BTS: May 2011

Between the Sheets: News from Sail Chicago for May

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Issue #5May, 2011 

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Sail Chicago is a volunteer-driven organization that instills confidence, teamwork, and a sense of community through a range of educational and recreational sailing programs that emphasize sailing competence and boating safety.  We are committed to providing access to the enjoyment of sailing to everyone in the greater Chicago area.


With boats located in four separate harbors along Chicago's lakefront, Sail Chicago has for over fifty years been offering sailing instruction and access to sailing without the cost of private ownership and boat maintenance.  Our many sailing programs include outreach to Chicago youth, adult sailing instruction at a variety of levels, recreational sailing, cruising, and racing.


From the Editor...
By Steve VanderVoort, BTS Editor
Steve VanderVoort
Is spring here yet?  There's some disagreement on the subject, but it is a fact that most of our Sail Chicago fleet is in the water and ready to sail.  The questions is - are we ready?  Please note below the requirements to participate in on-the-water activities, and then check make certain that all your requirements are met.  We'd hate to have anyone disappointed at the last minute because they forgot to fulfill a specific requirement. 
And there's a lot you can participate in, whether it's improving your sailing skills or just having fun on the water with friends.   This issue of "Between the Sheets" is filled with news about Sail Chicago offerings for the spring and summer sailing season.  Please read below and take advantage of as many as you can.  Remember, if you have questions or need help, there are plenty of resources right here in this issue to get you started.  One good place to look is the "Who to Contact" list (see the right-hand column).  We look forward to seeing you "On-the-water" this summer.
Are You Ready to Sail?


Please remember that in order to participate in on-the-water activities with Sail Chicago this season you need to be current in each of the following areas:

  1. Membership dues paid  
  2. Scheduled for Summer Maintenance* (contact or call 312.409.9000)
  3. Service time requirement met* (make sure that your team captain reports your completed service time)
  4. Adequate funds in your Member Account to cover the cost of the activity.

Once these four items are complete, you will be able to rent boats, take classes, participate in tiller times, open racing, and member cruise outings. 


And each time before you sail, don't forget to check the "Boat Statuses" page on the Sail Chicago website to learn of potential problems with your boat.  If you don't, you may find yourself and your crew left "high and dry" on shore. 


Finally, report any problems with your boat to the Maintenance Hotline, 312-409-9000 or


*New members are exempt from these requirements.

Invite a Member - Get a Credit
BonusAt its March meeting, your Sail Chicago Board initiated a program for inviting new members to join.  While current members have always been asked to encourage their friends to join, now there is an incentive for doing so.  For every new member who joins Sail Chicago at the invitation of a current member, the current member will receive a boat rental credit of $50 for the 2011 sailing season.  There is no limit on the number of credits a current member may receive for encouraging friends to join Sail Chicago.  Credits will be issued only to current members in good standing after their friends have actually joined and paid dues.  The new member needs to make reference to the referring member on the Sail Chicago membership application.
From the Editor...
Are You Ready to Sail?
Invite a Member - Get a Credit
Who to Contact
Board of Directors
Fleet Ready to Sail (Mostly)
Now is the Time to Sign Up
Ready to Sail? Come to Dryland!
Learn Coastal Navigation Basics
It's Party Time!
Spinnaker Class June 4
Tiller Times are Fun for Skipper & Crew
Help Get the Word Out
Something for the Socially Minded
Open Racing Starts June 11
Meridian Set to Sail

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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
Our Fleet is Ready to Sail (Mostly) 
Saturday, April 23 was "Launch Day" for most of the Sail Chicago fleet.  We had well over 25 enthusiastic participants both at the Canal Street Boatyard and at Montrose Harbor.
2011 Launch(1)

Ready to go to Montrose Harbor

  The somewhat cloudy day got off to an early start at 7:30 am at the boatyard with crews showing up to to trailer the boats, which had been loaded with sails and other gear the week before, to the Montrose Harbor.  Joe Kucharski, Winter Maintenance Director, had done a great job at planning the operation.  Things were right on schedule, with the first boat pulling out of the yard around 8:30 am.  More cars and trucks with trailer hitches pulled up at intervals throughout the morning to transport the boats up Halsted to Montrose and then across Lake Shore Drive to the harbor. 
2011 Launch(2)

Stepping the mast at Montrose Harbor

In the meantime, another crew at the yard was preparing to move the dinghies to Monroe Harbor where they were eventually locked into their places along the lakefront at the harbor. 
Of course, nothing ever goes quite as expected.  One boat got dislocated from its trailer going over a pothole in Halsted, suffering some minor damage to its bow.  Another boat lost its mast as the trailer went over a curb at Montrose Harbor.  Both incidents were minor, however.  The boats should be repaired and ready to sail very shortly.
2011 Launch(3)

