BTS: May 2014

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 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, 2014

By Steve VanderVoort

Steve VanderVoort


As a part Sail Chicago's first Five Year Plan, we embarked on an ambitious program of fleet renewal.  Our aging Rhodes fleet was becoming more difficult to maintain, and we needed boats that would more efficiently serve our expanding instructional offerings.  As a first foray in this effort, we purchased two Ideal 18s that had been used as instruction boats by an organization on the East Coast.  These boats were fun to sail and easy to maintain, but we found that they were comfortable for only three sailors, not very efficient for running an increasingly large instruction program.


As our next venture in fleet renewal, and after considerable research, we purchased a Colgate 26.  This boat could accommodate twice as many people as the Ideal 18s, and it was designed specifically as an instruction boat.  It came with a 4 hp outboard motor, which made it much easier and safer to handle in no-wind or too-much-wind situations. It's also been relatively easy to maintain.  The Colgate has proven so popular with our members and students that we have added five more to our fleet over the past few years.  It is the boat on which we hold most of our small keelboat instruction classes.


Our current fleet consists of 6 Colgate 26s, 2 Rhodes 19s, 2 Ideal 18s, and a large cruising boat (a Hunter 34). In an effort to better manage our fleet, we carefully monitor and evaluate usage of each boat class.  We also recognize that at peak times there are different and sometimes competing needs for the boats.  Instruction, Racing, Tiller Times, Member Cruise Outings, occasional social events, and individual Skippers wanting boats for private use all have legitimate claims on our fleet. Balancing these needs, especially during the early part of the sailing season in June and July, can be a really tricky affair.  On the other hand, if everyone could always have use of a boat whenever they wanted it, we would have to add more boats to the fleet, making it inefficient and significantly increasing our costs.  As an alternative, we recommend that all of our Skippers become qualified to sail all the boats in our fleet, thereby giving them more choices of boats to sail. 


Last year we surveyed our Skippers regarding their preferences for boat use and harbor locations. This proved very helpful in making decisions regarding this year's fleet and its placement.  We plan to do another survey at the end of this year's sailing season.  We encourage Skippers to keep track of their own boat use during the summer and to report on their satisfaction with our current fleet and its location on that survey.  This will help us greatly in planning for the following year's sailing season.


Sail Chicago Skippers who would would like to reserve boats in our fleet for private use may now do so.  Just log onto My.Sail.Chicago  and click on "Reserve a Boat."  If you need technical support for the website, contact Webmaster Alfred Chan.
Rhodes 19
Sailing a Rhodes

If you're qualified as a small keelboat Skipper on our fleet of Colgates, you may want to consider becoming qualified to also skipper our Rhodes and Ideals.  All you need to do in order to get checked out is to take one orientation session on each boat, and they're free!  Becoming qualified on all of our small keelboats gives you greater flexibility in signing out a boat for private use, especially during peak times.  It also improves your sailing skills by exposing you to several different classes of boat. 

Several orientations on our Rhodes and Ideals will be offered throughout the summer.  Just go to  My.Sail.Chicago to look for times that are convenient for you.  More orientations are being added all the time, so if you can't find a time that's good for you, keep checking back.
From the editor...
Private Boat Use
Rhodes and Ideal Orientations
Dates to Note
Who to Contact
Sail Chicago Board
Sail Chicago Reminders
2014 First Social Event
Thanks to Maintenance Volunteers
Help Needed!
The Prudent Mariner
Sail Chicago Partners with Schuler Scholar Program
New Spinnaker Classes for the Rhodes
Know Your Board Members: Matt Stuczynski
Sail Chicago Board Notes
May 8 - Sail Chicago Board Meeting
May 17 - "Kick off the Season" Event
June 12 - Sail Chicago Board Meeting
June 22 - Friends and Family Picnic
August 3 - Friends and Family Picnic
Announcements - Gary Thrane
Bookkeeper - Jay Owens
BTS Editor  - Steve VanderVoort
Chairman - Chris Schuler
Colgate 26 Racing - Bob Cohen 
Cruising Program - Nick Petrovits
Instruction  - Michael Swisher
Lead Instructor - Matt Stuczynski
Member Cruise Outings - Mehmet Tasci
Membership - Faith Hillis
Purchasing Agent - Dana Smith
Reservations - Peter Dudak
Safety Director - John Lemon
Share-a-Sail - David Shayne
Social - Pat Webster
Tender & Parking Passes - Bill Prindible
Tiller Time - Anke Heinrich
Treasurer - Steve VanderVoort
Webmaster - Alfred Chan

