BTS: May 2012

Between the Sheets: News from Sail Chicago for May
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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 #5May, 2012 
Steve VanderVoort

By Steve VanderVoort, BTS Editor


"With so many opportunities to gain sailing experience in the Chicago area, why should I become a member of Sail Chicago?"  That question is asked more often than we'd care to admit.  Here's my response:

When you join Sail Chicago, you're becoming part of a community of people who are passionate about the recreational sport of sailing.  They've got lots of experience, and a strong desire to share that experience with other enthusiastic sailors.  As a part of that community, you've got loads of opportunities to learn the art of sailing, not only through formal on-the-water sailing courses led by excellent instructors, but through many of our more informal programs as well.


We at Sail Chicago firmly believe that the best way for you to develop your sailing skills is to simply get a lot of sailing under your belt.  That's why we've developed an outstanding series courses for sailors at a variety of skill levels.  And that's why our fleet contains a series of boats in a variety of sizes and classes - to give you the experience of sailing many different types of boats.


That's also why we've developed a number of informal programs and activities where you can sail for free.  Tiller Times allow current students to practice the skills they've learned during formal instruction in a more informal setting with a Sail Chicago-qualified skipper.  Member Cruise Outings allow our members to experience the fun of sailing on a variety of boats, thereby allowing them to see for themselves if they'd like to take formal classes to learn how to sail them.  And our Sunday morning Fun Racing program allows members to hone their sailing skills in a more competitive environment.


When our fleet is not being used for formal or informal instruction programs, Sail Chicago members who are qualified skippers may, for a nominal fee when compared to other sailing programs in the Chicago area, use our boats to take family and friends sailing.  And since everyone who's a member of Sail Chicago loves to sail, there's never a shortage of crew for skippers who'd like to get out on the water on a sunny summer afternoon or evening.


Of course, you may not be convinced that you'd really enjoy sailing.  That's why we designed our "Sail into Summer" program.  In this program, you'll be introduced to sailing through our four-session on-the-water Basic  Sailing Course, which doesn't require membership in Sail Chicago.  We're betting that after you complete that course, you'll want to become a full member of our community.

*          *          *

In a bit of news, on April 18 Sail Chicago's Safety Director Ed Schroeder turned 85 years old.  Congtratulations, Ed!  May the wind always fill your sails!



By Pat Webster, Social Director


 The first Friends & Family Sail and Picnic will be held on Saturday, June 16th at Montrose Harbor from 1:00 - 5:00 pm.  This is a great opportunity to share your interest in sailing with friends and family members who may be unfamiliar with or new to sailing.  Our larger boats, a Colgate 26 and Priorities, a 34' Hunter, will be ready to take those interested out on the water for a brief sail.  A picnic lunch will be provided at a charge of $7/adult and $3/child under 12.  Look for the Sail Chicago Announcement later in May.



 The NATO Summit, scheduled to be held at Chicago's McCormick Place May 20 - 21, may create significant problems for Sail Chicago members who would like to sail out of Monroe Harbor during the week of the Summit.  While nothing difinitive has yet been published, it's rumored that Monroe Harbor may be closed at various times before, during, and/or after the conference.  If you plan to sail out of Monroe Harbor during that time, please watch the newspapers for more information or call the Monroe Harbormaster's Office at (312) 742-7643.


From the Editor
Friends & Family to Meet at Montrose Harbor
NATO Summit May Create Problems
Who to Contact
Sailing Season Now Open
Ues of Tender Service at Monroe Harbor Expanded
Register Now for Summer Maintenance!
Boat Managers Needed
Pre-Launch Gets Fleet Ready to Sail
Don't Miss Out, Register Now!
Help Sail Chicago - Become a Team Leader
Learn New Skills at Fun Racing
Let's go Cruising!
Skipper Tiller Times and Member Cruise Outings!!!
Monroe Parking Passes Available for Skippers
Be Safe - Know the Weather and Your Boat
Board Takes Decisive Action
Pre -Sail Orientation Opens to Rave Reviews
Would You Like to Buy a Boat?
Find Sailing Buddies on Facebook and Twitter
Thanks, Dean!
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
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
Ideal 18
Let's go sailing!

The 2012 sailing season is now officially open!  Sail Chicago's small keelboat fleet at Monroe Harbor is in the water and ready to sail.  Qualified Skippers may start reserving boats immediately.  Just log onto the Sail Chicago website, and once on the Reservation Page, find the boat of your choice, reserve it for your desired time, and go sailing.  Just make sure that you have adequate funds in your boat use account.


