BTS: July 2011

Between the Sheets: News from Sail Chicago for July

Between the Sheets Banner - Sail Chicago

Sail Chicago Logo


Sail Chicago is a community sailing program that has been offering affordable sailing, water safety, and racing instruction, and recreational sailing opportunities to people in the Chicago area for over fifty years.

Issue #7July, 2011 
From the Editor

By Steve VanderVoort, Between the Sheets Editor


When I first joined Sail Chicago, I knew that I had to brush up on my sailing skills.  I thought of myself as a pretty good sailor, but it had been a few years since I'd been out on the water.  I took the Skipper Prep Course, but what I found most helpful in preparing me for my Skipper checkout was Tiller Time.  Through Tiller Time, I had an opportunity to meet several people who would eventually become sailing companions when I could finally rent boats on my own.  I also learned a great deal of practical information from Tiller Time Skippers who were able to offer me a variety of sailing tips and techniques that I would never have picked up in the Skipper Prep course alone.
This is now my second year as a Tiller Time Sipper.  Although I'd love to become a full-blown Instructor, my summer schedule is a little hectic, and I can't commit the time to the regular hours necessary.  I can, however, practice some informal instruction during my Tiller Times.  As an additional bonus, I've met some wonderful people and I've had a chance to pass along my enthusiasm for sailing to a whole new generation of potential Sail Chicago skippers, many of whom I hope will become future sailing companions.  I love it, and I look forward to doing it for many years to come!
Skippers, think about sharing your knowledge and skills with others.  Sign up to Skipper one or two Tiller Times and see if you like it.  I guarantee that once you try it, you'll be hooked.
For more information or to schedule yourself as a Tiller Time Skipper please contact Chris Garvey, our Tiller Time Coordinator.


News from the Board

May Board Meeting 

  • Over sixty people have joined Sail Chicago's new social networking site at  At least half of them plan to attend one of the Dryland classes.
  • The Board is working with Tom & Hewly Prucher and Dolores Baron to improved usage of the boats at Montrose Harbor.
  • The Board approved an expenditure of up to $2,000 for the services of an attorney to help Sail Chicago secure a 501(c)(3) not-for -profit status with the Internal Revenue Service.
Incentives for Tiller Time Skippers

Thinking about skippering a tiller time?  Here's a couple more things to think about.  Basic keelboat skippers who do 5 tiller times:

  1. Get $50 in sailing credits
  2. Get service time for next year satisfied
  3. Get to meet new people
  4. Get to have "boat loads" of fun!

Who could ask for more???  Contact Chris Garvey to sign up, right away!


Congratulations New Graduates!
Colgate Graduates

First Colgate Graduates


Sail Chicago recently graduated its first-ever class of Colgate 26 Skippers.  Hearty congratulations to new Colgate Skippers Tom Peterson, Jennifer Newton, James Porter, and Tom Moffitt. 


Not to be outdone, a second class of proud graduates are now able to skipper Meridian.  These new graduates include  Tom Simms, Tim Schick, David Arnolds, and Matilda McFarland.  Happy sailing, folks!


Please don't feel left out.  You, too, can skipper Meridian, Sail Chicago's largest small keelboat.  If you'd like to become a a Colgate Skipper there's still plenty of time left in this sailing season to do so.  You may sign up for a class on the Sail Chicago website.  If you've got questions about the course please contact John Lemon, Sail Chicago's Lead Instructor.


News from the Board
New Incentives for Tiller Time Skippers
Congratulations New Graduates!
Who to Contact
Board of Directors
Friends and Family Outing July 16
Lean to Sail Single-Handed
We've Got Our PRIORITIES Set!
New Members Introduced at Party
Tender Passes Now Available at Tender Service Office
Learn to Sail the Shields
Learning to Fly at Spinnaker Class
How Do I Report an Incident?
Open Racing Off to a Flying Start!
Summer Solstice Celebrations Continue
Sailors Learn About the Weather
Meet the Board - Rob Wakerly
Sail Chicago Reminders

Member Icon

Instruction Icon

Map Icon

Membership Form Icon

facebook button

twitter button 

Maintenance Hotline

312-409-9000 or

Who to Contact 
Chairman - Sam Veilleux
Announcements - Ann Weaver
BTS Editor - Steve VanderVoort
Bookkeeper - Mark Burns
Cruising Boats - Chris Riegel
Fleet 12 Racing - Sally Hamann
Instruction (Dryland) - Dan Flavin
Instruction/Registration - David Bowen
Lead Instructor - John Lemon
Maintenance (Summer) - Dean Hackenberg
Maintenance (Winter) - Joe Kucharski
Marketing - Mike Parapetti
Membership - Lois Lawson
Open Racing - Tom & Hewly Prucher
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
Friends and Family Outing Set for July 16

