BTS: September 2013

Between the Sheets: News from Sail Chicago for September
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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 #9
September, 2013

By Steve VanderVoort, Managing Editor

Steve VanderVoort


It's September, and there's just a hint of fall in the air.  But things are far from over for this sailing season.  We still have plenty of sailing left to do.  Members who took classes this summer are still able to take Tiller times, and all members can sign up for Member Cruise Outings. 


Of course the best part of the season may still be just getting together with other Sail Chicago members and friends to do some informal sailing while the weather is still reasonably warm and we don't have to don't have to don the heavy foul-weather gear that comes with early and late-season sailing.


Our Instruction Program has had another banner year (see article in this issue).  Our thanks go out to John Lemon, our Lead Instructor, and the fine crew of volunteer instructors, schedulers, and behind-the-scenes people he put together who made the Program such a resounding success. 


Looking ahead, we will be needing volunteers to help take our Colgates down the river to their winter storage and to haul out our Rhodes and Ideals to get them to the boatyard.  Watch for announcements later in the month for specific dates and details. 


And of course there's our Post-Season Banquet on November 15 to look forward to.  Our Social Director, Pat Webster, is already planning the gala event (see article in this issue).


Last month's editorial drew a comment from member, David Shayne, regarding leaving and returning a mooring in Monroe Harbor.  Here it is:


"I think the West channel is safer in many cases. Now that we are in rows 1 and 2 we have to sail through many boats to get to the East channel. It is narrow and has submerged rocks. It points NE and difficult to sail on a NE wind.


"I prefer to motor sail the West channel to the North side of the fairway and then tack out.  One must be careful to drift off the can when there is a wand to not risk running over a mooring line."


Again, while there are many ways to depart and return to the Harbor, skippers should always have in mind the safety of themselves and their crew.


Finally, a member sent us a link to an excellent video on sailing on and off a mooring, produced by Sail Magazine at the Boston Sailing Center. Please take a few minutes to view it now. The video contains some great tips on how to safely leave and return to a mooring under sail. Note, however, that the crew is NOT wearing life jackets. Remember, it's a rule that life jackets MUST be worn at all times on Sail Chicago boats.




Handbook CoverHave questions about Sail Chicago procedures or rules? There's a great place to find all the answers: the Sail Chicago Handbook is a treasure trove of information regarding our organization.  


From the Editor...
Answers to Your Questions
Awards Banquet Nov. 15
Colgates Shine in the Verve Races
MCOs Continue in September
Basic Sailing Instruction...a Great Success
August Sail Chicago Board Meeting
Sail Chicago Reminders
November 15 - End of Season Party:  Awards
February 6-8 - U.S. Sailing Leadership Forum (San Diego)

Announcements - Gary Thrane
Bookkeeper - Jay Owens
BTS Editor  - Steve VanderVoort
Chairman - Chris Schuler
Colgate 26 Racing - Bob Cohen 
Cruising Program - Nick Petrovits
Fun Racing -Dolores Baron
Instruction Scheduling - Lorna Luebbers
Lead Instructor - John Lemon
Marketing - Mike Parapetti
Member Cruise Outings - Mehmet Tasci
Membership - Lois Lawson
Seminars -Paul Demmel
Safety Director - Andy Miller
Share-a-Sail - David Shayne
Social - Pat Webster
Tender & Parking Passes - Arleen Prairie
Tiller Time - Anke Heinrich
Treasurer - Steve VanderVoort

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Maintenance Hotline

312-409-9000 or

Chris Schuler 

Steve VanderVoort
Vice Chairman
 Rob Wakerly

Fiona Ray 

Alfred Chan

Dan Flavin

Chris Garvey

Maureen Huston

Frank Loftus
Mike Parapetti
Pat Webster
Mark your calendars to save the date for our end-of-the-season celebration to be held at the Columbia Yacht Club on Friday evening, November 15th. We look forward to an evening of dining and relaxing with friends in this nautical setting. The evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a cash bar, followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m. The Board of Directors will be on hand to recognize those who have excelled in the organization, either through their achievement or through their volunteerism.


