BTS: May 2015

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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, 2015
Steve VanderVoort

By Steve VanderVoort, Editor


Our boats are in the water and ready to sail, even if the weather is still a little chilly near the lake. Our instruction program is underway--classes on our Colgates have begun.  None of this would have been possible without the countless hours spent by our member-volunteers cleaning, painting, rigging, and many other tasks that keep our fleet in fit form on the water.


We are a not-for-profit, all-volunteer, community-sailing program.  The only way we continue to exist is through the efforts of our member-volunteers.  I am constantly amazed at the time and energy many of them devote to Sail Chicago.  Of course, they are passionate sailors, but that's not all.  I think that many of them love the community that's involved in providing affordable sailing opportunities to people in the Chicago area.  Working on a boat-maintenance project, planning and executing social events for members and friends, teaching others new sailing skills--these all provide a sense of gratification and a feeling of camaraderie with others who share the same passion for sailing.

But being an all-volunteer program also has a few disadvantages.  Our volunteers have other obligations to career and family.  Many of us live far from where most of our activities take place.  Other priorities can sometimes get in the way of our best intentions.  Hence, not all things get done on as timely a basis as we would like. Nevertheless, as long as our member-volunteers continue to "pitch in," we will be able to continue to provide quality sailing instruction and affordable sailing opportunities.


And speaking of "pitching in," we have a couple of opportunities to become more involved in the Sail Chicago community (see articles below).  We currently need volunteers to help us coordinate our social events and to schedule our Member Cruise Outings.  We also need a boat manager for one of our Colgates.  Please consider stepping up to volunteer in one of these areas. Member-volunteers who have preceded you have allowed you these sailing opportunities. Perhaps now it's your turn?



 By Steve Clar and Julia Liu, Tiller-Time Coordinators


New this season, we will be offering training for skippers who would like to lead Tiller Times. If you have had your skipper card for at least a year, you are probably thinking about skippering Tiller Times, but may not feel quite comfortable or ready to teach others.  Students rely on their Tiller-Time skippers to help practice newly-learned skills, and this one- or two-sail training by one of our qualified instructors will help prepare you to be an efficient and effective Tiller-Time skipper.  While optional, we hope you take advantage of this exciting new training! 



For more information, including dates, or to sign up for training, contact Matt Stuczynski.   Also, as a reminder to anyone wanting to skipper Tiller Times, if you have not already provided us with your availability, please sign up here and you will be contacted for your time and date availability. 



Thanks to Sail Chicago member Kenn Sinko for alerting us to an event at the Chicago Maritime Museum. On Friday, May 15 at 7:00 pm, the Museum will host a presentation on World War II U.S. Navy Aircraft of Lake Michigan. For more information, click here.


May 9 - Kickoff the Season Event
May 14 - Board Meeting
June 11 - Board Meeting
June 20 - Summer Sailstice
Announcements - Gary Thrane
Boat Licensing & Registration - Ottilie Young
Bookkeeper - Jay Owens
Between the Sheets - Steve VanderVoort
Chairman - Chris Schuler
Colgate 26 Racing - Bob Cohen 
Cruising - Bob Lapin
Instruction - Michael Swisher
Lawrence Hall Youth Services - Norm Linde
Lead Instructor - Matt Stuczynski
Marketing - Adam Wisneski
Member Cruise Outings - 
Membership - Faith Hillis
Monroe Parking & Tender Passes - Vlad Roshchin
Purchasing - Dana Smith
Reservations - Peter Dudak
Safety - John Lemon
Schuler Scholars - Tom Simms
Seminars - Paul Demmel
Service Requirements - Christine Garvey
Share-a-Sail - David Shayne
Social - Pat Webster
Strictly Sail Chicago Show - Emma Lynch
Surveys - Gary Thrane
Tiller Time - Steven Clar & Julia Liu 
Treasurer - Steve VanderVoort
Webmaster - Alfred Chan

Maintenance Hotline and 

Accident Reporting

Chris Schuler 
Steve VanderVoort
Vice Chairman
 Maya Teleki
 Christine Garvey 

Alfred Chan

Bob Cohen

Dan Flavin

Bob Lapin

Shawn Lord
Martin Modahl
Matt Stuczynski
Michael Swisher  


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.

Help our Community Outreach Programs
Please consider volunteering to skipper or crew on a weekday afternoon sail with one of our three groups that take underprivileged children sailing. Skippering five or more times will fulfill your service requirement for the following year. For more information on the Lawrence Hall Youth Services, Urban Youth, and Schuler Scholars, go to the Sail Chicago Website.

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.

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.

Shop Amazon Smile and Donate to Sail Chicago
When you shop online at Amazon Smile, Sail Chicago will receive a donation of .5% of your eligible purchases.  It's a great way to both give and receive.  To get started, click here.

Share your Photos
We're looking for photos of Sail Chicago boats, members, and activities.  To upload your photos simply attach them to an email and address it to

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 website.  Look under "News/Newsletter."



By Matt Stuczynski, Lead Instructor


Our spring Pre-Sail Orientations (PSOs) started at the end of April with an eager group of new students, new members, and Sail Chicago instructors.  This first PSO was held at the striking, new, Jeanne 

A Pre-Sail Orientation

Gang-designed WMS Boathouse which now hosts the rowing center for the Chicago Park District.  Our second PSO was held, thanks to Nick Philp and the Columbia Yacht Club, in their beautifully wood-paneled salon, on the upper deck of the Club's boat, Abegweit, which overlooks Monroe Harbor. The best part of being on Abegweit was that we could point out the window to real-life examples of what we were teaching, such as the green and red navigation lights right there at the harbor mouth.  Thanks to our PSO coordinators Mary Ann Wilkens and Pete Hayes as well as our Sail Chicago Instructors Nick Brait, David Kelpsas, Emma Lynch, Jim Monk, and Tom Prucher. 