 On Saturday, July 16th Sail Chicago is once again hosting a social sailing event for our members and their guests.  It will be held at Montrose Harbor from 1:00 - 5:00 pm.  We will be barbecuing and taking folks out on our Rhodes 19 fleet, Meridian our Colgate 26, Erica our 30 foot Shields racing boat, and on Priorities, our Hunter 34 cruising boat and newest addition to our fleet.  This will be a great opportunity to introduce your friends and family to sailing and to our organization.  It might also give you an opportunity to go out on a boat you haven't previously sailed.


Although there will be no charge for sailing, $7/person will be charged for the picnic lunch.  It will include brats, burgers, veggie burgers, salads and sweets as well as soft drinks and water.  Money will be collected at the harbor.  Please register by July 12th so that we can be sure to have enough food for all who attend.  Similarly if you have registered and find that you cannot attend, please cancel as soon as possible.  Contact Pat Webster by email to register.  Also, if you would like to help out with the picnic, please indicate that when you register.
If you have friends or family members whom you think might be interested in an introductory sailing experience, please invite them to join us for a great afternoon so sailing and socializing.  They'll have a chance to take a sail and meet some great people who love to share their enthusiasm for sailing.

If you can't make this event, we are planning to do another "Friends and Family Sail" at Monroe Harbor on Sunday, August 14thSAVE THE DATE.


Learn to Sail Single-Handed
Ideal 18 single-Handed

Sailing solo


If you've ever felt the urge to go it alone, now's your chance. The Sail Chicago Board of Directors recently authorized single-handed sailing on the Ideal 18s. And to prepare experienced skippers to take the boats out on their own, we are offering instruction in solo sailing.


In the two-session class you will learn techniques for rigging the boat, sailing on and off the mooring, tacking, jibing, trimming for all points of sail, heaving-to, reefing underway and executing an MOB drill...all by yourself!  Students will receive coaching from an on-board instructor and then have a chance to sail sans crew while the instructor follows in another boat.  With its roller furler, self-tacking jib, easy reefing system and simple rig, the Ideal is the perfect boat for a beginning solo sailor.  Not only will you hone your skills, single-handing will boost your confidence and prepare you to skipper with a shorthanded or inexperienced crew on any boat.


If you're a current Ideal 18 skipper and are interested in becoming qualified for single-handed sailing, The course fee is $100. Classes will be scheduled based on student interest and instructor availability.  Please sign up through the Sail Chicago Instruction Packet.  For more information please contact  John Lemon.


We've Got Our Priorities Set!
Chris Riegel

Chris Riegel

By Chris Riegel, Cruising Boat Director 


It is with great pleasure that I introduce our new boat to the Sail Chicago family.  PRIORITIES, a 1984 34 foot Hunter weighing in at 11920 lbs.  We selected this boat for its ability to provide a modern day cruising platform well suited for instruction as well as private day and weekend rentals.  The boat is located on the north end of Belmont Harbor at F dock in slip #51.  Former ER skippers who are in good standing are eligible to check out on the boat at no cost.  Checkouts are currently in process for ER instructors.  Former ER skippers will be receiving an email with specifics on scheduling.

Hunter 34

Hunter 34

We expect the boat's larger layout to provide more comfort and convenience, particularly for port-to-port and cross lake visits.  Some of the features include a furling jib, wheel steering, lazy jacks, self tailing winches, autopilot (for extended cruising), refrigeration, pressurized water system, shower, shore power, and multiple cabins.


Basic cruising classes are in session.  We have room for additional students and plan to offer additional classes based on demand. Classes are held 2 x per week for 3 weeks. To sign up please send your email to  Port to port cruises are expected to kick off within the next few weeks.  Stay tuned for more details.

PRIORITIES greatly elevates our ability to teach the basics of modern cruising as well as preparation for bareboat chartering or weekend trips across the lake. Our new insurance policy does cover the boat anywhere within Lake Michigan.  Private rental rates are $75 for Off Peak Sessions, and $100 for On Peak Sessions.  Extended rentals are eligible for a discount; after the 2nd consecutive rental session, the 3rd is free.  Extended cruising eligibility (across the lake) is subject to the review and discretion of the Cruising Program.  For extended rentals, please contact the Cruising Boat Director.



