BTS November 2012

Between the Sheets: News from Sail Chicago for November
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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 #11November, 2012 
Steve VanderVoort

By Steve VanderVoort, BTS Editor


Sailing season is over the last of our fleet has been snugly tucked away in its berth at the Canal Street Boatyard.  While there may be some maintenance going on during the winter months, most of that will be done in the early spring as the warmer weather approaches.  


Now is a good time to start planning how you will fulfill your annual Sail Chicago service requirement for 2013.  Many of our newer members found that an easy way to do this was through the winter maintenance program.  Since we began our fleet renewal program, however, there's been much less maintenance to do on our boats.  


In order to help our members, particularly our newer members, find ways that they can fulfill this requirement, we have arranged a "Volunteer Fair" on Tuesday evening, November 13 (see article below).  If you'd like to get an excellent overall view of the types of activities that might fulfill your annual service requirement and sign up to participate in one, don't miss this opportunity!  Ways in which you can fulfill your service requirements may eventually be posted on the Sail Chicago website or listed in "Between the Sheets," but, for now, your best opportunity will be to visit the Volunteer Fair.


Sail Chicago also has the first in a series of winter seminars on a variety of sailing-related topics coming up on November 20.  For more information, see the article below.  It's a time to not only increase your sailing knowledge, but go get together with other Sail Chicago friends as well.



Although the Annual Meeting is still a few months away, the Board Development Committee is beginning to focus on potential candidates to fill vacant Board positions.  The Board will present a list of candidates it recommends to the membership at the Annual Meeting.  Other candidates may be proposed at the meeting, and members present will then have an opportunity to vote on all candidates presented.
Please think carefully about whether you'd like to be considered for a recommendation by the Board to fill a vacant Board position.  As a Board Member you should:
  • Currently be actively involved in at least one area of Sail Chicago activities or programs,
  • Plan to attend all regularly-scheduled monthly Board meetings,
  • Volunteer for and participate in at least one Board committee,
  • Think creatively about ways in which Sail Chicago may better serve its members and the greater Chicago community, and be prepared to turn those thoughts into action.
Board members typically serve a three-year term.  If you would like to be considered, or if you know of someone you believe should be considered for a position on the Board, please contact Chris Schuler, Chairman of the Board Development Committee.
Candidates Sought for Board Positions
"Opportunities for Service Fair" November 13
First Seminar in Winter Series Scheduled for November 20
Board Adopts Strategic Plan Update
Instructors Meet to Plan for 2013
2012 Haulout Successful
Post-Season Party a Huge Success
Rookie Instructors Hit the Mark
Great New Wind & Weather Websites
Keep a Log!
HMS Bounty Sinks in Storm

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Maintenance Hotline

312-409-9000 or


Chairman - Frank Loftus
Announcements - Ann Johnston
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
Marketing - Mike Parapetti
Member Cruise Outings - Emily Case
Pre-Sail Orientation - Dan Flavin
Safety - Ed Schroeder
Seminars -Paul Demmel
Social - Pat Webster
Tiller Time -Chris Garvey
Treasurer - Jay Owens

 By Arleen Prairie and Pat Webster

All Sail Chicago members and others who are interested are invited to an "Opportunities for Service Fair' on Tuesday, November 13th from 6-8:30 pm at Sulzer Regional Library, 4455 N. Lincoln Avenue. 


Your valuable service contributions to Sail Chicago are what keeps sailing education and affordable boat use viable for our Chicago community.  Because of our fleet renewal program and the changing nature of many of our other programs and activities, your opportunities for service to Sail Chicago are also changing and expanding.  Even if you're not currently a member of Sail Chicago, we'd love to have you join us to learn more about these volunteer opportunities.


  As you know, there is an annual service requirement for all members each year.  In order to help you meet this requirement in ways that can best utilize your skills and talents, Sail Chicago is offering a new process to help you choose how you will fulfill your annual service requirement and  give back to this thriving group of sailing enthusiasts.  It is the "Opportunities for Service Fair." 


The purpose of the Opportunities for Service Fair is to present a complete listing of volunteer opportunities that enables you to explore areas of service that best suit your interests and skills, or will enable you to develop new ones.  Since a goal of our organization is sailing education, you may want to use your service time requirement to learn new skills in boat care and maintenance by becoming part of a boat maintenance team that ensures the safety and seaworthiness of our fleet.  Or you may want to contribute unique skills that you already have to the organization's operation or administration.   


