BTS: March 2012

Between the Sheets: News from Sail Chicago for March
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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 #3March, 2012 
Steve VanderVoort

By Steve VanderVoort, BTS Editor


The days are getting longer, and the moderating weather seems to indicate that spring is just around the corner.  As if these signs weren't enough, activities in Sail Chicago are becoming more numerous.  Because all of our boats are now stored outside, winter maintenance has turned into "spring maintenance" (see article below).  If you still need to fulfill your service time requirement, check out the article to see how to do it through maintenance.  


The Sail Chicago Annual Meeting, a sure sign of spring, will be held on March 22 (see article and details below).  And don't forget to go to the Sail Chicago website to sign up for those sailing classes you've been meaning to take.  With a couple of new program offerings, signups have been moving quickly. 


Sail Chicago is again this year sponsoring a "Learn to Sail" seminar on Thursday, March 29, starting  7:00 pm, at REI Lincoln Park.  We have invited three other sailing schools in the Chicago area to join us.  Each organization will briefly present their sailing instruction programs, and then seminar participants will have an opportunity to talk informally with the representatives.  REI has publicized this event to their members, and as of March 1, all spaces were filled and there was a waiting list.  This is a hopeful sign of renewed interest in sailing by Chicago area residents.


If you're reading this newsletter for the first time, you'll probably notice that our volunteer members start to get really active at this time of year.  We all want to make this the best sailing season ever, and we're committed  to helping everyone in the Chicago area experience the fun and enjoyment of sailing.  


We hope you will join us in many of our activities.  Check out our new Sail into Summer program on our website, or if you just want to spend a couple of hours learning more about Sail Chicago, sign up for one of our Pre-Sail Orientations.  They're very informative and free for everyone. 

 It's time for all Sail Chicago members to renew your membership.  This year there are two ways to do it:
  1. With our new internet-based renewal form, just a couple of mouse clicks and your 2012 membership renewal is complete.  Yes, it really is just that easy! 
  2. If you'd like to do it the old fashioned way, download a paper renewal form, print it, and mail it to Sail Chicago, P.O. Box 10169, Chicago, IL  60610-8914, together with your check payable to Sail Chicago.

If you bring your renewal form to the Annual Meeting on March 22 (see article in this issue), you MUST pay by check.  Credit card payments will NOT be accepted at the Annual Meeting.

Two Ways to Renew
Annual Meeting March 22
Volunteers Step Forward
Get your Bonus Credits
Dont Forget Your Service Rquirement!
Sign Up for Sailing Instruction
2012 Cruising Program Unveiled
Get Qualified on a Colgate
31st Street Harbor to Open in May

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312-409-9000 or

Chairman - Sam Veilleux
Announcements - Ann Weaver
Bookkeeper - Mark Fechner
BTS Editor  - Steve VanderVoort
Cruising Program - Ilya Letuchy
Human Resources - Frank Loftus
Lead Instructor - John Lemon
Maintenance (Winter) - Joe Kucharski
Marketing - Mike Parapetti
Member Cruise Outings - Emily Case
Open Racing - Dolores Baron
Pre-Sail Orientation - Dan Flavin
Safety - Ed Schroeder
Social - Pat Webster
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

 By Pat Webster, Social Director


All Sail Chicago members are invited to attend our Annual Membership Meeting on Thursday, March 22nd.  Doors will open at 6:30 pm and the meeting will start promptly at 6:45 pm.  It will be held in the 2nd floor meeting room of the St. Vincent DePaul Center, 2145 North Halsted (Halsted and Webster). Underground parking at the Center is available at no charge and is accessible from Webster Street.   Cars must be out of the parking lot by 9:00 pm.  The meeting will end by not later than 8:45 pm.  After the formal meeting we will adjourn to the Halsted Harp, a local establishment at 2138 N Halsted, for 

refreshments and continued conversation.


The meeting will feature the annual "State of Sail Chicago" report by our Board Chairman, election of Directors, program reports and a question answer period with the Board. This year presentations will be streamlined so that there will ample time for discussion.


2011 Annual Meeting

We encourage all returning members to renew their memberships on the Sail Chicago website prior to the meeting.  This will reduce the time needed to get everyone signed in and seated.  For those members who have not renewed by the night of the meeting, checks along with paper membership forms will be accepted at the meeting.  We CANNOT accept credit card payments at the meeting. You may only renew your memberships with a credit card if you do so online.  In order to vote for Board candidates, members must have paid their dues for 2012.


