BTS: March, 2017

Sail Chicago Newsletter for March
Sail Chicago Logo
ISSUE #3/March, 2017
By Steve VanderVoort, BTS Editor
It's been an unseasonably warm winter, and that has some of us already turning our thoughts to the spring sailing season.  Although spring sails can be chilly and the weather is often unpredictable, it can still be lots of fun.  But remember, before the fleet can go in the water, there's a lot of spring maintenance work that needs to be done.  If you're not already a member of a Boat Team, consider signing up.  It's a good way to fulfill your annual service requirement.  If you're not sure how this requirement works, see the Sail Chicago Rules & Regulations or the article in this issue. 
Some Sail Chicago members were fortunate enough to sail this winter.  Personally, I just returned from a fabulous week in the British Virgin Islands, bareboating on a Beneteau 41.  I know that other Sail Chicago members will be heading for a week of sailing fun in the BVI later in March.  And another Sail Chicago crew recently raced from Key West to Cuba on a Jenneau 509 (see article below).  We're still looking for a winter sailing coordinator who can help to organize opportunities for other Sail Chicago members to get some sailing in over the winter months.

Our annual meeting was held last week (see article below).  From all reports, this is shaping up to be another great sailing season. Our instruction program opens for business on March 15.  Classes tend to fill very quickly, so don't miss out and sign up early! 

Chairman Chris Schuler addresses Annual Meeting
On Thursday, March 2, over sixty Sail Chicago members and friends gathered at the Chief O'Neill's Pub and Restaurant to enjoy a meal together, to review the prior year's activities, and learn of new plans and programs for the coming sailing season.

After Chairman Chris Schuler called the meeting to order, Treasurer Martin Modahl reported that Sail Chicago ended a successful financial year with a strong balance sheet and a healthy net income.  Matt Stuczynski, our Lead Instructor detailed plans for the instruction program during the upcoming sailing season.  Michael Swisher discussed improvements in the instruction scheduling process, Maya Teleki discussed the expanded Colgate racing program now in its fourth year, Bob Lapin shared his excitement about our new cruising boat, Shawn Lord discussed the need for technically trained members to help with the Sail Chicago website, and Tom Peterson outlined changes in the maintenance program.

Four Directors whose terms had expired were again elected to fill new three-year terms.  They are: Adam Wisneski, Chris Schuler, Matt Stuczynski, and Michael Swisher.  Frank McNamara had previously been appointed by the Board to fill a vacant one-year term (see article in this issue).  Many members lingered after the meeting was formally adjourned to socialize and make plans for the upcoming sailing season.
By Christine Garvey, Volunteer Coordinator
The sailing season is right around the corner, and we need to get open positions filled, so Sail Chicago can run efficient and effective programs.  Service time is the volunteer work that members are required to do every year, except the first one. Please see the table below for open positions and contact me if you'd like to sign up for one.
As a reminder, service time needs to be completed by May 1 in order to get sailing privileges.  First year members do not do service time.  Second year members need to have signed up for a job before they can have sailing privileges.  Third year members (and beyond) need to have completed service time prior to the current year to have sailing privileges.
Service time is job driven.  Equality of work is attempted, but certainly, some jobs require a bigger time commitment than others.  These jobs have sailing credits attached or other perks, like free sails.
We want service time to be a win-win for members.  Get involved in an activity that interests you, so you can enjoy the work, while helping out the organization. You'll meet new sailing friends at the same time!
*Website help: knowledge helpful.  You need to have a long-term commitment to Sail Chicago.  Active participation completes service time.
*Membership coordinator - The current coordinator may need to leave the position in the near future.  The coordinator fields questions about the organization and does registrations. This position earns $100 in sailing credits.
*Membership assistant - This person helps out the membership coordinator. Active participation completes service time.
*Fundraising coordinator and team:  Creates and implements fundraising activities.  Active participation completes service time.

