BTS: March 2013

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

TopSail Chicago Logo 

 Sail Chicago is a not-for-profit community sailing program. 
Its mission is to offer quality instruction in sailing and boating safety, and to provide affordable sailing opportunities to its members and others in the Chicago area.
Issue #3
March, 2013
Steve VanderVoort

By Steve VanderVoort, BTS Editor


Boating safety continues to be a big part of Sail Chicago's activities and programs.  Our instruction program has always stressed safe boating techniques and procedures.  The upcoming March seminar will help us to be better able to read and react to changing weather conditions on the water.  An article in this issue of Between the Sheets discusses the towing service that's available to us if Priorities, our cruising boat, gets into trouble on the water.  A Sail Chicago committee is putting together an emergency action plan that should be ready by the forthcoming sailing season (more about that in a future issue).  It's important to keep our members, students, and guests safe and secure on the water!


Activities for the upcoming sailing season are well under way.  Registration for sailing instruction classes has been open since the beginning of February, and a new racing series for our Colgate 26s is planned.  A revised parking and tender pass program for Sail Chicago skippers has been set up (see article).  Soon our fleet will be in the water and ready to sail.  Don't forget to start or renew your membership (see Sail Chicago reminders at the end of this issue).  If you're already a member, don't forget to sign up for your annual service requirement.  


Get a preview of all that's in store for our summer sailing season.  Attend the Annual meeting on March 13 (see article below). 



By Pat Webster, Social Director


 All Sail Chicago members are invited to attend our Annual Membership Meeting on Wednesday, March 13th.  Doors will open at 6:00 pm and the meeting will start promptly at 6:30 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.

2012 Annual Meeting
2012 Annual Meeting


We urge 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 2013.


We hope you will be able to attend and help us roll out our 2013 sailing season!  

Attend the Annual Meeting March 13
All you Need to Know About the Weather
Board Endorses Candidates
Register Now for Sailing Instruction
Racing Seminar Encourages Participation
Need a Tow?
Monroe Parking and Tender Pass Update
Board Notes
Great Sea Stories
Sail Chicago Reminders
March 12 - Weather and Sailing Seminar*
March 13 - Sail Chicago Annual Meeting*
May 11 - Midwest Women's Sailing Conference
July 13 - Chicago/Mackinac Race begins
August 7-11 - Chicago Match Race Cup
August 7-11 - Tall Ships, Navy Pier
August 24-25 - Verve Cup Regatta
*See article in this issue
Chairman - Frank Loftus
Announcements - Ann Johnston
BTS Editor  - Steve VanderVoort
Colgate 26 Racing - Fiona Ray
Cruising Program - Ilya Letuchy
Fun Racing -Dolores Baron
Human Resources - Frank Loftus
Lead Instructor - John Lemon
Maintenance (Summer) - Alfred Chan & Iwona Awlasewicz
Marketing - Mike Parapetti
Membership - Lois Lawson
Seminars -Paul Demmel
Social - Pat Webster
Tiller Time -Chris Garvey
Treasurer - Jay Owens

Member Icon

Instruction Icon

Map Icon

Membership Form Icon  

facebook button

twitter button 

Maintenance Hotline

312-409-9000 or


By Paul Demmel, Seminar Coordinator  
Milwaukee Lighthouse
Milwaukee Lighthouse
Back by popular demand, Erik Schneider will be presenting the Weather for Sailing seminar on Tuesday, March 12th, 7:00 pm, at REI Lincoln Park.  For our final seminar of the winter series, we are excited to welcome Erik back to learn more about a most important topic:  weather.  Erik is a US Sailing certified Regional Race Officer, Club Judge and Powerboat Instructor with over 10 years of experience running regattas.  He is also a  sailor and, of course, a weather enthusiast.  Many topics related to weather will be covered. 
Don't miss this opportunity to brush up on your skills before getting back on the water.  Topics include Chicago wind patterns, thermals, cloud types, and severe weather signs.  The seminar is free, but space is limited.  You must register in advance.  A social hour will follow the seminar.
The Sail Chicago Board has endorsed four candidates to fill electable positions on the Board.  They are

