Catalina Fleet 21 All Catalina Owners Association, Chicago Region

Feb-March 2020 FleetSheet

It may seem pretty late to be wishing you a happy new year, but with this issue of the newsletter, the new sailing year officially begins for Fleet 21. The first event on the calendar is a get together centered around Yacht-A-Palooza at Crowley’s Yacht Yard on March 21 from 10am to 2pm.

Crowley’s Yacht-A-Palooza event will feature ship store discounts including on VC-17, Nautical Donations sales, guest speakers, workshops, numerous vendors, and – new this year – a midway with a series of competitive activities – what one might experience at a Sailing Carnival. Fun and Games! Catalina Fleet 21 will be hosting one of these activities, intended to perfect and test your sailing skills. Plan to participate and show how great our Catalina Fleet 21 member’s skills are. There will be prizes!!!

At 2:30 pm we’ll gather for our first meeting of the year. Bring your ideas and thoughts for activities and outings. We want your input – it’s your club after all. Afterwards we’ll gather for social time and dinner. Watch the web site (www. or emails for details on the dinner; we’re scouting places now. Check for more information about Yacht-A-Palooza. Give them a week. There’s nothing on the website as of today.

In April we combine fun, food and bargains at our annual Brown Bag Auction. Details (like date and place!!) for this event are still being finalized, but reserve April 18th for now. Dig through all your treasured stuff for what you could put in a Brown Bag for the auction. Pass on that treasure! We will have all the info you need in the April Fleet Sheet.

Congratulations to Pete and Laura Pohl who received the Commodore’s Award at the recent Awards Banquet. From the minute they joined our Fleet Pete and Laura volunteered for whatever was needed. Pete is currently serving as Treasurer and Laura as Secretary. Thank you, Pete and Laura!



It is the dead of winter for most of the fleet, but as boaters we are already counting the days to spring, the marina opening, and launching our boat. Last year we experienced high lake levels and some of us saw a few problems. This coming summer the Corp of Engineers is expecting record high lake levels. If this does not affect you and your marina, it will affect your ability to cruise the lake. It will also affect your ability to go to the beach, as erosion is taking a toll on them too.

In 2013 the water was 5 ½ feet lower. We had a ladder installed so we could get down to our boat. Last summer I had to build a step so we could get up to the boat. Late last fall New Buffalo removed all of the docks at the municipal pier, due to concerns they would be damaged by ice. They stated that they “hoped” to reinstall them in the spring. South Haven reported a few days ago they expected many, and possibly all, of their municipal docks to be under water for 2020. A study to raise the docks or replace them with floating docks gave an estimated cost of 16 to 18 million dollars. Our marina, Michigan City, does not expect to have to close docks, but warned they may have to turn off power to some or all of the docks if the water rises too high, as the power feeds are several inches below the docks. I am sure other marinas will experience problems.

Normally around the beginning of April the Corp of Engineers will issue their projected lake levels for the remainder of the year. Once that information is released we will have a much better idea what this coming summer will be. Whatever challenges the weather and lake levels present, we will adapt and make it through this coming summer. Events and programs are being planned now for the coming months. If you have any ideas for new events, or suggestions to improve the existing events, please, we want and need your input.

See you out on the water.
Branson Stone Commodore



Your 2020 membership renewal form is included in this newsletter. Please complete all information and return it along with your check to membership chairman Pat Shereyk, 13418 Choctaw Trail, Homer Glen, IL 60149 by April 1. If you no longer live in the Chicago area, contact Pat about your dues before you complete your renewal form. or 708-645-1957.

Please consider including a donation to the Mariner’s Fund when you renew your membership. This fund was established in 2000 as a means for the Fleet to give back to the sailing community. You don’t have to have a special occasion to contribute, but donations can be made in honor of a special birthday, anniversary or as a memorial contribution. Each year the Fleet board decides on a recipient for the funds.


Planning for 2020 outings has begun! Do you have an idea for an outing? Would you like to sponsor an outing at your harbor? Sponsoring a program does not mean that you pay for it. You just plan the activities and make arrangements for docking and food (is there a nearby restaurant, place for a cookout, or should it be potluck, etc). Contact Outings Chairman Dave DeAre with your ideas.

Do you have a favorite outing that you would like to see repeated? Were you a sponsor for an outing and are willing to do it again? Let us know!

Welcome Aboard to the following new member:
Skipper: Les Schier
First Mate: Virginia Ortiz
Chicago, IL
Boat Info:
Name: Allegro
Catalina 27’
Sail #6357
Harbor: Montrose Mooring L32

Get well wishes go out to:

Lois Bretall recovering from heart surgery.

John Lucy battling an infection and waiting for a new knee replacement. He has been at Loyola Medical Center in Maywood. His address is: John Lucy c/o Megan Conron 102 Greenbay Road Glencoe, IL 60022



By Jeff Danhauer
Spring is just around the corner: It’s time to start think about getting you boat ready for spring launch. One key concern is your batteries. There is a lot of new technologies available today. So some research might be advisable. Our goal of course is more power and less weight thus more speed.

Battery Chemistry
Marine batteries are available in four chemical types for different applications: flooded, gel, AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) and Lithium. Which type you choose is based on your needs (deep cycle vs. starting), the capacity and lifespan you are looking for and your budget.

Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) and Lithium (Li NMC) Batteries
New technologies will require new ways of thinking about your boat’s battery system. NorthStar TPPL batteries are among the most advanced AGM batteries in the world. They’re made from 99.99% pure lead that’s rolled (not cast) into thin plates. Combining the pure lead’s low electrical resistance and greater surface area from more and thinner lead plates, they can accept much higher charging amperage than typical AGM batteries. Not only do they charge incredibly quickly, but they’re capable of 400 charge/discharge cycles with an amazing 80% depth of discharge.

These batteries add intriguing options for long distance cruisers. Instead of installing a 1000Ah battery bank and running your diesel for six hours, you can install a 500Ah TPPL bank and charge more frequently, but faster. Or you can forego a genset and install one or more very high-output alternators— turning your propulsion engine into a high-output charging machine. Your diesel will run for short periods but with a high load (which it wants).

Lithium/nickel/cobalt/manganese batteries, like those used in Torqeedo electric outboards, weigh less than lead acid batteries, can be discharged 800 times to 100% depth of discharge, and can be recharged in a little over an hour. They excel as battery banks in electric boats, as well as for other high-performance battery tasks.

Flooded Batteries
Flooded batteries, unlike other types, use a reservoir of liquid sulfuric acid, and produce hydrogen and oxygen when the battery is being charged. Vented wet cells allow the gases to escape into the
atmosphere, unlike gel and AGM batteries, which recombine the gases and re-introduce them to the system. Hydrogen is an explosive gas, so battery boxes and compartments must be vented to let the gas escape safely. Flooded batteries require periodic inspection and the cells must be topped-off with distilled water when levels get low. Since flooded batteries are not sealed and allow excess hydrogen to escape, they handle overcharging better than gel and AGM batteries. They self-discharge at a higher rate (6 to 7 percent per month) and thus require off-season charging. Wet cells must be installed in an upright position and don’t tolerate high amounts of vibration. Their initial cost is lower than similarly sized AGM or gel batteries, and MUCH lower than the new type of lithium batteries. Properly charged and maintained, wet cell deep-cycle batteries are capable of between a few hundred and over a thousand charging cycles.

Gel Batteries
Sealed, valve-regulated (SVR) gelled-electrolyte batteries offer advantages over regular flooded batteries. They self-discharge at only three percent per month, handle the highest number of lifetime charging cycles, are maintenance free, spill proof, submersible and leak proof. A pressure release valve keeps their internal pressure at a slightly positive level, but they can release excess pressure if needed. The SVR design nearly eliminates gassing, so they are safer to install around people and sensitive electronics (but gel and AGM batteries still need to be vented). Gel batteries, because they’re sealed, are manufactured to very high-quality standards. They need carefully regulated smart charging to prevent damage.

Batteries More boaters are switching to this type for a performance improvement over flooded batteries. Sealed, valve-regulated AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) batteries feature fine, highly porous microfiber glass separators compressed tightly between the battery’s positive and negative plates, which are saturated with just enough acid electrolyte to activate the battery. During charging, precision pressure valves allow oxygen produced on the positive plate to migrate to the negative plate and recombine with the hydrogen, producing water. In addition to providing equal saturation across the entire surface of the battery’s positive and negative plates, the fibers in the dense glass mats embed themselves into the plates’ surface like reinforcing rods in concrete, providing more plate support and better shock and vibration protection than in conventional batteries. High-density AGM batteries have lower internal resistance, allowing greater starting power and charge acceptance, up to 45 percent of the battery’s total capacity, and quicker recharging than other types of deep cycle batteries. Long life, a low three percent self-discharge rate and outstanding performance make AGM batteries excellent dual-purpose batteries for boaters who require the fastest recharging, quick starting power and reliable deep cycle ability.

What Battery Ratings to Look For

Starting functions: the amount of power available for cranking a starter is measured several ways. CCA vs. MCA: The two common power measurements are CCA (Cold Cranking Amps, the number of amps a battery can deliver for 30 seconds at 0°F while maintaining its voltage above 7.2 volts) and MCA (Marine Cranking Amps, similar but measured at 32°F instead of 0°F). The reason that MCA are 20–25% higher than the CCA is because batteries work better at higher temperatures.

Reserve Minutes indicate how long a battery can sustain a load of 25 amps before it drops to 10.5 volts. A battery rated at 150 minutes can operate a 25A load for 2 1/2 hours (at 80°F). Starting batteries aren’t used to handle loads for long periods, so reserve minutes are less critical.

Size: Engine size, type, and ambient temperature determine what size cranking battery you need. High cranking power (and a larger battery) is required for cold temperatures, diesel engines, or large and high compression gas engines. The first sizing criteria is to meet the minimum CCA (if any) stated by the engine or boat manufacturer. If a Group 24, 550 CCA battery worked well for five years, we’d recommend replacing it with a similar model. If, however, it cranked too slowly or failed after a season or two, we’d suggest that you look for a battery with a higher CCA or MCA rating.

Deep cycle functions: Battery capacity measurements are commonly expressed in Amphours (Ah) and Reserve Minutes. Amp-hours measure the total amount of energy that a battery can deliver for 20 hours at a constant rate of discharge before the voltage drops to 10.5 volts. This means that a 200Ah battery can run a 10A load for 20 hours. The reserve minute rating is the number of minutes that a battery can run a 25A load until dropping to 10.5V, just like with starting batteries. A Group 27 deep cycle battery with a rating of 180 reserve minutes will run a 25A load for three hours. House loads range from 5A to 25A or more. Amp hours is generally the more relevant measurement for house banks.

Longevity: Battery manufacturers measure longevity by discharging full batteries at a temperature of 80°F until their voltage drops to 10.5 volts. The batteries are recharged under controlled conditions, and the process is repeated until the battery fails to hold half of its rated capacity. This measurement, called cycle life, shows how many discharge cycles a battery
provides over its lifespan. This ability to cycle repeatedly is what differentiates deep cycle batteries from starting batteries, which can’t withstand more than a few deep discharges before they begin to fail. If nothing else, cycle life provides a baseline for comparing one battery to another.

Continued next month with Battery Tips for Best Performance


Fleet members may list items they want to buy, sell, or trade in this column. Listings are free and run for 3 issues of the newsletter. Send submissions to the Fleet Sheet editor at

Docktails & Teasers
Do you have a favorite boat cocktail or appetizer? Share your recipe in this new column. Send submissions to Fleet Sheet editor at

St. Patty’s Day Nachos
30 min. Prep Time Makes approx. 6 servings Ingredients: 2 TBSP butter 1 clove garlic 2 TBSP flour 1/4 cup Stout 1/4 cup milk 2.5 cups shredded cheddar Kosher salt / ground pepper ( to taste) 2-12 oz bags kettle cooked potato chips 6- 12 strips cooked bacon (chopped) 2 tsp finely chopped chives In small saucepan melt butter/whisk in garlic/flour & cook for about 1 min. Add stout & milk>bring to boil. Reduce heat slightly/stir in cheese & cook until melted. Add spices. On large platter: scatter chips/pour 1/2 cheese mixture/sprinkle with 1/2 bacon & chives. Repeat layers & serve with your favorite Irish beverage!

Submitted by:
Deb Beer 1st mate HIGH LIFE
Kelly Boas. 1st mate COR DE ROSA
Michigan City, In.