This year, most Sail Chicago members and guests will be using the tender service to get to the boats in Monroe Harbor.  To learn more about how to use the tender service, see the article on the use of the tender service elsewhere in this issue of "Between the Sheets."  For those who do not want to use the tender, two service dinghies are available at the south end of Monroe Harbor, but remember, due to weight restrictions, only two people, including gear, are allowed in a dinghy at one time.


Our cruising boat, Priorities, is scheduled to be in its slip on the E Dock in Belmont Harbor by not later than Monday, May 7.  Cruising boat skippers may start reserving it then.


By Arleen Prairie, MPP Coordinator


Tender passes for all Sail Chicago sailors will be available at Monroe Harbor starting this season. This will enhance the ease of getting to and from all boats moored at Monroe. The goal of Sail Chicago is to use tender passes for all sails, eliminating reliance on the dinghies, although two service dinghies are available (remember, weight restrictions allow only two people per dinghy).

Sail Chicago has purchased enough tender passes to provide for the capacity of every boat in the Monroe Harbor fleet.  Pass allocations are as follows:
  • Ideals - 3 passes
  • Rhodes - 4 passes
  • Colgates - 6 passes
Skippers sailing a specific boat will request the packet of tender passes by boat name at the Tender Service Office.

Skippers MUST promptly return the passes to the Tender Office after each sail.  Passes need to be returned BEFORE the time of the next rental period. For afternoon sails, the passes must be returned by 5:30 pm.  Last sailing season skippers did an excellent job of returning passes on a timely basis.  With the expanded use of passes this season, all our sailors at Monroe Harbor depend on your continued cooperation.  

Look for an upcoming Sail Chicago Announcement detailing the use of our tender passes this year.

As part of their Annual Service Requirement, Sail Chicago members (except new members in their first summer) must register for one week of our Summer Maintenance Program (SMP), and be available to work during that week.  Both Service Time and SMP obligations must be satisfied for members to participate on-the-water activities.  Members assigned to SMP each week will be contacted should their assistance with maintenance be required.  Members who aren't available to fulfill their SMP commitment will need to re-register for another week before participating in on-the-water activities. 

To register for Summer Maintenance:
  1. E-mail (preferred) 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 7 and ending the week of Monday, October 8. 
  3. Confirmation of your SMP week can be found at the members section of the Sail Chicago website under your member profile.



Have you ever thought about fulfilling your Annual Service Requirement by becoming a Boat Manager on one of our small keelboats?  Once a week, you'll perform a maintenance check on your assigned boat, doing any normal maintenance or repairs that you find necessary or that have been reported to you by the Summer Maintenance Coordinator.  At least once a month, you'll be responsible for giving the boat a thorough cleaning.


If repairs are beyond the scope of your abilities, The SMP Coordinator will help you to locate someone in Sail Chicago who can help.  The SMP Coordinator will also notify you on a weekly basis of those Sail Chicago members who have signed up for the following week's SMP duty.  If repairs or maintenance require more than one person, you can always call someone on SMP duty that week for additional help.


As a Boat Manager you have the authority to block out one five-hour period on the sailing schedule to perform your weekly maintenance check.  This period should be during non-peak hours or when the boat is not being used for instruction.  Becoming a Boat Manager are also fulfills your required SMP duty.  In order to become a Boat Manager, you must be a qualified Skipper on the class of boat you are managing.


For more information or to sign up, contact
2012 Pre-Launch
Pre-launch crew on a break

The morning of April 14 dawned cold and dreary, with a good chance of thunderstorms rolling in later, but that didn't stop a group of intrepid Sail Chicago members from showing up at the Canal Street Boatyard to do whatever needed to be done in order to get the fleet ready for launch on the following weekend.   Approximately 20 members showed up in their oldest of clothes with assorted children and dogs, prepared for whatever the day would bring.  Under the determined leadership of the stalwart Frank Loftus, assignments were made and the crew started to work. 


Because of earlier bad weather and an intervening holiday weekend, the various scheduled maintenance projects had gotten a little behind.  While much of the work had been done, several boats still needed to have their bottoms painted with anti-fouling copper paint.  And then there was the miscellaneous gear to sort out and load on the boats that were ready to be towed to Montrose Harbor the following weekend.  Under Frank's excellent direction, tasks were accomplished smoothly and efficiently.