Part of the launch team at Montrose

Things moved smoothly at Montrose Harbor.  Team captain Frank Loftus had hoped to step the masts of the boats that had been dry-moored at Montrose Harbor over the winter on Friday, but an all-day rain prevented that operation.  By the time the first boat arrived a Montrose, the sky was clearing and the sun shone the rest of the day for the first time in weeks.  While there were the usual minor complications in launching and rigging the boats, nothing serious was noted, and the Montrose crew was finished by mid-afternoon.
In the meantime, back at the boatyard, the crew there was doing a final cleanup of the maintenance facility.  This is the last year that Sail Chicago's will have an indoor maintenance facility.  A 24 foot enclosed trailer has now been moved to the boatyard.  It will become the winter home for Sail Chicago equipment storage.  Kudos to Joe Kucharski for getting our fleet into such good shape that an indoor facility is no longer needed, and we can instead spend that money in other, more productive ways that enhance the programs and activities of Sail Chicago.
Now is the Time to Sign Up

John Lemon

By John Lemon, Lead Instructor


Sail Chicago's sailing instruction season is underway.  Over 40 new members attended Dryland (Shore School) classes held April 19 and 23 at Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club.
Over 60 new and returning members have signed up for Basic Keelboat and Cruising classes beginning May 7 and June 4 respectively.  See more details regarding course offerings and dates and times on our website and in previous issues of this newsletter.  Classes are beginning to fill up for the early part of the summer.  If you are a new member thinking about adding a class later in the summer, NOW is the time to sign up. 
Rhodes 19

Students in Basic Keelboat Instruction


Do you have friends or family members who have been thinking about learning to sail?   Take advantage of the member referral bonus and put sailing dollars in your account.
Soon the rain will clear, the sun will come out, and the lake will be covered with dozens of white sails.  Sail Chicago's instruction program is the quickest and most economical way to free yourself from the traffic, noise, and congestion of the city and enjoy the cool breezes of Lake Michigan.



Ready to Sail?  Come to Dryland!

Dan Flavin

By Dan Flavin, Dryland Coordinator

Is this your first season with Sail Chicago?  Just thinking about joining?  An old salt who wants to have fun?  Did you know you can bring a friend who is interested in learning to sail?  Join us for Dryland classes. You'll meet instructors, find out about Sail Chicago, meet new members, and find out how much fun you can have all summer long! 

Dates are Tuesday, May 17, 6:30 - 9:30 pm and Tuesday, June 14,  6:30 - 9:30 pm.  Class topics repeat at each session.


All new members are required to attend Dryland - it's your orientation to your on-the-water class and introduction to Sail Chicago.  And it's included in your New Member package!  If you haven't joined Sail Chicago yet, you don't need to prepay to attend.  But if you do join, you'll get the Basic Keelboat text, plus a ton of helpful handouts! 
We're looking forward to meeting you!  Returning members may audit Dryland.  Questions? Email us at 


Learn Coastal Navigation Basics May 23
Chicago Lakefront Chart

Chicago Coastal Chart


Join us for the first of a planned series of seminars on important sailing topics, Monday, May 23rd, from 7:00 to 8:30 PM at REI Lincoln Park.  This seminar is a high level introduction to the subject of coastal navigation, which involves plotting and following a course generally within sight of land, using paper charts and GPS.  Topics to be covered include:

  • chart (nautical map) reading
  • lateral aids to navigation
  • understanding latitude and longitude
  • compass basics and correcting for magnetic deviation
  • use of standard map plotting tools (parallel rulers and dividers)
  • charting a course to a fixed location
  • taking bearings and fixes while underway
  • dead reckoning
  • correcting for leeway and current
  • GPS (global positioning system) navigation
  • Local knowledge can be worked in as well.

Veteran Sail Chicago cruisers Merle Baker and Winifred Ormond will share presenting duties.  Many of you know both from participating in Port to Port Cruises on Sail Chicago's 30' cruising boat, Emotional Rescue.  Winifred is also an experienced open ocean racer and has participated in the Newport, RI, to Bermuda race many times, contending with weather and the Gulf Stream current while crossing the high seas.  Questions?  Contact Paul Demmel.


