BTS: September 2014

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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, 2014

By Steve VanderVoort

Steve VanderVoort


Sailing season looks like it's starting to wind down.  The days are getting shorter, and more of our members are taking the boats in our fleet out for private use. Perhaps that's because they realize that there may not be that many good sailing days left. The large boating events in Chicago are over for another year.  Venetian Night, with its annual parade of Boats is history.  The Verve Cup Inshore Regatta was held August 23-24 (see article in this issue).  This year five of our Colgates participated in the race.  Soon we'll start thinking about putting our boats away for the season so our volunteer maintenance crews can start preparing them for next spring.


Our Instruction Program has just completed its most successful season in Sail Chicago history.  It has met a very ambitious goal, with more courses, instructors, and students than ever before (see article in this issue).  Next year we can look forward to having a new-and-improved course registration system that will further automate the process and make it much easier to enroll in Sail Chicago sailing courses. This, of course, ties in with a major part of our mission, which is to "...provide quality instruction in sailing and boating safety..."


In the past couple of months we've had a spate of minor "incidents" occur with our boats. None was serious, but they do deserve our attention. An "incident" occurs whenever a Sail Chicago boat comes into contact, however briefly, with another boat or with an obstruction such as a seawall or breakwater. Most of these incidents occurred when boats were in the harbor sailing to or from a mooring, and the helmsman somehow lost control. Your Sail Chicago Board recently sent a letter to all members suggesting guidelines for sailing safely in the harbor.   




The Rules and Regulations in the Sail Chicago Handbook state that all on the water accidents or incidents (see the Handbook for a definition of an "Accident" or "Incident") must be reported to the Safety Director by the skipper of record within 24 hours of the occurrence.  Your website now makes it especially easy to do so.  Just go to Reservations/Incident-Accident Report, and fill out the on-line form. It's that simple!



A Rhodes flying a spinnaker
From the editor...
Shop Amazon Smile and Donate to Sail Chicago
Dates to Note
Who to Contact
Useful Information
Sail Chicago Board
Sail Chicago Reminders
Credits - Use Them or Lose Them
Happy Hour at the Weathermark
In-Shore Verve Racing
A Banner Year for Instruction
A Successful Schuler Scholar Program
A Kind of Correction...
September 11 - Board Meeting
October 9 - Board Meeting
October 24 - Happy Hour at the Weather Mark

November 22 - End of Season Party
Announcements - Gary Thrane
Bookkeeper - Jay Owens
BTS Editor  - Steve VanderVoort
Chairman - Chris Schuler
Colgate 26 Racing - Bob Cohen 
Instruction  - Michael Swisher
Lead Instructor - Matt Stuczynski
Marketing - Sean Francis
Member Cruise Outings - Mehmet Tasci
Membership - Faith Hillis
Purchasing Agent - Dana Smith
Reservations - Peter Dudak
Safety Director - John Lemon
Share-a-Sail - David Shayne
Social - Pat Webster
Surveys - Gary Thrane
Tender & Parking Passes - Bill Prindible
Tiller Time - Anke Heinrich
Treasurer - Steve VanderVoort
Webmaster - Alfred Chan

Maintenance Hotline and 

Accident Reporting

Chris Schuler 
Steve VanderVoort
Vice Chairman
 Rob Wakerly
Fiona Ray 

Alfred Chan

Dan Flavin

Chris Garvey

Bob Lapin

Shawn Lord
Matt Stuczynski
Michael Swisher
Pat Webster


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.

Tiller Time for Member Students
If you're a Sail Chicago member and a current small keelboat student, you may sign up for Tiller Times on any of our small keelboats (Colgates, Rhodes, or Ideals). Watch for Tiller Time openings on the Reservations page of the Sail Chicago website.  

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.

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.

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.

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.



Skippers can accumulate sailing credits for a variety of reasons.  The most common one is cancelling a boat reservation within 48 hours of the reservation period (see the Sail Chicago Handbook for specific rules on member accounts and credits).  While credits function like money in member accounts during the sailing season, there's one big difference:  at the end of the season, all credit balances are WIPED OUT.

Skippers, in order to make sure that all your credits are used by the end of the sailing season, check your member account NOW!  Remember, credits are used before the money in your account, so if you've got credits, reserve a boat and get our on the water sailing before the end of the season.

By Pat Webster, Social Coordinator 


Save the date for a happy hour at the Weather Mark Tavern on Friday October 24th, 6-9 PM. The Weather Mark is a nautically themed bar and restaurant, and is an all-around great place to connect with fellow sailors. There will be drink specials ($3 for Bud, Bud Light, Miller and Miller Light, $5 for rum drinks), and fish and chips for $10.95. We did this last fall, and everyone had a great time, eating, drinking, and catching up with old friends and making new ones. Look for more information in the October BTS and in an email blast. Don't miss out on the fun!