2012 Pre-Launch
Painting her bottom

On the other side of the river, at the north end of the boatyard, another crew, under the firm direction of old salt Ed Schroeder, was in the midst of getting Priorities, our cruising boat, ready for launch on May 5.  These guys have been working through the cold and snow of winter to make sure that the pride and joy of our fleet will be in the best possible shape for a summer of sailing fun.  Since Priorities is a new boat to Sail Chicago, there was a lot to learn, but Ed and his crew are managing to make sure that it's ready to go on time.


An unexpected  highlight was an impromptu picnic sponsored by the Canal Street Boatyard staff.  The hotdogs, chips and drinks were a welcome break from the hard work during the rest of the day.  Our humble thanks to all who participated in helping to get our fleet ready for launch. 

John Lemon
By John Lemon, Lead Instructor 
Registration for summer 2012 sailing classes continues at the fastest rate in many years.  Over 100 sailors have enrolled in introductory and advanced classes to date.  Courses currently available are:
Session 1 (May ) is full; classes begin Saturday, May 5.  Session 2, beginning June 2, is filling quickly.  Don't delay-once the weather warms up everyone will want to get out on the water!

Look for news about our Spinnaker and Single-Handed Sailing classes later this month.

The Basic Keelboat Program seeks a volunteer to assist with class registration, answering questions from prospective students, and managing our online registration process.  Please email me if you are interested.  Our class scheduler, Mike Pancoast, had to relinquish his duties and Michael Hart has stepped in to handle all the scheduling on an interim basis.  Please e-mail him if you have questions regarding scheduling.  
Joe Kucharski

 By Joe Kucharski, Chairman


Currently we have three team leader positions open. These positions are essential in providing us all with services that keep us sailing each season.  They each come with sailing credits and fulfill the annual Member Service requirement.  Most importantly, they provide a vital service to everyone in Sail Chicago.  Please let me know of your interest soon.  

The positions that are open are:


Sail Team Leader - This position leads a team of volunteers who inspect, inventory and order sails for the fleet. This team also distributes sails to each boat at launch and ensure sails are properly identified and stored at the end of the sail season. This team leader is also responsible for repairs or replacements of damaged sails during the sail season.


 Electrical Team Leader - This position has the opportunity to work with our current team leader to learn the various electrical systems on the boats and the battery maintenance.  This person should have good mechanical skills and a knowledge of electrical systems is desirable but not necessary. 


Launch Team Leader - This team leader is responsible for coordinating both launch and haul out activities. You will coordinate boat assignments for sail up and sail down, coordinate with harbor masters for temporary mooring assignments. This position coordinates dates with instruction for the dates of launch. The team leader will also ensure boats are placed on the proper moorings at the time of launch.  
By Dolores Baron, Fun Racing Coordinator
Dolores Baron
Dolores Baron


 Come join us for Fun Racing Sunday mornings at Monroe Harbor.  This activity will be free to all members, so come on out and race with us.  It's a great way to have fun, make new

Spinaker Racing
Spinnakers up at Fun Racing

friends, and improve your sailing skills all at the same time.   


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 from week to week.  The races will be short, so that everyone has a chance to be at the helm for at least one race.  The rest of the crew will trim the jib, work the traveler and watch for other boats.

 Fun Racing will start Sunday June 3rd and continue through the second Sunday in September (skipping the labor day weekend).  We meet at the Monroe Harbor Tender Dock at 8:00 am and finish around noon. 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.   For more information please e-mail me.



