BTS: January 2012

Between the Sheets: News from Sail Chicago for January
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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 #1January, 2012 
From the Editor...
Steve VanderVoort

By Steve VanderVoort, BTS Editor


Now that winter seems to have settled in for a while, interest in sailing seems to have dwindled to a trickle.  And yet, there are a couple of bright spots.  The Strictly Sail Chicago Show is coming to Navy Pier January 26 - 29 (see article below).  Sail Chicago has always had a significant presence at this event, and we will do so again this year.  


U.S. Sailing will hold its annual National Sailing Programs Symposium January 11 - 14.  Several Sail Chicago members will be making the trek to sunny Long Beach, CA to attend the symposium.  Hopefully, they will bring back much valuable information that can be shared with the Sail Chicago membership.


In other news, U.S. Sailing's Hanson Rescue Medal has been awarded to the Chicagoans who were able to rescue three sailors whose Rhodes 19 had overturned in a violent storm off Montrose Harbor last spring.  For the full story, click here.


If you're wondering how you will ever get your service time requirements met, Sail Chicago has several coordinator positions open that fulfill those requirements.  For more information and details, see the article below.


Finally, the Sail Chicago Board has commissioned a membership survey in the hope of getting getting member feedback on various Sail Chicago areas and programs.  The first part of the survey is going out very soon.  For details, see the article below.


Calling All Sailing Instructors...

Remember, the Winter Instructors' Meeting is being held Saturday, January 7, 2012, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at the REI Lincoln Park Community Room, 1466 N Halsted St., Chicago.  Questions? email  It's going to be a great meeting.  We look forward to seeing you there! 


We Need your Pictures
Hey Photographers, we want to SEE what you did last summer with Sail Chicago.  Please post them to Facebook or send them to Sail Chicago for an opportunity to share them in upcoming issues of Between the Sheets and our 2011 Sail Chicago photo album. If possible, please provide us  with a brief description of the photo including, date and passengers.

Monk's the Man!

Jim Monk has been a Sail Chicago member since 1978, with a couple of years off in the middle to do some sailing on his own.  Michael Hart recently interviewed him.  To read about Jim's tales of the "Good Old Days" in Sail Chicago, his years of service to the organization, and his thoughts on Sail Chicago's future, click here.


Hart Appointed Archivist
Michael Hart
Michael Hart
At its December meeting, the Sail Chicago Board appointed Michael Hart as Archivist for the organization.  The role of the archivist is to preserve the important history and documents of Sail Chicago, and to make them accessible to the membership.  Over the coming months, Michael will be selecting, categorizing, and archiving memorabilia from Sail Chicago's past.  If you have any old memories or artifacts of Sail Chicago in days-gone-past, please contact Michael.  In future issues of Between the Sheets we'll be sharing with you some of the things he finds.
From the Editor
Calling All Sailing Instructors
We Need Your Pictures!
Monk's the Man!
Hart Appointed Archivist
Who to Contact
Board of Directors
Thoughts from the Chairman
Sign Up for Strictly Sail Show!
Positions Available
Your Input is Needed!
Mayday! Mayday!
PFD Recall
Equal Opportunity and Harassment
More Memorable Moments

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312-409-9000 or

Who to Contact
Chairman - Sam Veilleux
Announcements - Ann Weaver
Bookkeeper -Mark Fechner
BTS Editor - Steve VanderVoort
Cruising Boat - Chris Riegel
Instruction (Dryland) - Dan Flavin
Lead Instructor - John Lemon
Maintenance (Winter) - Joe Kucharski
Marketing - Mike Parapetti
Membership - Lois Lawson
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
Thoughts from the Chairman
Sam Veilleux
By Sam Veilleux, Chairman, Sail Chicago

It's the beginning of a new year, so what better time to reflect on the past season and start looking forward to getting out on the water again next summer.  Here's what I've been thinking about recently, and I'd encourage each of you to share your own thoughts.

