BTS: June, 2018

Sail Chicago Newsletter for June
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ISSUE #6/JUNE, 2018
By Steve VanderVoort, BTS Editor
Sail Chicago provides many opportunities to gain sailing experience at no cost to its members.  Sometimes these can provide an opportunity to earn service credit as well.  Here are a few of the ways:
Member Cruise Outings - MCOs are offered free to members and provide an opportunity to get out on the water with an experienced skipper.  Members who want to experience a casual sail or learn about a boat they haven't sailed before can sign up on the Reservations page of the website.
Tiller Times - This program is designed for member students to practice the skills they learn in their formal classes under the guidance of an experienced skipper. We believe that the best way to become a competent sailor is to gain lots of experience, and this is a good way to do it.  Member students may sign up on the Reservations page of the website.
Maintenance Sails - Members who serve on boat maintenance teams can participate in weekly maintenance sails.  They spend some time on the boat doing normal maintenance, and once that's complete, they take the boat out for a sail. To sign up for a maintenance team contact 
Service Sails - Sail Chicago has partnered with youth organizations and social service agencies such as Lawrence Hall Youth Services and the Schuler Scholars program to provide opportunities for youth to get out on the water and experience the fun of sailing.  Contact or watch future issues of Between the Sheets for more information.
Of course, our boats are always available (for a fee) to Sail Chicago skippers when
Sailing in Chicago with a beautiful skyline
not in use by other programs.  If you're not a skipper or if you're a skipper looking for crew, you can always sign up for Share-a-Sail, a community forum that lets skippers and potential crew communicate with each other.  Contact David Shayne
for more information.
Sail Chicago member David Kelpsas has written a "Letter to the Editor" commenting on my last month's editorial column. To read it, click here.
By Sarah Wirth

In May, Sail Chicago students and members got together on a rainy Sunday at the Columbia Yacht Club to have drinks and mingle.  Students dropped by before their classes and the group got a refresh on their knots, thanks to Matt 
Tying a Bowline at the Kickoff
Learning the ropes...and the knots
Stuczynski (head of instruction) and Jason Wirth.  Nick Brait walked away with the grand prize after successfully tying knots behind his back.
We also had a small fundraiser by raffle, and prizes such as dry bags and Sail Chicago swag were awarded. The raffle raised around $200 that will go toward fleet renewal. Thanks to Kelsey Simoens for organizing food and drinks, Rachel Granneman for organizing the raffle, and all who brought coolers and helped us set up. Last but certainly not least, thanks to Maureen Huston, Joe Cannon, and the crew who brought down Calypso in what were true Chicago weather conditions!
By Rachel Granneman, Social Coordinator

The first Happy Hour of this sailing season will kick off at 6:00 p.m. at the Flagship Tavern in Lakeview.  Come join in the fun, munch on appetizers, meet other sailors, and swap sailing stories.  The first ten people to show up will get a free drink ticket.
By Frank McNamara, Volunteer Coordinator

Many volunteer positions have been filled at this point, but we do still have a few more roles to assign. As a reminder, first-year members are not expected to complete service time but are welcome and encouraged to do so.
Second-year members and beyond must sign up for a job to fulfill their service time duties. If you have any questions or still need to sign up for a volunteer role, please send an email 
By Vlad Roshchin, Monroe Parking Pass Coordinator

As part of our mooring fee, one parking pass is allowed for each boat at Monroe Harbor.  These passes are only available for skippers and instructors who will be sailing a boat during the period the pass is being used.  The pass must be signed out in the booklet and returned one-half hour before the start of the next period so that the next skipper can use the pass.  Each pass is labeled with the name of the boat where it is assigned.  If the pass for your boat is missing, do not use the pass from another boat.  If you lose a pass or find one missing, please report it immediately to me so that it can be replaced.  If you park your car in the Monroe Drive circle while getting a pass, leave your flashers on and put a note on your windshield. While we don't guarantee it, doing so may prevent your car from being ticketed.

