FROM THE EDITOR...
By Steve VanderVoort, BTS Editor
I just checked my calendar, and it looks like we're almost half-way through our summer sailing season. The summer solstice passed us on June 21, and the days are starting to get shorter. If you haven't been sailing much, it's time to get out on the water!
Even though the weather often didn't cooperate, our members and students did a lot of sailing in May and June. Classes have been so full that we've encouraged some of the students on our wait list to take classes at Columbia Yacht Club's newly minted Adult Sailing Program. We continue to work with the Club to explore ways in which our programs can benefit each other. We are currently using the Club's facilities for some of our programs and activities, and they are helping us to gas up our boats. In return, we are referring students to them and occasionally letting them use one of our boats for instruction purposes.
Our service projects for young people are also going strong. We are sponsoring summer sailing cruises for students involved with Lawrence Hall Youth Services and with Schuler Scholars. For our members, Tiller Times and Members Cruise Outings are filling quickly. And if you're a skipper looking for crew or crew looking for a skipper to take you out, don't forget Share-A-Sail, our information sharing list-serve that puts people with similar interests and availability together (see article below).
By David Shayne, Share-A-Sail Coordinator
If you want crew or want to crew, our Share-a-Sail Program is just what you need. On your computer, go to Google Groups and search for Share-a-Sail. Register your name, first and last, and your email address. Then you'll be able send and receive emails to and from other participants who are eager to sail with you. Replies go only to the sender so you will not be plagued with responses to other senders. There is no "reply to all."
NEW CHICAGO WATERWAY SAFETY VIDEO
By John Lemon, Safety Coordinator
The Chicago Harbor Safety Committee (CHSC) was founded in 2013 to address the increase in use of the Chicago waterways and lakefront. It is a partnership comprising the major stakeholders using our area waterways--tour boats, water taxis, yacht clubs, kayakers, and canoers, recreational boating organizations, charter operators, commercial vessel operators, etc. Also involved are key government agencies such as the US Coast Guard as well as environmental organizations and citizen advocacy groups.
The CHSC recently released a 31-minute educational video that will be important in advancing boating safety in our waters. It features great drone photography that shows many features of concern to boaters on the lakefront and Chicago River system. The video also includes excellent basic boater safety information.
I had the pleasure of attending the premier showing of the video at the Chicago Yacht Club Thursday, June 29. In attendance were representatives of many of the organizations in the Committee. With Lake Michigan in the background, it was a fitting opening for this important initiative.
The video is available online. I urge everyone to take the 31 minutes to watch it. Even if you are an experienced boater, you will learn something and come away with a greater awareness of boating safety in our area. Here is the link:
|NO MORE TENDER PASSES
Remember, tender passes are no longer needed at Monroe Harbor. The Monroe Harbormaster is in the process of installing a gate with a combination lock at the entrance to the tender dock. As soon as the gate is installed, we'll let you know the combination. The combination will also be available on the my.sailchicago.org website when you reserve a boat.
Here are some tips from Member Ed Schroeder on what the clouds overhead can tell us about approaching weather. Keep in mind, there are plenty of exceptions to these rules of thumb--but you have to start somewhere:
- Taller clouds generally bring more wind.
- Flat tops or "boiling" tops can bring brisk wind speeds and sudden wind shifts.
- Slanted rain generally indicates there is wind. Squalls often move in the direction of (or sideways to) the slant, so don't assume that the cloud is "dragging" the rain behind it, as it might appear.
- Track cloud/storm movement by taking bearings on the center of the storm (not the edges).
- Watch for whitecaps below the clouds, indicating strong gusts. Watch sailing vessels under those clouds, too.
- "Tilted" clouds often bring wind.
- THE FIRST GUST, USUALLY A COOL DOWNBURST. CAN STRIKE ONE-TO-TWO MILES BEFORE THE CLOUD IS OVERHEAD, AND BEFORE THE RAIN STARTS, SO REDUCE SAIL EARLY.
- The strongest gusts and the increased wind accompanying the squall generally blow in the direction of the cloud movement, i.e. outward from the "front" of the cloud. However, increased wind blows outward from all sides of the cloud.
- SQUALLS DO NOT NECESSARILY COME FROM THE DIRECTION OF THE CURRENT WIND, SO SQUALLS COMING FROM A WEATHERLY DIRECTION ARE NOT THE SQUALLS TO WORRY ABOUT. IT IS THE ONES TO THE RIGHT OF THE TRUE WIND, ABOUT 30 DEGREES, THAT ARE HEADED TOWARD YOU (i.e. IF A SOUTHERLY WIND IS BLOWING, IT IS THE SQUALLS TO THE SOUTHWEST TO WATCH FOR).