It's Party Time! 
By Pat Webster, Social Director
Join fellow Sail Chicago members in welcoming our new members to our Sail Chicago at a BARBECUE ON THE LAKE.  This is our first social event of the season and it will give new members a chance to meet our other members who have been around for a while.  Both will enjoy delicious food and drink. There's no charge, just lots of opportunities to get to know someone new and connect with old friends.  It's a great way to expand your list of sailing buddies as the new season rolls out.  Also, stay and enjoy a great view of the Navy Pier fireworks.   
2010 Mid-Season Party

2010 Barbecue

The party will take place on Saturday, June 4th from 7-11 pm, at the party room of 195 North Harbor Drive, near Randolph and the lake.  Perhaps you would like to join us after an afternoon of sailing on one of our Rhodes in Monroe Harbor, or after  sailing on the ER or on our new Colgate.  Or come join us after you have completed your landlocked afternoon activities.  It will be a barbecue with burgers, brats, veggie burgers, salads, sweets and soft drinks provided.  You're welcome to bring something a little harder to drink.  If you need vegetarian food, please let us know when you sign up.
Because the event is being held in a condo party room, we have to follow the condo rules, which means you must pre-register..  Anyone not signed up will not be allowed to enter.   If you plan to come, notify  Pat Webster by not later than May 28th.  Space is limited; so it will be first come first served.  
Another great way to meet people is to help with the party . Contact Pat if you'd like to do so, or if you have any questions.
Spinnaker Class June 4
Tom & Hewly Prucher

Tom & Hewly Prucher

By Tom & Hewly Prucher, Open Racing Coordinators 

On June 4th, the Open Racing Program will introduce the use of spinnakers in racing.  At the dock we will learn how to rig the spinnaker. We'll talk about the basics of raising, jibing, and lowering the spinnaker. 
Spinnakers up

Spinnaker Up!

We will go out on the water, weather permitting, to practice downwind sailing. We will finish the day racing with spinnakers.

There will be a boat captain, a "drill leader/instructor", and two crew on each boat.  For the four boats there are only eight seats available.  We have limited those to sailors with some experience, essentially anyone who has taken classes last year or before. 

Register online beginning May 18th.  The cost is $25.  Complete the "Member Sign In", click on "Reserve Program Seats", choose "Open Racing", click on "Find Seats", pick the date (June 4th), pick a boat, and reserve a seat.  For more information e-mail Tom & Hewly.


Tiller Time is Fun for Skippers & Crew
chris Garvey
Chris Garvey

By Chris Garvey, Tiller Time Coordinator


Basic Keelboat Skippers needed to skipper Tiller Times

Skippers are needed for basic keelboat Tiller Times.  Basic keelboat Skipper includes certification on the Rhodes (at Monroe or Montrose Harbors), the Ideal 18's and the Colgate 26 (both at Monroe Harbor).  You can become a Tiller Time skipper if you have been a Rhodes Skipper for at least one year (for the Rhodes) or are a certified Skipper on the Ideals or the Colgate.


Tiller Time Skippers may schedule a Tiller Time any time of the day and any day of the week that a boat is not being used for formal instruction.  In order to offer as many sailing opportunities as possible to our Sail Chicago members, we are trying to be very flexible with regards to your time and schedule.


The benefits of being a Tiller Time skipper include:

  • You will have fun sailing!
  • You will be able to meet new people who may crew for you on future sails.
  • You can fulfill your service time requirement by signing up for 5 tiller times.

If you are on a Rhodes or the Colgate, you can bring a first mate of your choice, so that in the event no one signs up, you can still go out and sail.  (Please note:  When sailing on an Ideal 18, the first mate choice is not an option).  To sign up, please contact Chris Garvey.

Sail Chicago Members - Sign up for Tiller Times

Rhodes 19

Having fun during Tiller Time

Members can sign up for Tiller Time on the Sail Chicago website.  After logging in, click on "Reserve Program Seats" to find an open date and seat.  In order to give a greater number of people to participate in Tiller Time, you may make only 2 reservations at the same time.  If you are unable to find a Tiller Time at a time that's convenient for you, check back later at the Sail Chicago website.  New Tiller Times are being scheduled throughout the summer. 

Make sure you contact the skipper BEFORE the sail in order to confirm the date, time and place to meet.  Since we are offering multiple times, harbors, and boats, we want to make sure everyone is meeting at the correct place and time.
Last year Tiller Time was extremely popular.  If you need to cancel, please do so at least 24 hours prior to the sail.  But, please cancel rather than just not show up.  Valuable time is wasted waiting for people at the harbor only to have them not show up, and someone may be able to take your place.  Tiller Time skippers may determine whether or not to cancel the sail due to bad weather at the harbor.  Often, it may be raining in the city, but at the water's edge it is not raining and ok to sail.