We hope you will be able to attend and help us roll out our 2012 sailing season!



Recently there have been several changes in volunteer positions at Sail Chicago. These include:


Ilya Letuchy
Ilya Letuchy

Chris Riegel, Cruising Program Coordinator of Sail Chicago has moved to the Seattle area. Taking his place is Ilya Letuchy.  During this past sailing season, Ilya was the boat manager for Priorities, Sail Chicago's cruising boat.  We're looking forward to a continuation and expansion of the Cruising Program under Ilya's guidance.

Dolores Baron
Dolores Baron


Tom & Hewly Prucher, long-time Coordinators of Sail Chicago's Open Racing Program resigned after this past sailing season. Taking their place is Dolores Baron.  Dolores has been an enthusiastic racer for several years.  She's also part of the Sail Chicago Instruction Program.  This year Open Racing will be held out of Monroe Harbor on Sunday mornings.

Emily Case
Emily Case


Emily Case has accepted the newly-created position of Member Cruise Outing (MCO) Coordinator.  Previously the positions of Tiller Time Coordinator and MCO Coordinator were under the guidance of Chris Garvey.  Because the guidelines for Tiller Times and MCOs have changed this year, the positions have been split.  Emily, a relatively new member of Sail Chicago, brings a tremendous amount of enthusiasm to the job.


Shawn Lord will be taking over the position of Standing Rigging Coordinator from Steve Faydash.  They will be working closely together this spring as Shawn "learns the ropes."   He will assume full responsibility for the standing rigging during the haul-out this coming fall.


Many thanks to all our volunteers, past and present, who have given so much of their time, effort, and energy in order to help make sailing available to out entire Chicagoland community.



 If you're a Skipper who sails a boat for private use, you may want to think about adding to your reserve account early.  If you add at least $100 to your account by cash or check, you will receive a bonus in sailing credits based upon the total dollars you add.  Here's the schedule:

  • By April 30 - 20% of the amount added
  • By May 31 - 10% of the amount added
  • The rest of the sailing season - 5% of the amount added.

Remember, you must add at least $100 by check (no credit cards) in order to receive the credit.  Mail your check together with a note to add the amount to your account, to Lois Lawson, 2019 W Thomas St, Chicago, IL  60622. 


Joe Kucharski
Joe Kucharski
By Joe Kucharski, Winter Maintenance Director


Spring is just around the corner and soon it will be time to launch our fleet.  In preparation for our launch we are beginning to prep our boats for the season.  Since this is our first year with an outdoor maintenance facility, we have been waiting for the weather to moderate before we begin our spring projects.  On Saturday March 10, 2012 we will be meeting for the first time this season to perform general maintenance on our small keel boats.


To fulfill your service requirements come to the Canal Street Boatyard on the morning of March 10 and sign up for open projects.  We are continuing with our project-based maintenance program that allows you to sign up for a maintenance project and complete it on your schedule.  The good news this year is that the projects that are required will take far fewer hours than projects of the past.  Much of this has to do with the work than has been done on our fleet over the past several years and the upgrading of our fleet with vessels like the Ideals and the Colgates.


We continue to seek team leaders for the positions of:

  • Miscellaneous gear,
  • Electrical gear
  • Summer Maintenance Coordinator 

If you volunteer for one of these positions, your service time requirements are automatically met.  If you have an interest or desire more information, please see Joe Kucharski on March 10 or contact him. We look forward to seeing you on March 10.


John Lemon
By John Lemon, Lead Instructor

Summer sailing classes opened for registration during Strictly Sail, and we have had an excellent response.  If you're thinking about taking a sailing class this summer, now is the time to sign up and beat the rush!  Our new online registration system makes it easier than ever to plan your sailing summer and enroll in the classes you want.


Our Basic Keelboat program offers classes at every skill level, for both new sailors and for those who wish to refine your sailing skills. 


If you are new to sailing or have been on a sailboat but need to expand your knowledge and skills, Basic Sailing is for you.  If you completed Basic Sailing last summer or have some experience and want to further your knowledge and skills, sign up for Intermediate Sailing.  Skipper Training, (formerly Skipper Prep) is the course for those who are on track to qualify to sail Sail Chicago boats on their own or who just want to learn more about the challenges of skippering a smaller keelboat.  Class sessions begin May 5, June 2, July 7, and August 4.  All classes are held at Monroe Harbor.  Each class consists of four lessons, held weekly for four weeks or twice-weekly for two weeks.


