BTS: June, 2019

Sail Chicago Newsletter for June, 2019
Sail Chicago Logo
ISSUE #6/JUNE, 2019
By Steve VanderVoort, BTS Editor

I can tell that the sailing season has begun because this issue of Between the
Colgate 26 Racing
Sail Chicago
Sheets is chocked full of news and valuable information that you'll need if you're going to have a fun and safe summer on the water.  So, rather than having me bore you with my own musings, read on, and note well everything that's happening.
Rachel Granneman, Social Coordinator
Party-goers at the Season Kickoff
Sail Chicago members and students braved the rain to turn out for the SeasonKickoff Party on May 19th at the Columbia Yacht Club.  Along with drinks, snacks, and good company, guests donated over $500 to pick up a selection of all-new Sail Chicago gear! 
Big thanks to the social committee, board members, and other volunteers who helped at this event!
By Rachel Granneman, Social Coordinator

Mark your calendars!   Our first happy hour of the season will be Thursday, June 27, from 5:00-6:30 p.m. at the Interurban Boathouse!  This fun, nautically-themed restaurant is conveniently located on Cortland near the north branch of the river and has a happy-hour selection of $4 beers, $5 vodka drinks, $5 glasses of wine, and $5 appetizers.  Our second happy hour will be the same location on Thursday, July 25.

Our instruction program is in full swing, and that means its time to start scheduling Tiller Times, so our member-students can get out on the water to practice their newly-learned skills.  If you've been a skipper for at least two years and would like to help current students get in some sailing practice, then consider signing on as a Tiller Time skipper.  If you successfully complete five sessions as a Tiller Time skipper, this fulfills your annual service requirement.  For more information or to register as a skipper, contact Chris Faris, our Tiller Time Coordinator.
By Alan Summers, Exam Coordinator

The date for the August Keelboat Certification Exam has been changed.  The exam will now be given on August 24 at 9:00 a.m.  The location is still to be determined. Questions?  Contact me.
By John Lemon, Safety Coordinator 

Several items relating to the safety of our members, students, and fleet caught my eye this month.  Here they are:
  • High water levels on Lake Michigan have partially submerged some of the breakwaters in the Chicago Harbor area.  Under certain conditions, parts of the outer breakwater are barely visible. The remains of Dime Pier, adjacent to the south side of Navy Pier, are also almost submerged.  Note that all of these features are clearly shown on nautical charts and are properly marked with lateral aids to navigation (lights and day shapes). Mariners need to familiarize themselves with the location and configuration of all the breakwaters and potential danger zones along the lakefront. Remember also that the underwater structures are much larger than the visible portion, so sailors should leave adequate room when sailing near a breakwater.  Here is the link to the nautical chart for the Chicago Harbor (Chart 14928). Take a few minutes to review it before you head out on the water this summer.
  • If you have sailed in the Chicago area for any length of time, you may have noticed that the foghorn at the Chicago Light no longer sounds continuously.  This is part of the Coast Guard's efforts to modernize sound signal devices (foghorns), beginning in the Northeast U.S.  Older fog detectors have been replaced with Mariner Radio Activated Sound Signals.  If you are near the Chicago Harbor in fog or limited visibility and want to activate the Chicago Light horn, set your VHF radio to channel 83A and key the microphone five times. You can read more here.
  • May was Skin Cancer Awareness Month.  As the weather improves and the sun comes out, we must take care to protect our skin and eyes from harmful UV rays.  Here's a link to a great article on skin protection and sunburn from Shelly Galligan, a sailor, nurse, and expert in on-the-water first aid.   
By Mark Pashan, Service Time Coordinator

At this time all the boat maintenance teams are fully staffed.  But we are still looking for an assistant social director and for someone to help schedule our instruction classes.  We are also looking for an experienced sailor to help in the curriculum review.
As a reminder, first-year members are not expected to complete service time. Second-year members and beyond must sign up for a job to fulfill their service-time duties for 2019.
As always, up-to-date information can be found at the Sail Chicago Organization chart.  If you have any questions, email me.

Colorful diagrams can instruct and soothe the crew. 
It's said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  That's why whiteboards and dry markers have been installed in most boats in our fleet.  These items can come in very handy when instructors need to explain the intricacies of points of sail or crew overboard quick turn maneuvers.  Tiller Time skippers can also make good use of them to illustrate such things as coming about or jibing.  And lastly, regular skippers can use them to settle pressing technical arguments about sail trim that might otherwise lead to mutiny.
By Andy Devoto

If you're a skipper with open seats, or you're looking for crew, or if you're not yet a skipper and looking for more time on the water, you can reach out to other sailors via Share-a-Sail.
New Skippers
Add to the fun with new shipmates. 
New this year,
you can join the Share-a-Sail Slack Group and chat your requests in the #share-a-sail channel.  Slack is a group messaging app that facilitates discussions by interests (channels) and one-to-one chats.  Sail Chicago is already using the Slack app for maintenance and other groups, and we're excited to include a Share-a-Sail channel as well:
  • Click here to join the slack group.
  • Click the confirmation email and complete your sign up.
  • Download the slack app on your phone and sign in.
  • OR use Slack online here.
  • Click into "#share-a-sail" in the list of channels and click "Join Channel."
  • Then you're free to list requests or reply to others.
As in the past, you can also join the Share-a-Sail google group and communicate over email:
  • Go to the Sail Chicago Share-a-Sail Sail Chicago group page.
  • Click "Subscribe to this group".
  • As a member of the group, send an email with the details of your request (Your name, date and time of sail, boat size).
  • All members of the google group will receive every email sent to the group email address. Replies will only go to the original sender.
Questions? Contact me.
By Joe Cannon, Maintenance Coordinator