Look for an article in the October BTS with a link to register and pay for this event. An email announcement will also go out in October. Space is limited so be sure to register early.



By Bob Cohen

Verve Cup Race
Verve Cup Race


Sail Chicago's fleet of Colgate 26s debuted in this year's Verve inshore Regatta, one of the premier single-design racing regattas in the country. The Verve took place on August 23 and 24 and featured two full days of sailing in great weather, a great breeze, and a field of 50 boats in the keelboat classes.


The races took place two nautical miles east of the Chicago Yacht Club's Belmont Station. Our Colgates were mixing it up in a fleet of J70s, Solings, Etchells, Shields, Luders, and J24s.


Each race was a windward, leeward course of four legs approximately one nautical mile each. We started fourth with a fleet of five J24s. Our racing teams had to sail fast with good sail trim, maneuver quickly with two spinnaker sets and douses per race, and also take into account shifting winds as we dodged and weaved through the fleet.


The Verve was the capstone of our first year of the Colgate 26 racing program. Skipper and racing coach, Nick Petrovits, and his crew took first place, with solid wins on all 6 races. Skippers and coaches Adam Collins and Bob Cohen dueled it out for 2nd and 3rd place with Collins and crew taking second place in four races, and Cohen second in two races.


Verve Races (Cohen)

Michael Swisher's view of the Verve
Skipper Adam Collins said, "It was a blast, we all had a great time!" All 12 Sail Chicago racers thoroughly enjoyed the experience and vowed to come back next year with a bigger field of our stalwart Colgate 26s. Many thanks to Sail Chicago's Sam Veilleux, one of the organizers of the Verve for the Chicago Yacht Club. Sam made our entry possible. 


Click here for the full race results.

Colgate 26

By Mehmet Tasci


Member Cruise Outings (MCOs) are informal pleasure sails for all Sail Chicago members and their guests. It is an opportunity for you to get on the water without the responsibility for skippering a boat. It is free for Sail Chicago Members and $20 for each guest.  After logging in at the Sail Chicago web site, you can reserve your seat by clicking "Reserve Program Seats" and then "Member Cruise Outing" .


Becoming a MCO skipper is a great opportunity to meet other sailors. As a MCO skipper, you have the option to bring a first mate of your choice on board.  You can fulfill your duties by becoming a MCO skipper 5 times in a season.  If you have fulfilled your duties for this year, you can work towards next year duties by becoming a MCO skipper this year. To find out more, please contact


Colgate 26

By John Lemon


Following on the heels of a big expansion of our basic keelboat program in 2012, we continued the success of last year and grew in new ways in 2013. One-hundred-and-forty new-to-Sail-Chicago sailors participated in classes in the course of our four-month instructional season. Of those, 73 are new members and 67 participated through the Sail-into-Summer program.  Of the new members, a dozen started out in Sail into Summer and decided to join Sail Chicago in the course of the summer.  We held 44 four-week classes, with a total of 175 students. For the first time, all of our Basic, Intermediate, and Skipper Training classes were held on our growing fleet of Colgate 26s. There is clearly significant demand for sailing education that we are unable to meet, as evidenced by the substantial waiting list we developed after filling all classes in early May. Expanding our instructional program further is one of the main challenges facing the Board of Directors as it heads into the planning process for 2014.


While the number of Basic Keelboat students was slightly smaller than last year, we expanded significantly into new areas. Our new Colgate 26 racing program was a huge success (see accompanying article) with a number of participants in three race series as well as the recent Verve Cup regatta. Flying the spinnaker has been reintroduced to our program as a result. Ten skippers participated in single-handing classes on our Ideal 18s, and a dozen returning members earned qualification to sail the Colgate 26. Plans are afoot for a spinnaker clinic later in the month.


A number of our new members had prior sailing experience, reflected in the large number of new skippers. Twenty-six sailors earned their skippercard this summer, with their initial qualification on the Colgate 26. We also noticed a significant uptick in the number of Intermediate students, both from new sailors and from returning new members and 2012 Sail-into-Summer participants. We expect that will translate into many new skippers next year.