*Community sailing skippers and first mates (Laurence Hall, Urban Sail, Schuler Scholars):   Must have weekday afternoons available. 5 sails completes service time.
*MCO skippers:  You may bring your own first mate.  5 sails completes service time.
*Tiller Time skippers:  You may not bring your own first mate because you need to be confident and competent to give the tiller up to students.  5 sails completes service time.
*No open positions

 *Instructors:  One class completes service time and $100 in sailing credits is earned.
*Assistant program coordinator:  Active participation completes service time.
*Coordinators- We are looking for 3 people to share the role of coordinator.  3 people doing this job decreases the time commitment.   Division of responsibilities will be determined by those members who fill the positions. Active participation completes service time.   Each person receives $200 in sailing credits.
*Communicator - This person helps the coordinators schedule events and notify members of these events.  Active participation completes service time.
*Boat teams:  Helps make and keep the boats in safe, sailing condition. Active participation completes service time.
*Boatyard coordinators - We are looking for 2 people to coordinate the boatyard activities.   Active participation completes service time. Each person earns $100 in sailing credits.
*Gas teams:  Going out at least 5 Fridays during the season will complete service time.
*Boatyard teams:  This team is responsible for getting the boats ready for the beginning and end of the season.  5 days of work satisfies service time.

Registration is now open for Sail Chicago's Pre-sail Orientation.  PSOs give you an introduction to the sport of sailing and Sail Chicago.  You'll learn how to prepare before going sailing, brush up on sailing terminology, equipment, safety rules and emergency procedures (especially as these pertain to our group rules), and ask questions before the Sail Chicago season begins.  First-time students who've enrolled in our classes will receive US Sailing handbooks and handouts, and an orientation.  This class is mandatory for all new members and students!
By John Lemon, Safety Coordinator
The crew of Loose Cannon on the foredeck

Four current and former Sail Chicago members participated in the ninth Conch Republic Cup/Key West Cuba Race Week, held January 22 to February 3.  John Lemon, Bob Cohen, Pred Bundalo, and Ilya Letuchy, along with Tiller Time coordinator Chris Faris and crew Bill Milleker, chartered a Jenneau 509 from Florida Yacht Group.  The race consisted of three legs:  Key West to Varadero, Cuba; Varadero to Havana, Cuba; and returning from Havana to Key West.  Each leg was about 90 miles long.  The purpose of the race was to foster person-to-person intercultural exchange through the sport of sailing.  Twenty-five boats and over 150 sailors from around the US participated, including several groups of sailors from the Chicago area.  While in Havana we received a rousing welcome at the Hemingway International Yacht Club, which hosted a great reception for the US sailors.  We met Cuban sailors, a few of whom participated in one segment of the race.
Although winds were light for the first two legs, forcing us to motor, we had a fresh breeze for the return leg to Key West.  Each race began in the late afternoon and sailed through the night, so we would arrive at our destination during the day when Customs officials were available.  Our boat, Loose Cannon, was a large and comfortable charter boat but not very fast.  Part of the Havana/Key West leg included a race along the Malecon, the famous drive along Havana's north shore. We sailed past the US embassy, where embassy staff cheered us on, so we were told.
Race officials planned a several-day layover in Havana so race participants could explore Havana. Families of some of our crew flew to Havana for a few days, and we organized a people-to-people cultural tour through Experience Cuba ( The weather was excellent and the Cuban people were warm and welcoming.  All in all, it was a great winter sailing adventure.
By Maya Teleki, Racing Coordinator
There's something new for 2017, a "drop in" format for the Wednesday night
Colgate 26 Racing
Don't miss out on the racing excitement.
Beercan Race series.  In preparation for the season, we will have a pre-sail orientation in March or April to go over rules, strategy, and technique, as well as the format of the new program.
Cost of the program will be $75 for the entire season.  Members who have paid for racing will get access to a weekly sign-up, similar to the way that Member Cruise Outings work (with a limited number of seats).  In addition to racing four Colgates, those who want to try their hand at racing the Rhodes or Ideals will be welcome to join as well.  The races are held on the same inshore course that we have done the past two years--just off the north end of the Planetarium, within the outer breakwater of Monroe Harbor.  As usual, free beer and a $10 buffet dinner await racers at the end of the night.