New Members Introduced at Party
2011 Party

Party-goers were met by the smiling faces of Maureen Huston and Annette Faber

Well over fifty Sail Chicago members and guests showed up at a party on June 4 honoring new Sail Chicago members.  The setting was perfect for such an event - the Club Room at the Park Shore Condominium building overlooking both DuSable and Monroe harbors.  While a severe weather system had swept through the Chicago Loop earlier in the day, It had cleared out a couple of hours before the party began.  The evening was perfect for such an event.  For those wanting a great view of the lakefront, they could stroll out to the patio where Sail Chicago members Mike Swointek and Ken Tentler were cooking up some fabulous brats and burgers

Organized by Sail Chicago's Social Director Pat Webster, and ably assisted by Lexie Antonio, the party proved to be a great way for new members to meet old members, and for both old and new members to hook up with future sailing buddies throughout the summer.  Everyone, new and old members alike, seemed to have some sailing stories they loved to swap.  Several members and guests were seen moving from table to table just so they could spin the same yarns to a  new audience.


2011 Party

Old and new members swap sailing stories while chowing down.

Of course, the food was fantastic as well.  In addition to the grilled brats and burgers, there were all kinds of salads, watermelon, strawberries, and other fruits.  Topping it all off was a delicious key lime pie and three different kinds of cake.  What a feast for a bunch of hungry sailors!


In order to help newer members get to know some of the old hands, the party goers were given a question sheet when they came in asking them to find out some facts about other new and old members they met during the evening.  Once the sheets were completed, they were gathered up and a drawing was held for the winners, each of whom received a door prize.  The winners were returning member John Larson, and new members Mark Fechner, Mike Kozubek, and Kivanc Miheak.  Winners and losers all agreed that it was a great evening!



Tender Passes Now Available at Tender Service Office

By Arleen Prairie, MPP Coordinator 


Through the generosity of the harbormaster and the tender service staff at Monroe Harbor, some of our tender passes are being held at the tender service office for use by our Sail Chicago skippers. The tender service staff simply keeps them available by request and takes no responsibility for their safekeeping.  Sail Chicago is trying out the program to see if it works for us.
By placing tender passes with the tender service, we enhance the use of these in two ways:

  • Skippers who do not drive to the harbor can easily access the passes right at the tender service office.
  • By having the tender passes at the harbor, the passes are available at the beginning of each boat use period through a slight change in the period. When the tender passes kept at the tender service office are being used for a sail, the rental period ends ½ hour earlier so the passes are again available at the tender service by the beginning of the following rental period.

Four tender passes for Meridian are now available at the tender service office .  They are NOT available from the UPS Store.   Currently, two passes are available for small keelboats and can be obtained from the tender service office on a fist-come-first-served basis.  Other passes are available, as usual, at the UPS Store. 
Skippers report that if they have more passengers than tender passes, it is simple and inexpensive for all to share the cost of buying the extra passes needed from the tender office.
Want more information? MPP users can find the details of this expanded tender pass use in the log book at the UPS box, or just request the specific information for all skippers at Monroe by sending an e-mail to


Learn to Sail the Shields

By Jacob Worley-Hood, Shields Coordinator

Now that the summer is in full force, it is time to think about sharpening you sailing skills and challenging your yourself to learn to sail a fun and exciting boat.  Shields classes teach the fundamentals of Shields sailing and will leave you confident sailing this exhilarating boat.  

Erica, Sail Chicago's Shields 

We offer several options for Shields classes.  First of all you can take the "Skipper" class if you are already a Small Keelboat Skipper.  You can also take a "Crew" class if would like to become a top notch crew member but are not yet a Sail Chicago skipper.  

Lastly, we are excited to offer Intermediate Sailing Classes on the Shields.  This means that if you have taken a beginner class on a Rhodes or Ideal, you can take your Intermediate class on a bigger boat before returning to the smaller boats for the Skipper Prep Class.  This will give you experience on a wide range of boats and will help you to become a better sailor.

Classes run every month for 4 week sessions.  Sign up using the instruction form in the Sail Chicago Instruction Packet.  Contact Jacob Worley-Hood for more information.
Learning to Fly at Spinnaker Class
Flaking the Spinnaker

Learning to flake a spinnaker

It was a full house for the Spinnaker Class that was held on June 4.  All four Sail Chicago boats at Montrose Harbor were filled to capacity with both instructors and students eager to learn the finer points of spinnaker handling.  Since spinnakers will again be used this year in Open Racing, those wanting to win need to know how to handle a spinnaker on the downwind leg of each race. 

