BTS: September 2011

Between the Sheets: News from Sail Chicago for September

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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 #9September, 2011 
From the Editor

By Steve VanderVoort, Between the Sheets Editor


Since I hadn't taken any instruction with Sail Chicago in a couple of years, I decided this year that it was about time.  In reviewed the course offerings, the Single-Handed course on the Ideals looked like it might be interesting. 


"You're not going to be sailing a boat alone!" my wife told me.  I explained that sailiing single-handed was different form sailing solo.  It meant that if my crew got sick, was disabled, fell overboard, etc., that I'd be both competent and confident to sail the boat by myself.


The course is normally scheduled with three students for two sessions.  Since I was the only student who signed up for this particular time slot, however, my instructor, Winifred Ormand, and I decided that one session might be enough and that we'd go to two if she felt it was necessary.


We met on a beautiful Saturday morning with a wind that was challenging but not overpowering.  After an hour or so of formal instruction, Winifred told me that it was now my turn and that I should just sail, pretending that she wasn't there.  I rigged the boat, sailed off the mooring, tacked, jibed, came about, and moored the boat all by myself!  I felt a new exhileration and confidence as I did all thse things with no help.


Perhaps the most enlightening part of the whole day was when Winifred taught me how to sail the Ideal without using the tiller.  Many of us, even advanced skippers, have the mistaken belief that we need a tiller attached to a rudder in order to make a boat do what we want it to.  Winifred told me that it's called a "sail" boat, not a "rudder" boat or a "tiller boat" for a reason.  She lashed down the tiller and then showed me that just by shifting my weight in the boat or by maneuvering the sails, I could make the boat do my bidding.  So I learned how to sail a straight course, come about, and jibe - all without using the tiller.  It was the biggest sailing "Ah-Ha!" I've had in years.  For more information on how to do this, click here.


Although this sailing season is a bit long in the tooth, as you look forward to sailing again next year, you might want to look over some of Sail Chicago's instruction offerings.  You, too, might just have an "Ah-Ha!" experience.

Year-end Banquet November 4

 Join your fellow sailors on Friday, November 4th at 7:00  PM at the Chicago  Yacht Club at Belmont Harbor for our annual celebration of the season.  A buffet dinner will be served and a cash bar will be available throughout the evening.  Look for details about the evening, including the menu, cost and how to register in the next BTS and in email announcements. 

Open Racing Season Ends
By Tom & Hewly Prucher, Open Racing Coordinators 


Open Racing closed the season on August 27.  The races were on twelve of the Saturdays in June, July, and August with only two cancellations due to weather.  Thanks to all who participated and made it a successful season.

Spinnakers up at Open Racing

Year-End Banquet November 4
Open Racing Season Ends
Who to Contact
Board of Directors
End of Season Regatta September 10
Another Great Friends & Family!
MPP Successfully Expands Program
Take Five Minutes for US Sailing
Instruction Program Completes Successful Season
Only a "Little Bump!"
New Use for Old Sails
Sail Chicago Reminders

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Maintenance Hotline

312-409-9000 or

Who to Contact 
Chairman - Sam Veilleux
Announcements - Ann Weaver
BTS Editor - Steve VanderVoort
Bookkeeper - Mark Burns
Cruising Boats - Chris Riegel
Fleet 12 Racing - Sally Hamann
Instruction (Dryland) - Dan Flavin
Instruction/Registration - David Bowen
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

End-of-Season Regatta & Picnic


Montrose Harbor

September 10, 2011 


Racing from 8:00-1:30 PM

Picnic from 1:30 to 3:00 PM


  • Six boats on the starting line, Multiple races, Spinnakers!
  • Beginning racers are assigned to boats with experienced skippers
  • Everyone gets to steer a race 

Register online at sign in

"Reserve Program Seats/Open Racing/Find Seats"

Racing Fee $20.00 


Picnic, catered by CCYC, starts after the racing ends. 

Picnic costs $12, pay on race day.

Another Great Friends & Family!
Meridian Crew

Manny, Winifred, and Dan:  sailed Meridian from Monroe Harbor to Montrose Harbor for Friends & Family

 August 27 marked the second Sail Chicago Friends and Family outing for the current sailing season.  Almost sixty people showed up to eat burgers, brats, great salads, and plenty of watermelon.  But the real treat of the day was to give our newcomers an opportunity to sail some of our boats.


