BTS: May 2013

Between the Sheets: News from Sail Chicago for May
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 #5
May, 2013
 By Gary Thrane, Associate Editor


Gary Thran

Those of us who take guests out on Lake Michigan are accustomed to advising that they bring along a warm sweater and/or jacket...even if it's over 80 degrees in the city.  Such advice becomes especially appropriate as we enter the May sailing season.


A bit of geological history can help explain why this advice makes sense.   


Lake Michigan was formed by the last great glacier to advance from the north: the great Wisconsin Glacier.   This glacial event reached its greatest extent about 22,000 years ago.  At that time, the Wisconsin Glacier extended a good way down Illinois. Where Chicago now stands, scientists estimate that the ice was thousands of feet thick.


Ice still covered the Chicago area 15,000 years ago. When the first native Americans arrived around 12,000 years ago, they found "Lake Chicago" (as the geologists now call it), an enormous lake of melt water damned by the still retreating glacier.   Eventually, the glacier's retreat opened up the north end of what is now Lake Michigan, and water could flow eastward into Lake Huron and then down the St. Lawrence.  


Despite our justifiable worries about global warming, scientists tell us that we may well be currently in an "inter-glacial period."   (Glaciers have repeatedly advanced and retreated for the last three million years.)   Technically, we're still in the Ice Age. Recent history could well be just a warm spell that will be followed by another 25,000-year (or longer) glacial cold snap.


So, when you tell guests to bring something warm, you can explain that, "we're going to be sailing on an enormous puddle left by a very, very, very big ice cube."


 By John Lemon


Student Sailors on the First Day of instruction, May 4

Our Basic Keelboat instruction program is now under full sail. Over 80 people attended Pre-Sail Orientations held April 20 and 23 at REI, Lincoln Park. Our first wave of on-the-water classes started Saturday, May 4, with 50 new and experienced sailors scheduled for classes in May. Five new instructors are also getting their first experience in the instructor's seat.


Registration for sailing classes has continued at a torrid pace. All Intermediate classes are full for the summer.   Only a handful of Basic and Skipper classes remain in July and August.   If you or a friend is considering getting out on the water this summer, now is the time to book your class.


Upcoming are two more sessions of Pre-Sail Orientation, scheduled Thursday, May 23, at 6:00 PM, and Saturday, May 25, at 10:00 AM. Attendance at Pre-Sail is required for all sailors new to Sail Chicago for the 2013 sailing season. You'll learn what you need to know to navigate to your first lesson and beyond, meet other sailors, and receive your course textbook and Sail Chicago t-shirt. If you haven't registered yet, please go to our website and do so today. Anyone is welcome to attend and audit, but we ask that you register as well.


On Saturday, May 18, 2013, the local United States Coast Guard will host an open house from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. The open house will be held at the Coast Guard Calumet Harbor Station, 4001 East 98th Street, Chicago.


The open house will feature demonstrations of boating safety practices as well as demonstrations of Coast Guard rescue equipment. All those interested in learning about boating safety are encouraged to attend. The open house signals the kick-off of National Safe Boating week.

From the Editor
Instruction Program Is Under Way
U.S. Coast Guard Open House
Monroe Tender and Parking Passes
Share-a-Sail Program
Emergency Action Plan
New Safety Directors
Tiller Time
Fun Racing, Year Two
Let's Sail the Rhodes More!
Rhodes 19 Boat Manager Needed
April Board Meeting Minutes
Sail Chicago Reminders
May 11 - Midwest Women's Sailing Conference
May 18 - U.S. Coast Guard Open House*
July 13 - Chicago/Mackinac Race begins
July 21 - Friends & Family Picnic
August 7-11 - Chicago Match Race Cup
August 7-11 - Tall Ships, Navy Pier
August 11 - Friends & Family Picnic
August 24-25 - Verve Cup Regatta
*See article this issue.


