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Fleet Captain Report: March 2018

We had a very productive and informative meeting among the club boat owners on Feb 17. As a result we were able to confirm what most of the captains’ preferences were for our 2018 sailing schedule. A confirmed sailing schedule will be included in this Communique. So far we have about 14 Confirmed Events. By discussing what will and will not work we’ve come to realize some very important conclusions about both our trailer sailing interests as well as our interests about sailing on Lake Michigan.

There are a number of Proposed Events that are still being looked into so that we can be assured of boat owners’ availability and desire to participate. Some of the events that we would like to make a sailing event out of first need to be confirmed that they will even take place.

Trailer Sails

So far we have 4 confirmed sails that are trailer sails::
1) The Sailstice at Lake Mendota in June, 2) The Door County sail at the end of July, 3) The Green Lake sail in mid-August, and 4) The Lake Mendota Fall sail in September. There are many Lake Michigan sails that are also open to trailerable boats.

Our first trailer sail is usually up at Lake Geneva in mid to late May, but at the meeting we came to the conclusion that that seems to be too early because the weather is often still too cold and/or rainy and so the sail ends up being cancelled. So now we’re thinking early June would be a better idea. Also, several of our captains with trailerable boats find that doing a one day sail is a lot of work rigging and then de-rigging their boat for just one day, so we’re looking into having a trailer sail for a whole weekend and possibly mooring boats overnight at George Williams College.

It’s confirmed that we’ll have a Fathers’ Day Picnic at Waukegan Harbor as Hal Shanafield has reserved a nice pavilion there from 10am to 2pm with grills available. Hal is still looking into making it a sail if he can get boats. Please let Hal Know If you can bring a boat to this event.

The next proposed trailer sail is to Lake Winnebago in July, possibly July 7-8, since the club doesn’t have any events planned that weekend. Hal Shanafield says Lake Winnebago is about 5 hours away, but that it’s a really nice place. Please let Hal know if you are interested in bringing a boat to this sail.


Finally, the last additional proposed trailer sail is back at Lake Geneva for the “Fall Colors sail” that we traditionally wind up the season with. Marc Holdwick suggested Oct 20. Marc is willing to be cruise captain for this event, but we need to find boats for the event. Please let Marc know if you can bring a boat to this sail.

Lake Michigan Sails

So far we have 11 confirmed and 3 proposed Lake Michigan sails. The first proposed sail is a Lake Michigan West Coast sail on August 11-12. Many captains were in agreement to sail up to Port Washington. The West Coast sail would involve captains sailing from Chicago up north to meet up with Waukegan boats. Those boats would then progress north to Kenosha where still other captains would join the sail until they reach Port Washington. The captains are planning to meet together and discuss the sail further at a later point in time.

The second proposed Lake Michigan sail was to sail across the lake over the Labor Day weekend on September 1-3. At least 6 captains are interested. Those captains will meet to develop a sailing plan and will report back with details.

Finally, the last Lake Michigan sail proposed is to sail out of Racine Harbor on Saturday September 15th and then join the Racine Yacht Club for a Shrimp Boil dinner that evening. It’s not confirmed that the dinner will take place on that day if at all. Bill Draver will check into it.

Please look over the 2018 Confirmed Sailing Schedule Events and let me know if you would be able to be a cruise captain, or even a co-cruise captain for one of this year’s events. Having cruise captains for each and every one of our events is vital to how our club functions, and is a great way to give back to the club, especially if you’re not a boat owner.

Fair winds and calm seas!!!! —Mike Saavedra

Fleet Captain Report: February 2018

Ahoy sailors!!! We had a wonderful time at the Boat, RV and Strictly Sail show at McCormick Place this year, and we had a least 110 people sign up at our booth to get our Communique newsletter to learn more about what our club is like.