A successful program of this scope simply would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of many volunteers. The heart of the program is our team of over 40 volunteer sailing instructors, too numerous to name here. Thanks also to the following: the scheduling team of Lorna Luebbers, Loan Le, and Dennis Roberts, who all worked long hours to coordinate student and instructor schedules, not an easy feat; Tiller Time coordinator Anke Heinrich; Pre-Sail Orientation coordinators Mary Ann Wilkens and Peter Hays; skipper qualification coordinator Sam Veilleux; Peter Dudak, who handled Ideal orientations; and last, but not least, Bob Cohen, the coordinator and inspiration behind the Colgate racing program. Thanks also to the Colgate maintenance teams who kept the boats in working order throughout the summer.



By Fiona Ray


Sail Chicago's Board of Directors held their monthly meeting on August 8th, 2013.   The Board continued discussion on organizational structure and long-term planning.   The Board approved the following on-the-water incident policy as an amendment to the Sail Chicago Rules and Regulations:


The skipper of record will have his or her skippercard temporarily suspended when he or she is involved in an incident/accident (event) in which any one of the following have occurred:
  • There is damage to property or equipment as a result of the event exceeding $1,000.
  • There is substantial damage, defined as equipment or boat damage that adversely affects the performance and or safe operation of the boat. 
  • Personal injury occurs as a result of the event.  In addition, to satisfying reporting requirements, skipper privileges may be re-earned through a re-evaluation of the skipper's sailing skills up to and including on-the-water sailing evaluation and/or participation in a sailing class.   Re-evaluation of the skipper must be performed by a U.S. Sailing Certified instructor from Sail Chicago's instruction program.  Additionally, skipper privileges may be suspended by the Safety Directors as a result of an incident/accident for reasons other than those listed above. 


Tiller Time 
New members and "rusty" skippers can hone their sailing skills by participating in Tiller Time.  If you took a class last year (or have attended at least one class session this season), there's no charge for Tiller Time excursions.  You can sign up for particular sailing dates by visiting the Sail Chicago web site.  Questions?  Contact 

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-iinto-Summer students can participate.  Questions:  email David Shayne.


Ideal Orientations

If you're a Sail Chicago skipper and you're looking for a new adventure, our two Ideal 18s are just a short orientation away.  They are simple to rig and sail. And an Ideal can be sailed by one or two people because of its roller-furling and self-tending jib.   The orientation consists of an overview of the boat and a short sail to get the feel for how it handles. The orientation is also free.   Anyone who is already qualified as an Ideal skipper is invited for a refresher.  To schedule an orientation, contact Peter Dudak or call (630) 577-7946.

Get a $50 Credit for Referring a New Member
Members will receive a $50 credit to their account for every new member who joins Sail Chicago at their invitation.  (Even if your friend decides to just participate in the "Sail into Summer" program, you will still receive a $25 credit.)

Wearing a Life Jacket Is Mandatory When Using a Dinghy
When using a dinghy in either Monroe or Belmont Harbors, be sure to wear a life jacket.  It is Sail Chicago policy that all sailing participants wear life jackets while on the water.
Monroe Tender and Parking Passes
Tender and parking passes are available from two lockboxes by the Monroe Harbor Master's office.  See the head of the "Boat Statuses" page at the Sail Chicago web site for details. 

Incident Reports

If you have an incident or accident while sailing a Sail Chicago boat, please follow the instructions in the Sail Chicago Handbook, notify the Safety Director immediately, complete an Incident/Accident Report, and forward it to the Safety Director.


Emergency Action Plan
All skippers should familiarize themselves with the Sail Chicago Action Plan.  Please review it either here or in the 2013 Sail Chicago Handbook (published on the Sail Chicago web site). There is also an "Emergency Reference Guide"  that will be placed on all boats in the Sail Chicago fleet. Skippers may also want to print the "Reference Guide" and keep it with their sailing gear.

Sail Chicago Board Meeting Agenda
Members can view the agenda for the next Board meeting on the membership page of the Sail Chicago web site.

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 web site, Sail Chicago.
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