- The strongest wind comes with or just before the light first rain. If the squall arrives already raining hard, the worst winds are usually past, but strong gusty winds are still possible.
- Behind any squall is often an eerie calm.
Ever wonder what those funny looking pieces of yarn pasted on the jib and the leech of the mainsail are for? Well, they're there to make you a better sailor. But how do they do that?
For a full explanation of how you can use telltales to improve your sailing technique, click here
CASTING OFF AND RETURNING: COMMUNICATION IS KEY
By Matt Stuczynski, Lead Instructor
When casting off, it is crucial that the bow person and skipper communicate effectively by issuing clear commands and repeating/acknowledging those commands. Also, many problems can be forestalled by talking about the process beforehand. Especially in higher winds, the bow person needs to turn and direct their voice towards the stern while the skipper speaks loudly towards the bow (where a flapping jib can make it hard for the bow person to hear). Of course, the bow person must never completely release the second bow cleat until clearly given the command to "Cast Off"; it is not easy to hold on to the 26-foot Colgate in higher winds by the mooring line alone; rather, the bow person should either loop the mooring line around the aft end of the cleat or, better yet, keep the aft end of the mooring line loop ON the cleat and lifting up the front end of the loop just above the cleat; in this way, you can take mechanical advantage of the boat hardware (cleat) rather than your own muscle force.
When returning to the can, crew communication is just as crucial with the bow person directing their voice aft and the skipper forward; using arms to point and immediately call "Abort!" if making the can will not be possible. Also, bow crew have been observed wasting valuable time gingerly placing the pick-up wand on the deck and then looking for the mooring line loop. But the pickup wand is meant to be quickly picked up just in order to get the mooring line. Therefore, as soon as the crew can safely pick up the line running to the mooring line, the wand can be quickly thrown back in the water. Then the bow person will hand over hand the line running from the wand to the mooring line loop. Get that mooring line loop quickly on a bow cleat and then yell "Made" or "We're On" to the skipper.
Thanks to Barb Tenuta and Nick Brait for these suggestions.
FREE RHODES 19 AND IDEAL 18 ORIENTATIONS
By Tim Rice
If you're a Colgate 26 skipper and would like to try a different boat, you can participate in an Ideal 18 or Rhodes 19 orientation. Orientations
|Rhodes 19 returning to harbor on a broad reach |
are FREE to Colgate skippers. After one or more on-the-water sessions, you'll be qualified to sail either our Ideal 18s or our Rhodes 19s. The Rhodes and Ideals are fun to sail and quicker to maneuver than a Colgate, and they have a different "feel" at the helm. Fees for their use are less than a Colgate's, and as few as two people can sail them. Becoming qualified to sail a Rhodes or an Ideal can give you more flexibility in scheduling private sails during busy
times when many of our other boats are in use.
To schedule an on-the-water Ideal 18 or Rhodes 19 orientation session, visit the SailChicago website and select "Seat Availability" from the Reservation menu. There should be some sessions
listed under Orientation. To request that a Rhodes session be scheduled for a different date/time, please contact Tim Rice
. For a different date/time for an Ideal orientation, contact Peter Dudak.
SINGLE-HANDED SAILING CLASSES FOR THE IDEAL 18
Look soon on the "Learn" page of the SailChicago website to sign up for a Single Handed Course on the Ideal, tentatively scheduled for Tues/Thurs July 25/27, 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. The Ideal 18 is nicely suited for single-handed sailing and the only boat in our fleet which allows this. We need 3 students to make the class work. Students MUST have a current skipper card, be qualified to sail the Ideal, and have a record of being the Person in Charge (skipper) of either private rentals, classes, Tiller Times, MCOs, etc. The class is not designed for recent skipper graduates. It assumes some experience as a skipper and experience with the Ideal. Students will learn the finer points of independent sailing and what it takes to safely take the Ideal out on their own.
FIVE-SAIL PROMOTIONS FOR CRUISING BOATS
Our cruising boats are available for special rates:
Orientation sails on Calypso will be scheduled during the week of July 10. Sign up on the web site
- Priorities -
5 sails for $350. These sails may be used during any rental period and reduces maximum rental charge to $70 per rental period. Click here
to register through Constant Contact.
- Calypso - 5 sails for $450. These sails may be used during any rental period and reduces maximum rental charge to $90 per rental period. Click here to register through Constant Contact.
SAIL CHICAGO OFFERS NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED U.S. SAILING BASIC KEELBOAT CERTIFICATION
A Sail Chicago student attains student skipper status by passing the on-the-water skipper prep class, the Basic Keelboat online final exam (for new students starting in 2017), and the Sail Chicago skipper prep online written exam.