VOLUNTEER NEEDED: If you would like to help organize the weekly races, please contact Maya Teleki and meet your annual service time requirements!  More information will follow, but for now just mark the date
in your calendar.
By Paul Uhl, Columbia Yacht Club

Learn how to cruise to exotic locations.
Have you dreamed of crossing the Atlantic, cruising the Pacific Northwest or New England coastline, island hopping, or doing the Caribbean 1500, the milk run, or BaHa Ha Ha?  We have a way to help make that dream a reality.  Aegir Expeditions provides unique offshore passage-making sailing expeditions right here on the Great Lakes for sailors who are interested in gaining long-distance offshore sailing experience. 

We focus on developing your sailing resumé by providing a practical, hands-on learning platform through a variety of long distance, multi-day, non-stop experiences where you as crew are actively involved in every aspect of operating and maintaining a modern Beneteau First 47.7 ocean-cruising boat.  Your experiences include mastering seamanship, navigation, heavy weather tactics, steering and standing watches, sail trim and reefing, anchoring, provisioning, meal preparation, and ongoing vessel maintenance.
By eliminating the time and expense of traveling to and from far away or remote destinations, our trips are designed to give day sailors and coastal sailors in the Midwest the skills and confidence to sail anywhere on their own boat by gaining the experience of an extended offshore passage close to home. Visit our website to learn more or to register for our 2017 programs.
By Matt Stuczynski, Lead Instructor 

Join us on Saturday, March 18th
, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., at West Marine on Halsted and Division for a free sailing seminar.  The topics will be "General Outboard Motor Safety" and "Safety Gear for Sailing."   The workshop will be held by West Marine staff and geared towards Sail Chicago members.   No pre-registering--you can just pop in.  Hope to see you there!
By Matt Stuczynski, Lead Instructor
US Sailing has come out with an online version of the Basic Keelboat textbook.  Not only is the text now online, but this new version includes quizzes after each chapter and a final test; all must be passed with an 80% minimum before continuing on to the next section.  One can also start and stop at her/his own convenience and your logon access never expires.  The best thing about the online text is that it features animations so that students can actually envision the wind blowing and sails being trimmed in and out.  We will offer this new online version to our new students starting this year.  Anyone is welcome to buy the book online for an introductory offer of $30. You can check it out here.
By Matt Stuczynski, Lead Instructor

With our record number of new Colgate skippers that we had this season (42!!!), we are initiating a Skipper Mentor Program to help welcome our newbie captains as members of Sail Chicago.  Most of our new skippers are not only new to our group, but new to sailing so they could benefit by a Sail Chicago buddy to help guide them into the world of commanding a boat and through the Do's, Don'ts and Culture or our unique community sailing organization.
If you would like to be paired up with a new skipper and help pass on your knowledge, contact Lead Instructor, Matt Stuczynski. Mentors will be asked to be a possible "go-to person" for questions about the group, seamanship and general knowledge and advice.  Ideally, mentors might also accompany our new skippers on practice sails (especially at the beginning of next season) to enable these new skippers to follow our rule of only going out with an experienced skipper during their first, full year of sailing. You do not need to be an Instructor to be a mentor; just willing to share your knowledge and joy of the sport to teach AND learn with a new and enthusiastic Sail Chicago skipper.
By John Lemon, Safety Director

