Catalina Fleet 21 - Chicago Region
FleetSheet Newsletter

March 2004


Buy:  bottom paint, new life jackets, teak cleaner, bucket, hose for the dock, sail ties…the list goes on and on.  Buy what’s on your list at a discount when we get together for our annual Fleet 21 shopping night on Friday, March 19, at Boat/US at 567 Roosevelt Road in Lombard, Il. The store closes to the public at 6 :00 p.m. and reopens just for us from 7 – 9 p.m. ( If you get there earlier and find the door locked, just identify yourself as part of the Catalina Fleet.) You can  navigate the aisles at your leisure and you’re sure to find a fellow sailor to offer his opinion on any product you are considering.  At this point, Boat/US is offering a discount of $10.00 off $50.00 or more.  Brian Ruxton is still trying for the standard 10% discount we have received in the past, but Boat/US is under new management and now part of West Marine, so it may not be possible.  Electronics are not included in any discount. 

Around 9 p.m. we’ll head east on Roosevelt Rd. to Anyways for dinner.  For $14.00 you can chose from a hamburger, chicken sandwich, reuben, fish & chips, or Portobello sandwich served with fries, soda or coffee.  The price includes tax and tip.  

In April we return to the Burnham Park Yacht Club for a slide presentation by fellow Fleet member Scott Welty on his travels on upper Lake Michigan.  That meeting is on Tuesday, April 20.  Please note the change.  We are moving our meeting to Tuesday night to avoid conflicts at the Yacht Club.  The club will open just for this meeting.  Do your part and plan to attend the meeting and have dinner at the club.  Our Fleet has met at the Yacht Club for twenty some years.  In all that time, the Yacht Club has never charged us for meeting room space.  When they could (before the current docks were built), they let us tie-up on their docks for free.  They have been very accommodating.  All they ask is that the majority of our meeting attendees order a meal at the club.  Lately, that has not been happening.  We do not want to lose our meeting space.  Much of our success as a club is due to the fact that we can meet in downtown Chicago without paying for the space.  Please consider dinner part of the cost of Fleet membership.   We are working on dinner details with the Yacht Club and will spell them out in the April Fleet Sheet.  Mark your calendars now for April 20 and plan on dinner and a great program!



These days you can't open the paper without reading about Martha going to the big house, Blair Hull rehashing his divorce in quest for the Senate and the gay community protesting on the right to matrimonial bond. Sailing can't come soon enough!

March starts us off with our Boat US shopping night. Bring a list and come prepared. Bottom paint tops my list and as luck has it, this year I'll have extra help in that department. Whitley's friend Alex will learn the fine art of taping, scraping and painting. Check your life jackets; don't forget the dates on your flares and fire extinguishers and replace them if needed. If you want to kick your entertaining up a notch you'll find new dishes, placemats and silverware to choose from as well. Brian is currently working out the details of our discount with the manager.

CPR class is currently being formed. We have 7 members signed on and we'll soon be setting the date. It's $18.00 to learn this life saving skill. If you'd like to join us, call me at home and get signed on. 630.279.4533

Calling all new members. Do you know that you are in the running to become Rookie of the Year? To qualify you must be a member who has joined the Fleet during the current year and be listed in the directory. You must be involved in and/or contribute to Fleet activities: general meetings, board meetings, outings, or racing.  It's a great honor to receive this award and we'd sure like to see you win it. So plan your strategy now, get involved and be our Rookie of the Year.

The Budget Committee is formed and we'll be meeting for the first time this month. I want to thank Linda Reed(Chairperson), Jack Bretall, Lori Lauraitis, Madalyn Duerr, Dave DeAre, Ted Kuenzli and Barry Garr ahead of time for volunteering to work with me on this project. We're looking at a variety of budget angles to keep this club afloat for the next 31 years. I'd like to thank Burnham Yacht Club here for allowing us to use their club as our meeting place. Did you know that if we didn't have this opportunity we would not be able to afford to meet as a club?   Many of the Yacht Clubs in Chicago would charge us $250.00 a meeting. Chicago Yacht Club would be $300.00 per meeting. Area hotels charge as much as $1290.00 per meeting. Burnham gives us our meeting space for free and only asks that in return we join them for dinner. Not a bad deal. So come to the meetings hungry so you can support your club as well as Burnham Yacht Club.
                                                          Debra Ruxton

If you have not renewed your Fleet membership, this is the last newsletter you will receive.  Call Pat Shereyk if you need to renew.

Welcome to the following new members:

Bill & Dale Luksha
Boat: Misty Wind
Catalina 27
Great Lakes

Randy & Carla Carie
Boat:  Randa Sue
Catalina 22


Again this year we will be offering a CPR class to all members that want to get certified. CPR-Plus will teach infant, child and adult CPR for $18.00 per person. If you are interested in learning the greatest gift you can give to someone, the ability to help save their life, call me at home and get signed on. Every boat should have one person on board that can perform CPR in a crisis situation. Call me at 630.279.4533 to sign up.   The class is a definite go.   Call me for the date.
Deborah Ruxton


Fleet members may list items they want to sell, trade, or buy in this column without any charge.
Send listings to Fleet Sheet Editor, 306 Linden Street, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
Fax 630-668-8950 email: deare30 @sbcglobal. net.    Phone: 630-469-6117
Listings must be received by the 1st of the month and will  run for 3 months.


FOR SALE:  14’ Sears sailboat.  Needs work, but it’s all there!  Fun for the kids (of any age).
$100.  Call Wally Hartmann at 708-246-3447.


Our outings committee (Fred Collins, Dave Green, and Dave DeAre) is hard at work coming up with a summer of fun activities.  What event would you like to see added to the schedule?  There’s still time for you to get involved and sponsor an outing.  It’s never been easier.  We have checklists to help you plan; supplies available; and a group that loves a party.  You don’t pay for an outing; you just plan it.   Call with your idea.  There’s room on the calendar for more.  As you make your summer plans, keep in mind these special events already scheduled:

May 29  Memorial Margarita Party at Burnham
June 12   Photo Cruise
June 26   North Point Cruise
July 11 - ?  North Channel Cruise
July 15-18  St. Joe Venetian Festival
July 23 – 25  LMCA Rendezvous
August 7 – Anchor Out Party at Olive Park
August 21 – Hammond Overnight
Labor Day Weekend in Michigan City

This is just a preview of the Outings Schedule.
Details on all these—and more—to come!


Dr. Nautical (AKA Jack Bretal) here with some old sailing lore.

 If you plan to step aboard on any ship, use your right foot.  Sailors believe your left foot is bad luck.

 Don’t leave a hatch cover upside down, sailors believe it will make the ship capsize

 Don’t whistle on deck…you’ll whistle up a storm. 

 If you do see a storm on the horizon, sailors believe that it will subside quickly if a naked woman appears just before its arrival.

And this sailor says prove it!

From Chicago to the Keys
 Scott Welty & Sue Budde

To the Readers:
 In June of 2005 we plan to sail Enee Marie, our 1978 C30, from Chicago to the Florida Keys and hopefully beyond. This series of articles will describe some of the improvements and modifications we’ve made in preparation for this trip. We hope you enjoy these articles and please know that we are certainly  not the last word on how to do these projects.

For our summer cruise in 2003 we planned to be gone for 6 weeks to the northern sections of Lake Michigan. Much of this time was planned to be on the anchor in the bays and small lakes available along the Michigan side of the lake. We have one big drag on our batteries: our refrigeration. The refrigerator (if properly insulated) will draw about 5 amps for a half hour out of every hour. To limit the time we would have to run the engine to keep our batteries up we installed a Balmar 70 amp output alternator and a “smart” regulator.

The smart regulator controls the output that is sent to the batteries. Usually the alternator in your boat engine is a car type regulator which just limits the output voltage to a set value of 14.6 volts.  The batteries receive a blast of current and may appear fully charged after a little time. In fact the charge has probably not seeped into the thicker plates that are typical of deep cycle batteries but is only what they called surface charge. A smart regulator brings the current up slowly and then maintains it at a high level before dropping off to a lower ‘maintenance’  level. These features are also programmable and output levels and times can be changed to suit your system. There is no point in going with the higher output alternator without also getting the smart regulation. In fact the Balmar alternators have no internal regulation like a car type alternator would have.

The installation is pretty straightforward from the directions that came both with the alternator and the regulator.  You can skip over the part that says that it should only be done by a trained marine technician. We mounted the smart regulator (a box about 6” x 2” x 2”) on the end panel of the galley counter where we also have the switch for the bilge pump and a fire extinguisher. A hole was drilled in this panel and the four wires (in a plastic conduit) are fed down between the panel and the drawers and through the bottom panel into the engine compartment. From there they are tied up and out of the way and over to the alternator and starter. One wire goes to the tachometer. Since the new alternator has 14 poles (magnets) and the old one had 12 our tachometer is no longer calibrated. I can recalibrate it with a strobe light if I wanted but I’m already used to the new numbers!

The alternator is physically larger than the 50 amp model that came with our Universal diesel. The foot fits ok but since the case is larger, the upper support arm that holds the alternator was wrong. It was too short so didn’t allow enough play to tighten the belt properly and it was at the wrong angle so that even if it were longer it would rub on the cooling fins on the alternator shaft. I  had a machinist alter this. He added about a one inch piece between the engine and the arm and thereby raising it up enough to clear the fins. This had the additional benefit of making the unit long enough as well.

When you first start the engine there is a 30 second delay from the smart regulator before the alternator is allowed to output to the batteries. The idea being to give the engine a chance to warm up a little. If the batteries are way down then when the alternator does come on there is going to be a large current drawn and a noticeable load on the engine. For this reason the output is ramped up slowly over about another 30 seconds. The helmsperson can hear and feel it if there are not enough rpm’s for this load and adjust accordingly. A good idea is to start the engine and let some charging happen 5-10 minutes before you actually leave the pier. The overall larger mechanical loads on your engine mean you should check the belt tension often and watch for wear on the belt and OF COURSE carry an extra belt but that’s a story for another time.

The unit worked well for us on our cruise. We spent 5 days in a row on the anchor during one spell on our cruise. These days were not all in the same place so on days when the engine is run anyway in low wind  situations, the batteries were fully charged. On days when we stayed put we would run the engine for 30 minutes in the morning during breakfast dishes and 30 minutes in the evening during dinner dishes. Our batteries stayed up and we always had refrigeration (and ice for cocktail drinks!)

To limit engine charging time even more when we take this boat to the Caribbean we intend to better insulate the icebox itself and the lids. Also, we can add water cooling to the refrigeration unit which is said to be a big help when the air temperature is consistently above 80o F. Finally, we are thinking about adding a solar panel to our charging system. Solar cells cannot charge your batteries all by themselves but they can add enough to lower your engine charging time significantly. Since this is a one-time cost and diesel fuel is not, a solar panel is probably a good investment for us.


F. Y. I.

The Coast Guard is changing the way in which it makes Local Notices to Mariners available to the public.  They will no longer print and mail copies of notices.  They are available free of charge via the Internet at