The weather was perfect for such instruction - a good 10k NW breeze was able to fill the sails without being overpowering.

After some preliminary on-shore instruction by longtime Sail Chicago member Sally Hamann on how to rig a spinnaker, the boats were launched and the individual instruction began.  Each boat had an instructor, a skipper, and two students.  Everyone had an opportunity to


Success on the first try!

rotate positions from the helm, to the foredeck, to handling the spinnaker sheet and guy.  By the end of the morning class, everyone agreed that there's considerably more to flying a spinnaker than meets the eye.  It's a matter of constantly adjusting the sheet, the guy and the rudder to make sure that the chute stays filled with air - not an easy or simple job.  Everyone came away from the class, however, with more confidence regarding their spinnaker-handling skills. Thanks to Tom & Hewly Prucher for organizing the class, and to the fine instructors who did such a great job at imparting their knowledge.


How Do I Report an "Incident?"
Ed Schroeder

Ed Schroeder

 By Ed Schroeder, Safety Director


We all know that every time there is an "incident" on the water, we need to report it.  Not many of us know, however, specifically what it is we need to report and who we need to report it to.  Our Sail Chicago Rules and Regulations state that every time there is an incident that involves a Sail Chicago boat, we need to report it to:

Of course, the question then becomes, "What, specifically, do I report?".  The answer is found in the attached checklist.  If you follow this as a guide, you will have no trouble in reporting an incident, and you will not be asked a lot more questions by the Safety Director.


Open Racing Off to an Flying Start!
Tom & Hewly Prucher

Tom & Hewly Prucher

By Tom & Hewly Prucher, Open Racing Coordinators

Spinnaker Demystification Day June 4 was wildly successful with eight sailors becoming familiar with the use of the spinnaker in racing.
On 6/18 Dolores Baron, Stan Rolka, and Mel Tracy in Dolphin took first place beating Steve Faydash, Minna Greene, and Michael Kozubek in Sundancer by just one point.
On 6/25 Art Witkiewicz, Job Evers, and Minna Greene in Sundancer tied Dolores Baron, Bill Coutre, and Tom Prucher in Troll for first place.
Spinaker Racing
Open racing with spinnakers,.  Two Fish leads Troll.
The Open Racing program on Saturday mornings is for both novice and experienced sailors who want to improve their skills and have fun.  It is not a class; any member can attend based on interest and availability.  This is also an opportunity for anyone who just wants to sail without having to find his or her own crew.
Several short races are run so that novice sailors learn from more experienced ones.  Rotating positions in the boat develops teamwork.  Sailors improve their starting techniques, sail trim, boat trim, and tactics, and learn the rules of racing.  Although the races are competitive, the emphasis is on having fun while learning new skills.  The program coordinators assign sailors to equitably balance the skill levels between boats.
Open Racing starts at 8:00 A.M. on Saturday mornings at Montrose Harbor and runs until 1:00 P.M. or until all of the boats are put away.  For more information, click here.
Summer Solstice Celebrations Continue


2011 Summer SolsticeSummer Solstice celebrations at Montrose Harbor began on June 21 the longest day of the year.  The celebrations will continue on every Tuesday at 6:00 PM through July 12.  The celebration is a shared snack and social get together prior to tiller time based on everyone's schedule.  The sailing begins at 6:00.  There were two boats signed out on 6/21 and more boats will be added.  For more information, contact Tom& Hewly Prucher


In the picture on the left, Jim Monk, Cindy Hopkins, Chris Garvey, and Mel Tracy enjoy a snack before Tiller Time at Montrose during the Summer Solstice celebration.


