BTS: July 2012

Between the Sheets: News from Sail Chicago for July
New BTS Banner DRAFT

TopSail Chicago Logo 

 Sail Chicago is a not-for-profit 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 #7July, 2012 
Steve VanderVoort

By Steve VanderVoort, BTS Editor


June has been a month filled with good news for Sail Chicago.  First, we learned that that our application with the Internal Revenue Service to receive public charity (501)(c)(3) status has had a favorable determination.  Thus we can officially call ourselves a not-for-profit organization (see the banner above).  This also means that when you make a contribution to Sail Chicago (boats, equipment, money, etc.), your contribution is tax-deductible.


Second, we are in great shape financially.  Restructuring our maintenance program last year has created some truly significant cost-savings this year.  That, plus a wildly successful instruction program this summer, thanks largely to our newly-conceived "Sail into Summer" initiative, will allow us to significantly expand our fleet and our programs in the future. 


Of course success also can bring new challenges.  The large number of instruction courses, particularly the Introduction to Sailing course held on our Colgate 26s, the most popular boats in our fleet, has created a shortage of time periods that those boats can be used in other Sail Chicago programs.   In order to relieve this congestion, the Board, at its June meeting approved the purchase of another Colgate 26.


Third, our many other programs are getting a lot of attention.  Our service projects with Lawrence Hall Social Service and Urban Youth are in full swing.  We've scheduled more Tiller Times and Member Cruise Outings than we have in the past, and demand is still growing.  We recently held one of our most successful Friends and Family picnics ever.  Fun Racing on Sunday mornings is off to a great start.  And the Summer Maintenance Program is keeping our fleet in tip-top sailing shape.


None of this is possible without our volunteers.  They are the life-blood and backbone of this organization.  I'm constantly amazed when I see many of our Sail Chicago members volunteering for three, four, or five projects at a time.  To me, this indicates the passion for bringing the experience of sailing to our Chicago community that so many of our members have.  Let's congratulate each other on our work together to continue Sail Chicago's mission:  to bring quality sailing instruction and affordable sailing opportunities to everyone in the Chicago area.


*          *          *

If you're wondering how you can be involved in some of Sail Chicago's programs, please go to the ongoing feature, "Sail Chicago Reminders," found at the bottom of this newsletter.

Emily Case
Emily Case
By Emily Case, MCO Coordinator


Be sure to check the Member Cruise Outing Schedule, as many have been added recently for July and August.  We are trying to offer a weekly Wednesday night fireworks cruise on the Hunter as well as a biweekly Friday evening and Sunday afternoon cruise on one of the Colgates. Other times may also be offered. Take advantage of one of these opportunities to get out on the water with friends and/or family. MCOs are free for all Sail Chicago members($20 per guest).  Please email the MCO Coordinator if you have any questions or would like to volunteer as a skipper.


From the Editor
More Member Cruise Outings Scheduled
Who to Contact
See the Chicago Match Cup Race July 14
Friends & Family to Meet at Belmont Harbor August 4
Practice You Sailing Skills During Tiller Time
Friends & Family Enjoy the Ride
Variety is the Spice of Life
Events Added to Cruising Program
Fun Racing off to a Fast Start
Racing Rockstar
A New Member Speaks Up
Coast Guard Releases 2011 Boating Survey
Sail Chicago Reminders

Member Icon

Instruction Icon

Map Icon

Membership Form Icon 

facebook button

twitter button 

Maintenance Hotline

312-409-9000 or

Chairman - Joe Kucharski
Announcements - Ann Weaver
Bookkeeper - Mark Fechner
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
Maintenance (Winter) - Joe Kucharski
Marketing - Mike Parapetti
Member Cruise Outings - Emily Case
Pre-Sail Orientation - Dan Flavin
Safety - Ed Schroeder
Social - Pat Webster
Tiller Time -Chris Garvey
Treasurer - Jay Owens
Website - Ben Farmer
Joe Kucharski 

Jay Owens
Vice Chairman
 Frank Loftus

Fiona Ray 

Maureen Huston

Ilya Letuchy
Mike Parapetti

Chris Schuler

Steve VanderVoort
Sam Veilleux
Rob Wakerly
Pat Webster
 By Pat Webster, Social Director
Chicgo Match Race
Chicago Match Race Boats
Chicago Match Race Center is bringing 12 of the world's top-ranked skippers and their teams to compete for their share of the $100,000 total prize money purse as part of the Alpari Match Cup Racing Tour.  The race which will be held over July 10-15 can be viewed from the end of Navy Pier.  According to a press release, "...A race village will be constructed at the end of the pier, just meters away from where the action will be held in Chicago Match Race Center's equally-matched TOM 28 class keelboats. Bleachers for spectators, tents for sponsors and vendors, and live commentary will all be part of the show.
The Alpari World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) is the leading professional sailing series featuring nine World Championship events across the globe, sanctioned by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) with "Special Event" status. . . .   Racing takes place close to the shore so that spectators and fans can follow the racing in a virtual on-the-water stadium."