Following on the success of the addition the two Ideal 18s to the fleet in 2010, in 2011, Sail Chicago added an unprecedented 3 "new to us" boats to our fleet - Meridian, a Colgate 26, Priorities, a Hunter 34, and finally this fall, Albatross, a second Colgate 26.  We've reduced the average age of our fleet drastically, reduced the demands on our maintenance volunteers, and provided members with some alternative vessels for different sailing needs.  I was pleased to be personally involved in the acquisition and commissioning of several of these vessels, and have the following fond memories:
  • Launching, rigging, and test-sailing Meridian with Mike Parapetti and John Lemon in early May,
  • Leading a few of the initial checkout/orientation sessions on Meridian,
  • Delivering Priorities from Racine to Chicago with Chris Riegel and Victor Mateevitsi,
  • Taking out the first Member Cruise Outing on Priorities.
There were some things that I didn't get to do with Sail Chicago that I'll try to be more involved in next season.  We exist for the purpose of teaching sailing and sailing skills, and I didn't get out on the water for that purpose as much as I'd like to, due to other demands on my time.  Fortunately, some of those other demands were also sailing related.   Any day on the water is better than a day at the office, in my opinion.  In addition to running my Shields racing program Hellcat, as I have for several years, I also took on several new challenges:
  • Helping my friend and crew member Mike Parapetti, ready,  launch, and sail his newly-purchased cruising boat and compete in Wednesday night 'Beer Can' races,
  • Volunteering for Race Committee for the Rhodes 19 Nationals at Corinthian Yacht Club,
  • Taking over the chairmanship of the Verve Cup Inshore regatta at Chicago Yacht Club, and having record competitor turnout, great wind, and a great regatta overall,
  • Traveling to Long Island, NY to compete in the Shields Nationals,
  • Day sailing with my wife Jennifer and son Isaac on many different boats, including several times aboard Priorities.
I'd like you all to think about a common theme of these activities.  They're all things that I do with friends and family.  For most of us, sailing isn't a solitary activity.  The best way to increase the time that we get to spend on the water is to make it something that we share those around us.  There is also no better way to grow our sport and to grow our membership in Sail Chicago.  So encourage your friends to try one of our classes, or you could rent Priorities or a Colgate 26 and take out your family or co-workers for an afternoon to introduce them first-hand.  Perhaps try something new, whether by signing up for one of Sail Chicago's ongoing educational activities, try crewing on a race boat, or plan a dream trip to a far-off sailing destination.  I wish you all the best in 2012.
StrictlySailSign up NOW for Strictly Sail Show!

It's that time of year again when Chicago sailors begin to long for a tasty breeze on a narrow reach, but looking across the cold expanse of snow and ice that line the lakefront, they can only dream of warm sunny days at the tiller. 


Luckily there's a bit of relief in sight.  The Strictly Sail Chicago Show is coming January 26-29.  Held at Navy Pier around this time each year, it's the premier sail boating event in the Midwest.  Over 300 exhibitors join thousands of Chicago sailors to get a preview of the newest boats and equipment, to renew old friendships, to attend instruction classes (many for free), and to anticipate that time when we can be back "on the water."

Strictly Sail Booth
Sail Chicago's Booth at last year's Strictly Sail Chicago Show


The good news is that Sail Chicago is part of this extravaganza.  Indeed, many of the Club's newer members first learned about Sail Chicago by stopping at our booth and talking with members who had been around for a while.  In fact, the Sail Chicago's participation in the Strictly Sail Chicago Show has become one of the best recruiting tools we have for attracting new members.  It also provides others who are interested in learning how to sail an opportunity to gain information about Sail Chicago's top-rated sailing instruction programs. 