The average age of our Colgate fleet is 19 years (range 14 - 21 years), so age-related repairs are inevitable.  Nevertheless, an unusually large number of critical repairs have been necessary this spring.  To learn more about this major undertaking, see the specific repairs that are being made, and to see how the boats are being reconfigured, click here.
Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to the volunteers on our maintenance team who spent many hours in inclement weather this spring to make sure that our fleet is up to our standards of safety and reliability.
By Matt Stuczynski, Lead Instructor

New members may wonder why Sail Chicago does not give individual checkouts to those who already have some sailing experience.  The reason is that there is simply too much to learn regarding our boat maintenance protocols, our rules, regulations, and responsibilities, including learning about our group culture.  Furthermore, we have a high standard for skipper competency since you are on your own when you take out a Sail Chicago boat; we do not have staff on call, nor a chase boat, nor an on-duty authority to answer an immediate question.   
The typical steps to becoming a Sail Chicago skipper are, thus, to take the Basic, Intermediate, and Skipper Prep courses.  Once your Skipper Prep instructor feels that you have passed the on-the-water portion of that class, you will then need to take an online written test that your Instructor will share with you as well as show proof of passing the Basic Keelboat text final exam. Test Coordinator, David Simoens, will then go over the test answers with you.  Marj Benson, our skipper status administrator, collects all this information and grants final skipper status on the member website.
Those with previous experience or who have the time to practice and study can often become a skipper in one season; however, many students take two or even more seasons in order to earn their skipper status.  During this process, the prospective skipper should try to sail as much as possible through Tiller Times, Member Cruise Outings, Share-a-Sails, Social Service sails as well as taking advantage of opportunities such as crewing on boats for skipper members.  You'll find this a fun and rewarding process, not just a way to a goal.
By Maureen Huston, Cruising Coordinator

Priorities and Calypso, our 34-foot cruising boats are each safely moored in their slips at Belmont and Burnham Harbors, respectively.  Reservations are now
open on  
It's been a long winter, so if your cruising skills need a little refreshing, check the Reservation page on the website for upcoming Rusty Skipper sails (available for Sail Chicago cruising skippers only.)  
Member Cruise Outings (MCOs) are coming soon.  MCOs are informal pleasure sails available to all Sail Chicago members.  It's an opportunity for you to get out on the water on one of our cruising boats without the responsibility for skippering a boat.  Login to your Reservations page on, and check for available seats on an upcoming cruise.  MCOs are offered free of charge to members.  MCOs are another one of the many benefits of membership in Sail Chicago.  
Cruising Instruction  Our first session of cruising courses is nearly complete. The cruising program offers three on-the-water courses.  Small keelboat skippers are introduced to a variety of systems and equipment commonly found on cruising boats.  Basic Cruising 1 is our introductory level course.  Students have an opportunity to further develop their sailing knowledge and skills as they learn to handle our 34' cruising boats out on the water.  Basic Cruising 2 focuses on docking and controlling a larger cruising boat in close quarters, or confined conditions.  Prerequisites for all cruising courses include Sail Chicago membership and a basic keelboat skipper card.  
Introduction to Coastal Navigation was held at Columbia Yacht Club on May 11.  Sail Chicago member Melchior Dikkers shared his extensive cruising experience and navigation expertise with nineteen sailors.  Several of the participants have already signed up, ready to put their new skills to the test in one of our upcoming bareboat cruising weekend courses, an optional overnight course offered to Sail Chicago cruising skippers who have completed a Sail Chicago coastal navigation course.


If you like water, you'll love this! The International OCEAN FILM TOUR is a celebration of our love of the ocean featuring six, exhilarating and inspiring documentary, ocean adventures, including sailing, surfing, diving, sharks, pirates, and environmental conservation.  It's coming to Chicago on June 12 at the Landmark Century Theater.  To watch the trailer, click here.  For more information or to purchase tickets, click here. 
By Maureen Huston, Board Secretary

The Sail Chicago Board met on May 14.  The following items were discussed:
  • Frank McNamara is stepping aside as Vice Chair and volunteer coordinator. Adam Wisneski will complete Frank's term as Vice Chair.  Mark Pashan is taking over responsibilities for volunteer coordination.  Frank will remain on the Board of Directors but will be focusing more on "behind the scenes" tech support and our social media presence.
  • Difficult weather presented several challenges this spring, delaying weather-sensitive maintenance work and complicating preparations for launching our fleet.  Thanks to several dedicated volunteers in maintenance, registration, and instruction, Colgate and cruising courses began right on schedule. Instruction committees reviewed course curricula and made adjustments based on instructor and student feedback.  The committee will continue to meet during and after the season to evaluate current practices and course structure.  Sail Chicago courses are designed in accordance with US Sailing standards.
  • The Social Committee has a summer full of events planned, beginning with the Season Kickoff event held at Columbia on May 19.  Watch Between the Sheets and the Sail Chicago website for upcoming events.
The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 11, at 7:00 p.m. at Columbia Yacht Club.

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.

Like us on Facebook
You'll get updates, reminders, and other information on Sail Chicago events and activities. Click here

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. 
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
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."

Click on the links below to find more information about Sail Chicago.
Sail Chicago, P.O. Box 101069, Chicago, IL 60610-8914
Sent by in collaboration with
Constant Contact
Try email marketing for free today!