Help Get the Word Out
Sail Chicago Poster Sail Chicago has developed a couple of advertising pieces that we hope will promote sailing with us this summer.  The first is a poster that you can download to your computer, print, and put on bulletin boards in your office, condo association, or anyplace that gets a lot of traffic.  The second is a press release that you can send to your local paper or put in a newsletter.  Both can help to get the word out about our great organization!
Please help do your part in publicizing our great organization!  The more members we have, the more everyone benefits!  Of course the best way to secure new members is through personal contact.  Don't forget to ask a friend!
Something for the Socially Minded

Did you have a great time sailing last season?  Would you like to become more active in Sail Chicago?  Meet more people?  Find friends to sail with this summer?  Would you like to meet your service requirement?  A great way to do this is to help organize social events.
Sail Chicago runs a number of events in the summer, but to do these well it takes a group of people to plan, organize and carry out the events.  And we're always looking for new ideas for additional events that will appeal to our membership.    If you've got a little time and can take the responsibility for some follow-through, please contact Social Director Pat Webster.  She'd be delighted to hear from you!


Open Racing Begins Saturday, June 11
Tom & Hewly
Tom & Hewly Prucher

By Tom & Hewly Prucher, Open Racing Coordinators

Open Racing is a fun competition where we sail several short races, allowing the crew to rotate between races.  Experienced racers, skippers, intermediate sailors, and students are assigned boats in order to balance the experience between the boats.  The less experienced sailors can learn from the more experienced ones.  The only requirement is that you are currently taking a class or have completed a class.
Downwind Mark

Downwind Mark

We meet at Montrose Harbor at 8:00 AM and finish about 1:00 PM.  New for this year is an increase to $25 per racing day.  To register, sign up on-line at the Sail Chicago website.  Sign on with your password, click on "Reserve Program Seats", choose "Open Racing", click on "Find Seats", pick a date, pick a boat, reserve a seat.   Online sing-ups begin Wed May 18.  For information e-mail Tom & Hewly Prucher.
 Meridian Set to Sail

At the helm on Meridian


On a cold but sunny Saturday in mid April, a few Sail Chicago members launched Meridian, Sail Chicago's new Colgate 26, the newest addition to our fleet, and took her on on her inaugural sail on Lake Michigan.  There was a 20+ knot wind, and foul weather gear was a must, but the consensus of the crew was that she handled beautifully.  "She sails like a dream," said Sail Chicago Chairman Sam Veilleux.  Board members Mike Parapetti and John Lemon shared crew duties with Sam on the quick trip from Belmont Harbor to her temporary home in ER's slip in DuSable Harbor.
Meridian will be fully integrated into the Sail Chicago Basic Keelboat instruction program this summer and in the future.  It should also be available for Tiller Times as summer progresses, so that all Sail Chicago members can have an opportunity to get experience on the boat.
Orientation sessions are underway for instructors and current ER, Isis and Shields skippers.  Once we have sufficient instructors available, we will offer the qualification course for current small keelboat skippers described in the April BTS

Your Introduction to Cruising
Emotional Rescue

Emotional Rescue, Sail Chicago's Cruising Boat

If you've ever dreamed of skippering a cruising boat but have never had the chance, here's your opportunity for some in-depth experience.  Sail Chicago's Introduction to Cruising Skills course will introduce you to such cruising essentials as sail selection and reefing, docking, motoring, anchoring, inboard diesel operation, VHF radio, nautical charts (maps), and crew coordination.  Classes meet twice each week, Saturday morning and Tuesday evening for a total of six sessions.  Your only necessary qualification is to have completed one other Sail Chicago on-the-water sailing course.   Specific dates are:
Session 1   June 4th   - June 21st

Session 2   June 25th  - June July 16th

Session 3   July 19th    - Aug 6th

Session 4   Aug 9th    - Aug 30th


Sign up now to reserve your space.  Questions? Contact Chris Riegel, Cruising Boat Coordinator.


Register Now for Summer Maintenance

By Dean Hackenberg, Summer Maintenance Coordinator 



To register for Summer Maintenance:
  1. E-mail or phone the Maintenance Hotline at 312-409-9000. 
  2. Follow the instructions on the voicemail message.  Leave your name, phone number, a preferred week and alternate week starting Monday May 2nd and ending the week of Monday, October 3rd. 
  3. Confirmation of your SMP week can be found at the members section of the Sail Chicago website under your member profile.


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