BTS: November 2011

Between the Sheets: News from Sail Chicago for November

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Sail Chicago is a community sailing program that has for over fifty years been offering affordable sailing, water safety, and racing instruction, and recreational sailing opportunities to people in the Chicago area.

Issue #11November, 2011 
Guest Editorial - Strategic Planning

Lemon.jpgBy John Lemon, Lead Instructor


The Board of Directors adopted a Strategic Plan in the fall of 2009 to develop a long-term plan to expand our membership and renew our fleet.  We have made significant progress over the past two years in implementing this plan.

Implementation of free Tiller Times and Member Cruise Outings has added significant value to our New Member Package and to your membership dues.   We want to continue to attract new members and expose them to sailing, in keeping with our motto, "Come Sail with Us."  For 2012, we have created a new membership option that will let potential sailors take a Basic Sailing class and check out our great sport, without the responsibilities and benefits of full membership.  There will be a modest premium for this option, and the introductory classes will be held on our Colgate 26.  We expect that many will upgrade to full membership once they get out on the water.

Our fleet has definitely seen some changes, and more are on the way.  We acquired two Ideal 18s in 2010, and added a Colgate 26 in 2011.  Due to the unplanned demise of our cruising boat Emotional Rescue in May, we purchased a newer 34' Hunter. We also reduced the size of our cruising boat fleet through the sale of Little Isis.  Both the Colgate 26 and the Hunter 34 have been very popular and enjoyed heavy use this season.  We also moved out of our indoor maintenance facility this summer, releasing significant resources to build our fleet and enhance our sailing programs.

Stepping back to view the big picture, however, we see that our membership has declined since the early 2000's, yet our fleet size and composition has remained essentially the same.  The Shields (Erica) and the Montrose racing fleet have seen a substantial decline in skipper activity and usage over the past few years.  The Board felt that it was time to "right-size" our fleet, to bring it in line with our membership goals and overall needs.  A key component of our Strategic Plan is the goal to modernize our fleet, to get away from intensive boat maintenance in order to free up volunteer resources, and to build a fleet that is composed of multiple boats of the same model.

The specific plans for 2012 are:

  • Purchase another Colgate 26 for the Basic Keelboat fleet, for spring 2012 launch,
  • Maintain the Cruising Program at its current level, with one boat (Hunter 34) on a slip at Belmont Harbor,
  • Discontinue the Shields program and sell Erica,
  • Move the Open Racing Program to Monroe Harbor and discontinue maintaining a dry-moored fleet at Montrose Harbor,   
  • The Board is discussing plans for placement of the decommissioned Montrose Rhodes 19s, including augmenting the R19 fleet at Monroe or placing one boat on a star dock at Montrose.  A survey will be sent to members seeking your input. 

The Board also voted to keep membership dues and sailing instruction course fees the same for 2012.  There will be a modest increase in individual usage (rental) fees for our small keelboats, reflecting our increased costs and the fact that rates have not increased since 2004.  Rental fees for our larger boats will also increase to better reflect the value they provide to our members.  Tiller Times and Member Cruise Outings will remain free.

We enter 2012 in great shape.  Implementing these steps as the next stage of our overall plan will help grow our membership and continue the process of modernizing and fine-tuning our fleet and our programs.


To view the entire Strategic Plan Update, click here.

Guest Editorial
Who to Contact
Board of Directors
Board Approves Changes to Tiller Times/MCOs
Haulout Successful!
Storm Batters Monroe Harbor
Take a Hike!
Sailing Opens New Horizons
Crew Overboard!
More Sailing Resources

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Maintenance Hotline

312-409-9000 or

Who to Contact 
Chairman - Sam Veilleux
Announcements - Ann Weaver
BTS Editor - Steve VanderVoort
Cruising Boats - Chris Riegel
Instruction (Dryland) - Dan Flavin
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
Board Approves Changes to Tiller Times/ MCOs
At its October meeting, your Board approved changes to the Tiller Time and Member Cruise Outing programs that were recommended by the TT/MCO Committee  These changes are outlined below.