Colgate Sailing
A Colate MCO

By Mehmet Tasci,  MCO Coordinator


Member Cruise Outings (MCOs) are informal pleasure sails for all Sail Chicago members and their guests. It is an opportunity to get on the water without the responsibility for skippering a boat. It is free for Sail Chicago Members and 20 $ for each guest. You can reserve your seat by going to


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



By Robert Cohen, Racing Coordinator 


Verve Races
Two Sail Chicago Colgates running before the wind

Twenty-two Racers from Sail Chicago participated in this year's Chicago Yacht Club In-Shore Verve regatta.  We fielded five of our Colgate 26's and were joined by a Colgate 26 from the Lake Forest Sailing Program for a total of six.  This was double the number of boats compared to our inaugural year last year.


The first day of racing was cancelled because of pea-soup fog and severe thunderstorms, but the second day of racing made up for it.  The sun shone as our Colgate's battled it out in four sequential races each composed of four legs on a windward, leeward course about 0.75 miles long.


The day put all of our racing skills to the test, our boat preparation (diving the boats first thing in the morning to pull all of the sea grass off the keels and rudders), boat speed and sail trim, boat handling and tactics as we negotiated heavy chop left over from the storms the day before.  Each race required two spinnaker hoists and douses testing our ability to raise and lower the chute cleanly.  It was also a test of endurance as the each race rolled immediately into the next for a total of five solid hours of racing without a break.


At the end of the day, the Lake Forest young folks (all light and skinny) took first place, followed by Bob Cohen, Manoel Conde, Mike Swisher, and Alex Pedenko in Meridian in second place, and Alfred Chan, Alex Bott, Chris Ball, and Viorel Stan in Windhorse in third! Skippers Adam Collins in Recess, Bob Lapin in Eclipse and Robert Tepper in Albatross all gave everyone a run for their money.


The Verve 2014 was a great success for Sail Chicago's Colgate 26 racing program which has doubled its participation in its second year.



By Michael Swisher, Instruction Coordinator and        

Matt Stuczynski, Lead Instructor


Students in a Sail Chicago class
We had another banner year of Sail Chicago Instruction with over 50 classes offered to boatloads of excited new students.   In addition to the three core courses we had on the Colgates, we also had Cruising courses on Priorities and a Spinnaker Class on the Rhodes.  Of course, we also offered nearly countless Tiller Time learning sessions on the water.  All the classes are now complete for the season except for a couple make-ups still eager to go out.  For some of our courses, this was one of the most difficult weather related seasons in recent years with many classes cancelled due to the unusually heavy and persistent fog and either too much or too little wind.  Hats off to our Instructors who truly went above and beyond their allotted commitment to schedule make up classes and do all they could to give our students a good, safe, learning experience. 



This year Sail Chicago hosted Schuler Scholars students on our boats for the first time. Program Coordinator Tom Simms says that, "The program was a great success.  Thirty scholars from eight different high schools had the opportunity to sail on Lake Michigan.  With the relatively light winds, each student and each adult supervisor had a turn on the tiller. Several Sail Chicago members stepped up to volunteer as skippers and first mates."


The Schuler Scholar Program prepares students in the Chicago area who are bright and motivated, but underserved, to succeed at the most competitive colleges and universities in the nation. Schuler Scholars are typically first-generation college-bound, come from under-resourced families and communities, and will need financial assistance in order to attend college. Many Scholars are from a population that is under-represented on college campuses.


Our thanks to Tom for organizing and following through with the program. We hope to partner with Schuler Scholars for many years. Tom will be asking for help from skippers and mates again next year. Let's volunteer for this program!


By John Lemon, Safety Coordinator  


John Lemon 

I read with some interest the article "Nostalgia?" and the accompanying piece from the Chicago Tribune in the August Between the Sheets.  While both articles emphasize Sail Chicago's excellent instructional program, there were some factual errors and omissions that may leave an incorrect impression on our readers.  It's really an "apples and oranges" comparison.  According to the 2003 Sail Chicago Handbook, the $5 rental fee applied to Rhodes 19s only on weekday mornings and Saturday evenings.  Weekday evenings and weekend fees were in the $20 to $25 range.  Tiller Times and Member Cruises were $15 per person per sail.


The "$50 sailing class" mentioned refers only to Pre-Sail Orientation (previously known as Dryland).  On-the-water sailing classes cost $225 for five lessons, plus the fee for Pre-Sail, and were taught on the Rhodes 19.  Our main working fleet consisted of eight Rhodes 19s of fairly old vintage. No Colgate 26s, no Ideals, and a few older cruising and racing boats.  Sail Chicago used dinghies to row out to access our Rhodes 19s, which usually took two or three trips to ferry everyone aboard.  And the boats were moored much further from the shore.  We did not regularly use the tender to access our boats at Monroe Harbor.


Much has changed in the past decade.  We have acquired a fleet of six Colgate 26s and two Ideal 18s. The Colgate is the premier training sailing vessel on the water today.  And we have changed our model from "pay as you go" for Tiller Times and Member Cruises--access to both is now free and unlimited for members.  Membership dues have risen to reflect the added value as well as the increasing costs of operating a fleet of boats in Chicago.  Compared to the cost of owning your own boat, Sail Chicago offers significant value and access to sailing education that is unique in Chicago. 
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