BASIC SAILING is a fun introduction to our great sport and is totally hands-on-you'll be steering the boat on your first lesson.  You will learn boat handling skills in open water- preparing the boat to sail, reading the wind, sailing upwind and downwind, steering the boat through turns, starting and stopping, as well as an introduction to weather and safety. Basic Sailing classes are held on our new Colgate 26s, the premier sailing training boat in the US.

Rhodes 19
Gaining instruction on a Rhodes 19


INTERMEDIATE SAILING puts together all the skills you learned in Basic Sailing--points of sail, sail trim, weather, and right-of-way rules--and introduces you to boat handling in close quarters, i.e. sailing in the harbor.  The class will help you develop the skills you need to skipper a small keelboat under the guidance of an experienced sailor or sailing instructor.  You will learn to leave and return to a mooring under sail and to plan a simple day sailing excursion in nearby waters.  This class is held on our Rhodes 19s and Ideal 18s to enhance your boat handling skills.


SKIPPER TRAINING develops the specific skills you need to pass our on-the-water sailing exam, one of the requirements to qualify to sail our basic keelboats on your own.  The course focuses on harbor sailing, mooring departures and returns, crew overboard maneuvers, heavy weather sailing tactics, and the skills you need to successfully coordinate a crew.  The on-the-water evaluation is included in the course.  This class is also held on our Rhodes 19s and Ideal 18s.


Participation in one PRE-SAIL ORIENTATION class is required of everyone who is new to Sail Chicago.  The class introduces you to safety and basic sailing concepts and is a great place to meet other sailors and to learn more about all of Sail Chicago's programs.  You will receive class materials as well.  Do you have a friend, relative, or significant other who is interested in sailing?  Bring them along!  Classes will be held at REI Lincoln Park, 1466 N Halsted, Chicago, and are free and open to the public.  Once you sign up for a class, you will receive details on dates and times.  Check future issues of BTS for details.


If you are new to sailing, check out our Sail into Summer offering, an opportunity for beginning sailors to try our Basic Sailing class without committing to a full Sail Chicago Membership for just $250.  For those who want to take advantage of all Sail Chicago has to offer, we are again offering our New Member Package, including Sail Chicago Membership, Pre-Sail Orientation (formerly Dryland), a Basic, Intermediate or Skipper Training sailing course, and access to free Tiller Times and Member Cruise Outings, as well as invitations to all social events.  The package is $400 and new members may add additional classes for $200 each.  Course fee for returning members is $200 per class except as noted above. 


Questions?  Email  


Ilya Letuchy
Ilya Letuchy
 By Ilya Letuchy, Cruising Program Coordinator


 I am very excited to be taking over the Cruising Program this year!  We got off to a great start last year and I look forward to another great season!  Here is a sneak peak at what we have planned:


May Refresher Clinics - Since Priorities, our Hunter 34, is still fairly new to Sail Chicago, we invite everyone who earned their skipper card on Priorities last year to refresh their skills.  There will be 4 individual sessions scheduled throughout May for current Priorities skippers to get together and reacquaint themselves with the boat.  These clinics are free, and we strongly encourage every Priorities skipper to attend at least one.
Hunter 34
Hunter 34

Introduction to Cruising Course - Once again, we'll be offering an Introduction  to Cruising course.    It's open to any member who has completed another Sail Chicago on-the-water sailing course.  Whether you are just interested in finding out what it's like to sail a larger boat, you are on track to become a skipper, or you are thinking about chartering a sailboat in an exotic locale, this is the course for you (skipper candidates must possess a Sail Chicago Skippercard).   It's designed to teach the basics of operating a larger sailboat with an inboard motor.  In addition to a review of sailing skills, students will be introduced to reefing a larger sail, docking, motoring, anchoring, inboard diesel operation, VHF radio, nautical charts (maps) and crew coordination.  To learn more about the course and to sign up for a specific session, please click here 

Tiller Time - This year we'll be hosting Tiller Time on Priorities.  Tiller Times will be open to all students currently enrolled in a cruising course.  The purpose of Tiller Time is to provide an opportunity to practice sailing skills learned in class with a different skipper.

Docking Clinic - This year we are introducing Docking Clinics.  Docking Clinics will be specific Tiller Time sessions dedicated completely to docking.  This is a great opportunity to supplement the sailing skills that you learn in the class and get additional practice time.  These will be scheduled to coincide with the classes and are open to students registered in our Introduction to Cruising course.