To review the Candidate Fact Sheet for each, please click on the names listed above.  Remember, you will not be able to vote for candidates unless you are a current member (dues for 2013 paid).  You may pay your current dues at the meeting with a check only (see article above).  To save yourself some time, however, why not log onto the Sail Chicago website right now and pay with a credit card


By John Lemon, Lead Instructor


Registration for summer 2013 Basic Keelboat sailing classes opened February 3, and we are off to a running start.  Over 40 people have already registered for classes beginning in May.  This is twice as many as were registered at this time last year!  Session I (May) classes are almost full, so if you want to get an early start on your sailing education, register soon.  Each session lasts four weeks and you have the option of weekly classes or twice per week classes (limited availability).  Session start dates are:

  • Session I    May 4
  • Session II    June 1
  • Session III   June 29  (break for 4th of July)
  • Session IV   August 3
Rigging a Colgate
Instruction on a Colgate 26

Based on the tremendous success of our Sail into Summer program in 2012, we have extended that option to all of our Basic Keelboat classes.  You can now register for Basic Sailing, Intermediate, and Skipper Training classes without the requirement of membership in Sail Chicago.  Whether you want to "test the waters" or enhance your sailing skills, there is a sailing class for you.


There is no limit to the number of Sail into Summer classes that you can sign up for through the Sail into Summer option. We hope the many sailors who participated in the program last year will return to further their sailing education. The course fee for all Sail into Summer classes is $250 for four lessons.  Our New Member Package, which includes 2013 dues, one sailing class (four lessons), and access to practice sailing and recreational cruises, remains an attractive option at $400.  Additional classes, and classes for renewing members, remain $200 for four lessons.

With the growth of our Colgate 26 fleet, we will now be teaching all Basic Keelboat classes on the Colgate 26, which is the premier sailing training boat on the water today.  All of our Basic Keelboat classes are held at Monroe Harbor.  More information is available on the Sail Chicago website.  



By Bob Cohen


It was a cold February night at REI Lincoln Park, but 25 participants at Sail Chicago's racing seminar were thinking about warm summer nights racing Colgate 26's around markers at Monroe Harbor.  This was the first of several seminars and educational activities put on by our new racing program.


Racing Seminar
Nick Petrovits shares his racing experience

Former Sail Chicago chairman, Sam Veilleux, gave the audience of both new and experienced sailors an overview of the many facets of racing.  He showed great pictures of races of one design (all boats exactly the same), match races, offshore, inshore, dinghy racing and more.  He described his experiences racing the classic Shields yachts and compared them to other designs.  Sail Chicago instructor and boat manager, and experienced off shore racer Nick Petrovits described racing on large boats in fleets of many styles of yachts in Performance Handicap Racing Fleets as well as the mechanics of how racing works.  With dry marker in hand, Nick showed the crowd how the courses are laid out and what tactics are used at the starts, the mid course marks, and the finishes, and just how racing involves a great mixture of sailing skill, teamwork, and a knowledge of the rules to develop winning tactics.

Finally Adam Collins presented Sail Chicago's Colgate 26 racing program - a series of educational seminars, on the water training, and 4 weeks of beer can races at Monroe Harbor.  Each racing session will last for 4 Wednesday evenings in June, July, and August.  Sailors new to racing may sign up for a berth as crew, while experienced racing skippers may sign up as individuals, or consider chartering the boat for an entire session and recruit their own crew. The cost will be $100 per four week session per individual, and $400 to Charter the Boat for a four week session.

The response to this new program has been fantastic.  At least one participant of the Racing Seminar joined Sail Chicago as a member that night, and wrote us saying, "I have signed up for both the July racing sessions and the Skipper training sessions in June.  I will be happy to have the opportunity to learn to sail the Colgate 26 before moving into the racing course."

June is full, and July and August are filling up fast. Register NOW for the July or August series before it's too late!