Announcements - Gary Thrane
Bookkeeper - Jay Owens
BTS Editor  - Steve VanderVoort
Chairman - Chris Schuler
Colgate 26 Racing - Bob Cohen 
Cruising Program - Nick Petrovits
Fun Racing -Dolores Baron
Human Resources - Frank Loftus
Instruction Scheduling - Lorna Luebbers
Lead Instructor - John Lemon
Maintenance - Frank Loftus
Marketing - Mike Parapetti
Member Cruise Outings - Mehmet Tasci
Membership - Lois Lawson
Pre-Sail Orientation -Peter Hays & Mary Ann Wilkins
Seminars -Paul Demmel
Share-a-Sail - David Shayne
Social - Pat Webster
Tender & Parking Passes - Arleen Prairie
Tiller Time - Anke Heinrich
Treasurer - Steve VanderVoort


  Member Icon 

Instruction Icon 

Map Icon 

Membership Form Icon     



facebook button 

twitter button


Maintenance Hotline

312-409-9000 or



Chris Schuler 

Steve VanderVoort
Vice Chairman
 Rob Wakerly

Fiona Ray 

Alfred Chan

Chris Garvey

Maureen Huston

Frank Loftus
Mike Parapetti
Pat Webster
Colgate Sailing

By Arlene Prairie 


Beginning May 3, Sail Chicago is providing easy access to Tender Service Passes and East Monroe Garage Parking Passes through the use of lockboxes outside the Monroe Harbor Tender Office. All qualified Sail Chicago skippers may begin using these passes by May 3rd.


Sail Chicago skippers can use both the parking passes and the tender passes for either program or personal sails. For each use, the skipper is responsible for signing out passes and returning them promptly. Help us monitor this benefit we all share by contacting us at when you notice any discrepancy...including if you're the one who's unintentionally left a pass in your sail bag.


The lockbox number and the combination for both parking and tender service passes are available on the boat status page of the Sail Chicago web site.  


Parking Pass: One parking pass is available for the skipper of each boat for a rental period. The parking pass must be used for both entry and exit of the car. To obtain the pass for parking, access the lockbox for parking passes after briefly parking your car in the cul-de-sac on Monroe, east of Lakeshore Drive. Sign out one pass in the Parking Pass Log Book. After your sail, return the parking pass as soon as possible for another skipper's use. Be sure to sign the pass in.


Tender Passes: In the lockbox, you will find packets labeled for each Sail Chicago boat in Monroe Street Harbor. The number of passes for each boat type is:


Ideals and Rhodes: Two passes per boat,

Colgates: Five passes per boat.


In addition to these packets of tender passes, an additional six "Flex Passes" are included in the lockbox to be used as needed. For example, if you are sailing Atticus for either program or pleasure, you select the packet of tender passes for Atticus containing the two passes. If there are a total of four going sailing on Atticus, you can also select two Flex Passes. Sign these all out in the Tender Pass Log Book.


After a scheduled sail, skippers must return the tender passes to the lockbox at least 30 minutes before the next rental period. For weekday nights, Colgate sailors must call the tender by 5:00 p.m. to be sure of returning the passes on time. This is extremely important because instruction on these boats begins promptly at 5:30 pm weekdays.


By David Shayne


Rigging a Colgate

Want to share a boat? Need crew, a skipper, or want to join an existing group on aspecific date? Sign up for Share-a-Sail and connect with other Sail Chicago members and students. Just go to Google Groups and search for Share-a-Sail, then list your name and email address. Once you're admitted to the Group, you'll be able to post and receive email from like-minded sailors. Only current Sail Chicago members and Sail-into-Summer students can join.  Questions?   Email David Shayne or Steve VanderVoort (May 11 - June 2 only).



Thanks to the hard work of Robert Wakerly, Fiona Ray, and Ed Schroeder, Sail Chicago now has an Emergency Action Plan.  The Plan defines what counts as an emergency and lists specific procedures to follow in order to provide assistance and to document what happened.  It's extremely important that all Sail Chicago skippers and crew become familiar with this plan.  Please review it either here or in the 2013 Sail Chicago Handbook (published on the Sail Chicago website).  There is also an Emergency Reference Guide that will be placed on all boats in the Sail Chicago fleet. Skippers may also want to copy the Reference Guide  and keep it with their sailing gear.



Sail Chicago has new Safety Directors. Andy Miller is the Director and Michael Swisher is the Assistant Director. Because of the importance of this position to our members and to our fleet, your Board decided that a "team approach" would work best. In the event one person is not available, the other person can respond. Ed Schroeder, our former Safety Director for many years, resigned the position a couple of months ago. We are grateful to Ed for his many years of service to Sail Chicago.