Join fellow Sail Chicagoans to view the Saturday, July 14 morning race which starts at 9:00 AM.  The event is free to the public.  Watch for more information in an email announcement as the date approaches.  Questions:  contact Pat Webster.

By Pat Webster, Social Director

All are welcome to join us for another Friends and Family Picnic on Saturday August 4th from 1-5.  For the first time we are bringing this event to the north end of Belmont Harbor, where we will get to sail Priorities, our 34' Hunter, from its home slip.  


For those who have attended this event in the past, you're familiar with the agenda for the day:  time with friends and family eating and sailing.  The picnic gives you an opportunity to introduce your friends and family to sailing without having to commit them to an entire afternoon or evening in a boat.  Happily everyone who wanted to go for a brief sail during our last picnic was able to do so.  Look for details to come in a mid-July email announcement.  Also, contact Pat Webster if you'd like to volunteer to help out with any aspect of the event, e.g.  set up, grilling, skippering or crewing, or clean up.

By Chris Garvey, Tiller Time Coordinator 
Chris Garvey
Chris Garvey


Students and new skippers:  take advantage of Tiller Time, the free sailing opportunity to practice your sailing skills under the guidance of an experienced skipper.  Seats are available on Tiller Times that are already posted.  To sign up, log onto the Sail Chicago website and click on "program seats".  Then, click on "Tiller Time" to check for availability.  If  you are unable to log on, contact me (but don't use my personal e-mail address). 


Skippers are always needed for more tiller times.  Remember, 5 tiller times and completion of the survey satisfies your volunteer hours for  2013, and gives you $50 in sailing credits.  Contact Chris now at the above link!
2010 Friends & Family
Enjoying a snack at Friends & Family
Saturday, June 16 dawned somewhat inauspiciously - high winds and the threat of thunderstorms, but that didn't deter the Sail Chicago stalwarts from executing a well-planned Friends and Family event at Montrose Harbor for Sail Chicago members and their friends.  Social Director Pat Webster was on hand by noon, marshalling the troops and setting up a picnic buffet fit for an Admiral.  Many sail Chicago members had pitched in to provide home made salads and baked goods for the event.

2012 Friends & Family
Ready to sail at Friends & Family
Over 70 people signed up to attend the event, which included a chance to get out on one of the boats in the Sail Chicago fleet, either a Colgate 26 or Priorities, our Hunter 34.  While the sky grew dark in the early afternoon, and winds rose to gusts of 30 knots, by mid-afternoon the storm  clouds had passed to the north, the wind calmed, and everyone who wanted to go sailing had a chance to do so. 

Our deepest gratitude to all those Sail Chicago members who made the experience such a memorable event:  the skippers who sailed the boats from Monroe and Belmont Harbors, the folks who prepared and cooked the delicious food, and those helped set up and organize this wonderful event.  We'll look forward to seeing you at the next Friends & Family event on August 4.

Sail Chicago wants its members and students to be comfortable in sailing a variety of keelboats.  That's why we currently have four different classes of boats in our fleet.  Each class has its advantages, and it's well worth learning to sail on them all.  From smallest to largest, they are:

Ideal 18
Ideal 18


Ideal 18s (2) - This is the smallest of our keelboats.  It has a relatively narrow beam for its size, a small cuddy, and a roller-furling, self-tacking jib.  With the mainsail stowed on the boom, preparation for sailing takes only minutes.  It's very agile, turns on a dime, and is great in light winds.  The heavy keel also makes it a safe boat in stronger winds.  It comfortably seats 2-3 people.  It's also the only boat in our fleet on which we offer a single-handed sailing course.


Rhodes 19s (4) - This boat was for a long time the only day-sailer in the Sail Chicago fleet and is still a favorite of many Sail Chicago "old timers."   Relatively broad of beam, it provides a very stable sailing experience and performs well in moderate to brisk winds, although in strong winds it can be subject to broaching.  It has a large cuddy, adequate for storing lots of gear.  As a class, this boat has been around a long time and is one of the most popular day-sailers ever produced.  Because our Rhodes 19s were acquired at different times, each is configured a little differently.  Since these boats are among the oldest in our fleet, and because they contain a fair amount of wood trim, considerable maintenance work is required to keep them in good sailing condition.


