BTS: January 2013

Between the Sheets: News from Sail Chicago for January
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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 #1
January, 2013
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.
Steve VanderVoort

By Steve VanderVoort, BTS Editor


Although we are now in the heart of winter, sailors' thoughts still turn toward the time, not so far off, when Lake Michigan will once again be free of ice and we can hoist a sail.  In the meantime, there are a lot of activities that can keep us interested and enthused. 

  • The Strictly Sail Chicago Show takes place the end of January (see article below),
  • Sail Chicago will be sponsoring more sailing seminars during the coming months (see article in this issue),
  • For the more adventurous, the annual U.S. Sailing Symposium takes place January 23-26 in Clearwater, FL.

In other news, Gary Thrane has accepted the position of Associate Editor of "Between the Sheets."  He's been a member of Sail Chicago since 2010, and he's currently our Survey Coordinator.  You'll be seeing his name frequently in future issues.


Don't forget to meet your annual service requirement (see article below).  If it's not met by the beginning of the 2013 sailing season, you won't be able to participate in any on-the-water activities.


The Sail Chicago Annual Meeting has just been announced (see article below).  Don't miss it!  It will provide a preview of our activities for the upcoming sailing season


And finally, remember, if you renew your membership now, you'll get a $50 sailing credit (see article below).



By John Lemon, Lead Instructor

John Lemon


Our first seminar of 2013 will be an Introduction to Coastal Navigation.  Despite the widespread availability of GPS devices and navigation programs for smartphones, sailors still need know how to read a paper chart (map).  Examples abound of mariners who ran aground because they relied exclusively on GPS and did not use traditional navigation methods.   Coastal Navigation comprises a set of basic skills required for safe sailing in coastal waters, so that you know where you are and know how to safely navigate to your destination.

Coastal Navigation Topics to be covered include reading nautical charts, understanding how to plot your position and course, dead reckoning, aids to navigation, keeping the ship's log, and electronic navigation.  We'll look at planning a simple voyage in southern Lake Michigan to help you gain awareness of boating hazards in the local sailing environment.
The seminar will be held Monday, January 21, at 7 PM, in the community room at REI Lincoln Park, 1466 N. Halsted (near North & Clybourn).  The seminar is free; you must register in advance to attend.  A social hour will follow the seminar.    


Renew Your Membership - Get a Credit
From the Editor
Coastal Navigation Seminar January 21
Dates to Note
.... And Still More Seminars
Strictly Sail Chicago Show January 24 - 27
Annual Meeting - Save the Date
December Board Meeting Notes
Sail Chicago Sails in Uptown
Sailors' Talk: Novices Know a Lot
Sign up for Service
January 21 - Coastal Navigation Seminar*
January 24-27 - Strictly Sail Chicago Show*
February 13 - Racing Basics Seminar
February 28 - Last day for membership renewal credits*
March 12 - Weather and Sailing Seminar
March 20 - Sail Chicago Annual Meeting*
*See article in this issue

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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
We've got more to look forward to this winter to keep us interested in sailing.  Our Seminar Committee is hard at work preparing more seminars on interesting and relevant sailing topics.  Those currently scheduled are:
  • Racing Basics - February 13
  • Weather and Sailing - March 12
All Seminars will be held in the REI Lincoln Park Community Room starting at 7:00 pm.  Look for registration information in future issues of "Between the Sheets."


Strictly Sail Logo It's that time of year again when Chicago sailors begin to long for a brisk 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 to Navy Pier January 24-27.  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."

2012 Strictly Sail
Strictly Sail Chicago Show


The good news is that Sail Chicago is part of this extravaganza.  Many of our 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 and students.  It's a great way to promote our 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 24 - 25:  11a-2p, 2-5p, 5-8p
  • Saturday, January 26:  10a-1p, 1-4p, 4-7p
  • Sunday, January 27:  10a-1p, 1-5p

 If you'd like to sign up or would like more information about the Sail Chicago booth, please contact Mary Ann Aubrey by e-mail or by phone at (630) 858-8513 .  If you're sending an e-mail, put "Strictly Sail" in the subject line,  include your 1st and 2nd time preferences, your cell phone number, and whether you're a new member, Sail Into Summer student, or an "old timer."  Remember, preferred time slots go quickly, so SIGN UP NOW!  See you at the Show!


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 Fiona Ray, Board Secretary
At its December Board meeting, your Board of Directors voted to to include three Rhodes 19s in our fleet at Monroe Harbor.  This will allow the Fun Racing program to race all three Rhodes.  Program coordinator Dolores Baron is putting together a plan that will most likely move Fun Racing from Sunday to Saturday mornings.  For more information on the Fun Racing program, watch future issues of "Between the Sheets."
The Board also adopted a plan for Communication with Members.
In 2011 Sail Chicago member Matt Stuczynski suggested that we donated our old and unused sails to the Uptown Branch of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago for a summer art project. 
Boys & Girls Club Uptown
Uptown Boys & Girls Club
This project, the first in a series, was developed by members of Uptown community and was implemented in collaboration with the Uptown Boys and Girls Club.  Club students decided on the the design and made the work as a part of their summer arts programming. 
This past summer, Phase Two of the project was implemented.  Volunteer staff taught 6 weeks of summer arts program at the Boys and Girls Club.  Between the workshops, donors, volunteers, 46th Ward Aldermanic staff, 48th Ward Aldermanic staff, and Boys and Girls Club staff, more than 30 people have been involved in making this project possible.  The results can be seen in the accompanying photo. 

Thanks, Matt, for helping to "make it happen!"
By Gary Thrane, Associate Editor  
Gary Thrane
Gary Thrane

When the young Charles Darwin began his five-year voyage in 1831 aboard HMS Beagle, he was a complete landlubber.  He tells us that the ship's officers, with whom he shared quarters, "treated me with undeviating kindness."   But he goes on to say that when they spoke with each other about sailing the ship, "they might as well have been speaking Hebrew." 

Would-be sailors can find the way sailors talk about their boats and sailing almost impenetrable.   But a closer look reveals that a good deal of sailing language is part of ordinary English.   Sailors on HMS Beagle referred to the leading edge of the bow as "the head of the ship."   Most people feel that expressions like "astern," "abeam," and "aloft" are pretty nautical, but "ahead" is just regular English.   (Square-rigged ships like Darwin's, were generally following trade winds, so the head of the ship was the down-wind area on board.   It was here that a seat was rigged as a toilet.   That's why the facility on a vessel is still referred to as "the head.")

Sailors call the motion of a boat through the water "the way on the boat."  That, too, can seem pretty salty, but when we talk about "making headway" or "getting under way," that's just ordinary speech.   And the helmsman has to take into account the fact that his boat is not just making headway; it is also blown to some degree sideways (or to the lee).   When we "allow for some leeway" in our everyday plans, we are doing what the helmsman must do.

The side of a sailboat that the wind is blowing across determines whether she's on a port or starboard tack.   If you're not making the progress to windward that you'd like, you can "try the other tack."   (You know you're not dealing with a sailor if he writes, "the other tact," a not uncommon error.)
The lines that keep the ship's mast from toppling forward or backward are called "stays."   Those that steady the main mast are especially important, just like the individual who is the "mainstay" of an organization.

If the wind gets on the wrong side of a ship's sails, she's "taken aback."   But sailing novices should not be "taken aback" when they encounter sailors' talk-they're already using a fair amount. 




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.
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