brad Demeter, and Bob Cohen.
New Colgate 26 Racing Program Launches
Don't Miss the Introduction to Racing Seminar
Register Now for Basic Keelboat Classes
Sail Chicago at Strictly Sail
Hone Your Racing Skills This Winter
Coastal Navigation Seminar Hits the Mark!
Board Notes
The Chicago Lighthouse
Sign up for Service
Annual Meeting - Save the Date
Calling All Women Sailors
Chicago Maritime Festival February 23
February 1 - Registration for sailing and racing classes opens*
February 7 - Sail Chicago Board meeting
February 13 - Racing Basics Seminar*
February 23 - Chicago Maritime Festival*
February 28 - Last day for membership renewal credits*
March 12 - Weather and Sailing Seminar
March 20 - Sail Chicago Annual Meeting*
May 11 - Midwest Women's Sailing Conference*
August 7-11 - Chicago Match Race Cup
August 7-11 - Tall Ships, Navy Pier
August 24-25 - Verve Cup Regatta
*See article in this issue

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Maintenance Hotline

312-409-9000 or


Chairman - Frank Loftus
Announcements - Ann Johnston
BTS Editor  - Steve VanderVoort
Cruising Program - Ilya Letuchy
Fun Racing -Dolores Baron
Human Resources - Frank Loftus
Lead Instructor - John Lemon
Maintenance (Summer) - Alfred Chan & Iwona Awlasewicz
Marketing - Mike Parapetti
Membership - Lois Lawson
Pre-Sail Orientation - Dan Flavin
Safety - Ed Schroeder
Seminars -Paul Demmel
Social - Pat Webster
Tiller Time -Chris Garvey
Treasurer - Jay Owens
By Paul Demmel, Seminar Coordinator
Sam Veilleux at the helm of his boat "Hellcat"
Join us at REI Lincoln Park on February 13 for our second educational seminar of 2013, an Introduction to Racing.  Former Chairman of Sail Chicago Sam Veilleux will discuss racing basics, his experience racing his Shields, and the many other people and activities that go into putting on a successful race.  These include the Race Committee and Judges.
Other topics will include a brief introduction to off-shore racing and an introduction to the new Sail Chicago racing program for 2013.
The seminar is free, but space is limited.  You MUST register in advance to attend.  A social hour will follow the seminar.

 By John Lemon, Lead Instructor 

John Lemon
Registration for summer 2013 Basic Keelboat classes is now open.  We are again offering sailing classes at three levels: Basic Sailing, Intermediate, and Skipper Training.  Sail Chicago teaches to the standard set by US Sailing, and many of our instructors are US Sailing certified.  Each course consists of four lessons, once per week for a month-long session.  Session start dates are:  May 4, June 1, June 29, and August 3.  The May 4 and June 1 sessions are now open for registration; the June 29 and August 3 sessions will be available in the near future.  A limited number of classes meet twice per week for two weeks.


Colgate 26
Colgate 26
We are delighted to report that due to the expansion of our Colgate 26 fleet, all Basic Keelboat classes will be taught on the Colgate 26.  In 2012, over 100 new sailors had their first sailing experience on a Colgate 26. 


Based on the popularity of our Sail into Summer program in 2012, we have extended the program to include Intermediate and Skipper classes as well.  Now there is a class available for sailors at all levels.  Whether you are new to sailing and want to get out on the water in our introductory course or are an experienced sailor and want to sharpen your skippering skills, Sail Chicago has a class for you.  Sailors are not limited to one course through the Sail into Summer program--you may begin with the course appropriate to your sailing skills and add the next level course later in the summer.  The course fee remains $250 for each session of four lessons. 

Another option for enrolling in our sailing classes is through our New Member package, which is designed for sailors interested in gaining access to more on-the-water activities.  Membership in Sail Chicago gives you the opportunity to participate in practice sails and recreational cruises, both of which are free (based on volunteer availability).  Another significant benefit of membership is that once you achieve skipper qualification, you may access our fleet of boats for your own private use, when they are not in use for sailing classes.  Private usage rates are significantly lower than comparable rental or charter rates in the Chicago area.  The fee for the New Member package is $400, which includes one four lesson sailing class (appropriate to your sailing ability), 2013 member dues, and access to the practice sails and cruises.  Additional classes are $200 each.


The course fee for returning members who are current with their 2013 dues is $200 for each four-lesson class.


All new sailors receive US Sailing's Basic Keelboat manual and must attend one Pre-Sail Orientation session before you head out on the water.  The orientation sessions are held at REI Lincoln Park; dates and times will be announced in future issues of this newsletter.  In addition, Sail Chicago offers educational seminars and social events open to all sailors throughout the year.