This program is dependent upon the cooperation of all skippers and instructors.  Please do your part.
By Matt Stuczynski, Lead Instructor
Sail Chicago will continue to offer our new students the US Sailing online version of the basic keelboat textbook.  In addition, we will now require passing this online
A basic sailing class reviews sailing principles while waiting for the Monroe tender. 
text/course in order to gain Sail Chicago skipper status.   The new online version of the text includes quizzes after each chapter and a final test; all quizzes 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 logon access never expires.   The best thing about the online text is that it features animations so students can more easily envision the wind blowing and sails being trimmed in and out.  
Anyone is welcome to buy the book online for $50 while we are offering it to our students as part of their course fee.  You can check it out here.
By Monte Lewis

To raise the skills of our instructors and continue to align our instruction program with US Sailing certification process, Sail Chicago has chosen to adopt a goal of having all of our instructors pass the BKI evaluation in the next three years.  Sail Chicago will provide financial support, as well as provide a get-ready for certification training program for our instructors.
The BKI is not a course in the traditional sense, but rather a three-day intensive
US Sailing Logo (new)
evaluation of our instructors' ability to teach sailing to the US Sailing Keelboat Certification System Standard.  This standard is the most rigorous in the country and requires practice, study, and preparation by even the most gifted and experienced professional instructors. There is little formal training, education, or time for practice during the BKI evaluation.
Two students attended the recent BKI evaluation in early May hosted by Columbia Yacht Club.  Prior to the BKI Evaluation, we ran a land class with practice exams and an On the Water session to practice single handling COB drills.  We are planning to schedule our own BKI Evaluation at the end of the season, but will need a minimum of six participants for US Sailing to send out an instructor trainer to run the class.  If you are an instructor and are interested in participating in the BKI Evaluation at the end of the season, send a quick email to me.
By Alan Summers
The US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification exam will be given during the pre-sail orientations at Columbia Yacht Club on the following dates: 6/9/18 at 9:00 a.m., 7/14/18 at 9:00 a.m., and 7/31/18 at 7:00 p.m.
This is an optional written exam.  It is a US Sailing exam and has no bearing on your skipper or Sail Chicago status. You may be a Sail Chicago skipper without taking this exam.  This US Sailing exam gives you a one-year membership in US Sailing and means you have the met basic keelboat standards as defined by U.S. Sailing. The exam is $50, so please bring a check made out to Sail Chicago at the time of the exam. It often takes 4-8 weeks after the exam to receive your confirmation materials from US Sailing. To register for the exam, please contact Alan Summers.

What the heck is a derecho?  Sail Chicago member Jay Owens recently sent us a notice that one may have recently been developing in the Mid-Atlantic states. Unlike tornados, with strong circular winds, derechos form in a straight line, and they can be devastating.  Chicago has been subject to derechos occasionally. When you're out on a boat keep a watchful eye for rapidly worsening weather conditions (derechos can form very suddenly) and dark cloud formations moving in a straight line across the horizon.  Head for the harbor immediately.  For more information on derechos, 

Five-sail packages for our cruising boats are again available at the same prices as last year.  See the May issue of Between the Sheets for the links to register.
By Bob Lapin, Cruising Coordinator

Do you wish you understood how to use the GPS system on Calypso?   Then come to this hands-on learning session conducted by Jeremy Shaw.  You will learn to create waypoints and routes, record the track you've sailed, estimate the time to port, and how to mark crew-overboard positions.  After a brief walk-through, we will leave the harbor and go for a sail with each person taking turns plotting a route, and then following it at the helm.
Jeremy has updated the charts and electronics and is looking forward to introducing you to this vital skill for cruisers.  The session will be held for all Calypso skippers (no guests please) at Burnham harbor on May 28 and June 4 from 1800 to 2200.  There is room for four skippers at each session.  Contact Jeremy Shaw if you wish to attend.  Eight people are already on the waitlist and are being scheduled.
By Bob Lapin, Cruising Coordinator
The "Procedure Manuals for Priorities and Calypso" can now be found on the Sail Chicago website.  Go to membership/files/cruising documents.
Sail Chicago now has a membership to the Great Lakes Cruising Club for the 2018 season.  Their many members update a website with all the latest information on harbors and harbor towns on the Great lakes.  Please contact Bob Lapin if you would like specific information.

