BTS: February 2015

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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, 2015

By Gary Thrane, Associate Editor


Gary Thrane
Gary Thrane

So, we've already endured a lot of what Old Man Winter throws at Chicagoans.   And the days have indeed been getting longer for more than six weeks now.  Can the summer solstice be far off?   Well, at least we can start thinking about enjoying Lake Michigan this coming summer.


Now may be a good time to replace worn sailing gear. At any rate, I keep getting ads from marine suppliers for sales on equipment that can only be used months from now.   Practicing essential sailing knots is always a good use of indoor time (see "Fit to Be Tied" below).   And now is definitely a good time to "re-up" and renew your Sail Chicago membership.   If you want to vote at the annual meeting on March 3 (see article below), you must be a paid-up member.


One final bit of nagging: have you fulfilled your required service time?   If not, see another article below.


Each year four positions on the Sail Chicago Board open up for new candidates or for current Board members whose three-year terms are expiring.  This year, your Board has endorsed four candidates to fill those positions.  They are:

The names of these candidates, together with the names of any other Sail Chicago members who would like to run for the Board, will be placed on the ballot and voted upon by the entire Sail Chicago membership at the Annual Meeting (see article in this issue of Between the Sheets). 

If you'd like to find out more about the candidates who are endorsed by the Board, click on each of the names above.  If you'd like to have your name placed on the ballot, contact Steve VanderVoort.



By Bob Lapin, Cruising Coordinator


The 2015 Sail Chicago Cruising program is off to a fast start.  All 13 places in the March Coastal Navigation Course have been filled by Sail Chicago members eager to add cruising to their sailing skills. If you are interested in attending this class but missed signing up, please contact me by March 1.  If there is sufficient interest, we will schedule an additional class.


Hunter 34
February 12 - Board Meeting
March 3 - Sail Chicago Annual Meeting
March 12 - Board Meeting
Announcements - Gary Thrane
Boat Licensing & Registration - Ottilie Young
Bookkeeper - Jay Owens
Between the Sheets - Steve VanderVoort
Chairman - Chris Schuler
Colgate 26 Racing - Bob Cohen 
Cruising - Bob Lapin
Instruction - Michael Swisher
Lawrence Hall Youth Services - Norm Linde
Lead Instructor - Matt Stuczynski
Marketing - Adam Wisneski
Member Cruise Outings - 
Membership - Faith Hillis
Purchasing - Dana Smith
Reservations - Peter Dudak
Safety - John Lemon
Schuler Scholars - Tom Simms
Seminars - Paul Demmel
Service Requirements - Christine Garvey
Share-a-Sail - David Shayne
Social - Pat Webster
Strictly Sail Chicago Show - Emma Lynch
Surveys - Gary Thrane
Tender & Parking Passes (Monroe) - Bill Prindible
Treasurer - Steve VanderVoort
Webmaster - Alfred Chan

Maintenance Hotline and 

Accident Reporting

Chris Schuler 
Steve VanderVoort
Vice Chairman
 Rob Wakerly
Fiona Ray 

Alfred Chan

Dan Flavin

Chris Garvey

Bob Lapin

Shawn Lord
Matt Stuczynski
Michael Swisher
Pat Webster


Fulfill your Annual Service Requirement - Volunteer Opportunities Available

All Sail Chicago members must fulfill an annual service requirement before they can participate in on-the-water activities.  To check out the many volunteer opportunities in Sail Chicago,  click here.

Join or Renew Your US Sailing Membership at a Discount Through MVP
Sail Chicago members can join or renew their US Sailing membership at a $10 discount through the US Sailing Member Value Partner program.

Shop Amazon Smile and Donate to Sail Chicago
When you shop online at Amazon Smile, Sail Chicago will receive a donation of .5% of your eligible purchases.  It's a great way to both give and receive.  To get started, click here.

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 website.



By Pat Webster, Social Coordinator 


Pat Webster

Sail Chicago members and guests are invited to attend our Annual Membership Meeting on Tuesday, March 3rd, at Chief O'Neill's™ Restaurant & Pub, located at 3471 N. Elston, Chicago.  Free street parking is available nearby. The meeting will start promptly at 7:00 pm, but do come early to join friends for a drink or dinner.


The meeting will feature the annual "State of Sail Chicago" report by our Board Chairman and program heads, election of Directors for new three-year terms, and a question-and-answer period with the Board. This year, presentations will be streamlined so that there will ample time for discussion and socializing. The anticipated end time of the meeting is 9 pm.


