BTS: January 2014

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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, 2014

By Steve VanderVoort, Managing Editor

Steve VanderVoort


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 at the end of January (see article below). Volunteer to staff our booth at the show.
  • For the more adventurous, the annual U.S. Sailing Leadership Forum takes place February 6-8 in San Diego, CA. We know that a couple of Sail Chicago members will be attending. Perhaps you can join them.
  • The date of the Sail Chicago Annual Meeting has just been announced (see article below). This is always a great opportunity to get together with other Sail Chicago members to start discussing plans for the upcoming sailing season.

Don't forget to meet your annual service requirement. If it's not met by the beginning of the 2014 sailing season, you won't be able to participate in any on-the-water activities. For a list of ways you do this,  click here. 




The Sail Chicago Annual Meeting for members and guests has been scheduled for Thursday, February 27, in the Conference Room at the St. Vincent DePaul Center in Chicago.  At the meeting, program heads will report on the success of their programs in 2013 and their plans for the 2014 sailing season.  Members will also elect four new Board members to fill terms that are expiring.  An informal social gathering will be held after the meeting.


More information will follow in the February issue of Between the Sheets, but in the meantime please be sure to mark your calendar now.



Sail Chicago's Board of Directors held their monthly meeting on December 12, 2013. The Board discussed and acted on the following issues:

  • Chris Garvey is working on organizing our storage trailer. 
  • Alfred Chan is working on revising and consolidating the Sail Chicago website and computer-based functions. 
  • Major repair work on Priorities, our cruising boat, is substantially complete. 
  • The Board Development Committee is seeking candidates to fill four Board positions. Elections will be held at the Annual Member Meeting on February 27. 
  • Sail Chicago is looking to purchase another Colgate 26 for its fleet.

The next Board meeting is Thursday, January 9.



Sail Chicago member Jay Owens sent us this picture of the Saint Joseph, MI lighthouse with the comment, "This is why we don't sail in January."  How true!   

From the editor...
Annual Meeting Date Set
December Board Meeting
Winter is Here
Dates to Note
Who to Contact
Strictly Sail Show
Sail Chicago's New Website
Sailing in Florida
January 9 - Sail Chicago Board Meeting
January 23-26 - Strictly Sail Chicago Show
February 6-8 - U.S. Sailing Leadership Forum (San Diego)
February 13 - Sail Chicago Board Meeting
February 27 - Annual Member Meeting
Announcements - Gary Thrane
Bookkeeper - Jay Owens
BTS Editor  - Steve VanderVoort
Chairman - Chris Schuler
Colgate 26 Racing - Bob Cohen 
Cruising Program - Nick Petrovits
Fun Racing -Dolores Baron
Instruction  - Michael Hart
Lead Instructor - Matt Stuczynski
Member Cruise Outings - Mehmet Tasci
Membership - Faith Hillis
Purchasing Agent - Dana Smith
Reservations - Peter Dudak
Safety Director - Michael Swisher
Share-a-Sail - David Shayne
Social - Pat Webster
Tender & Parking Passes - Bill Prindle
Tiller Time - Anke Heinrich
Treasurer - Steve VanderVoort
Webmaster - Alfred Chan

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Maintenance Hotline

312-409-9000 or

Chris Schuler 
Steve VanderVoort
Vice Chairman
 Rob Wakerly
Fiona Ray 

Alfred Chan

Dan Flavin

Chris Garvey

Maureen Huston
Frank Loftus
Pat Webster


It's that time of year again when Chicago sailors begin to long for a brisk breeze on a close reach, but looking across the cold expanse of snow and ice that line the lakefront, they can only dreStrictly Sail Logoam 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 23-26. 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.


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.


2012 Strictly Sail
Crowds enjoy the Strictly Sail exhibits.

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 23 & 24: 11am-2pm, 2-5pm, 5-8pm
  • Saturday, January 25: 10am-1pm, 1-4pm, 4-7pm
  • Sunday, January 26: 10am-1pm, 1-5pm
If you'd like to sign up or would like more information about the Sail Chicago booth, please contact Debbie Natoli by email or by phone at 312-391-9942. If you're sending an email, 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!

Sail Chicago has a new website.  Board member and IT guru Alfred Chan has been hard at work this fall and winter designing a system that will consolidate Sail Chicago's many functionalities under one umbrella.  While it's still a "work in progress," you can already start exploring some of it's basic components.  Log onto  You'll fine a homepage that's clean, crisp, and easy to understand and navigate.  Basic functions like the Calendar, the "Between the Sheets Archive," and the contact information are available now.  Log back in occasionally to see what else is new.  There'll be much, much more to come.  Watch future issues of "Between the Sheets" for more information.

By Kathy and Mike Lawless


We departed Naperville Friday morning, December 6, 2013, and were on our way to Florida. We arrived at Yachting Vacations, in Burnt Store Marina at 4:20 pm. We were set up to overnight on Saer II, a brand new Beneteau Oceanis 34. It was a "double first"--Saer II's first charter and our very first time chartering!


Kathy Lawless enjoys a book on deck.

We checked out on Saturday morning. Our checkout behind us, we headed out on Charlotte Harbor until the sun was low. A challenge for Mike was to now back Saer II into the slip, as this is the convention at Burnt Store Marina. It was a successful first landing, thanks to a tip from another sailor on the dock.  Every day after that, we took turns at the helm. 


Kathy now prefers the helm and even became comfortable with the B&G Navigation and Autopilot Systems. Looks like Mike's going to be on the sheets and winches from now on.


Another day's highlight was an escort home by three dolphins. The largest one in the middle looked right at us and made some squeaking noises. It was as if they she was saying "time for you to head in."


Thanks again to our Sail Chicago Instructors, crewmates, and new-found sailing friends from this past summer--you helped make this dream trip possible for us. We're already planning our next sailing adventure.


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