Skippers on Priorities, our Hunter 34, take note:  Sail Chicago has contracted with Boat U.S., a commercial towing company, to provide assistance should trouble arise on the boat.  The types of assistance provided are:

  • Non-emergency towing
  • Fuel delivery and jump-starts at sea
  • Soft undergrounding assistance
The 24 hour dispatch number is 800-391-4869.  Boat U.S. may also be reached by VHF radio on channel 16.  Remember, this insurance program is for non-emergency use only.  If you are aboard Priorities in an emergency situation, call the U.S. Coast Guard Great Lakes Search and Rescue line at 800-321-4400.  Please copy this information and carry it with you when you sail on Priorities.
By Arleen Prairie, MPP Coordinator
New for the 2013 sailing season:  the Monroe Tender Service will offer lockbox storage.  This means changes in both Parking and Tender Pass programs for Sail Chicago skippers.  This season skippers may pick up both passes at the lockboxes in the Monroe Harbor Tender Office.  Temporary parking is located in the cul-de-sac on Monroe, east of Lakeshore Drive.
Skippers currently holding the mailbox and door key for the UPS Store at 201 East Ohio may return the keys for a $20 refund on your deposit.  You may return the keys anytime the UPS store is open [M- F, 9 a.m.--6:30 p.m., Saturday, 9 - 5,  Sun (closed). Questions?  Phone the UPS Store at 312-644-6245.
The new MPP system will be up and running by May 4. We will have a detailed description of use of both parking and tender passes in the May issue of Between the Sheets. 

By Fiona Ray, Board Secretary 

Ilya Letuchy
Ilya Letuchy
 At its February meeting, the Sail Chicago Board learned that Ilya Letuchy will resign from the Board at the end of March.  He recently moved to the West Coast, where we hope that he will find many opportunities to sail. 
In addition to his service on the Board, Ilya has been instrumental in creating a successful cruising program that has attracted many new participants during his time in that position.  Recently he has been working closely with the U.S. Coast Guard to make sure that our Cruising Program is in compliance with all Coast Guard rules and regulations.  We applaud his efforts and wish him safe and happy sailing in his new
Dan Flavin
In other news, Dan Flavin is heading the Membership Involvement Committee and has developed an online tool for helping to manage our volunteer service needs.  Members who are looking for activities to fulfill their annual service requirements can click here.

The board discussed the U.S. Coast Guard mandate that requires a USCG licensed captain on board our cruiser, Priorities, for any Sail Chicago program activities (classes, MCO, tiller times).  We currently have at least two Sail Chicago skippers who are on track to become Coast Guard licensed captains.   We are working closely with the Coast Guard to comply with this requirement, and we plan to be fully compliant by the 2014 sailing season.
By Steve VanderVoort

Cover ShotFor you sailors who love a good sea story, here's a suggestion for a great read: The Master and Commander series (informally known as the Aubrey/Maturin series) by Patrick O'Brian. It consists of 22 books (plus one unfinished book) describing the adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey of the British Navy and his friend, Dr. Stephen Maturin, during the Napoleonic Wars. A couple of books in the series were made into a film starring Russell Crowe.


The scope of the series is world-wide. It takes you from London to the farthest reaches of the South Pacific, everywhere throughout the world that the British engaged Napoleon. O'Brian had originally planned on a ten-volume series, but the books proved to be so popular that he expanded them to over twenty. In the tenth volume he apologizes that he had to extend the time frame of the war with Napoleon because he was running out of time with which to complete the adventures.


It took me over two years to read the complete series. I would have been lost if I had not purchased a lexicon of 18th century British naval terms and a book of maps detailing the adventures of Aubrey and Maturin. Our Sail Chicago Chairman, Frank Loftus, tells me that he has read the complete series at least twice, and he is thinking about starting again. 


Fulfill Your Service Requirement Before the Sailing Season Starts  
A list of opportunities to fulfill your annual service requirements is still available.  Please review it, and if you find one that appeals to you, follow the online instructions to contact the program coordinator named in the list to learn how you might become involved.  Remember, unless you meet your annual service requirement, you will NOT be able to participate in any Sail Chicago on-the-water activities this season.
Renew Your Sail Chicago Membership Now  
Renew your Sail Chicago Membership online using a credit card.  If you'd prefer to mail in your renewal together with a check, click here to print a paper form.
Chicago Skyline
facebook button twitter button