Click here to begin the registration process.  See you on the water!!


Sail Chicago Volunteers at Strictly Sail
Sail Chicago Volunteers at Strictly Sail Chicago

Sail Chicago once again made its presence felt in a big way as one of the exhibitors at the 2013 Strictly Sail Chicago show, January 24 - January 27, at Navy Pier.  The event is the largest of its kind in the Midwest and covers virtually everything a sailor or boat owner needs to know about boats, gear, accessories as well as where and how to sail, how to earn certifications, and much, much more.  Hundreds of exhibitors jammed Navy Pier's Festival Hall to display their wares and discuss the finer points of sailing with the crowd that attended the event.


Over 40 Sail Chicago students and members generously donated their time to staff our booth during the event.  Our motto, "Come Sail with Us," could be heard echoing throughout Festival Hall at Navy Pier during the show.  The efforts of our volunteers were not unrewarded.  Many Show visitors signed up to learn more about our new Colgate Racing Program and "Sail into Summer," our New Member Package.


Sail Chicago members who came to the event also had the opportunity to renew acquaintances and friendships with other sailors in the Chicago area.  Several 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 a few 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 throughout the years.


Thanks to all those who helped to make our presence at Strictly Sail Chicago felt in a very positive way. We look forward to repeating this success again next year. 


Yes, it's the middle of winter.  Yes, you'd love to be out sailing on beautiful Lake Michigan.  Yes, you'd like to practice your racing skills in order to be prepared for Sail Chicago's new Colgate Racing program.  Well, you can get a head start right now.  Just log in at Virtual Regatta, outfit your boat, and set your course.  You can engage in racing practice, race against other boats, or participate in some of the world's great racing championships.  While it may not be the same as feeling the wind in your face as you round a mark, it can still be a bit of a thrill.
Vendee Globe Logo     
If you'd like a bigger racing thrill, go to the Vendée Globe website to learn more about this 80-day just-completed, around-the-world, single-handed sailboat race that's held once every four years.  Alex Thomson won the race on January 30.
US Sailing LogoAnd finally, if you're interested in learning how you can gain some racing skills practice once you're out on the water, Sail Chicago Board member Mike Parapetti has just returned form the annual US Sailing Symposium in Clearwater, FL, where he picked up these tips on coaching drills for sailors.  Many thanks, Mike, for sharing them with us.
2013 Coast Navigation Seminar

On January 22, well over thirty stalwart sailors braved one of this season's coldest evenings to attend the second in Sail Chicago's winter seminar series at REI Lincoln Park Community Room.  Lead instructor John Lemon did a great job of clarifying one of the trickiest topics in sailing - Coastal Navigation. He presented a broad overview of the subject, giving just enough detail to whet attendees' appetites for more information.


John began by detailing some of the resources available to sailors for learning more about coastal navigation. These include such sources as the US Sailing book on  Coastal Navigation, NOAA's U. S. Chart 1, and the U. S. Coast Guard's weekly Notice to Mariners. He then went on to describe some of the necessary tools for coastal navigation, such as a current nautical chart, a parallel rule, dividers, and a hand bearing compass. Although he didn't specifically discuss GPS navigation, a few members mentioned helpful apps on their mobile devices that contain GPS. These include Saild and iNavx.  Other, more detailed seminars are also available.  The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is running two in February:  "Sailing Skills and Seamanship," and "Weekend Navigator." 


Throughout the seminar, John stressed the importance of sailors knowing where they are on the water at all times. This is particularly critical in emergencies when a skipper must notify the Coast Guard of an accident or capsize.  John demonstrated how to plot a course and how to find your boat's location through sightings of shore landmarks.  He also pointed out that even in the day-sails that most Sail Chicago members and students take, there can be hidden dangers, such as Morgan and Hyde Park Shoals where many boats have run aground (both shoals are south of McCormick Place.)


After a question and answer period, the group adjourned to a local tavern where they continued their discussion of coastal navigation in a more informal atmosphere.


