BTS: September, 2019

Sail Chicago Newsletter for September, 2019
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By Steve VanderVoort, BTS Editor

I was recently talking with a new member of Sail Chicago who described to me how difficult it was for them to "navigate" their way around the organization.  This brought to mind a similar problem I had several years ago when I first joined Sail Chicago.  I was totally at a loss to find my way through the organizational maze that seemed to surround me.  Fortunately, I happened to stumble upon an "old-timer" who served as a mentor.  Whenever I had a question or a problem, I would call her, and she would point me in the right direction.  And if she didn't have an answer to one of my many questions, she would research the answer and call me back.  I'll always be grateful to her for the help she offered me at the start of my Sail Chicago career.
So, if you're having similar problems finding your way around Sail Chicago, see if you can find yourself a mentor, and ask them if they'd be willing to help you with any questions you might have about the organization.  This could be an instructor in one of your classes, a Tiller Time skipper you've sailed with, or someone you've met at one of our social functions.  And if you're having trouble finding someone who can help you out, you can begin by emailing your question or problem to, and if that doesn't work, just contact me and I'll try to find the answers for you.
By Rachel Granneman, Social Coordinator
We'll have our annual End-of-Season Dinner on Friday, Oct. 4, at Columbia Yacht Club.   Every year, Sail Chicago ends the sailing season with festivities, food, drinks, and member recognition, and we are thrilled to invite our members, students, and their guests back to Columbia Yacht Club this year!
Join us for a buffet dinner, cash bar, and a chance to celebrate a successful sailing season with fellow Sail Chicago members.  We will recognize those who have excelled in the organization, either through their achievement or through their volunteer service.
Sail Chicago merchandise will be available for a donation, and the event will also include a Silent Auction, with donations from Zim, Quantum, Ronstan, Zanies, Koval, and Twin Anchors! Cash or credit card will be accepted.
The event is open to members, students, and 1-2 guests. To register yourself and your guest(s), click here.

By Alan Summers

The US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification exam will be given Saturday, September 14, at 9:00 a.m.  The location for the exam is Peet's Coffee. 686 W Ogden Ave, Naperville.
This is an optional written exam.  While you may become a Sail Chicago skipper without taking this exam, preparing for the exam does provide you with another learning opportunity. This U.S. Sailing exam also gives you a one-year membership in U.S. Sailing and means you have the met basic keelboat standards as defined by U.S. Sailing. The certificate can be helpful as a form of accreditation if you are chartering a sailboat elsewhere.
To take the exam, you must have successfully completed Sail Chicago's Intermediate Sailing instruction program. The exam costs $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 me here.
By Rachel Granneman Social Coordinator

Hang-with-the-Board Happy Hour is on deck for Thursday, Sept. 19, at the Columbia Yacht Club.  Questions or suggestions for the Board?
Columbia Yacht Club 
Just want to hang out and get to know other sailors?  If so, join members of the Board and other members and students at our final happy hour of the season. Sail Chicago will be providing appetizers and snacks!  Meet upstairs at the bar. You can order Sail Chicago merchandise here for pick-up at the happy hour.  Email Rachel with any questions.
By John Lemon, Safety Coordinator

U.S. Coast Guard Issues 2018 Recreational Boating Safety Report
The US Coast Guard recently issued its annual report on recreational (non-commercial) boating safety.  There were 633 boating fatalities in 2018, a slight decline compared to 2017.  Nearly one-fifth (19%) of the fatalities were due to consumption of alcohol onboard.  Where the cause of death was known, 77% of fatal boating accident victims drowned.  Of those drowning victims with reported life jacket usage, 84% were not wearing a life jacket.  Wearing a properly fitted life jacket remains the single most important thing you can do to enhance your safety on the water.  The primary contributing factors to accidents were operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, machinery failure, and excessive speed.  You can read the Coast Guard's statement on the report, which contains the link to the full report, here.

Sail Chicago Incident/Accident Reports
While we strive for incident-free sailing, from time to time, skippers and members are involved in an incident on the water.  It may be just fending off another boat in the harbor, incurring damage due to contact with a breakwater or seawall, or a minor injury onboard.  Sail Chicago has rigorous procedures in place to ensure that all incidents, however minor, are promptly reported and logged in. 

Members are encouraged to review the definitions and reporting requirements as they are described in our Sailing "Rules and Regulations," Part 5, BOATING ACCIDENTS, INCIDENTS, VIOLATIONS, AND INTERACTIONS. The "Rules & Regulations" can be found online in the Sail Chicago Handbook.  Login to your mysailchicago account, click on the "Membership" tab to find the link to the "Rules & Regulations."  Incidents are filed electronically and must be submitted within 48 hours.  The incident report form is on your mysailchicago page, under the "Reservation" tab.

John Lemon, Sail Chicago's Safety Director, forwarded this picture of the Monroe Harbor tender dock in 2011, when you had to step down to reach the tender instead of stepping up.  How times have changed!  Which direction will we need to travel next year? Up or down?

By Mark Pashan, Volunteer Coordinator

Many thanks to everyone who has been volunteering throughout the year.  We run on volunteer power.
As a reminder, first-year members are not expected to perform service time. Second-year members and beyond must sign up for a job to fulfill their service time duties for 2019. To fulfil your 2019 commitment, you must log 20 volunteer hours by the end of the year.
As always, up-to-date information can be found at the Sail Chicago  Organization Chart.  If you have any questions,  email me.
By Maureen Huston, Board Secretary

From the August Board Meeting -
  • Please join the Board of Directors for our first ever "Hang with the Board" Happy Hour event at Columbia Yacht Club, 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 19.  This is an opportunity for members and students to meet the Board, bring feedback and suggestions, etc.
  • The Board of Directors voted unanimously to eliminate the use of shock cords from our fleet (e.g. to secure tillers, engines, etc.)  This is in response to a request by member Dan Stein.  Dan presented compelling arguments and hard data regarding the risk of significant injury from shock cords.  The Maintenance team is considering safer alternatives to replace shock cords on our boats.
  • Sail Chicago will be updating our electronic communications systems over the coming months.  Volunteers are working hard to clean up our mailing lists to eliminate duplicates and remove "bad" addresses as we migrate our email to MailChimp.
  • Several Sail Chicago programs are evaluating Slack for messaging, file-sharing, and real-time communication.  Eventually, Slack could be utilized by all members, to streamline communication, and provide real-time access to program information.
  • Safety Director John Lemon reports that although there have been a large number of incidents/accidents so far this season, for the most part, severity has been low.  This indicates that our skippers and instructors are faithfully reporting minor incidents such as fend-offs, minor contact, tows, etc. as required by our "Rules and Regulations." None of the incidents were related to wind guideline violations.  Most of the incidents with the Colgates involved pinching and loss of steerage while departing and returning to the mooring.  Historically this has been one of the challenges for new sailors.
  • The Board voted to create an ad hoc Membership Committee to consider ways to enhance/improve the membership experience.  Members interested in applying to volunteer for this committee should send an email with your name and best contact information to
  • The next meeting of the Board of Directors is scheduled for Tuesday, September 10, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. at Columbia Yacht Club.  Board meetings are open to all members of Sail Chicago.

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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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
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