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Maintenance Hotline and 

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Chris Schuler 
Steve VanderVoort
Vice Chairman
 Rob Wakerly
Fiona Ray 

Alfred Chan

Dan Flavin

Chris Garvey

Bob Lapin

Matt Stuczynski
Michael Swisher
Pat Webster


Renew Your Sail Chicago Membership Now  

To renew your Sail Chicago membership online using a credit card, click here.  If you'd prefer to mail in your renewal and pay by check click here to print a paper form.


Fulfill your Annual Service Requirement - Volunteer Opportunities Available

All Sail Chicago members must fulfill an annual service requirement before they can participate in on-the-water activities.  To check out the many volunteer opportunities in Sail Chicago,  click here.

Join the Share-a-Sail Program 
If you need crew or you want to volunteer as crew, our Share-a-Sail program is for you.  Just go to Google Groups and search for Share-a-Sail and leave your name and email address there. You'll be able to post and receive emails from other Sail Chicago members who would like to get together and go sailing.  Both members and Sail-into-Summer students can participate.

Join or Renew Your US Sailing Membership at a Discount Through MVP
Sail Chicago members can join or renew their US Sailing membership at a $10 discount through the US Sailing Member Value Partner program.


There are sails aplenty at the Weather Mark Tavern.

 By Pat Webster


Join us at the Weather Mark Tavern* for our first social event of the season on Saturday, May 17th at 7:00 PM.   The Weather Mark is a nautically-themed bar and restaurant and is just an all-around great place to connect with old friends and make new ones. Sail Chicago will provide one drink and limited appetizers for members and students currently registered for a class.  Guests are welcome to join us at $7/person, pay at the door.  The Weather Mark also serves a nice dinner, with some discounted food and drink specials, so plan to stay to continue talking sailing, after you've enjoyed an appetizer or two.  If you plan to come, please register by May 15th so that we can be sure to provide enough food.


Sail Chicago is also hosting two "Friends and Family Picnics" this summer.  The first will be held on Sunday June 22 and Sunday August 3. Come spend an afternoon with members, students and their

Pat Webster

families and friends at Belmont Harbor barbecuing and getting in a sail.  It's a great opportunity to introduce non-sailing family and friends to our sport. Look for details in the June issue of Between the Sheets and in email announcements.


Also, if you're interested in helping out at any of these events, please contact Pat Webster.  Your help is welcome, and it's a great way to meet people and get involved.


*The Weather Mark is located at 1503 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago. Street (Pay at the Box) parking is available. There are also pay lots nearby. 




A Boat Team at work


Now that our boats are in the water and rarin' to go, perhaps it's time we stepped back for a minute to thank those many Sail Chicago member-volunteers who spent countless hours at the Canal Street Marina getting the boats ship-shape. Making sure that our fleet of twelve boats is ready to sail by May 1 was no small task, particularly in light of the tough winter we had this year and the fact that our boats are stored outside. Our volunteers persevered, however, with such tasks as bottom-painting, hull-buffing, seal-coating, fiberglassing, sorting through supplies and rigging to ensure that our boats are well-equipped, and the countless other necessary tasks to insure the safety and seaworthiness of our fleet.


