BTS: August, 2017

Sail Chicago Newsletter for August
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By Steve VanderVoort, BTS Editor
From time to time this year we've had one or more of our boats placed out of service for repairs that were needed, ultimately because people who were sailing them did not exercise good judgment.  Placing a boat out of service causes problems for our instruction and racing programs, and reduces the availability of our fleet for private use.
I'd like to share with you some views on prudence. First, what does it mean? The Google dictionary defines prudence as the quality of being prudent or cautious. Some synonyms include: wisdom, good judgment, common sense, shrewdness, caution, care, forethought, and circumspection. How does this apply to us as sailors?  I think in many ways.  Here are some questions that you, as a prudent sailor, might ask yourself:
Before the sail  Who will be sailing with you?  What is their experience level? Can you depend upon them to do the right thing if you run into an emergency? What's the weather forecast like?  Are there small craft warning?  If so, should you cancel the sail?  (Don't worry, if you do, you'll get a sailing credit for future use.) Should you reef prior to leaving the mooring?  (If you feel a need to ask this question, you should definitely reef!)  Have you checked the status of your boat on the Sail Chicago website?  Is there anything wrong with it that might cause a problem while you are sailing?  Based upon the conditions at the harbor, what's your plan for leaving the mooring?  Do you have a contingency plan?  Have you communicated the plans to your crew so that each person knows exactly what they are doing?
During the sail  How effective is your communication with your crew?  When in doubt, over-communicate, and don't change course until you are positive your crew fully understands what will happen and what they should do to make it happen.  What's the weather like?  Does it seem to be changing?  What do the clouds tell you?  Is the wind shifting?  Do any of your crew look sick?  If so, ask them and be prepared to return to the harbor immediately!  Are they aware of what to do in a crew overboard situation?
After the sail  Have you developed a specific plan to return to the mooring based upon the conditions in the harbor?  Should you furl the jib?  Will you use the motor instead of sailing to the can?  If the motor dies, what's your alternative plan?  Does your crew know the plan and what their specific job is to make it an uneventful return?  Have your recorded in the log book and reported online the things that you found need attention from maintenance?  Have you left the boat in the condition you would like to find it the next time you sail?
By Alexandra Harper
Bring your friends and family for a burger and a brief sail, from noon until 4:00 p.m., Sunday, August 20, at the Columbia Yacht Club!   Register for the event here.   If you are a skipper who is available to help bring a few of our Colgates over to the Columbia Yacht Club dock and take a group out for a brief sail, please contact us here to let us know.  We need your help to make sure as many people as possible can enjoy a sail!  
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
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.
Ideal 18 at Sunset
An Ideal 18
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. 
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."
By John Lemon, Safety Coordinator

During the recent Chicago to Mackinac Race, a crew member on the Farr 400 Meridian X fell overboard during a sail change in the middle of the night.  The wind had increased from 15 to 40 knots and the crew was working to reduce sail.  This man-overboard experience was eye-opening for all involved.  Both the crew member who fell overboard and the boat skipper wrote descriptions of what happened, which were published in the online sailing press (see below). 
The crew member was in the water for over an hour, in the dark, before he was rescued by his mates. The boat's skipper estimated that they were sailing at 18 knots at the time of the man overboard event, and they sailed about two miles away from the site before they got the sails under control and turned around to rescue him.  The crewman in the water had a safety light and whistle, but the light failed at some point. 
There were many lessons learned from this experience.  I'm sure they will be incorporated into future Safety at Sea seminars as well as safety equipment requirements for the Mac Race.  Here are a few suggestions to enhance your sailing safety even if you are not sailing offshore:
  1. Attach a working LED light and whistle to your life jacket, even for sailing in daylight hours.
  2. Skippers: practice your crew-overboard maneuvers in a variety of situations.
  3. When you are taking out friends/family/co-workers, discuss emergency notification procedures and show someone how to use the VHF radio.
I encourage everyone to read the chilling reports from the crew member describing his overboard experience here.  You can also read the instructive report from the boat skipper's perspective here.