Sailors Learn About the Weather 
Weather Seminar

Eric Schneider discusses the weather

On Monday, June 27, over twenty Sail Chicago members and friends gathered in the community room of REI Lincoln Park to learn more about one of a sailor's favorite topics - the weather.  Eric Schneider, Principal Race Officer for the Chicago Yacht Club, and Bob Roiblat, also from the Club presented those assembled with a variety of topics regarding the weather and how it can affect a sailing experience.  They also emphasized the various weather hazards and how to anticipate sudden weather changes and deteriorating conditions.
If the seminar participants didn't know terms like veer, backing, gradient wind, and coriolis force,when they came in, they certainly did once the seminar was finished.  Eric also provided the group with an extensive list of weather-related websites and other places to go to find forecasts that can help sailors prepare themselves  for a good, safe sail.  He reminded the group that if you have a weather radio aboard your boat, it's the law that the radio must be on at all times during your sail.  Small boats without a radio should always be aware of other boats on the lake and, if there are no other boats, head for the handiest harbor quickly as possible.
Seminar participants agreed that the information provided will enhance their sailing experience and will help them to sail safer and better.  Thanks to Paul Demmel for organizing the event.
Meet the Board - Rob Wakerly
(This is an occasional column authored by members of the Board.  Hopefully, it will allow our members an opportunity to know the folks who set long term policy for Sail Chicago.)
Rob Wakerly

Rob Wakerly


How and when did you first become involved in sailing?

 I first went sailing with some fellow college interns of mine in South Carolina for a day.  It was a great experience and I looked for opportunities to sail after that.  Once I moved to Chicago I researched some sailing clubs and organizations and decided on Sail Chicago because of the instruction, boat accessibility, and amazing value it offered.


What's the best time you've ever had sailing?

I once went sailing with someone my dance teacher connected me with and we sailed a 42' top of the line (when it was built) aluminum hulled racing sailboat from the 1970s.  It was a fine Sunday afternoon and the weather was fantastic.  It was so relaxing sailing out past the water crib on the beautiful vessel.  We cracked some jokes and I heard some great old sailing stories in addition to learning a thing or two from some older fellows.

What was your scariest sailing experience?

My scariest sailing experience also happens to be my first.  I went sailing with some fellow interns down a secluded river to a private beach near Charleston, SC for the day.  Only two of the crew had any sailing experience and we became quite challenged once we heard that a violent storm was coming.  We loaded the sailboat, making our way up river back to the dock from where we rented the boat.  About half way into the 30 minute trip back, the storm hit, delivering ever increasingly hard wind, rain, then hail, and lightning.  Fortunately we were able to pull the sails down and use the tiny outboard to motor the last 15-20 minutes.  The whole time I was frightened not only because of my lack of experience, but because I didn't feel comfortable in the middle of the river with a thirty foot metal mast sticking into the air while lightning flashed around me.  We made it back safely and I figured that if I still wanted to learn to sail after that experience, it was definitely something that piqued my interest.

How and when did you become involved with Sail Chicago?

I became involved with Sail Chicago as a member first in 2009 taking the beginners on the water course.  In 2010 I served the organization by coordinating the Swim Test, allowing skippers to satisfy one of the criteria toward their skipper cards.  That season, I took Intermediate sailing and participated in the swim test myself to go on and earn my skipper card by the end of the season.

What do you enjoy most about Sail Chicago?

I enjoy the sense of community in the organization.  Sail Chicago offers such great programs, from instruction, to boating opportunities, to social activities, and it's amazing when you consider that it's all made 100% possible by volunteers and people taking initiative. 

What motivated you to join the Board?

I didn't know much about the responsibilities of the Board and wanted to learn more.  Once I attended a Board meeting and saw the collaboration and true desire to do what is best for the organization in an efficient way, I was motivated to be a member.  I'm here to serve the organization as well as work with some great people and gain some valuable experience.

What do you believe should be Sail Chicago's most important goals?

I believe Sail Chicago's most important goals are to provide instruction and sailing opportunities to people of the Chicagoland area and to operate in a safe and financially responsible way.

Sail Chicago Reminders


Summer Maintenance

If you haven't signed up for Summer Maintenance, do it now by e-mailing or phone the Maintenance Hotline at 312-409-9000.  As part of our Annual Service Requirement, all members of Sail Chicago (except new members in their first summer) must register for one week of  Summer Maintenance if they would like to participate in any on-the-water programs. 


Boat Status

Prior to your scheduled sail, check the Boat Status page on the Sail Chicago website to learn whether or not your boat is in service.  Don't be disappointed by getting to the harbor and finding that your boat is out of commission.  If you experience a problem with your boat notify Summer Maintenance immediately using the phone number or e-mail above.  If you think the problem is serious, you may remove the boat from service through the Boat Status Page on the Sail Chicago website.


Incident Reporting

If you are a skipper and the boat you are sailing comes into contact with ANY other object (another boat, a seawall, rocks, etc.) you MUST immediately notify Summer Maintenance by calling the Maintenance Hotline at 312-409-9000 or e-mailing  You must also file a complete written report of the incident with the Safety Director.

Chicago Skyline
facebook button twitter button