For the past couple of years we have implemented a new framework for our fleet maintenance. In past

Chris Garvey cleans the trailer
A wide variety of tasks have to be completed.

times volunteers specialized in a particular tasks like painting and varnishing, fiberglassing, motor maintenance, sails, rigging, etc., which they performed across all our boats. While this task specialization created some efficiencies, these volunteers became difficult to replace when they moved or retired from Sail Chicago.


More recently, we have moved to the concept of Boat Teams, headed by an individual Boat Manager. These teams are responsible for the care and maintenance of a particular boat throughout the entire year. This system has several advantages:

  • It invests team members with a sense of ownership in their particular boat,
  • It builds technical knowledge across a number of people and teams,
  • It creates a real sense of community among boat team members.

 This new program seems to be working well. If you are looking for a way to fulfill your annual service requirement, consider joining a boat team. To find how you can volunteer, click here.


Two volunteer positions in our Instruction Program have recently become available:  
  • Assistant Instruction Coordinator
  • Registrar
If you're looking to fulfill your annual service requirement, or can just help out for a while, please contact Instruction Coordinator Michael Swisher.  Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated. 


By John Lemon, Safety Director


John Lemon

The Sail Chicago Safety Committee would like to welcome everyone back for another (much needed) season of sailing.   A new addition to the safety team is second year member Greg Scannell, who will be assisting in our continuing safety efforts.  Please speak up with any safety related concerns, advice, or knowledge by contacting John or Greg.   Safe sailing begins with all of us.


Every year, the National Safe Boating Council, in conjunction with the US Coast Guard and other boating safety agencies, conducts National Safe Boating Week.  This year it's May 17 - 23.  This important educational campaign puts safety in the limelight at the beginning of the boating season, with particular focus on encouraging all boaters to wear lifejackets while on the water.  This year's theme is, "WEAR IT!"


In 2012, the Coast Guard reported over 4,000 open water boating accidents resulting in 651 fatalities; of the accident victims who drowned, eighty-five percent were reported as NOT wearing a life jacket.   Sail Chicago requires that you wear a lifejacket during all official on-the-water activities, including classes and racing.   We encourage skippers on private sails to do the same, and Sail Chicago strongly insists that their passengers and crew wear lifejackets as well.  Make it a habit to don your lifejacket as soon as you step on the boat, whether you are going sailing or performing maintenance work on the mooring.


You can read more about the campaign here.  We should all take the safe boating pledge:



I pledge to boat safely each and every time I go out on the water, keeping myself, my family, my friends and fellow boaters from harm's way.  I will always boat responsibly by:

    • Wearing my life jacket and ensuring that everyone on board wears their life jacket (when in a small boat, or operating in rough water or threatening weather conditions),
    • Remaining sober and alert - remembering that the use of alcohol contributes to accidents on the water,
    • Staying in control of my craft and respecting the right of others enjoying the waterways,
    • Knowing and obeying navigation rules, operating at a safe speed, and maintaining a proper lookout. 

The polar vortex seems to have departed, but we find ourselves with an unusually cool late spring. Our first session of Basic Keelboat classes begins May 10.   Water temperatures offshore where we sail are hovering around 50 degrees; in addition, the air temperature will be much cooler than on shore.   Survival times drop off significantly in cold water, yet most victims of cold water immersion die of drowning! So bundle up and bring plenty of layers.   Your life jacket provides additional insulation as well.


Let's have a safe summer on our beautiful lake!



As part of its outreach to other not-for-profit charitable organizations in the Chicago area, Sail Chicago has recently partnered with the Schuler Scholar Program to provide opportunities for high school students in that program to gain on-the-water experience and develop their sailing skills. Sail Chicago member Tom Simms will be heading the program in its first year.  Preliminary plans are to use one of our Colgates on a weekday afternoon to give these students some real hands-on sailing experiences. Tom will need help with this new program, so watch future issues of Between the Sheets to find out more about how you can participate.


The Schuler Scholar Program prepares students in the Chicago area who are bright and motivated, but underserved, to succeed at the most competitive colleges and universities in the nation. Schuler Scholars are typically first-generation college-bound, come from under-resourced families and communities, and will need financial assistance in order to attend college. Many Scholars are from a population that is under-represented on college campuses.