By Ilya Letuchy, Cruising Boat Director 
Ilya Letuchy
Ilya Leytuchy
May is finally here and it couldn't come fast enough!  I hope everyone is as excited as I am to get back on the water.  Below are a couple of announcements from the cruising program to get the sailing season started right!
May Refresher Clinics - As promised, all existing Priorities Skippers are welcome and encouraged to participate in the May Refresher Clinics - an opportunity to get together with other skippers to reacquaint yourself with the boat.  Dates for the clinics are: 
  • Sunday, May 20th 8am - 12:30pm
  • Wednesday, May 23rd 6pm - 10:30pm
  • Sunday, May 27th 8am - 12:30pm
  • Wednesday, May 30th 6pm-10:30pm
To register, please email me specifying which session you would like to sign up for.  Please note that you must be a current Priorities skipper and have paid your 2012 membership dues.
Introduction to Cruising Course - The May, June and July sessions are now full!  To register for the August session please click here.
Tiller Times and Member Cruise Outings (MCOs) have a new look this year.  In previous years they were tied together by the same Coordinator.  This year there are two different Coordinators, Chris Garvey for Tiller Times and Emily Case for MCOs.  Although both programs are free to Sail Chicago members, the qualifications for participation have changed. These guidelines were published in the April issue of "Between the Sheets," BTS, but please refer to the Tiller Time Guidelines and MCO Guidelines if needed. 
Chris Garvey
Chris Garvey
Both programs need skippers.  If you're an experienced Sail Chicago skipper, please consider signing up to skipper in one or both of these programs.  It's a great way to meet new people and to pass along your sailing skills to folks who really want to learn to sail.  In addition, if you skipper five or more times in one of these programs, your annual service requirement will be met.  Tiller Time skippers have the added benefit of receiving a $50 credit to their sailing accounts once they've completed five Tiller Times.  Program Coordinators may determine skipper qualifications.
Emily Case
Emily Case

If you are interested in being a skipper for either program, please email Chris for Tiller Times and Emily for MCOs with the following information (copy and paste so you don't forget!):
  • Name
  • Email address and/or phone number
  • Boat Preference (Rhodes, Ideals, Colgates, Hunter)
  • Availability (Dates and Times - be as specific as possible. These times are not guaranteed but will give the coordinators an idea for scheduling.)  


By Arleen Prairie, MPP Coordinator 


Monroe Harbor parking passes will again be held at in a rental box at a convenient location beginning May 2nd.  Parking passes are for either Millennium Park or DuSable Harbor. The DuSable pass enables you to use the pass anytime-including weekday mornings. The Millennium Pass can be used after 11 am on weekdays and anytime on weekends.

One parking pass per Skipper of a boat during the boat use period is available, although some restrictions apply.  Priority is given to evening sails during weekdays and afternoon sails on weekends.  If you participated in the MPP program last year, please feel free to continue its use.  Other Skippers, if you think you might like to use the program, please contact me.   
Joe Kucharski
By Joe Kucharski, Chairman


 We have officially entered the sailing season and the summer-like weather in March seems to have gotten every sailor in the mood to be on the water.  Unfortunately April has brought us back to reality and reminds us that changes in weather on Lake Michigan are the norm.  For those of us who have good memories, we can recall a freak snow storm that occurred on May 15, 1997.  Because weather conditions can change so rapidly, we want to remind everyone to seriously consider weather forecasts  and respect the resource we call "the lake".

Safety is a strong tradition in Sail Chicago.  The checklist that you complete prior to your sail walks you though an organized inspection of your boat's mechanical attributes and safety equipment.  In recent years the number of Coast Guard boardings of pleasure vessels has been increasing.  Last year our fleet was boarded at least three times and the inspections of our vessels  found no safety violations or concerns.  This season we expect the boardings by the Coast Guard to be at or above last year's level.  


coast Guard logoBeing proactive, this year we have had a Coast Guard inspection prior to launching our boats.  If you check the port bow of our fleet you will see a red decal indicating that the vessel has passed a Coast Guard safety inspection.  There is also a document in the tool box that indicates the detail of the inspection and the date of the inspection.  While the decal may discourage a Coast Guard boarding, if they do board a boat during your sail they will ask for the inspection document.  Presenting this document will shorten the boarding and get you on your way sooner.  We have also added a pamphlet of Coast Guard rules to the tool box which summarizes several regulations including lighting requirements for vessels.

Take the time to review the Coast Guard pamphlet and the inspection document.  It's your responsibility to know and comply with all Coast Guard regulations.  As a skipper you are personally responsible for compliance with these regulations and, most importantly, the safety of your crew.

Be safe! 



 At its April meeting, your Sail Chicago Board took decisive action in a number of areas:

  • New officers were elected.  They are:
    • Chairman - Joe Kucharski
    • Vice-Chairman - Frank Loftus
    • Secretary - Fiona Ray
    • Treasurer, Jay Owens
  • The Board authorized the purchase of a third Colgate 26 to augment our fleet for the 2012 sailing season.  Our current Colgate 26s have proven extremely popular with members, and since they will now be used primarily for instruction purposes this summer, the Board felt that we needed to add to our capacity in this class of boat.
  • During periods when our boats are not being used for instruction, they are available for use by members who are qualified skippers.  The schedule of boat use fees has been slightly revised.
  • The Board decided to retain the mooring at Belmont Harbor previously occupied by the Shields (which has been sold), and to moor one of our boats there during the current sailing season.
  • Sam Veilleux was appointed to fill a one-year term vacancy on the Board created when Chris Riegel left to assume a new job on the West Coast. 