Anke Heinrich
Anke Heinrich
  By Anke Heinrich
This year's Tiller Time Program is starting with its first program sail on Saturday, May 11.  You can reserve a program sail through the Sail Chicago member's web site at no cost if you have taken a class last year or have completed at least one class sail this year.  In addition, "rusty skippers" can use this program also to refresh their skills.  Enjoy the additional practice sails!  If you have questions or suggestions regarding the program, please contact 



 By Dolores Baron


During Fun Racing last year, we had a lot of fun, sharpened our sailing skills, and made new friends. We're sure that will be
Rhodes 19
Rounding the Mark
true again this season. But this year will be a bit different. First, we will meet Saturday Morning at 8 a.m. at the tender dock (by the Harbor Master's office) in Monroe Harbor. Second, if you skipper a boat, it will be free. Otherwise, there will be a $10 fee. 
Crew will sign up on the Sail Chicago web site, but those who wish to skipper must email me to find out if there is a spot open. Fun Racing will start Saturday, June 1, and continue to August 31.


Here's what to expect: Each Saturday before the race, we'll have a brief review of racing rules (room at the mark, timed starts, 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.


To register for one of these Saturday morning Fun Races, sign up on-line at the Sail Chicago website.  Click on "Reserve Program Seats," choose "Open Racing," click on "Find Seats," pick a date, pick a boat, and reserve a seat.  (Again, those who want to be skippers must email me to check for available skipper slots.)  For more information, please email me.


New sailors (who have had at least one class) will find that Fun Racing is a great way to sharpen sailing skills. And we're looking forward to some of our experienced people rejoining us. Come one and all and join the fun!



By Minna Greene

  Rhodes 19

We will have three Rhodes 19s in the water this summer, but the Sail Chicago Board has indicated that we need to use the boats more frequently. Last summer, the Rhodes remained on their moorings too much. We need to get out on the Rhodes more often for pleasure sails and Fun Racing. Only increased use will ensure that we can keep three Rhodes in the water in 2014.


So, come out and sail, sail, sail on the Rhodes 19s!



We will have three Rhodes 19s in the water soon, but we have only two boat managers to manage them. We need one more person who is willing to adopt our "orphaned" Atticus for the summer. Could that person be you?  If you are interested in being a boat manager for Atticus, please call or email Minna Greene.


By Chris Garvey


At the April Sail Chicago board meeting the following issues were addressed:


  • New club officers were elected: Chris Schuler was elected chairman; Rob Wakerly, vice-chair; Fiona Ray, secretary; and Steve VanderVoort, treasurer.
  • It was decided that the board agenda will be published one week prior to each meeting, once a procedure for doing so has been developed.
  • A proposal was made to hire an instructor to teach classes we are unable to find volunteer instructors to teach. This proposal was discussed, but no decision was made.
  • A proposal regarding the availability of child life jackets was made and is currently being revised.
  • A Flex Pass proposal was made and passed to offer extra tender passes for Monroe Harbor.
  • An Emergency Action Plan was presented and passed with modifications.
  • Summer maintenance was discussed, and the program will continue to be evaluated as this is the first season with a new maintenance structure.
  • Sail Chicago continues to be tax-exempt for charitable donations, but the club was denied status as a sales-tax-exempt club.
  • Chris Garvey was named chair of the Membership Involvement Committee. Although some goals of this committee are still to be developed, one responsibility will be the monitoring and documentation of service time.
  • The positions of Laurence Hall Coordinator and Safety Director were discussed.
  • Pat Webster presented ideas for summer social events.
  • Further use of the Sail Chicago Meet Up Group as a marketing tool was discussed.
  • A proposal was made and accepted to maintain the Belmont Harbor mooring until a new Colgate can be purchased. In the meantime, either a Rhodes or Ideal will take over the space.
  • SMP Hotline is continuing to take calls on boat maintenance needs.
  • Appointments to open board positions were discussed and will be followed up by the board development committee.   


Get a $50 Credit for Referring a New Member 
Members will receive a $50 credit to their account for every new member who joins Sail Chicago at their invitation.   (Even if your friend decides to just participate in the "Sail into Summer" program, you will still receive a $25 credit.)

Fulfill Your Service Requirement   
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.

Missing Previous Issues of Between the Sheets?
You can always find the current issue and an archive of previous issues of Between the Sheets
at the first (and open to the public) page of the Sail Chicago web site, Sail Chicago.
Chicago Skyline
facebook button twitter button