You may have seen the video circulating on social media last winter that showed a collision between a power boat and a Washington State Ferry boat, near Vashon Island in Puget Sound.  If you missed it, here is a link to the story and the video. (Warning: there's a bit of "salty" language here.)
According to Rule 15 of the Navigation Rules, when two power-driven vessels are crossing, the vessel on starboard has right of way.  However, in this case, the operator of the power boat was below deck, the vessel was being steered by autopilot, and there was no one on deck keeping watch.  So the operator of the power boat violated Rule 5 (Look-out), which requires that every vessel maintain a proper look-out AT ALL TIMES by sight and sound and other available means in order to avoid collision.
In many cases involving collisions, the Coast Guard apportions responsibility to both parties.  This is due in part to Rule 8 (Action to Avoid Collision), which requires the operators of both vessels to take action to avoid collision, regardless of which is the stand-on and which is the give-way vessel.  In this case, the Coast Guard fined the operator of the power boat for failing to keep watch. The Coast Guard also temporarily suspended the captain's license (Merchant Mariner Credential) of the ferry boat captain because they felt he did not act quickly enough to avoid collision. The captain had over three decades experience as a ferry captain but was working as a relief captain.  Both the Coast Guard and the Washington State Ferry system found that insufficient communication among crew members was a contributing factor.
Now is a good time to refresh ourselves on the Navigation Rules. A good place to start is articles that appeared in the May and June, 2016, issues of Between the Sheets.
The Sail Chicago Board recently appointed Frank McNamara to fill a vacant one-year term on the Board.  We thought you might be interested in learning a little something about him, so we asked him a few questions. Here are his replies:
What should we know about you, both professionally and personally?
Professionally, I have a background in international sales and network engineering.  Aside from sailing, I have a wide variety of interests including travel, photography/cinematography, woodworking, web design, triathlon, hiking, and camping.
What's your sailing experience?
Prior to joining Sail Chicago in 2013 and enrolling in Colgate 26 courses, my experience was mostly casual sailing on a friend's boat on the west coast or through Sailtime in Chicago.
What have you been involved with in Sail Chicago?
I initially became aware of Sail Chicago from its prior affiliation with AYH (my parents took sailing lessons from AYH back in the '60s).  I joined in 2013.  I am a Colgate 26 Skipper, and I've completed the Coastal Navigation and Basic Cruising courses last season to earn my Hunter 34 skipper card.  I look forward to participating in the Bareboat Cruising course this summer as well as spending time on the water honing my cruising skills.  This past season I joined the racing program and I look forward to continuing with it this coming season.  For the last two years I have worked on managing/selling the club's excess inventory.  I have also assisted at the yard, putting boats away for the season as well as with demasting.  I hope to become more involved with boat maintenance moving forward.
Why did you accept the position on the Board?
Sail Chicago is a great organization, and it is fortunate that Chicago has an affordable option to introduce people to the joys of sailing.  Even in the short time I have been a member, I have seen it grow and mature.  I would like to help continue to grow our member base (within reason), expand and improve existing programs, and explore new opportunities.
What's your vision for the future of Sail Chicago?
Sail Chicago is certainly heading in the right direction and has made a lot of improvements over the past few seasons.  I believe our relationships with Columbia Yacht Club and US Sailing offer the potential for exciting new opportunities.  I think we should continue to explore adding new programs, as well as to ensure our current courses maintain a high level of quality and consistency.
Ever wondered how to maneuver one of our cruising boats into a tight space at the fuel dock? Here's a nifty trick that can get you snuggled in and re-fueled in no time.
By Bob Lapin, Board Secretary
The Sail Chicago Board met on Thursday, February 9, at the offices of Grant Thornton.  The following items were discussed:
  • A replacement boat for Naked Dance has been identified in Iowa. Chris Schuler will research this further.
  • Details of the March 2 annual meeting were discussed.
  • Maya Teleki suggested that every other board meeting be a phone-in meeting. The idea was discussed and approved. The next meeting on March 9 will be a phone-in meeting. Maya will provide the phone-in details.

Help our Community Outreach Programs
Please consider volunteering to skipper or crew on a weekday afternoon sail with one of our three groups that take underprivileged children sailing. Skippering five or more times will fulfill your service requirement for the following year. For more information on the Lawrence Hall Youth Services, Urban Youth, and Schuler Scholars, go to the Sail Chicago Website.
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.
Read the Sail Chicago Blog
Keep up to date on the events and activities of Sail Chicago and the Chicago sailing community. Read the sail Chicago blog on a regular basis. You can find it on the Sail Chicago website under "News."
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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. Look under "News/Newsletter."

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