Do come to this informal evening if at all possible.  You will be able to discuss your interests with knowledgeable leaders in the organization.  Then sign up for your preferences that evening.   You will be contacted shortly after the fair to confirm your volunteer service choice.  


The fair will open at 6:00 pm.  Pizza, salad, and soft drinks will be served at 7:00 pm, and the fair will conclude at 8:30 pm.  There is no charge for this event, but we need your reservation in order to have adequate printed materials and food on hand.  If you are unable to attend the Fair, look for future email announcements or articles in "Between the Sheets"  about how you can meet your annual service requirement.  If you've got questions about the Fair, please contact Pat Webster.  


By Paul Demmel, Seminar Coordinator
The first in a series of sailing seminars sponsored by Sail Chicago is scheduled for Tuesday, November 20, 7:00 - 8:30 pm in the REI Lincoln Park Community Room, 1466 North Halsted.  Presenters are Sail Chicago members Dan Stein, with his ever-popular demonstration of how sailboats work, and John Lemon, delving into the finer points of lift.
Ideal 18
Why does it move through the water?
You don't need to be a physicist to be a good sailor, but sailboats follow some basic rules of physics as they make their way through the water.  The phenomenon that allows airplanes to fly is also at work whenever sailboats sail upwind.  Do you become uncomfortable when a sailboat heels over?   We'll be discussing how all the forces on the boat can be balanced out to maximize speed and comfort.  Do you have a friend who's interested in this topic?  Bring them along!   But be sure to register early.  Space in the Community Room is limited, and we'd hate to have you disappointed. 


The winter seminar series is a collection of talks given in the sailing off-season.  There are many topics of interest to the membership, so we  are actively expanding the seminar series to encompass more material.  Currently, we are planning other seminars  on safety and boarding by the US Coast Guard, and a weather seminar.  Details on each will be available one to two months before the presentations so watch "Between the Sheets" and Sail Chicago Announcements for exact dates, times, and locations.

As we expand this program, we look forward to membership feedback and suggestions.  We've already received several requests for a navigation seminar and also interest in the rules of racing.  Please let us know if you have a topic you're interested in, or have expertise in teaching.  But most importantly, please come prepared to learn more about sailing in an off-the-water setting, foster friendships throughout Sail Chicago, and have a good time.  Questions or comments?  Contact Paul Demmel.


At its October meeting, the Sail Chicago Board adopted the 2013 Strategic Plan Update that had been previously drafted by the Strategic Planning Committee.  Among other things, the Update recommends that the Board:

  • Adopt a formal mission statement (see headline above),
  • Incorporate Intermediate Sailing and Skipper Training into the "Sail into Summer" program course offerings,
  • Establish two new standing committees - a Membership and Marketing Committee, and a Membership Involvement Committee
  • Manage our growth by investigating the possibility of adding select paid staff and using volunteers who are not members of Sail Chicago,
  • Conduct most sailing instruction on one class of boat (Colgate 26),
  • Continue to modernize our fleet,
  • Establish new maintenance procedures to minimize fleet downtime.

During the coming months the Board will be working hard to implement these recommendations.  To view the complete Strategic Plan Update, click here.