This year we’re going to try something we’ve never done before, at least since I joined the club 11 years ago. On February 17 we’re going to have a special meeting of all the club boat owners that are either new members or members of our club last year to discuss their preferences in planning the 2018 sailing season. This is in effort to best accommodate the NWSA skipper’s preferences in the sailing schedule.

With this issue, I’ve submitted a tentative Sailing Schedule of about 22 events as a starting place to plan for our season but our final season’s schedule might end up looking somewhat, or even very different. The meeting will occur only 2 days before the general meeting held on Monday, February 19th. At the general meeting I will be looking for Cruise Captains to organize each event. I usually encourage non-boat owners to volunteer for this role, as boat owners have plenty of other responsibilities all season long with owning a boat. It is also a good way for non-boat owners to contribute to the club in a very vital and important way, so fellow club members, please be prepared to step up and volunteer as cruise captain for one of the events at our next meeting!!!!

See you at the upcoming meetings, and fair winds!!!!! —Mike Saavedra

Fleet Captain Report: January 2018

I’ve always loved being on the water since I was a little boy. My love for being on or in the water began with spending numerous vacations up at my Aunt Dorothy’s cottage on Lake Geneva back in the 60’s. She took me sailing, fishing, and swimming quite often until 1970 when she sold it. Then, my parents bought a property on a private lake, Lake Wildwood, in central Illinois. We didn’t have a cottage there, but we spent many a weekend fishing, swimming, and camping throughout the 70’s. I was quite ambitious about earning money since I was 9 or 10 and, by the time I turned 14 I was able to buy a Bass boat. I thought I would spend lots of time fishing, but as fate would have it I became very interested in water skiing. I taught my siblings and all our friends how to water ski with my Bass boat since it had plenty of horse power. While I was down at Lake Wildwood I also got to sail one of my friends little sailboats a couple of times. It was a very light little boat about 11 feet long with a hull that was sort of a plastic coated Styrofoam, and even lighter and smaller than a Sunfish. It fit inside the Bass boat when we trailered the boat down. I had lots of fun with it even though I really didn’t know what I was doing.

My first instruction on how to sail a boat was off of Lake Michigan’s 12th Street Beach back in 1996. One day I was swimming there and noticed a small fleet of 14 foot Barnetts that the Chicago Park District was offering sailing lessons with. I caught on pretty fast, probably because of my prior experience when I was a kid. The next season the Rainbow Fleet moved to Montrose Beach, and I began renting Barnetts there for the whole summer. The year after that I took lessons on the Rainbow Fleet’s 16 foot Catamarans, and had even more fun. I continued to rent their boats for another year, but then the Rainbow Fleet program shut down.

I had had a rather serious mental illness since the mid 80’s and was considered disabled, so in from 1998 to 2004 I sailed with a handicapped sailing club out of Burnham Harbor called the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing program. The Judd Goldman sailors were very into racing and had professional sailors from all over the country come and give seminars and on the water instruction about the finer points of sailing. I learned the most I know about sailing from belonging to this organization. Then, Peter Goldman, the president of the organization kind of had me quit the group because my disability wasn’t like everyone else’s in the group. They all were paraplegics, except for a deaf guy, and 2 legally blind people.

While I was with the Judd Goldman program, I had invited several friends to join me sailing, because that was permitted for the members of the program. I got them somewhat interested in sailing as well, so when I quit Judd Goldman, I talked them into renting J22’s out of Belmont Harbor with me for the next couple of years. That turned out to be rather expensive, especially for a handicapped guy like me, and they didn’t seem as interested in sailing as I was.

Then, in 2007 I found The Northwest Sailing Association at a booth at the Strictly Sail Show at Navy Pier. It only costed $35 to join the club and I was eligible to sail at as many of the 22 events throughout the season as I wanted, as well as other times throughout the week when events weren’t even planned for!!! Since then I’ve sailed about 15 times per year on all different size and type boats from 17 feet to 45 feet long, and out of 10 different harbors on Lake Michigan, and 6 different inland lakes. I’ve met many friendly, fun loving, and experienced sailors that share the same passion that I do of being under sail on the water. I’ve been with the Northwest Sail Association for the past 11 years having the time of my life, and all for $35 per year. What a bargain!!!!