In addition to the Schuler Scholar Program, Sail Chicago has for many years partnered with Lawrence Hall Youth Services and Association House of Chicago in order to provide similar kinds of programs for underserved youth.


Minna Greene

By Minna Greene


Have you ever seen brightly colored spinnaker sails out on the lake and wished that you knew how to fly one?  Now you can by signing up for spinnaker classes being offered this summer, one on Saturdays and the other on Fridays. They consist of three lessons and cost $100.


You will learn the skills involved in all three spinnaker positions: the deck work of manning the spinnaker pole, the cockpit work of rigging, raising, flying, and lowering the spinnaker, and the skipper responsibilities of keeping the spinnaker filled and knowing how to jibe with the spinnaker.  If you are interested in joining one of the classes click here Come out and join the fun!


Qualifications to take the class: Completion of Intermediate class or Small Keelboat Skippercard.




Sail Chicago has three new members on its Board. Last month we highlighted Bob Lapin. This month, it's Matt Stuczynski.


Tell us a little about your sailing experience, both in and out of Sail Chicago.  

I learned to sail as an adult through Sail Chicago. Having the summer off from school, I sail a lot in the

Matt Stuczynski

summer; as a skipper during private rentals, as part of a boat maintenance crew, doing Tiller Times, member cruise outings, and instructing.   This past Fall I received the U.S. Sailing Basic Keelboat Instructor certification.  I'm qualified on our cruising boat. I have raced in the Midwest Open Racing Fleet and in the Gay Games in Chicago and Cologne. I also sailed in the Colgate racing program during the summer of 2013.    


Why did you decide to join the Board?

As the new Lead Instructor for Sail Chicago, I wanted to be on the Board in order to become more familiar with the group's leadership as well as its procedures and protocols.   Being involved in the group's decision-making process enables me to better execute the duties of Lead Instructor by being better informed regarding policies, procedures, and rules of the organization.


What's your vision for the future of Sail Chicago?

What appeals to me most is the group's clear educational mission to promote sailing and make sailing accessible and affordable for all those willing to give it a try and put in the effort.  I want to help uphold and strengthen this legacy and mission as well as expand it by increasing our efforts to reach out to a broader base of the Chicagoland community.


I am excited about the role of Lead Instructor.   As a veteran high school teacher, I aim to apply some of what I've learned in the classroom to our mission of community sailing instruction.  It's humbling to be asked to fill the shoes of previous Lead Instructor, John Lemon, but I will do my best to build upon the foundation he leaves behind.


I would like to standardize our curriculum more in line with that of US Sailing and keeping alive John's motto of Safety, Fun, Learning.  I especially look forward to learning from our many seasoned and passionate instructors and hope to support them and our mission in any way I can.


What do you do when you're not sailing?

I am a high school Spanish and German teacher at New Trier High School in Winnetka. I now also work there as a full-time librarian.  I hold a B.A. in German, a Master's Degree in Education, and a Master's Degree in Library Science.  I am the Sailing Club sponsor at the school.




Sail Chicago's Board of Directors held their monthly meeting on April 10th, 2014.  The Board discussed the following:

  • Joining a task force being spearheaded by Chicago Match Racing to increase cooperation and collaboration with other Chicago based sailing organizations.  Bob Cohen and John Lemon will represent Sail Chicago; if others are interested, please contact Chris Schuler, Chairman.
  • Reviewed financial through the first quarter noting increases in membership and good early indicators for the instruction and racing programs
  • The fleet is being readied for launch in late April with availability for use by early May. The organization has a continued need for maintenance volunteers, we encourage members to sign up soon to help. 
  • Atticus (Rhodes19) will be decommissioned due to hull leakage that cannot be repaired
  • There is one two-year open Board of Directors position open. The board development committee will make a recommendation of a member to fill this position. If interested, please contact Steve VanderVoort.  


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