 Colgate 26s (3, soon-to-be 4) - these boats, acquired only recently as part of our fleet, have quickly become the favorites of many Sail Chicago members.  They were designed to appeal equally to family day-sailors, racers, and instruction programs.  Currently all of our Introduction to Sailing courses are taught on these boats.  The cockpit is exceptionally large, easily holding 6 people, and below deck there is a great deal of room to stow gear.  The boat has a roller-furling jib, and the mainsail is flaked on the mast for easy raising and lowering.  Although the boat can easily be sailed on and off the mooring, it has an outboard motor, which can be a blessing when the boat is becalmed or when there's no breeze in the harbor, but a fresh wind offshore.

Colgate Sailing
Colgate 26


Hunter 34 (1) - Currently our only cruising boat, Priorities is equipped with a wheel instead of a tiller for steering, a roller-furling jib, and an inboard Diesel engine.  The mainsail is stored on the mast for easy rigging.  It's the only boat in our fleet that's moored on a dock at Belmont Harbor.  It's also the only boat that's equipped with such electronic instruments as a depth gauge and an auto pilot.  Below deck, the cabin is large, and has a sink, refrigerator, and head.  It's maximum capacity is seven people, and it can sleep six relatively comfortably.  It's an ideal boat for those Sail Chicago members who would like to gain experience on a larger boat before embarking on their own bareboating experience in exotic locations around the world.  Sail Chicago members also use it occasionally for port-to-port cruises around Lake Michigan.


We are indeed fortunate to have a variety of boats on which to gain experience.  Learning to sail more than one class of boat gives us the confidence we need to become better, more competent sailors. 


Ilya Letuchy
Ilya Letuchy
By Ilya Letuchy, Cruising Program Director


 Summer is well underway and if you still haven't had a chance to experience a sail on Priorities, Sail Chicago's cruising boat, sign up for a Member Cruise Outing on the Sail Chicago website or read below for other sailing opportunities!


 Introduction to Cruising:

There is one spot left in the August Introduction to Cruising course!  This is the last introduction to cruising course of the season so sign up soon!  The dates for the August course are:  Tue 8/21, Thur 8/23, Tue 8/28, Thur 8/30.


Port to Port:

Announcing the first Port to Port Cruise of the season. Enjoy an all day cruise on Priorities from Belmont to Waukegan and back.  There's no experience required, and all Sail Chicago members are welcome!


When: Sunday, July 22 6:00 AM - 11:00 PM

Boat Sharing Fee: $50 per person 

Lunch: Potluck BBQ on the Boat!


There are only 5 spots available. To sign up, please click here.  

Chicago as seen from the deck of Priorities


Start of the Chicago/Mackinac Race:

Come out and watch the start of the most popular race on Lake Michigan. You'll have the opportunity to watch world class sailors set off for their multiple day journey!


When: Saturday, Jul 21 12:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Where: Belmont Harbor

Boat Sharing Fee: $20 per person 


There are 6 spots available on Priorities and 4 on Recess . To sign up, please click here.  


Private Use:

Is there a better way to experience summer in Chicago than aboard the 34' Hunter?  Priorities is available for private use by qualified skippers during periods when the boat is not being used for instruction or other program activities.  Sign up on the Sail Chicago website now to guarantee your preferred date time period. Not a skipper?  No problem! Skippers are always looking for an eager first mate!  Reach out to your fellow sailors and go sailing!


For any questions regarding the Cruising Program, please contact me.



By Dolores Baron, Fun Racing Coordinator

Dolores Baron
Dolores Baron


Fun Racing has had a fast start, great weather and great crews.  Fun was had by all.  We inflated markers kept on the boats, set a race course and had as many races as we could fit in.  Everyone had a chance to skipper a race. 

Remember, Fun Racing is a free activity included in your Sail Chicago member benefits.  It helps newer members refine their sailing skills and gives experienced skippers a chance to have fun and impart their knowledge to others.  It's a great way to meet other members as well. 
Fun Racing
Ready to round the mark at Fun Racing
(Photo by Alena Gordinskaya)

Each Sunday before the race, we'll have a brief review of racing rules (room at the mark, timed start, right of way, etc).  Then we'll rig the boats, set the marks, and start racing!  An experienced skipper will be assigned to each boat, and the crew will be varied. We meet at Monroe Harbor  8:00 at the tender dock on Monroe Street and finish around noon.  We need to leave the boats not later than 12:30 pm.  To register, sign up on-line at the Sail Chicago website.  Sign on with your password, click on "Reserve Program Seats," choose "Fun Racing," click on "Find Seats," pick a date, pick a boat, reserve a seat.   For more information please e-mail me.  
Michael Hart
Michael Hart

By Michael Hart


 Nick Petrovits has a relatively short but storied history with Sail Chicago.  He not only started learning to sail with us back in '08, but also got checked out as a Sail Chicago Skipper in his first year.  In addition to filling his schedule with sailing classes, he was very active in our Open Racing Program and the CCYC Wednesday Night Fleet 12 Races at Montrose Harbor.  In recognition of his fast start in his initial season, he was awarded the coveted title of Sail Chicago Student of the Year.