At its January meeting, the Board acted on a proposal to eliminate the Summer Maintenance Program as part of the annual member service requirement.  Each boat in our fleet now has a boat maintenance team headed by a Boat Manager that is responsible for the year-around maintenance of the boat.  Hence the Summer Maintenance Program seems redundant.  Members of each team fulfill their annual service requirement simply by being on the team and keeping their chosen boat ready to sail.
The Board also accepted proposals for two separate racing programs:
  • The Colgate Racing Program:  This summer the four Colgates in our fleet will participate in the popular Wednesday evening racing events, a favorite activity of Chicagoland sailboat racers,
  • Fun Racing:  The three Rhodes in our fleet will race against each other out of Monroe Harbor on Saturday mornings.
More information on both of these activities will follow in future issues of "Between the Sheets."
The February Board meeting has been moved ahead one week to Thursday, February 7, in the community room of The Edge Condominiums
The author with the lighthouse in the distance

By Gary Thrane, Associate Editor


One of the pleasures of sailing with Sail Chicago is the chance to take a close look at historic and scenic features of the Chicago lakeshore.   One such prominent feature is the Chicago harbor lighthouse.  This historic lighthouse's light still guides mariners into Chicago harbor and the entrance of the Chicago River.  It's deep foghorn still sounds, warning fog-enveloped sailors.  


The Chicago harbor lighthouse is more than 100 years old.  It was first erected in preparation for Chicago's hosting of the 1893 World's Fair.  Along with the Museum of Science and Industry, the lighthouse is a unique surviving edifice of that long-ago world event.  Meant to showcase Chicago's end-of-the-19th-century modernity, it featured a then state-of-the-art Fresnel lens to focus the lighthouse's beam to the maximum distance.


The lighthouse, 48 feet tall, is constructed of brick and clad in iron plate.  Living quarters for the lighthouse crew were a part of the original design, and the lighthouse keepers resided in the 18-foot diameter tower during their duties.  


Chicago LighthouseIn 1917, the Federal government provided funds to move the Chicago lighthouse from its original site, at the mouth of the Chicago River, to the tip of the outer breakwater.  That's where we see it now.  Two small buildings were added on either side to accommodate a boathouse and a new foghorn. It was only in 1935 that electricity provided the illumination.  


The four-man crew of the lighthouse, in its new, isolated location, served two weeks on and one week off.  Loneliness in this outpost so close to, and yet so far from, downtown Chicago was sometimes a problem.  There were reports of occasional suicidal behavior.


In 1979, the Chicago lighthouse was fully automated, and further psychological perils were obviated.   In 1997, its exterior was restored.  The lighthouse is on the list of National Historic Places.

The Chicago harbor lighthouse is not open to the public, but those who sail with Sail Chicago can get an up-close look.



For Sail Chicago members who missed the opportunity to sign up to fulfill their annual service requirement at the Opportunities for Service Fair held last November, don't despair!  A list of opportunities is still available.  Please review it, and if you find one that appeals to you, follow the online instructions to contact the program coordinator named in the list to learn how you might become involved.  Remember, unless you meet your annual service requirement, you will NOT be able to participate in any Sail Chicago on-the-water activities next season.
The Sail Chicago Annual Meeting for members and guests has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 20, in the Conference Room at the St. Vincent DePaul Center in Chicago.  More information will follow in future issues of "Between the Sheets," but in the meantime please be sure to mark your calendar.
By Pat Webster, Social Director 
Womens Sailing ConferenceThe 3rd Annual Midwest Women's Sailing Conference will be held at the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center on Saturday, May 11.  In addition to a keynote speech delivered by Betsy Alison, the only female sailor currently in the National Sailing Hall of Fame, a variety of workshops led by experienced, knowledgeable female instructors will be offered throughout the day, two sessions in the morning and two sessions in the afternoon. Classes being offered, for both beginning and advanced sailors, are: Introduction to Sailing, Practical Spinnaker Handling (hands on), Basic and Advanced Sail Trim, Weather on the Water, Docking, and Knots. 
The conference is sponsored by a not-for-profit organization which, like Sail Chicago, is run totally by volunteers and instructors who donate their time and energy for the love of the sport.  Sail Chicago members who attended last year and found the day to be very instructive and informative.   
Availability is limited to 100 women, so if you're interested, be sure to register early in order to be able to attend and to go to the workshops of your choice.  The fee for the day's activities is $125 prior to May 1st, and if space is available, $135 thereafter.  For more information and to register, click here.  


2012 Maritime FestivalDiscover Chicago's diverse maritime community and heritage!  The annual Chicago Maritime Festival's full lineup of seminars, demonstrations, exhibits, and workshops explore a range of topics, including underwater archeology, safety at sea, marine art, history, model boat building for kids, and much more. 


At the evening concert enjoy intrernational maritime music by Forebitter, Talitha MacKenzie, Lee Murdock, David Jones, and Tom & Chris Kastle.  For more information, click here.     

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