By John Lemon, Lead Instructor
John Lemon

Coming on the heels of our most successful sailing instruction season yet, over 25 of Sail Chicago's volunteer instructors met October 27 to take stock of the 2012 season and to begin planning for 2013 sailing instruction.  With the creation of the Sail into Summer program this year, we significantly expanded the number of new sailors involved in our program.  At the same time, we attracted slightly more new members than in 2011.  The result was that we more than doubled the number of new sailors compared to 2011.  The total number of student classes was over 200, compared to 115 in 2011.  We also 'graduated' a record number of skippers on all our boats--over 40--most of whom are new to Sail Chicago.
Key to the success was shifting to the Colgate 26 as our teaching boat for the introductory sailing class, after a fifty-plus year run of teaching on Rhodes 19s.  The Colgate 26 has proved to be very popular among students and instructors alike.  With the expansion of our fleet to four, they are by far the most used boats.  Looking ahead to 2013, we are shifting all of our Basic Keelboat classes to the Colgate 26, now that our fleet is big enough.  We also plan to offer Intermediate and Skipper Training classes through Sail into Summer.  We will continue to use the Ideal 18s for advanced classes like single-handing and spinnaker.  Plans are afoot to begin a Wednesday evening racing program on the Colgates as well.
Training new instructors and obtaining US Sailing Basic Keelboat Instructor certification for our existing instructors went well.  We added six new instructors to our team: Iwona Awlascewicz, Matt Stuczinski, Bob Cohen, Jake Worley-Hood, Michael Hart, and James Porter.  Eight new instructors are in the works for 2013.  Six instructors obtained, or are very close to obtaining, instructor certification through US Sailing, the standard of quality sailing instruction.  All six participated in a grueling three-day evaluation of their teaching and sailing skills.  They are Ilya Letuchy, Alfred Chan, Michael Swisher, Bob Cohen, Matt Stuczinski, and Michael Hart.  Congratulations!
Our success would not have been possible without the hard work of our volunteer instructors, who often went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that their students got the best experience possible given the vagaries of wind and weather.  I'd like to thank Michael Hart, who worked tirelessly throughout the summer scheduling the huge increase in new and returning students.


2012 Haulout
2012 Haulout

Saturday, October 20, dawned damp, cold, and cloudy.  Just the kind of weather that the volunteers who were involved in the annual Sail Chicago tradition of "Haulout" dreaded.  Fortunately, however, by ten o'clock that morning the clouds had been replaced by bright sun, and the temperature had risen to a brisk but comfortable 60F.  About 25 volunteers - old hands, new members, and Sail into Summer participants - showed up at Montrose Harbor to pull the boats out out of the water, clean their bottoms, put them on trailers, and ship them off to winter storage at the Canal Street Boatyard.  


2012 Haulout
2012 Haulout

By two o'clock pm, the last of the boats had been tucked into their winter storage berths at the boatyard, and the gear and equipment needed for the haulout put away.  This left only a few of the volunteers at the Harbor still reminiscing about their 2012 sailing adventures and planning new ones for the next sailing season. 


This year the task was made much easier, because only four boats in our fleet (the Rhodes and Ideals) needed to be sailed up to Montrose and hauled out of the water by crane.  Since our Colgate and Hunter fleet all have motors, most of them had already been moved to winter storage by motoring down the Chicago River to the boatyard. 


Sail Chicago member Dan Flavin coordinated these efforts to get our Colgates to the boatyard on a timely basis.  On a cold, windy and rainy Sunday, they were moved one at a time to DuSable Harbor, where a team worked to prep and lower the masts by hand.  The next day they were motored down river to the boatyard.  Our thanks to Dan and his hard-working crew for making this effort possible.


2012 Party
Partygoers mingle before dinner
Over seventy Sail Chicago members and guests came to the Columbia Yacht Club's  "Big Blue Boat" anchored in DuSable Harbor to attend Sail Chicago's  annual Post-Season Party. Everyone agreed that it provided a great nautical venue for such a festive occasion.  The party gave both members and guests an opportunity to reminisce about the recently past sailing season and to make preliminary plans for the next one.  In the meantime, there were a variety of drinks and fabulous food. 

The Post-Season Party is also a time for recognition and honors.  Various program areas recognized outstanding participants in each of the following areas:
2012 Party
Chairman Frank Loftus congratulates award winner Dan Flavin
  • Maintenance Guru - Ed Schroeder
  • Best Sail Chicago Student - Loan Le
  • Instructor of the year - Mike Swisher
  • Volunteer of the Year - Dan Flavin
Each person received an engraved beer stein and a a round of hearty congratulations from those assembled.
Many, many thanks to Pat Webster, Sail Chicago's Social Director, and all her helpers who were able to create for us a truly memorable evening.  It was much appreciated by all who attended.
Michael Hart
Michael Hart
By Michael Hart 

Iwona Awlasewicz, Robert Cohen, James Porter, Matt Stuczynski, and Jacob Worley-Hood were our rookie instructors this past season. For the first time in 2012, all basic instruction classes were held on the Colgate 26 and were open to the greater Chicago community through our "Sail Into Summer" program.  On call with our over three dozen veteran instructors, the rookies taught 9 out of the total 32 basic level classes for the season.  
The June session was their debut month and fortunately, our second Colgate, Albatross, had already been placed in service to share some of the load for a whopping eleven basic classes that were scheduled. The fact is, almost half of those classes that momentous session were instructed by skippers who taught their inaugural class!
Matt Stuzynski's favorite moment as a new instructor:
My favorite moment was on the last night when it seemed that we put the boat away in record time; even the students were surprised how quickly things went at the end and one remarked that it went quickly because "we worked as a team". I will always remember that.