Jay Owens reports that the recent trip of our Hunter 34, Priorities, "up" the river
Priorites crew poses for a river photo.
to her summer berth was fun, but not without its problems.  It was a beautiful day for a sail, one of the few in May, with none of the usual freezing rain, high winds, or tsunamis.  Joe Sjostrom brought along donuts and coffee, which endeared him to the rest of the crew.  The second drawbridge on the route opened about half way, but then lost power.  Luckily the crew was able to maneuver the boat to the far side of the bridge, where the mast just barely squeaked under it. Priorities is now tucked away in its slip, right next to a huge powerboat.  Skippers will have to be very careful when maneuvering the boat in and out of slip.  Fortunately, Priorities carries plenty of bumpers.
By Joe Cannon and Tom Peterson

Remember that any issue reported on the "Status" page of the web page will trigger a response from the maintenance team.  While any problem that affects safety or performance should be reported, think carefully before submitting issues that might be better handled other ways.  The maintenance
teams have quite a bit of work to do and are frequently very busy.
Issues that should be reported posted on the Status page:
  • Anything that affects boat safety, especially rigging, motor, and safety equipment.
  • Very low gas (but we have had a lot of false reports here.  The new tanks have a rated capacity of 3 gallons, but do not look full when containing this volume).  We will develop a reliable gauge/dipstick ASAP to deal with this issue.
  • Damage to the boat.  It's important to report this as soon as it's noticed
  • If there is a serious issue that you feel could put another user at risk, TAKE THE BOAT OUT OF SERVICE AND NOTIFY THE NEXT SKIPPERS who may not check the web site in time.
Issues that might be resolved other ways:
  • Found items from previous trips:  try contacting earlier skippers directly.
  • Cleanliness issues can be reported on the checkout sheet.  The maintenance team reads these reports weekly.
  • Duplicates of existing issues.  It doesn't really help to add them again.
  • Suggestions for improvement;  instead, email
  • Missing items that do not affect the safety or functionality of the boat.  Email the boat manager directly.
There are three levels of severity:
  • Yellow: Caution, be advised...
  • Orange: Repairs needed, but seaworthy.
  • Red: Unsafe, take out of service.
  Red is self-explanatory.  Next month examples of yellow and orange alerts will be presented.
By Joe Cannon, Maintenance Coordinator

Many members are having difficulty finding volunteer opportunities to fulfil their service requirement.  New opportunities are in development and should be available soon.  Examples of the service work under consideration include:
  • Teams to refuel the Colgates and Rhodes on a weekly basis (or more often, if needed).
  • A detailing team to remove deck stains and oxidation, then seal the surface with an appropriate non-slip deck wax.
  • A fiber-glassing team to repair superficial chips, crazing, and previous less-than-elegant patchwork on the decks, cockpits, and in the cabins.
With implementation of the new wind guidelines, a checklist that incorporates consideration of weather conditions into pre-sail preparations has been developed and will be on board within the week.  A new checklist for weekly use by the maintenance teams is also in development, which will include more detailed inspection of the outboards than current practice.
In addition, the detailed instructions for outboard engine operation, described in previous issues of BTS, will soon be affixed to the inner side of the fuel hatch covers on the Colgates and tethered under the stern decks of the Rhodes.
Skipper Alert:  While on the subject of the outboards, there have been numerous reports of the engines "failing" to lock into a straight-ahead position.  However, the steering adjustment screw at the back of the shaft was never meant to lock the engine into a straight-ahead orientation. Page 9 of the Tohatsu manual explicitly states: "The steering adjustment screw is used to adjust the friction load of the steering, but not to fix the steering.  Excess tightening of the adjustment screw may cause damage to the swivel bracket."


Furthermore, the engine is not locked in a vertical position when the gear shift is in forward. The engine needs to be able to "kick up" if a floating or submerged object is hit by the shaft while the boat is moving forward.  Otherwise, severe damage to the engine and/or transom of the boat will occur.
By Bob Lapin, Board Secretary
The Sail Chicago Board met at the Morningstar building on May 10.
Boats are in the water. Classes and rentals are up and running.  The hard work of everyone is appreciated as we begin the sailing season.
The Board authorized an expenditure of up to $2,100 for the acquisition of a motorized rigid inflated boat.  Joe Cannon will look at options and report back next month.
Bob Lapin reported that the cruising program is moving toward a goal of having Coast Guard licensed instructors in the cruising program.   The Board approved the motion to reimburse instructors for expenses incurred while obtaining the license.  The Board placed conditions that include:
  • Applies to new applications only and is not retroactive,
  • A maximum five license reimbursements per year,
  • The new licensee will submit a request to the Board for reimbursement and will be reimbursed full expenses once the license is obtained,
  • It is expected that instructors receiving the reimbursement will teach at least four classes.
The next meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. on June 14 at the Morningstar building. 

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.
Sail Chicago Gear
Purchase gear with the Sail Chicago logo on it.  Caps, shirts, pants and other gear are available. To shop now, click here.

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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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