If you have not renewed your Sail Chicago membership on line, paper membership forms will be at the meeting registration desk.  We CANNOT accept credit card payments at the meeting, so remember to bring your checkbook. In order to vote for Board candidates, members MUST have paid their dues for 2015.


We hope you will be able to attend and help us roll out our 2015 sailing season!   



Because we are an all-volunteer, not-for-profit community sailing program, Sail Chicago members have traditionally been required to fulfill an annual service requirement by the start of the sailing season in order to gain on-the-water privileges for that season.  Returning members must fulfill their service requirement by May 1.  Members who were new in 2014 must sign up for a specific service activity by May 1.  Members who do not meet this requirement may still gain on-the-water privileges by paying a $400 opt-out fee.


This year, for the first time, you MUST report your member service on your annual membership registration form.  If you need to sign up for a specific service activity, please click here to review a list of those available.  If you have questions, please contact Christine Garvey.


Sail Chicago's booth at the Boat, RV, and Strictly Sail Show

By Emma Lynch, Strictly Sail Show Coordinator


The newly combined Chicago Boat, RV & Strictly Sail Show brought nearly 50,000 visitors to McCormick Place Jan 14th-18th to check out the latest in boating equipment and services and learn more about sailing.  This is the largest event of its kind in the Midwest, and thanks to our wonderful volunteers, Sail Chicago was well represented among the exhibitors.   More than 40 Sail Chicago students and members generously donated their time to staff our booth and share their enthusiasm for sailing with newcomers and veteran sailors alike.


Thank you to everyone who helped us out!   Your efforts paid off as we have many new Chicago area residents signed up to learn more about the great instruction and racing programs available through Sail Chicago.  We also had many former members stop by the booth to share stories about how they got their start in Sail Chicago and about the positive impact our organization has on the community.


This was a great way to make ourselves known to potential new members, and we look forward to participating again next year!   If you have suggestions on how to enhance our presence at this show or other venues in future, please email Emma Lynch.   Thanks again for helping us get a head start on our 2015 season!


Colgate 26

Have you ever wondered what is the best time to reserve a boat for private use? Have you ever tried to reserve a boat but found that the one you wanted was unavailable? Board member Dan Flavin has prepared a chart  that shows what our fleet utilization was like for this past sailing season. The chart shows percentages of times that various boats were rented for the different rental periods.  It does not include the use of our fleet for program activities such as instruction, racing, tiller times, or member cruise outings, but only private boat use. This chart will be helpful to the Board in determining our fleet composition in future years. Perhaps it will also be helpful to you in predicting when the boat you want will be available.


By Matt Stuczynski, Lead Instructor


Winter is a perfect time to sit by the fire, or a window with a snowy view, and practice knots.  There are hundreds of books on knots and, these days, of course, "there's an app for that."   In fact, there are lots of knot-tying apps, but one that I have found particularly helpful and practical is "What Knot to do in the Greater Outdoors" from Columbia Sportswear.   It seems to be one of the more straightforward apps that I have seen. You can search the app for knots by category or name and then follow step-by-step screen instructions to tie the perfect knot.   The graphics are simple, clear, and easy to follow.   Check it out...and good luck with that bowline!




How often have you said that you've seen some flotsam and jetsam when you're out for an afternoon sail?   Likely what you're referring to on Lake Michigan is plastic bottles, half-deflated Mylar balloons, or water-soaked, partially-submerged lumber.  But what really is flotsam and jetsam?


Flotsam and jetsam are, in fact, two different things, but it's easy to see how they got linked like "ham and eggs."   Technically, "flotsam" is defined as goods that float upon the sea after a ship has sunk; "jetsam" refers to goods that have been thrown overboard during an emergency to lighten the ship.  So, probably what you're seeing on the lake is neither flotsam nor jetsam, but just someone's carelessness. But when you're out sailing, if you spot any of these objects, it can be a great opportunity to practice your Crew Overboard maneuvers while cleaning up the lake at the same time.  And it won't matter what you call it.


But if you spot a trail of what is truly jetsam, you should probably hail the vessel responsible and ask if they need assistance.  And if you see what is truly flotsam, look for survivors.


Several issues were discussed at the January Sail Chicago Board meeting:
  • The Sail Chicago Annual Meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 3, 7:00 pm, at Chief O'Neill's Pub, 3471 N Elston, Chicago.
  • Two boat managers are needed for our fleet of Colgates.
  • Spring launch dates for our fleet will be staggered.  A tentative start date is April 24.
  • Class schedules for instruction are being prepared.  The tentative start date for classes is May 2.


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