Member Cruise Outings (
MCOs) - this is a great opportunity for any member to sail on Priorities, Sail Chicago's large cruising boat.  It's a chance to experience a larger boat whether you want to "get your feet wet" or just come out for the ride.  Regular Sail Chicago MCO rules will apply.

Port-to-Port - This year we will bring back port-to-port cruises.  Spend the entire day cruising on Lake Michigan.  These are one day or overnight cruises to a nearby ports that give you the chance to enhance your cruising skills.  On each of these cruises, those interested will be introduced to plotting and maintaining a course using both chart and compass techniques and the GPS.  Marine radio techniques and radio communications will be introduced as well.  Watch future issues of "Between the Sheets" for more details on dates and cost.

I'm excited about our many program offerings for this upcoming sailing season.  If you've got questions regarding anything outlined here, please contact me

Colgate 26 qualification is open to members who are already qualified to sail our Rhodes 19s and Ideal 18s (skippercard holders). The Colgate 26 has proven to be very popular due to its large, comfortable cockpit, well-thought out layout, and ease of handling in all conditions. We now have two Colgate 26s in our fleet.

Colgate 26
Colgate 26


This course will enable skippers to gain familiarity with the sailing characteristics of a larger boat. You will learn about equipment not found on our smaller boats, including reefing and roller furling systems, winches, and VHF radio. You will gain experience using the outboard motor to leave and return to the mooring can as well as approaching and leaving a dock.  Learning to skipper the Colgate 26 is a good way to gain the skills and confidence to qualify to sail our 34' Hunter, Priorities.  This class consists of two lessons; the course fee is $100.  All classes are held at Monroe Harbor.  To sign up for a course, click here.  


Michael Hart
Michael Hart
By Michael Hart
Olympics or not, the 31st St. Harbor will be opening this sailing season.  Considering the close proximity to Soldier Field, some may think the new harbor was designed to take on the shape of a football.  Actually, it more accurately resembles the outline of a monohull heading southeast.     

A freshly laid three stage innovative breakwater system starts along the last bend of the 31st St. Beach House Pier and arches outward and south for half a mile.  The shoreline that the harbor has incorporated was constructed over three years ago along with the then new beach house and it's concrete pier/breakwater.
31st Street Harbor
31st Street Harbor

Twelve floating pier columns of differing lengths will hold close to 1,000 vessels.  The greatest concentration of slips will be amongst the center piers that extend further out into the harbor allowing for forty to over fifty boats per side.  As for the longest of the yachts, up to two hundred feet, they'll be close to the entrance of the harbor.     

A multi-lane boat ramp that has been in place ever since the shore was upgraded finally has a driveway that leads to it.  Located off the starboard bow of the boat shaped harbor, a floatable breakwater separates the launch area from the slips.  The ramp has been designed to accommodate small craft better with the added intention in eliminating the launch area that has created havoc at Burnham Harbor.  Diversey, Hayes, 95th and now 31st Street has a usable ramp, one that is even more extreme than those found at the abutting Burnham Skateboard Park. 
31st Street Marina
31st Street Marina

The Marina's community center will be sitting atop an enclosed 300+ car garage with an accessible green roof promenade.  The environmentally friendly facility with LEED certification will not only service the boaters traditional needs, but will also be open to the public.  Visitors and boaters alike will be able to dine at a sit-down restaurant and then enjoy even better views by strolling around the harbor to the new Lake Michigan overlook on Point Park.

Youth sailing programs and small craft storage will make being out on the water more accessible.  A larger playground and access to an already inviting beach will entice families.

Beyond the standard dock amenities, close proximity and choice of either 200 outdoor or indoor 50' max. heated boat storage spots, marine store, fuel dock and dedicated showers will fulfill most on and off the water conveniences for boaters.  Overall, an additional four acres of parkland space has been created, and the breakwater will even have a path that'll allow fishing.

If the 31st Street lakefront area does indeed become a destination place for Chicagoans and possibly tourists, the on-site parking lot with two additional nearby options almost quadruples the former number of available spaces.  

Currently, Sail Chicago has no plans to moor any of the boats in our fleet at the harbor.  Even so, everyone has access to this new yacht club setting and can avoid the Museum Campus congestion by taking the Stevenson Expressway or South Lake Shore Drive.   
Chicago Skyline
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