Tiller Time
  • Purpose - to practice skills learned in on-the-water classes.
  • Member Eligibility - students who have had at least one on-the-water class in their current sailing course, new skippers (current and following sailing season), and "rusty" skippers who have not skippered a boat on which they are skipper-qualified for at least a year.
  • Reservations - students may sign up for up to two Tiller Times at a time.
  • Cost - no cost
  • Skippers - receive service time credit and $50 in sailing credits after completing five Tiller Time sails and an online survey after each sail.

Member Cruise Outings
  • Purpose - pleasure sail for members and guests
  • Cost - no cost to members.  Guests pay $20.
  • Reservations - members may sign up for one MCO at a time.
  • Cancellation Fee - a $20 fee will be charged for each member and guest who cancels within 48 hours or who doesn't show up for an MCO sail.
  • Skippers - receive service time credit after completing five MCO sails and an online survey after each sail.  They may also bring a mate on all MCOs except on Ideal 18s.
For more information, please see the complete report of the TT/MCO Committee.
Haulout Successful!
Loading the Trailor
Loading the Trailer

Saturday, October 22 dawned bright and sunny as Sail Chicago members prepared for the annual haulout of the Sail Chicago Rhodes and Ideal fleet from Montrose Harbor .  By 9:00 am trucks and SUVs were lined up along the roadway by the cranes along the

harbor, ready to load the boats onto the trailers.  A slight delay, caused by the launching of the Monroe Harbor Vanguard fleet for a final season race delayed the procedure a bit, but soon the first of the boats had their masts removed and were ready to be hoisted onto trailers, with their hulls power-washed before being transported to the winter storage facility at the Canal Street Boatyard. 

2011 Haulout
Power-washing the hull


In the meantime, Social Director Pat Webster arrived with treats in hand to provide the 40 or so Sail Chicago members who had shown up for the haulout with lots of coffee, doughnuts, and bagels. 


The new Sail Chicago trailer was also on hand, making it especially easy to load all the gear from the boats into it for easy transport to the boatyard.  By 3:00 pm all was completed, and the boats were safely tucked away for the winter.  The only regret, expressed by several members, was that the day would have been perfect for one last sail.


Storm Batters Monroe Harbor
Monroe Harbor StormOn Tuesday and Wednesday, October 19 & 20, a severe storm and high winds battered sites along Lake Michigan, including Monroe Harbor in downtown Chicago.  Seven boats were totally destroyed, and 20 boats were severely damaged in one of the worst storms to hit the area.  Boats were torn form their moorings and battered against the south seawall by the Shedd Aquarium.  Because of it's lack of sheltered space, Monroe Harbor is particularly vulnerable to storms such as this.  Earlier this past spring in a similar storm, Emotional Rescue, a Sail Chicago cruising boat, was torn from it's moorings and slammed against the south
seawall for a total loss.  

Monroe Harbor Storm
This time we were more lucky.  The sail-up to Montrose Harbor that was originally scheduled for Saturday, October 15, was postponed to Sunday, October 16, due to high winds and bad weather.  While the weather was still not good on Sunday, all our Rhodes moored at Monroe Harbor made it safely to the more sheltered Montrose Harbor where they were moored on docks instead of on mooring balls.  All of our boats survived the storm's destruction, although Meridian, which was still attached to a mooring in Monroe Harbor, had some minor damage from drifting boats.  We are working with our insurance company to make sure that Meridian is returned to its pre-storm excellent condition. 

To view more photos of the destruction at Monroe Harbor from Tom Wagner, click here.
Take a Hike!
By Dolores Baron

Sailing is over for the year.  Now it's time to look for some fun non-sailing activities we can all do together.  Back in the "old days," when Sail Chicago was still affiliated with American Youth Hostels, I used to lead hiking trips for the group.  I would like to start this up again.  We will go to nearby areas of interest and hike at a moderate pace.  I've planned two such events for Sail Chicago members and guests:
Sunday,  November 13
Chicago Botanic Garden
Meet at 9:00 am
Cost:  free

We can share rides.  Let me know where you live and we can see how we can connect.