For the past several years Sail Chicago has been well-represented by volunteers at the show.  They take turns, generally in three or four-hour shifts, to staff the booth and share their sailboating experiences with the folks who stop by.  It also gives the volunteers an opportunity to meet other Sail Chicago members with whom they might well be sailing the following summer.  Better still, they get into the show for free (tickets normally cost at least $20), and have an opportunity to visit other exhibitors' booths or attend seminars and instruction classes once their shifts are over.  If you'd like more information about the show, please visit the Strictly Sail Chicago website


Volunteer times are:

  • Thursday and Friday, January 26 - 27:  11a-2p, 2-5p, 5-8p
  • Saturday, January 28:  10a-1p, 1-4p, 4-7p
  • Sunday, January 29:  10a-1p, 1-5p

 If you'd like to sign up or would like more information about the Sail Chicago booth, please contact Charlie Carpenter by e-mail or by phone at (708) 443-5530.  If you're sending an e-mail, put "Strictly Sail" in the subject line,  include your 1st and 2nd time preferences, and your cell phone number.  Remember, preferred time slots go quickly, so SIGN UP NOW!  See you at the Show!


PositionsSail Chicago Positions Available
Sail Chicago has a number of positions open for its members to fill.  These include:


Launch Coordinator - The person who fills this position will work with our Maintenance Director, Joe Kucharski, to make sure that the launch of our Sail Chicago fleet in the spring runs smoothly, and that the fleet haul-out in the fall is well-coordinated.


Member Cruise Outings Coordinator - Sail Chicago skippers volunteer to skipper MCOs, times are posted on the registration system, and members sign up.  This position involves scheduling and monitoring the MCO program for our Sail Chicago fleet.  It is similar to the the Tiller Time Co-coordinator, a position currently held by Chris Garvey.


Open Racing Coordinator - Open Racing is one of the best ways that members have to practice and enhance their sailing skills. The person who fills this position will run the Open Racing program out of Monroe Harbor for several weekends during the sailing season.

Marketing/Website Assistant Coordinator - The person filling this position doesn't need a lot of technical or computer skill, but they should be familiar with social networking media.  The objective is to keep the Sail Chicago website current with upcoming events and photos, and post updates to Facebook, Twitter, and other networking sites.
Instruction Registrar - Under the direction of the Instruction Program, this person will administer class scheduling via an online system (new this year), answer questions from prospective students and members regarding sailing class enrollment and scheduling, and work with the web site and marketing teams to ensure that all available class seats are filled.  Activity on class enrollment begins in early February, right after the Strictly Sail Chicago Show, and will continue into the summer months.  Good organizational skills and a familiarity with web applications is needed.

Summer Maintenance Program Coordinator - This person filling this position supervises individual Boat Managers and works closely with the Maintenance Director to ensure that all boats in the Sail Chicago fleet are in good working order.  They schedule Sail Chicago members for a week of summer maintenance, monitor the Summer Maintenance Program hotline, and notify the Safety Director and other appropriate Sail Chicago members when maintenance is needed on particular boats.


Members who fill these positions will  meet their annual service time requirements.  They may also receive sailing credits that can be used for private boat rentals.  If you are interested in learning more about any of these positions, please click here.
SurveyYour input is needed!
In order to implement the Sail Chicago Long Range Strategic Plan, your Board has identified many different options. To choose the most appropriate and effective options, The Board wants to make sure that there is significant input from the Sail Chicago membership.  Earlier in the year it commissioned a Survey Committee to develop a broad-based survey, and, with the help of Gary Thrane, our Survey Coordinator, a comprehensive survey has been put together.

Since the complete survey consists of almost two-hundred questions (a real burden to answer all at one time), the Survey Committee decided to group the questions by subject matter and send them to the Sail Chicago membership throughout the year in batches of not more than 25 questions each.  The first set of questions will be e-mailed to all members on Thursday, January 5.  This set deals primarily with members' general satisfaction with Sail Chicago, and with fleet usage and placement.  Answers are due back by not later than Tuesday, January 10

We cannot stress how important it is that all our members respond to this survey.  Your input is vital if the Board is to make decisions regarding Sail Chicago's future that really respond to member needs and desires.  As a special "Thank You" for taking the time to share your valuable insights, we are offering all those who complete this survey a $5 credit to their sailing accounts.  If you'd like to receive the credit, please attach your name to the bottom of the survey.
"Mayday, Mayday!"