Several boats were on hand, including three of our Rhodes 19s, Priorities, our new Hunter 34, and Meridian, our new Colgate 26.  After feasting on the fixin's, skippers, together with new and old friends and family piled into the boats to get a real first hand experience of what sailing is all about.  The day was beautiful, and the winds were strong enough (approaching 20k) to send shivers down the spines of some of the newer sailors, but with the experienced Sail Chicago staff, everyone

2011 Friends & Family

Mike, Lexie, and Pat helped organize the event

returned home safely.  Hopefully, with the kind of thrilling ride that many of them had, they will be inspired to become skippers themselves someday.


Many thanks to Pat Webster who took responsibility for organizing the whole event, Peter Dudak who transported all the picnic supplies and equipment to the site at Montrose Harbor, Mike Swiontek who cooked those delicious burgers and brats, and Lexie Antonio who helped with the food preparation and kept track of all the administrative details.  And special thanks to the crews that sailed Meridian and Priorities up to Montrose Harbor, and to the skippers who gave so graciously of their time to make sure that all our friends and family had a great sail! 


MPP Successfully Expands Program
 By Arleen Prairie, Monroe Passes Coordinator


The Monroe Passes Program (MPP) has a much higher usage this year because passes are available to many more skippers. Through the wonderful cooperation of the tender service office at Monroe Harbor, our own tender passes were made available to skippers of Meridian and small keelboats.
Sail Chicago skippers simply stop at the harbor tender office and ask for our tender passes. This means that skippers who do not drive to the harbor have easy access to tender passes. In addition, with slight adjustment to the rental period so that skippers return the passes to the tender office by the beginning of the next rental period, passes are available for every rental period, morning, afternoon and evening. For example if I sail during the morning, I hail the tender service by 12:30 pm, returning to the dock so passes are back in the tender office by 1:00 pm, available for the next sail.


Sail Chicago members take the tender

This year Meridian purchased two additional passes, so four passes are always available for the boat at the tender office. When more than four sailors sail together, it is simple to divide the cost of the extra passes needed among the group.  For the small keelboats, four passes are kept at the tender office especially for skippers who do not drive to the harbor.  The remaining tender passes for the small keelboats and all the parking passes are available at the UPS Store as they were last year.

This program has worked well only because members use these passes responsibly and communicate quickly when they discover passes missing at either the tender office or the UPS Store. Skippers who write and say, 'OOPS! The pass was still in my bag when I got home. I'll return it tomorrow' really rate high on the 'good' points.  Really, this is expected of every MPP user. This is what makes it possible to offer this program, which benefits us all.

Many kudos on MPP come streaming to me, like Lois Lawson's recent email, "Thanks for creating this wonderful program.  What a 'back-breaking' saver this is (no more lifting heavy dinghies), as well as the monetary savings (parking and tender fees)." 


Take Five Minutes...


US Sailing LogoU.S. Sailing, one of the premier sailing organizations in the United States, is asking our help.  They would like to know how they could better attract new members to their organization.  In order to do that , they would like to know what might attract sailors to join.  They have prepared a brief survey that they are asking both members and non-members to complete.  


Many members of Sail Chicago are also members of U.S. Sailing.  In addition, several of our own instruction programs are based upon similar programs sponsored by that organization.  We owe a lot to them in helping to foster both interest in sailboat and boating safety.  Please take five minutes now to complete the survey.  It will really help them out!


Instruction Program Completes Successful Season

Lemon.jpgBy John Lemon, Lead Instructor


Our sailing instruction programs enjoyed another successful summer.  While enrollment in our Basic Keelboat classes was down somewhat from 2010, we still conducted over 100 four-week classes on our Rhodes 19s and Ideal 18s.  We've added an eager group of new skippers to our ranks as well.


New this year was the addition of a single-handing course on the Ideal 18.  This course provided a number of members with training and practice that enhance their boat-handling skills, whether they wanted to be more confident taking out non-sailors or if they intended to sail solo.  The Ideal 18 proved to be the perfect boat for this course.



Getting some instruction

Our biggest challenge, and one we met well, was integrating two new boats into our fleet.  We acquired a lightly-used Colgate 26 in March and began training instructors and conducting  orientation/checkout sessions in mid-April.  In the space of two short months we qualified over 60 skippers, from members who were previously qualified on our larger boats or possessed US Sailing Instructor Certification.  In addition, another ten R19/I18 skippers enrolled in a two-session qualification course.  Since mid-summer, Meridian has been heavily used for both private rentals and many Tiller Times and Member Cruises.