Michael Hart
Michael Hart

By Michael Hart


 All the stars were out for this gala event, the premier of "Pre-Sail Orientation."  With much anticipation surrounding this production, most of those in attendance were in their seats well in advance of the show.  Taking the stage, famed Producer and Director Danelo Flaviano, aka Dan Flavin, in charge of the whole event & PSO,  answered preliminary questions along with legendary star Davide Kelpsasio, aka Instructor David Kelpsas, before the scheduled starting time.      

About fifty potential sailing stargazers new to the organization crammed into the REI Lincoln Park community room.  Half signed up by using our website, the other through our partner REI, with not even a noticeable no show.  With class registrations on the increase over last year, not only are more students attending as a prerequisite before going out on the water, the doors are open for those interested in sailing with the opportunity to learn more about our organization.

2012 Pre Sail Orientation
David Kelpsas models the latest fashion in sailing gear

The "Pre-Sail Orientation" is a two act play with a brief intermission.  Act I consists of an introduction to Sail Chicago: who we are, our events throughout the season, what kind of boats we have, costs and the classes being offered.  The first Act was mildly impressive, but keep your eye on a young starlet named Emily Case who is expect to be showcased in several future performances.

In Act II, the "Instructors", as opposed to the "Producers", took over.  The various scenes consisted of soliloquies by David Kelpsas and Nick Brait elaborating the essentials on what to expect and be aware of before going out on the water, while veteran performer Tom Keaveny soon had everyone tied up in bowlines and stopper knots.  But certainly, and I'm not alone, the showstopper was seasoned performer Mike McCormick on his fascinating rendition of sailing concepts. 

For those registered members in the audience participating in the on-the-water section, they received a US Sailing Basic Keelboat Textbook and US Coast Guard Safety Manual.  Everyone who attended received a line (formerly a rope), in order to practice the knots they had memorized during the performance.

Critics have acclaimed the PSO Troupe's opening night of the much anticipated production to be a huge theatrical success.  To demonstrate how successful the evening actually was, several in the audience were even moved to sign up for future Sail Chicago events like the "Sail into Summer" or the "New Member Package."   


 Updates to our fleet have created some excess capacity.  Below are the boats being offered and their negotiable asking prices:
  • Shark (Rhodes 19) with trailer and full compliment of sails - $1.200
  • Albatross (Rhodes 19) with trailer and full compliment of sails - $1,600
  • 4 fiberglass dinghies with oars - $200 each
If you or anyone you know are interested in any of these offerings contact Joe Kucharski.

Facebook Icon Have you ever wanted to go sailing with other Sail Chicago members but don't know who to call because you don't know who might be free at a particular date and time?  Or are you not yet able to take out a boat on your own but would love to crew with an experienced skipper?  One way to TwitterIconsolve your problem might be to post a notice on Sail Chicago's Facebook page or Tweet your availability. 

Here are some examples of posts or tweets you might want to use:

  • "New SC member looking to crew on a Colgate 26 Sundays in June"
  • "Just finished Intro to Sailing, need more experience but don't know a lot of people in SC.  Help!"
  • "Skipper looking for crew on Priorities, Sunday, July 15."

All you have to do is to "Like" the Sail Chicago website on Facebook, or join us on Twitter.  See you on the water!



After years of service  to Sail Chicago as the Summer Maintenance Program Coordinator, Dean Hackenberg is resigning.  Whenever there was any trouble with a boat, Dean was always the man to notify first.  His prompt action in getting in touch with the appropriate people meant that our boats would be back in service quickly.  We're grateful for his devotion to the cause.


The position of SMP Coordinator is being taken over by Alfred Chan and Iwona Awiasewicz (yes, it takes two people to fill Dean's shoes).  Out thanks to both of them for stepping up to this responsibility.  You can reach both Iwona and Alfred at




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 by May 31, you will receive an additional 10% in sailing credits.  If you do so after that, you will receive a 5% credit.  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.  There is no limit on the number of credits you may receive for encouraging your friends to join Sail Chicago.  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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