For the next couple of seasons he continuing to be active in racing, moved on to become a qualified skipper on Emotional Rescue, Sail Chicago's former cruising boat.  He also started teaching basic sailing classes on our Rhodes 19s.  At about the same time that he became more familiar with our Ideal 18's, he had the opportunity to crew on a 44' Grand Soleil Racer named Eagles Wings.

Nick Petrovits
Nick Petrovits

 Before leaving us briefly in '11 to live in Singapore for a year, Nick attained ASA101, 103, and 104 certifications.  He did his first private charter in the Gulf of Mexico, and the boat that he started crewing on was 5th overall in the Mackinac Cup and won 3rd in its fleet in the MAC.  The boat was heralded as Boat of the Year in the Area III PHRF 2 class.

After a week-long charter in Phuket, Thailand, he said goodbye to Southeast Asia for now and is back this year being very active in a variety of Sail Chicago activities.  This spring, after having been appointed Boat Manager on Priorities, Sail Chicago's cruising boat, he spent a number of weekends in the boatyard with Ed Schroeder and his team, readying Priorities for the upcoming sailing season.  As an instructor, he has already taught an Introduction to Cruising course on Priorities, and he will start teaching his third  Basic Sailing course to new members and Sail into Summer students.

Recently, Nick took first place in the Chicago NOOD section ORR2, crewing as bowman for Eagles Wings.  His summer vacation will consist of his participation in the 104th Chicago MAC Race and the Harbor Springs Regatta at the end of July. 

An engineer by trade, Nick understandably enjoys knowing about the mechanics of sailboats.  Whether he is in the boatyard, instructing, or crewing, his passion for the sport is undeniable.  He's always trying to improve his sailing skills and will be seeking ASA certification as a Keelboat Instructor this fall. 

While he may have the willingness to listen to experienced "old salts" at every chance, Nick is by far the true definition of a racing rockstar.  Sail Chicago benefits immensely from his many contributions and we're glad that he's returned from halfway around the world.  



Karen Winters is a new member of Sail Chicago.  Earlier this year she decided to enroll in almost every instruction course that Sail Chicgo has to offer.  Many Sail Chicago members take a few years to become skippers, but Karen wants to "do it all" in one summer.  We thought it might be interesting to find out why.  Here's what she responded:
Karen Winters
Karen Winters

How did you happen to join Sail Chicago?
I moved to Chicago so I could live on beautiful water and still keep all the perks of a great city. I wanted to ensure that I was surrounded by great architecture, music and art but still able to have a boat. While I have always had power boats in the past (except for a Sunfish), sailing with my friends in the Caribbean allowed me to experience the excitement and tranquility of moving through the water on wind power which I found mesmerizing. As I investigated sailing schools in Chicago I came across the Sail Chicago website and was very impressed with the many offerings at such reasonable prices. I also liked the fact that this was a nonprofit organization; if you're going to teach others to sail and volunteer your time to do so, you must really love it. There were also opportunities to mingle with others who have the same interest and learn from those with many years of experience.
 Why did you sign up for so many classes at the outset?
I decided to use this summer to determine if I loved sailing enough to purchase a sailboat and take on the responsibility of ownership. I knew I needed to take my skill sets from 0 - 60 in order to make the decision and learn about sailing a larger boat, crew responsibilities and the upkeep required.  While I could sail a small sailboat, I was self taught and knew little about the what and why.  Taking all the classes will give me a broader perspective on sailing and its requirements as well as getting me out on the water on a regular basis.

What have been your joys and frustrations with the organization thus far?
I've only had positive experiences with Sail Chicago. My instructors have both been very skilled and yet patient and understanding as I've tried to put the pieces together.  They've done a great job of challenging me without pushing too hard too quickly.  As an educator I know that can be a fine line.  My fellow students have also been great partners in the learning process.  Have I had frustrations?  Yes, for sure. It's not just learning the physical/navigational skills of sailing that can cause frustration.  Combining the new skill sets with a "foreign" language including boat parts, rigging/preparation, and taking directions from your instructor in a vocabulary you're just learning can be a real juggling act. Throw in a few bouts of sea sickness and I can honestly say that every moment has not been complete joy!!!  But I keep going back and it gets easier with every class. I'm in for the long haul.