Hunter 34
Priorities, under sail

By Bob Lapin Cruising Coordinator


Priorities motors down the river and slides into slip E-39 at Belmont Harbor on May 6. Many new features have been added, and Saturday, May 9, has been reserved to brief you on all the changes including the Digital Selective Calling feature of the handheld VHF radio, new maintenance procedures, revised fueling system, new lazy jack system, and the whisker pole for downwind sailing.


Four, two-hour sessions are scheduled from 9-11; 11-1; 1-3; and, 3-5. Let me know which one you will be attending.  The system changes are so significant that you will not be able to use the boat until you have attended an orientation session.  Also let me know if you cannot make the May 9 date and we will schedule another. The E-gate code is 132.


Pat Webster
By Pat Webster, Social Coordinator

Would you like to meet a lot of great sailing enthusiasts?  Would you like to have the opportunity to develop fun events that bring our membership together?   I have just the volunteer opportunity for you.  

I have coordinated social events for Sail Chicago for about the last six years, and it has been a great experience.  I've met and gotten to know people I never would have, if I had not been in this role.  I've also had the satisfaction of seeing sailors connect with each other and form sailing relationships, families come to picnics and get out on our boats, members enjoy a great dinner at Columbia Yacht Club, and, of course, I've been the recipient of many expressions of appreciation.  

But it's now time for me to move on, which opens the door for others to create their vision of what social events in Sail Chicago could and should be.  So, please consider volunteering for our current social committee with the idea of becoming the social coordinator next season.  And contact me if you have questions. 

Chris Garvey
Christine Garvey

By Christine Garvey, Volunteer Coordinator 


The Member Cruise Outing program gives members an opportunity to go out for a free sail and bring along their friends at a small cost.  It is a wonderful benefit of membership.  We need skippers to sign up for MCOs.  A skipper can bring along a first mate, and skippering 5 MCOs satisfies your service time for next year.  If you'd like to volunteer as a skipper, please contact me.


We are still looking for someone to coordinate this program.  The coordinator is in charge of scheduling the sails and recruiting skippers.  Please sign up on the Sail Chicago job site or contact me for more information.


Matt Stuczynski

By Matt Stuczynski, Lead Instructor 


As we announced previously, we are proud to now have an officially sanctioned US Sailing Basic Keelboat program.  We will begin offering US Sailing Basic Keelboat certification after our first classes this summer.  Those seeking the certification need to pass an on-the-water examination by one of our Basic Keelboat Certified instructors as well as pass a written exam.  Those with a student mastery of our Sail Chicago Intermediate Course curriculum are eligible to seek certification.  The on-the-water evaluation will be given by instructors and the written exams will be administered in conjunction with the next Pre-Sail Orientations (PSOs).  The next PSOs are Thursday, May 28, 6-8:30 pm and Saturday, May 30, 10-12:30 pm at the Columbia Yacht Club.


If you are interested in obtaining the US Sailing Basic Keelboat certification, contact your Instructor and/or the Instruction program, and we'll help get you started on this exciting new goal.  





The Sail Chicago Rules and Regulations have been updated for 2015. They cover such vital areas as membership requirements, use of the reservation system, boating activities, safety on the water, incident and accident reporting, our emergency action plan, and much, much more.


Members are responsible for following these rules and regulations. Those who don't may find that their membership is suspended, so it pays to know what's in them and how to find them if there's a question. They are located on the member website.  To review them now, click here



 (Your Sail Chicago Board has three new members and one returning member elected at the Annual Meeting in March.  In the April issue of Between the Sheets we profiled Bob Cohen. This month profiles Martin Modahl.)


Tell us a little about yourself.

I enjoy computer programming, contemporary art, playing guitar, and physical exercise


What about your sailing experience?

I've had instruction and been on Member sails with Sail Chicago. I crew and skipper on Wednesday Beer Can races out of Montrose Harbor, and I've participated in Race Week at the Offshore Sailing School.


What's been your involvement with Sail Chicago?

I've been a student in the Basic, Intermediate, and Skipper Prep Instruction programs. I've participated in many Tiller Times, and I worked on the winter haul-out this year. I'm currently Sail Chicago's Assistant Treasurer.


What motivated you to join the Sail Chicago Board?

I believe I have good organization skills, and I enjoy finance and accounting.  I want to contribute these strengths to Sail Chicago.


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

I think Sail Chicago makes sailing very accessible to people who might have no experience on the water.  The organization has room to grow very organically, reaching more people in Chicago while still keeping the quality of instruction and community very high. 


Several actions were discussed at the April Sail Chicago Board meeting:
  • The purchase of River Folk, our latest Colgate, was approved
  • Membership count is lower than last year at this time, but instruction opened later than last year.
  • The Handbook has become obsolete because all the information can be found on the website or in the Rules & Regulations, which are posted on the my.sail.chicago website.  To review, click here.
  • Maintenance is working hard to get all the boats ready for the season.
  • Open service time positions include MCO coordinator, test checker, boat manager for Windhorse and other maintenance positions.


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