Mike Saavedra

-Fleet Captain

Fleet Captain Report: Nov/Dec 2017

All in all we had some really pleasant sailing opportunities this year though the beginning of the season got off to a slow start with several sails being cancelled due to erratic weather such as too much or too little wind or thunderstorms. Then, late in the season, we had an abrupt finish as several more sails got cancelled due mostly to schedule conflicts of would be participants for the last 3 sails of the season. In all 8 of 23 sails were cancelled, or roughly 1/3 of the season. Last year only one sail was cancelled, but the year before that 5 were cancelled, so you can never tell exactly what will happen.

Most Active Captain Award (MAC Award)
Last year we had 30 people participate with their boat that was moored or docked on Lake Michigan. This year only 14 were active in 1 or more sails. At the end of year banquet in November an award was given out to George and Sally Andersson for bringing their boat to the most NWSA event sails. George and Sally brought their beautiful newly acquired 32 foot Catalina this year that was docked in Kenosha Harbor to a whopping 7 sails!!!! Congratulations George and Sally!!!!They were given a plaque in honor of being the most active captains in the club for the 2017 season.

West Marine Gift Card Recipients:
The following is a list of boat owners who brought their boat to 3 or more sails for 2017. These skippers were given $25 West Marine gift cards at the banquet:

Name Boat Name Number of Sails
George and Sally Andersson September Song 7
Larry Makowski Sea Hawk 5
Gayle and Jim Booth Penny Lane 3
Bill and Peggy Draver kerplunk! 3
Rich Kingdon Impetuous 3

The full list of participating boat owners also includes: Tony Campo, Debbie Garrity, Chuck Litgen, Peter and Mary Jane Schleck, Bill and Linda Seger, Don and Jan Buell, Casey Bezec, Wayne Smith and Ron Shenfeld, and Rich and Dorothy Sommers. Thank you all for so generously sharing your boat with the club!!!!!

Special Honor:
Next, we want to give special honor to club member Rich Reed, who dedicated his boat, called the ‘I_l_l_u_m_i_n_a_t_o_r_’, his time, and his knowledge to instruct a crew of ladies known as the ‘Illumiladies’ to handle and take full control of his boat, the Illuminator, a 45’ Nelson/Marsk Morgan 454, which is moored at Monroe Harbor.
Weekly, he assigned each of the ladies to various crew positions of helm, mast, and bow. The helm crew was responsible for switching on the instruments, chart plotter, checking and recording the fuel, water, oil, and coolant. The mast crew prepared the halyard and main sheets, reefing lines and the fenders, if necessary, and the bow crew prepared the roller furling, jib sheets and jib halyard, as well as the bow lines. The ladies took complete control, including, but not limited to, tying up to the can, fueling dock and pump-out station, and also adding coolant and oil.
His instruction contributed to the success in helping these ladies to become competent sailors and the whole club thanks him for his efforts in helping these ladies become more competent sailors.

Cruise Captains
Finally, I want to thank all of the cruise captains who so generously donated their talents and time to organize the 15 successful events for the 2017 season. We couldn’t have done any of them without you!!!!
Marc Holdwick-1 event, Hal Shanafielf-1 event, John Morris-1 event, Joe Rittner-1 event, Mike Saavedra-2 events, George and Sally Andersson-2 events, Burt and Lorraine Klabunde-2 events, Bill and Peggy Draver-2 events, Asayo Horibe-1 event, Don Buell-1 event, Tom Vieria-1 event, Dave and Kate Strachan-1 event, and Ty Liles- 1 event.
All the Cruise Captains were given Certificates of Appreciation at our banquet in November. If any of you were not there to receive your certificate(s) I will bring them to our first general meeting in January.

Lord Bless!!!

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