For over fifty years, we have counted on the trusty Rhodes 19 for all of our classes to qualify in becoming a Sail Chicago skipper.  Along came the new keel on the can mid-season last year, our original Colgate, Meridian.  Since rookie instructors begin teaching classes at the basic level, a required Colgate 26 checkout was in order before being part of Sail Chicago's most successful instructional season.     
Bob Cohen's appreciation to be a new instructor:
I sold my power boat and decided that sailing was in my blood. I got a chance to sail with some of Sail Chicago's great skippers and instructors and thought I'd like to try and give back to the club. I like to teach and love to sail. Teaching on the Colgate 26's has been a joy. Thanks for the opportunity!
John Lemon
By John Lemon, Lead Instructor 
I recently became aware of two very good sources for more detailed forecasts of expected wind direction, speed, and precipitation.  These should help sailors make a more informed decision when planning your sails.  Because both sources give hour by hour projections for at least 72 hours in advance, you are able to get better information than is contained in the nearshore marine forecast.  The nearshore forecast often gives predictions like "southwest winds 10 to 20 knots".  For many sailors, there is a significant difference between sailing in 10 knots and sailing in 20 knots.  Knowing that the anticipated wind is closer to 10 or 20 or if it is increasing or decreasing during your planned sail makes a difference.
The first is the Sailing Weather Service.  This website was used for the daily weather forecast for the recent Verve Offshore Regatta.  I refer to it often and I have found that it correlates very well with actual wind speed and direction.  The best part is you can see if the wind is trending up, down, or steady during your anticipated sail.  To see it, click here.  As you click through the animation, you will see the wind barbs change direction and intensity.  The model also shows movement of precipitation events through the area.  If you are unfamiliar with interpreting wind barbs, see this page from the U of I Department of Atmospheric Sciences.  
National Weather Service Chicgo The National Weather Service also recently added graphical displays of hour by hour forecasted wind, temperature, humidity, and rain and thunderstorm probability.  For information on the Chicgo area, click here.  The advantage to this page is that you can look at the forecasted wind and chances for precipitation at the same time.  Again, this information matches observed wind speeds well.  I suspect that both sites get their data from the same source.
For sailors interested in an in depth study of weather, next spring Sail Chicago will again sponsor the Weather for Sailors educational talk by Eric Schneider.  Details will be announced in a future issue of BTS.


Logbook  Now that the 2012 sailing season is behind you, you probably want to start planning your sailing activities for the 2013 season.   Before you do, however, you might want to "log in" your sailing activities for this past year.  A record of your sailing experience can come in very handy if you ever want to charter your own boat in some exotic locale or become certified by the U. S. Coast Guard or another sailing organization.  It can also be just plain fun to be able to look back after a few years of record-keeping to see what you did and how you've progressed.


While you can always purchase an "official" logbook, it might be just as easy to create your own on a spreadsheet or word processor.  If you do create your own, you can be as general or as detailed as you wish.  Typical headings in your log might be:  the dates you sailed, the size and class of boat, whether you skippered or crewed, weather conditions, other crew members, and any "incidents" that occurred.  You might also want to log in formal classes or training programs that you've attended.  You'll eventually build a complete record of your sailing experience that you can be proud of!


HMS Bounty
HMS Bounty in happier days

Sailors around the world were shocked saddened to learn of the loss of the HMS Bounty off the coast of North Carolina during Hurricane Sandy in late October.  The US Coast Guard was able to rescue 14 crew members from the ship before it sank, but at last count, two were still missing.

The ship was a replica of the original HMS Bounty that gained fame through the novel "Mutiny on the Bounty," followed by several film versions.  This replica was built specifically for the 1962 film version staring Marlon Brando.  About 10 years ago it underwent a multi-million dollar restoration.  For the full story,  click here.
Chicago Skyline
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