By Ed Schroeder, Safety Director

Ed Schroeder
Ed Schroeder


 According to a recent article in "This Old Boat " magazine, in an emergency situation, your adrenalin shakes plus poor lighting may force you to squint to read the digital readout on your ship's radio, and you begin:  "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday..."  


Right after you identify your vessel, you start to read off the coordinates that you hope will bring help to your exact location.  But what exact, easily understandable words do you utter into the microphone?  If your GPS position were in Degrees Decimal Minutes (GPS Coordinates), it might read as:  N 42 degrees 21.078 minutes     W 087 degrees 56.765 minutes.

Mayday! Mayday!

Spoken variations might include saying 'north" and "west' before the digits instead of after them, not saying "north" or "west" at all, using the word 'point' instead of "decimal' to indicate the start of the fractional part of the numbers, calling out any leading zeros in the coordinates, and saying compound names instead of calling out each digit's name in proper turn. (use "four two" instead of "fortytwo').


Unless you're calling from near the equator, anyone listening to your emergency plea, particularly the Coast Guard, will be aware whether you are north or south of the equator and probably west or east longitude.  It is more important that you first give out the numbers of your coordinates before your message dies out.  The Coast Guard would also prefer Mayday calls with the Minutes reported to just two decimal places instead of the displayed three decimal places.  In other words, the Coast Guard would prefer to hear the above example position read as:


"Four two degrees two one decimal zero (not "oh") seven minutes North,

 Eight seven degrees five six decimal seven six minutes West."  


PFD Recall 
If you have a Mustang Survival PFD, please check this recall notice.  The life you save could be your own!  Thanks to Mike Swiontek for alerting us to this potentially dangerous situation.
Equal Opportunity and Harassment
At its December meeting, the Sail Chicago Board approved two important policies that will affect all Sail Chicago members.  They are:
Harassment Policy - This policy confirms that Sail Chicago is committed to providing an environment based on mutual respect and teamwork and should therefore maintain an environment that is free of harassment.  The policy statement goes on to define what is meant by harassment and to outline specific steps that members needs to take if they believe that they are being harassed.  To read the entire policy statement, click here.
Equal Opportunity Policy - This policy confirms that Sail Chicago strives for equal opportunities for all members and is committed to providing a healthy and safe environment that is free of discrimination.  The policy statement goes on to describe specifically what is meant by discrimination, and it describes the specific action steps that a member should take when discrimination is experienced of suspected.  To read the entire policy statement, click here.
More 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.  We published some of their responses in the December issue of "Between the Sheets."  Here are the remainder: 
  • Victor Mateevitsi:  chartering Priorities for a weekend
  • Lois Lawson:  sailing on Priorities the first time
  • Mark Fechner:  paddling from the outer break wall to Monroe in an Ideal
  • David Shane:  ran out of wind and paddled in; meanwhile Winifred Ormond cruised by!  Maddening
  • Mike Swiontek:  strong gusts, loss of ER
  • Fiona Ray:  getting caught in storm with students  -- 6 ft waves in Monroe and pouring rain and hail
  • Ed Schroeder:  the day that the "Emotional Rescue" went onto the wall in Monroe Harbor
  • Tony Routh:  2nd sail on Colgate - 35 knots and exciting
  • Belinda Routh:  Pat Webster's work in organizing this get together.  And every time I'm on a Sail Chicago boat - sailing or moored
  • John Muhlenberg:  wonderful sail taking Priorities up (down?) the river
  • Emily Case:  sadly one of the students in my beginner class being hit by the boom  ):   He came out okay and from then on called himself the "boom-fighter".
  • Dolores Baron:  while teaching a class in strong winds the reef line came off.  We had to anchor, take down sails to fix it.
  • Jay Owens:  ate lunch
  • Dan Stein:  rowing out to find wind.  Rowing in we didn't, sailing downwind on jib alone, to can.
  • Pat Webster:  taking a class on Meridian, getting more familiar with the Ideals and "brunching" on lox and bagels while sailing on Priorities
Thanks to all for your sharing!
Chicago Skyline
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