We will park on Forestway Drive, just off of Dundee, were there is parking next to a school. We will then enter through the south gate, walk up to the gardens and buildings where we will look around, have lunch and walk back.
Sunday, November 20
Morton Arboretum
Meet at 9:00 am in the main building
Cost:  $11 or $10 for seniors.
We can share rides.  Let me know where you live and we can see how we can connect.

The Arboretum is a lovely place to hike. If you have not seen it you will be amazed. It is a series of circular trails, so we can make it as long or short as we wish.  We will have a short walk in the morning and return to the Main building for lunch at their restaurant. Then we can continue for the afternoon.

If there is enough interest we can also set up a city hike for the weekend of December 3/4.

If you're interested in any of these adventures, contact me at or 312-643-2827.
Sailing Opens New Horizons
By Michael Hart, Sail Chicago Member

(This is one of a series of articles by Sail Chicago members regarding their sailing experiences with Sail Chicago or on their own.)
I grew up in Chicago, lived along the lakefront for more than half of my adult life and have certainly taken advantage of the 26 mile bike path.  Up until recently, the boats and their harbors were just added scenery to an already picturesque lakefront.

My primary boating experience was water skiing at my grandparents' summer home in Salem, Wisconsin during my youth.  I spent many summer days filled with fun and adventure on Hooker Lake, but never thought as an adult that it was worthwhile to get any kind of boat.

Before I became interested in sailing, I went through certification as a kiteboarder.  I've felt the adrenaline rush of the power of the wind in my hands and only then did I start to take a closer look at all those sailboats out on the water.  Sail Chicago appealed to me four seasons ago and it seems to be getting better every year.

Jonathan Hart
Jonathan Hart at the helm on Equinox
Along comes the single-handed class, I can go out anytime without having to consider anyone else's schedule.  Instead of time being the determinant, favorable weather conditions rule. Very simply, that skews the probability of having a good sail by leaps and bounds.  I'm available and within less than an hour of scheduling a rental, I can be on the boat and out of the harbor.

It also makes it easier to go out with non-members that are maybe younger or have never sailed before.  My ten year old son, Jonathan, is home during the summer, and if it's a nice afternoon, lets go.  We've done it a few times already and not only is it a great way for him to learn, but it reinforces what I've learned by teaching him.

And as for mentors, Winifred Ormond is tops in a long line of great ones at Sail Chicago.  The focus, and very contagious, is her joy in sailing solo.  And, the day you experience sailing without manning the tiller, is the day that will literally alter your perception of sailing.
Crew Overboard!
 By Ed Schroeder, Safety Director
Ed Schroeder
Ed Schroeder
We have had a remarkable sailing season, thankfully without any bodily harm to our fellow Sail Chicago members.
Although, at this time, Priorities is the only Sail Chicago boat fitted with a "LifeSling", one can learn valuable COB tactics from many U-Tube sites. Two such sites for using the LifeSling are as follows:
"LifeSling-Crew Overboard Rescue-Seattle Sailing Foundation"
"LifeSling-Shorthanded Crew Overboard Recovery-Sailing Quarterly". This is narrated by Gary Jobson, world famous America Cup sailor.
If we can't be sailing in Chicago,we can at least keep practicing and studying valuable safety lessons during the winter months. And, perhaps, you can use your new-found skills when you charter that boat in exotic warm locations.
More Sailing Resources

 In response to last month's "Between the Sheets" on sailing resources, Chris Riegel, Cruising Boat Director, reports that there are several nifty apps available to sailors through the Apple ITunes Store.  These include apps on:



MotionX-GPS - shows and tracks your position

Imray Charts - plan and share your routes

Navionics - a complete marine navigation system


Education and Training:

Points of Sail - a basic description for the novice sailor that really makes sense

Rules and Signals - a handy reference guide to rules and signals at sea, including harbor markings



Weather LCD - weather anywhere

Windmeter - read the current windspeed from your iPhone

Windfinder - Find wind predictions anyplace


 Thanks, Chris, for the heads up on these valuable resources.  If you readers have located any other resources you would like to share, please let me know.



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