But Sail Chicago also administers the US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification written exam which is recognized around the country as a benchmark in sailing education and can be taken after successfully completing our Intermediate course. This exam does not grant you any Skipper privileges in Sail Chicago and a student does not have to take this exam to become a Sail Chicago skipper. It is just another sailing exam, reviews your knowledge, and the cost is $50. A one-year membership to US Sailing is included in the fee.
We will offer dates and times for the US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification exam in the Sail Chicago newsletter. Please notify Alan Summers
one week or more in advance if you wish to take the US Sailing exam. Please bring a check for $50 made out to Sail Chicago at the time of the exam and the name of your Intermediate of skipper prep class instructor.
CALYPSO'S LAKE MICHIGAN CRUISING PASSAGE
By Brian Johnson
Sail Chicago members Iwona Awlasewicz, Bill Christopher, Mary Gegenhuber and Brian Johnson set out on an extended Lake Michigan cruising passage aboard Calypso, Sail Chicago's newest cruising boat, on the evening of Friday June 30. The first leg was over 250 nautical miles to Sutton's Bay, Michigan. Calypso and crew arrived safely 47 hours later after cruising non-stop through a myriad of conditions. Along the way they cruised past Sleeping Bears Dunes in the early morning hours and safely navigated through the Manitou Passage during a squall. Grand Traverse Bay was a welcome sight on Sunday afternoon. The crew used a two person, two-hour shift approach to keep Calypso in capable hands at all times. Night sailing was enjoyable under the stars and 3/4 moon with outstanding sunsets and sunrises. The crew successfully deployed the asymmetrical spinnaker in some light down wind conditions enroute to Leland, Michigan on Tuesday, making over 5 knots in 8 to 10 knots of following wind.
On Wednesday, the crew left for Frankfort, Michigan with projected SW winds of 15-20 knots. While in the Manitou Passage, Calypso encountered sustained winds on her bow of 20-25 knots with gusts into the mid-30 knot range. Waves built to 6-8 feet and we didn't feel comfortable continuing to Frankfort so we headed to the relative safety of Sleeping Bear Bay and anchored near Glen Arbor for 12 hours. At 2 AM on Thursday the crew elected to make a run across the lake to Sturgeon Bay to avoid the projected 30+ knot northerly winds on eastern Lake Michigan the following two days. At the time of this writing, Calypso was sailing under main and spinnaker just east of Rawley Point in Wisconsin heading south to return to Burnham Harbor on Sunday the 9th. Until... we noticed a severe thunderstorm on radar over northern Wisconsin requiring us to head straight west into the harbor at Two Rivers, WI where we waited out the storm.
FOR SAFETY, TEST YOUR INFLATABLE PDF!
By Edward Schroeder
On a recent sail, we discovered that our crew did not know how to inspect and service their inflatable PFD. None had ever opened the Velcro flaps and none knew where the "green inflator status" indicator was.
Your life and the lives of those you care about may depend on a working PDF. Here's what you need to do to be sure everyone who uses an inflatable PDF is safe:
Before each use, make sure:
- There are no rips, tears, excessive abrasion or holes, all seams are securely sewn, and the cover, straps, and hardware are still strong.
- The oral-inflation dust cap is in the stowed position.
- The PFD is not twisted.
- All zippers, closures, and waist buckle are secure.
- Your inflator status indicator is green. Some PFDs have more than one status indicator! Refer to your product manual if you're not sure.
- The inflator pull-tab is hanging on the outside.
Every two months, perform the following tests and inspections:
- Oral Inflation Valve Test Fully inflate the PFD using the oral inflator, and then hold the valve under water. If bubbles appear, deflate the PFD, and re-inflate it again.
- Leak Test To test for air leakage, orally inflate your PFD until firm and then let it sit inflated for 16 hours. A PFD with a leak in it will not hold its firmness and should be replaced.
- Bobbin Inspection and Replacement Your inflatable PFD may use a bobbin activation system. This is a yellow "pill" with white powder inside. When the white powder dissolves, it activates a pin that punctures the CO2 cylinder and inflates your PFD. Inspect the pill to make sure it's still intact and replace the pill if it looks compromised.
Before each sailing season, perform this annual maintenance and inspection:
- Perform a thorough visual inspection.
- Perform the oral inflation valve test.
- Perform the leak test.
- Clean the inflatable PFD.
- Check for dirt and corrosion and replace all corroded parts.
- Record "Annual" in permanent ink on the PFD service record label.
And sail safely!
SAIL CHICAGO REMINDERS
Who to Contact
Need information on an area in Sail Chicago, but don't know who to contact? Find that person in the Sail Chicago Organization Chart.
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."
Share your Photos
We're looking for photos of Sail Chicago boats, members, and activities. To upload your photos simply attach them to an email and address it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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."
See what's happening on our social sites: