BTS: June 2012

Between the Sheets: News from Sail Chicago for June
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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 #6June, 2012 
Steve VanderVoort

By Steve VanderVoort, BTS Editor


The 2012 summer sailing season is in full swing at Sail Chicago.  We are both excited and a bit overwhelmed by the numbers of people who have signed up to take our sailing instruction courses this summer, either as new members or through our newly conceived "Sail into Summer"  

program for new sailors.  Several early participants in "Sail Into Summer" have already chose to become full members in Sail Chicago in order to take advantage of the other programs and free sailing opportunities that we have to offer.  As an all-volunteer organization, we need to continually expand our membership if we are to remain successful and true to our mission (see statement above).  On that score, our summer is off to a great start!


Recess, our third Colgate 26 and most recent addition to our fleet, was recently launched in Belmont Harbor.  Instruction classes on the boat have already been scheduled, and qualified skippers may use it when it's not being used for other program activities (see article below).


Social events for both our new and returning members have been planned, and more are on the way (see article below).  These events allow Sail Chicago members and friends who might not otherwise have a chance to meet, to connect and find others with whom they can sail in the future.

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This month we are introducing something new in "Between the Sheets,"  For this and future issues, we are including at the bottom of the issue an article titled "Sail Chicago Reminders."  This article has important ongoing information about Sail Chicago and its activities.  We hope that this addition will save you time and effort in attempting to locate information in the archive of past BTS issues found on the member page of the Sail Chicago website. 


The 2012 Sail Chicago Handbook has been published online.  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. 

The Handbook is updated throughout the year, so make sure that you have the latest revision date if you'd like to use it as a reference.  Check the publication date on the cover page.

New members - we're encouraging you to sign up for one of Sail Chicago's many Member Cruise Outings.  It's a great way to get to know the different types of boats in our fleet that you might eventually wish to skipper.  It will also give you an opportunity to meet other Sail Chicago members.


To sign up, just log onto the Member Page of the Sail Chicago website, choose the "Reserve Program Seats" bar, select the "Member Cruise Outing" button, and select your seat.  It's that easy!   New MCOs are added as skippers step up to host, so check back often for open seats and new outings.  


Sail Chicago Handbook Available
New Members Encouraged to Sing Up for MCOs
Sail Chicago Instruction Swings into Action
Cruising Program off to Flying Start
Join Friends and Family June 16 for a Picnic
Use "Recess" to Sail
Volunteers Move Fleet
Basic Cruising Gets Underway
Priorities Gets a Makeover
Check your Life Jacket (PFD)!
Know the Board- Ilya Letuchy
Sail Chicago Reminders

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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
John Lemon
By John Lemon, Lead Instructor


 Our Basic Keelboat Instruction program is off to a great start.  42 sailors braved the cooler May weather, beginning our first round of classes May 5.  This year we began teaching our Basic Sailing classes on our new Colgate 26s.  Students and instructors have given the boat high marks as a great learning and teaching boat.

June looks to be a very busy month.  Over 60 students have begun classes, including 44 new sailors in Basic Sailing.  We've also begun skipper qualification classes on our Colgate 26.

Ready to sail on Meridian

 I'd like to personally welcome each of the over 130 new sailors who have chosen to sail with Sail Chicago this summer, whether through our Sail into Summer program or our New Member Package.  I have met many of you at April and May Pre-Sail Orientation classes and hope to meet all of you on the water and at the many events we have planned throughout the summer.  Being a part of Sail Chicago is a great way to not only embark on a life-long learning adventure but also to meet and make lifelong friends, both on and off the water. 

If you are planning to continue your sailing education this summer, act soon, as our classes are filling up fast.  We have limited availability for July Intermediate and Skipper Training classes, June Colgate Qualification class, and have just opened up August  Intermediate and Skipper Training classes for registration.  The August Sail into Summer Course  for people who are not Sail Chicago members is now open as well.  We hope to post our Spinnaker and Single-Handed (solo) sailing classes soon, so watch for announcements or notices in the July issue of "Between the Sheets."


If you are signed up for sailing lessons in July or August and have not already registered for Pre-Sail Orientation, you can do so now.  It's a pre-requisite for all Sail Chicago on-the-water courses.  Are you thinking about taking sailing lessons this summer?  Come find out what it takes to get out on beautiful Lake Michigan at Pre-Sail Orientation..

All this is possible because of the hard work and dedication of our volunteer instructors and the other volunteers who coordinate membership, registration, and our website.  I'd like to thank Michael Hart, who has worked tirelessly pulling together the class schedules, working to fit every sailor into a class. 

By Ilya Letuchy, Cruising Program Coordinator 
Ilya Letuchy
Ilya Letuchy

It's warm outside so summer must be finally here!  If you haven't had a chance to experience a sail on Priorities, sign up for a Member Cruise Outing on the Saoil Chicago website or come out for a ride during the Friends & Family picnic on June 16th. 


May Curising Boat Refresher Clinics for returning curising skippers were a big success!   Ten skippers took advantage to jump-start the summer and get out on Priorities.


The May Introduction to Cruising Course has just finished.  Congratulations to new Priorities skippers Steve, Dan, Tom, and Tim!   The June and July sessions are now full and August is filling up as well!  To register for the August session please click here.

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 Pat Webster, Social Director


Join us for our first social event of the season.  We'll barbecue and sail on Saturday, June 16th at Montrose Harbor from 1-5 pm.  All sailors and their friends and family are invited.  We'll meet in the

grassy area just east of the Corinthian Yacht Club.  Free on-street parking is available, or you can use a fenced-in lot across the street and just west of the Yacht Club. 


2011 Friends & Family
Enjoying Friends & Family in 2011

This will be a great opportunity to introduce your love of sailing to those who have not yet "gotten on board".  We'll have two of our Colgates and Priorities, our 34' Hunter ready to take you, your family, and friends sailing (weather permitting, of course). 


Enjoy great barbecue fare:  burgers, brats, veggie burgers, salads, chips and desserts and non-alcoholic beverages.  There's a non-refundable fee of $7 per person ($3 for kids 12 and under) to cover the cost of the food.  There are no picnic tables in the area, so be sure to bring a chair or a blanket to sit on.  If we can't barbecue because of rain, we'll re-schedule.

If you plan to join us, please register and pay online by June 11th.  This deadline is necessary in order ensure we will have enough food for all.  If you have any questions please contact me.  Also, true to Sail Chicago's tradition and spirit of volunteerism, we need help with with food prep, set up, grilling, clean up, etc.  Please let me know if you're able to help.


Joe Kucharski

By Joe Kucharski, Chairman


Sail Chicago recently added a new boat, Recess, to it's fleet.  It's another Colgate 26 (Sail Chicago's most popular boat), and it's moored in Belmont Harbor.  Basic sailing classes have already been scheduled, and Colgate-qualified skippers may use the boat when it's not being used for instruction or other program activities.  A dinghy with a capacity of three people is available for access to the boat.  Skippers who would like to use it need to sign up on the reservations page of Sail Chicago website.

Recess Launch
Sail Chicago stalwarts Joe Kucharski, Sam Veilleux, and Frank Loftus launch Recess at Belmont Harbor


Recess came to us all the way from Washington, where it had been sailing for a few years.  Chris Riegel, a former Sail Chicago member who recently moved to the Seattle area, was instrumental in negotiating a favorable price, inspecting the boat, and making sure that it was fit for use by Sail Chicago members.  Many thanks, Chris!


As you board Recess, you may notice a couple of minor difference s from the other Colgates in our fleet.  The most significant is the large port in the forward deck that, when opened, brings much light and air into the cabin.  The motor is also a little different.  It's functionally the same, however, and operates in a similar fashion. 


This newest acquisition and upgrade to our fleet provides additional sailing capacity and makes the experience of sailing a Colgate 26 more accessible.  So let's get out there and sail!