How do you see yourself contributing your time and talent back to Sail Chicago in the future?
I see several areas where I can contribute to the organization.  I have good organizational and computer skills and can work well with people. I'm also pretty handy and may be able to help with some of the maintenance needed for our fleet.  While I can't repair engines or electrical systems, I'm good with tools for minor repairs/replacement and can scrub, sand and paint.  And, who knows? I just might get good enough to be an instructor in a few years to pay it forward!

Coast Guard logoThe United States Coast Guard has recently released it's 2011 Recreational Boating Statistics survey.  Here are only a few of the interesting facts regarding recreational boating in 2011:

  • In 2011, the Coast Guard counted 4588 accidents that involved 758 deaths, 3081 injuries and approximately $52 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.
    • The fatality rate was 6.2 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels.  This rate represents a 14.8% increase from last year's fatality rate of 5.4 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels.
    • Compared to 2010, the number of accidents decreased 0.35%, the number of deaths increased 12.8% and the number of injuries decreased 2.3%.
  • Seventy (70) percent of all fatal boating accident victims drowned, and of those, eighty-four (84) percent were not reported as wearing a life jacket.
  • Only eleven percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had received boating safety instruction. 
  • Eight out of every ten boaters who drowned were using vessels less than 21 feet in length.

 To read the complete statistical analysis,click here.




Check Your Boat Status and Report Problems

Before your sail, be sure to check the Boat Statuses page of the Sail Chicago website to learn whether your boat might have been taken out of service.  Also, if you find a problem with your boat, please report it immediately after your sail to Summer Maintenance.  If you have a camera or smart phone, please snap a couple of pictures of the problem and send them along.  


Register Now for Summer Maintenance

If you haven't registered for your week of SMP, DO IT NOW!  SMP is required of all current Sail Chicago members prior to participation in any on-the-water activities.  For more information, see the article on SMP in the May issue of "Between the Sheets."


Fun Racing Continues Sunday Mornings

Build your sailing skills with a little fun competition on Sunday mornings at Monroe Harbor.  For more information, see the article on Fun Racing in the May issue of "Between the Sheets."  If it's your first time at Fun Racing, please e-mail the Fun Racing Coordinator when you sign up.  


Use the Tender Service at Monroe Harbor

Sail Chicago provides enough tender passes for the capacity of every boat in the Monroe Harbor fleet.  Skippers sailing a specific boat should request the packet of tender passes by boat name at the Tender Service Office.  Prior to departure, check the "Boat Statuses" page of the Sail Chicago website for any irregularities.  To report irregularities, contact theMPP CoordinatorFor more information on the use of the Tender Service, see the article in the May issue of "Between the Sheets." 


Millenium Park and DuSable Harbor Parking Passes Available

Parking Passes are available for the Millenium Park Garage and the DuSable Harbor parking lot.  For more information see the May issue of "Between the Sheets." 


Sign up for Tiller Times and Member Cruise Outings

Tiller Times and MCOs are a great ways for Sail Chicago members and friends to practice their sailing skills or just have a fun sail.  They're also free to members.  To find out more, see the May issue of "Between the Sheets."


Find Sailing Buddies on Facebook or Twitter

Looking for crew or just want to go sailing sith someone from Sail Chicago.  No problem!  just post a comment on the Sail Chicago page of Facebook or Tweet your request.


Sail Chicago Handbook Available

The 2012 Sail Chicago Handbook is available on the member page of the Sail Chicago website.  It contains the most complete description of our programs and activities available, together with many practical "how to's."  It also contains the Sail Chicago Rules and Regulations, and Policies.


Renew Your Membership  

There are now two ways to renew your membership.  You may either do it online, or you may print a paper membership form and mail it to Sail Chicago, Attn:  Lois Lawson, 2019 W Thomas, Chicago, IL  60622.


Bonus Credits

If you add at least $100 to your reserve account by check (no credit cards) with Sail Chicago, you will receive an additional 5% in sailing credits.  Mail your check, together with a note to add the funds to your account, to Sail Chicago, Attn:  Lois Lawson, 2019 W Thomas, Chicago, IL  60622.


Get Credit for a New Member

For every new member who joins Sail Chicago at the invitation of a current member, the current member will receive a $50 credit to their reserve account.  If someone participates in the "Sail into Summer" program, current members will receive a $25 credit.  In order for the referring member to get a credit, the new member needs to make reference to the referring member on the Sail Chicago Membership Application.


Chicago Skyline
facebook button twitter button