Sail safely!
By Matt Stuczynski, Lead Instructor
To the right is a photo of the 1st century B.C., octagonal "Tower of the Winds"which I saw this summer at the foot of the Acropolis in Athens.  Each side of the tower has a depiction of the corresponding wind direction.  Each image depicts the different wind properties and highlights the constantly changing nature of the winds.  That leads me to this article about our constantly changing and, sometimes very fluky, winds in Chicago's Monroe Harbor.
Here are some thoughts and reminders about harbor sailing and how easy it is for a boat to stall due to lost steerage after a puff, lull or change in wind direction.  
When sailing in the harbor, it's critical to keep the boat under way AT ALL TIMES and to have a PLAN B and maybe a PLAN C should you get a lull, puff or wind change.  If you don't have way on the boat, you cannot steer:  she must be moving.  Plan B and C could be to TACK or FALL OFF.  Of course, for these plans to work, the proper course must be chosen to begin with and, these decisions need to be made immediately.  This underscores the importance of having contingency plans discussed and made BEFORE a course is chosen.
Another thing to keep in mind is DO NOT sail above moored boats, but rather steer a safer course below them.  Sailing above boats leaves little or no room to easily fall off should that be necessary.
Finally, some Skippers chose to have the motor running as a backup should they lose steerage (which is fine) but when doing this you need to engage the motor immediately after the boat stalls and, if you do use this as an option, there must be a crew person at the motor and ready to engage the motor immediately if that command is given.  
Please keep the shifting winds in mind whenever you go out and remember the importance of Plans A, B and C in our constantly changing wind environment.

By Tom Simms, Schuler Scholars Coordinator

Schuler Scholars on the tender
Launched in 2001 by philanthropist Jack Schuller, the Schuler Foundation provides college scholarship assistance to bright motivated underprivileged high schoolers.   These students are identified in 8th grade and receive counseling and tutoring throughout high school and college.  One supplemental Schuler program that helps to achieve an 80% success rate (graduate from a selective private college or university) is the "exposure program".  This program is designed to provide cultural, civic and social experiences that enhance their overall education. 
Since 2014, Sail Chicago has partnered with Schuler Scholars to provide these students with
exposure to sailing.  Our program has grown from one Colgate per week to four Colgates; totaling over 100 students sailing on Wednesday afternoons.   Sailing in a boat for two and half hours provides an opportunity for enlightening conversation.  In addition to "sail" talk and instruction, our volunteers and the students often discuss their schooling and future plans.  Fifteen Sail Chicago members have volunteered to share their time, experience and love of sailing to contribute to the education of these deserving students.
If you would like more information about the Schuler program or the two other Sail Chicago volunteer youth programs, please check out the Community Outreach page of the Sail Chicago website.  To view what it's like for a student to experience a rugged afternoon of sailing, click here.

By Bob Lapin, Cruising Coordinator
As of August 1, we have 47 cruising skippers of which 36 have successfully completed the orientation on Calypso and are now qualified to sail both cruising boats.  Nineteen students have completed or will enter training as new cruising skippers.  The last class of the season begins August 7.  Twelve students have participated or will participate in bareboat cruises.  The last bareboat cruise of the season is scheduled for August 11.
When sailing, you're out there to have fun, right?  Well, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you have a good time before, during, and after your sail. Remember, you're on the water for 4-5 hours, and that can be a long time.
Before  Don't eat a huge meal before departing.  Slather on plenty of sunscreen, and be sure to wear clothing that will protect you from the sun. Even on cloudy days those ultraviolet rays can penetrate your skin and leave a nasty burn later in the day. Don't forget to fill your water bottle, and make one last stop at the bathroom.
During  Hydrate!  Drink frequent small amounts from your water bottle.  Eat fruits with high water content.  Grapes and oranges are great.  Remember that alcohol dehydrates.  Besides, it's not allowed on Sail Chicago vessels while sailing.
If you start to feel sick, tell your skipper immediately.  Many people find that sea-bands (wrist-bands that stimulate pressure points on the wrist) help to prevent sea sickness.  Others say that chewing candied ginger or eating a few ginger snaps helps to settle the stomach.  If you continue to feel sick, do NOT go below deck, but concentrate your gaze far out to the horizon.  Finally, if you think you might vomit, make sure to lean over the leeward side of the boat.
After  If you've done everything indicated above, you should be able to be get back on shore feeling great, having had a very enjoyable sail.
By Bob Lapin, Secretary
The Sail Chicago Board met on Thursday, July 17. The following items were discussed:

  • The Board is finalizing/revising the Sail Chicago Rules and Regulations relating to damage to boats when skippers elect to sail in high-wind situations. Skippers electing to sail in these conditions may face financial responsibility for damage done to boats. Details to follow.
  • A practice-mooring can will be placed at the entrance to Monroe Harbor.
  • Three incidents resulted in damage to Rubato and Riverfolk.
  • Chris Schuler is investigating the possibility of buying another Colgate currently located in Iowa.
  • Martin reported that financials are in good shape and funds are available to acquire a Colgate.
  • Our annual picnic will be held at Columbia Yacht Club on August 20. The end-of-year dinner will be Friday, November 10.
  • We have lost our meeting room at Grant Thornton and are looking for a new meeting site.


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."
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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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