By Michael Hart 
Michael Hart
Michael Hart
On Sunday, April 29, just one day after a successful annual sail-down of the Sail Chicago fleet from Montrose to Monroe Harbor, the Monroe Harbor Master ordered all boats moored at the South end of Monroe Harbor moved North to DuSable Harbor.  This meant that our four Rhodes and two Ideals were now being temporarily evicted. 
Since we are an all-volunteer organization, word of the sudden move to DuSable Harbor had to get out quickly.  Out of over 250 emails sent, many Sail Chicago members  (Dan Stein, Manny Conde, Belinda Routh, Shawn Lord, Mike Swiontek, Dolores Baron, Tom Peterson, John Gollogly, and brand new member Karen Winters) responded by phone to team leader Jay Owens on Monday morning, April 30, a day that was in the 40's, had a light to heavy rain, fog lingering, less than 5 kts of wind.  Unfortunately, Jay's cell phone was waterlogged from a couple of hours of sitting in the pouring rain at Monroe Harbor, and the calls didn't get through to him.  Instead, he had to rely on the few contacts he had made the previous day. To make matters even worse, since the tender service didn't start its seasonal operation until May 1st, we had only our two trusted service to ferry us to our boats.  
They will be forever known as the Fab Five, performing a fast break move even before the game/season started.  Leader Jay Owens, Tom Simms, David Kelpsas, Dan Flavin, and Steve VanderVoort moved 60% of our fleet, under horrible conditions and without the tender. They came together with the natural instincts of a Wolf Pack, howl, to get the job done.
Day two, May 1st, the landlord decides overnight to take us back under the following conditions; we stay at the North end of Monroe Harbor.  A dwindled Fab Five, along with the biggest and baddest wolf, John Gollogly, quickly swung into action.  This time, too much wind for even the pack, strong and south, meant that a boat tacking through the DuSable Harbor entrance stood good chance of being blown into the seawall.

Call in the reinforcements, the SMP volunteers and Boat Managers, who waited until better weather conditions prevailed to complete the move from DuSable back into Monroe.  A big thanks to Alfred Chan and Iwona Awlasewicz on their leadership in the Summer Maintenance Program for not only getting the boats in place, but also ready for service.

There was gossip that the original decision to close the South end of the harbor may have extended beyond the reason given; to better align the mooring,.  Even though the cans had already been put in place for the season, if one asks a tender operator, you'll be told the number spots are being reduced by 100 from 900 to 800.  Better placement between cans allows for incorporating greater scope, making the moorings more stable.  Since we have been forewarned not to venture into the South end of Monroe Harbor even after NATO, it seems very plausible a realignment is in progress.
2012 Basic Cruising Class
Students Dan Flavin, Tom Simms, Tim Ryan, with instructor Nick Petrovits
The first Basic Cruising Course of the sailing season has just finished, and four happy new skippers now have the opportunity to take our cruising boat, Priorities," out on their own  to entertain friends and family or to just have fun with other Sail Chicago members.  Perhaps a couple are even dreaming of bareboating on their own in some exotic locale. 
In addition to learning the intricacies of a new boat, the largest in the Sail Chicago fleet, the students were presented with some significant challenges by the weather; everything form gale-force winds to pouring rain, to beautiful starlit evenings.  Instructor and veteran sailor Nick Petrovits saw them though their ordeals with a calmness and aplomb that only comes with lots of experience on the water.
Priorities is proving to be a very popular boat.  Instruction classes are full for June and July, and August is filling quickly.  If you're interested in getting a feel for this wonderful boat, check out Member Cruise Outings under "Reserve Program Seats" on the Reservations Page of the Sail Chicago website.  You may also register for the Basic Cruising course in August.

During this past winter, a small band of Sail Chicago stalwarts spent countless hours at the Canal Street Boatyard refitting Priorities, Sail Chicago's cruising boat.  The boat was new to Sail Chicago last summer, although it had been sailed by a private owner for several seasons previously.  Over the 2011 sailing season, several minor problems with the boat were noted to be addressed during the winter maintenance season. 


Many of the Sail Chicago members who volunteered to work on Priorities over the winter were old hands at boat repair or had substantial engineering or electrical experience.  Under the direction of long time member and current Safety Director Ed Schroeder, they worked diligently to insure that Priorities would be in tip-top shape for this summer's sailing season.  Here's a roster of the crew and what each accomplished:   

  • Jack Shubat: engine, fuel system, mast compression post
  • John Muhlenberg: sanitation system, mast compression post.(Provider of excellent coffee cake)
  • Mike Swiontek: engine, fuel system, installation of BoomKicker to replace topping lift..
  • Dave Kelpsas: installation of BoomKicker to replace topping lift.
  •  Nick Petrovits: installation of BoomKicker to replace topping lift, sanitation system.
  • Steve VandeVoort, Jay Owens: removing leaks at hull/deck joint and genoa tracks.
  • Dean Hackenberg, John Gollogly: rigging, removal of dodger/bimini framing, cleaning exterior.
  • Tom Keaveny, Ken Seinko, Andy Miller: teak treatment, cleaning exterior.
  • Ted Soszynski; new master control panel and re-wiring of helm control panel, bilge and sump pumps, new AM-FM radio, checking and re-placing all electrical wiring.
  • Vern Deason; replacing gasketing for all portlights and many hatches. 
  • Swiontek, Muhlenberg, Shubat , Gollogly  and Petrovits worked on thru-hull valves

Our warmest thanks to these dedicated Sail Chicago members who put in so much time and effort over the winter to make sure that our cruising boat would be "ship-shape" for the summer sailing season.



Life Jacket Picture

 By Ed Schroeder, Safety Director

Ed Schroeder
Ed Schroeder


Your life jacket (PFD) is an essential part of your sailing equipement and is required to be worn during all Sail Chicago on-the-water activities.  Here's how to make sure it will do the job for you, should an emergency happen:

  1. After you put on your life jacket, place your arms over your head, have someone pull up on the shoulders of the jacket to insure that the jacket is snug while in the water. Your chin, head and neck should not slip thru the jacket. Adjust the straps for a snug fit.
  2.  Do not put your foulies or jacket over the life jacket.
  3.  If you have an inflatable life jacket, check the cartridge and actuating "pills' to see that they are OK. If you have an inflatable jacket with a built-in safety harness, assure that the "D"-rings are still accessible when the unit is inflated. Orally inflate your life jacket to determine that the "D"-rings are accessible.
  4. Put on your life jacket before you enter the tender or dingy. It is also advised to wear your life jacket while on the docks; we have had members fall off the docks accidently.


Ilya Letuchy
Ilya Letuchy
(This is an occasional column authored by members of the Board.  Hopefully, it will allow Sail Chicago members an opportunity to know the folks who set long term policy for our organization.)


How and when did you first become involved in sailing?
I was always drawn to water but I didn't have an opportunity to get involved in sailing until college.  When I saw that the University of California, Santa Barbara actually offered sailing as a course, I jumped at the opportunity. It was 2001 but I still remember casting off on a Capri 14.2 for the first time trying to figure out how I am actually sailing upwind.
What's the best time you've ever had sailing?
There isn't any one time that sticks out but most of the best memories come from my experiences in the Caribbean.  The water temperature is in the 80s, the sun is always shining, and the next adventure is just around the corner.  There is an endless supply of islands, cays, and coves to explore, with something for everyone. 
What was your scariest sailing experience?
The most recent experience was on our passage from St. Lucia to St. Vincent (Bequia).  It's a 55nm crossing through the open Caribbean sea.  Once you leave land behind, the wind begins to blow, the swells pick up and you realize that you are in charge!  My crew was green in more ways than one but once their stomachs settled, we enjoyed our 25+ knot winds all the way down to Bequia. 
How and when did you become involved with Sail Chicago?
I became involved with Sail Chicago in 2010 right after we moved to Chicago from San Francisco. I was looking for a flexible and affordable way to get on the water and after a quick Google search I realized that Sail Chicago was a perfect fit. 
What do you enjoy most about Sail Chicago?
The best part of Sail Chicago is its flexibility. On any day of the week, there is always a boat available. Whether it's a warm evening after work or a leisurely Sunday morning, whenever the mood strikes you, you can be out on the water within 30 minutes.
What motivated you to join the Board?
I absolutely love what Sail Chicago offers to the community and in the short three years that I have been a member, I've seen it get better and better. I knew that I want to be part of it in every way. I am passionate about sailing and I want to do everything I can to move the organization forward.
What positions have you held on the Board?
In my short time on the board, I've had the opportunity to take over the Cruising Director position. It's a very exciting time for the cruising program and I am glad to be part of it. Priorities was a huge success last year and I look forward to taking the program to the next level.
What do you believe should be Sail Chicago's most important goals?
 In my opinion, Sail Chicago's most important goals are to offer sailing education and affordable sailing to the community. It not only means having boats available but also spreading the entusiasm we all share for sailing to everyone around us.




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.


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.


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