Following the untimely demise of Emotional Rescue, we acquired the 34' Hunter, Priorities, in mid-June.  Cruising Coordinator Chris Riegel didn't let the delayed start  become an obstacle.  A dozen members enrolled in courses to broaden their cruising boat skills and knowledge.


As always, the key to the success of our instruction programs is the dedication and hard work of our volunteer instructors, as well as the administrative staff who works behind the scenes to pull everything together.


It was only a "Little" Bump!
Ed Schroeder

Ed Schroeder

By Ed Schroeder, Safety Director

In the past two years there have been a number of only "slight bumps" to "other" boats by Sail Chicago boats that have been properly reported and probably as many that have not been reported.

They were probably "not reported ' not that the skipper wanted to break Sail Chicago Rules but because the skipper thought the contact so minor that it need not be reported.

One such "slight bump" contact cost Sail Chicago (your money) approximately $1,000. An outboard engine was "slightly bumped"; later the engine would not start. The owner had the boat towed by a commercial towing company to Crowley's at 93rd St, where they repaired the engine.

Our SC boats are being carefully monitored by both Westrec and the Park District for the many contacts between our boats and "other" boats. We have been extremely fortunate, to date, that these contacts have not involved death, loss of limb or serious financial problems.

Please remember, not only do the Rules and Regulations make it mandatory to report ALL contacts to the Safety Director within 24 hours but to the Harbor Master "as soon as possible". The view of the "slight contact" from a person on another boat, and the conclusion drawn, may be very different from that of the skipper of the SC boat. What is reported to the Harbor Master from that other observer, who may or may not have an ulterior motive, can be easily balanced or negated by a timely report from the SC skipper.

If one sails long enough, each of us will probably have an Incident. What we do about it is the point of this article.


New Use for Old Sails


Earlier this year, at the request of Matt Stuczynski, a Sail Chicago member, we donated our old and unused sails to the Uptown branch of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago for a summer art project.  This project, the first in a proposed series, was developed by members of Uptown community and was implemented in collaboration with The Boys and Girls Club.  Club students decided the design and made the work as a part of their summer arts programming.


B&G Club Uptown

Uptown Boys and Girls Club Art Project

The piece responds to a question posed in last summer's design workshops In A New Light: What Makes A Neighborhood Well?  Participants indicated that 'diversity', 'inclusiveness' and 'getting to know each other' makes a neighborhood well.  Participating community members also picked 'making connections' and 'educational opportunities' as supporting themes.

Using these themes, the workshop group formed to implement the "Temporary Spice" project by collecting the fabric material used from the community, organizing volunteers to prepare 3500 pieces of fabric and inviting volunteer staff that taught 6 weeks of summer arts program at the Boys and Girls Club. Between the workshops, donors, volunteers, 46th Ward Aldermanic staff, 48th Ward Aldermanic staff, and Boys and Girls Club staff, more than 30 people have been involved in making this project possible.

You can view the results of the project in the picture that accompanies this article.  Better still, visit it in person at the Robert R. McCormick Boys and Girls Club at 4835 N. Sheridan Road (1 block north of Lawrence/Sheridan intersection) Chicago, IL. 60640.

Thanks, Matt, for helping to "make it happen!"

Sail Chicago Reminders


Summer Maintenance

If you haven't signed up for Summer Maintenance, do it now by e-mailing or phone the Maintenance Hotline at 312-409-9000.  As part of our Annual Service Requirement, all members of Sail Chicago (except new members in their first summer) must register for one week of  Summer Maintenance if they would like to participate in any on-the-water programs. 


Boat Status

Prior to your scheduled sail, check the Boat Status page on the Sail Chicago website to learn whether or not your boat is in service.  Don't be disappointed by getting to the harbor and finding that your boat is out of commission.  If you experience a problem with your boat notify Summer Maintenance immediately using the phone number or e-mail above.  If you think the problem is serious, you may remove the boat from service through the Boat Status Page on the Sail Chicago website.


Incident Reporting

If you are a skipper and the boat you are sailing comes into contact with ANY other object (another boat, a seawall, rocks, etc.) you MUST immediately notify Summer Maintenance by calling the Maintenance Hotline at 312-409-9000 or e-mailing, or 312-409-9000.  You must also file a complete written report (see checklist) with the Safety Director .

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