Catalina Fleet 21 All Catalina Owners Association, Chicago Region

July 2019 FleetSheet

High Season
July will supposedly bring us the high water mark on Lake Michigan. It’s also high season for Fleet Outings and get togethers. If you missed our first two events, now is the time to join in and attend an outing. We don’t care if you come by car or by boat, just join us! On July 20th we’ll get together at Waukegan Harbor. Waukegan is an easy sail from Kenosha, Racine and Northpoint and about a 6 hour sail from Burnham Harbor. You can come for the day and dinner at the Yacht Club or plan to stay the whole weekend. Free slips (no electricity nor water) are available at the Yacht Club or you can reserve a slip with the Waukegan Marina. Complete details inside.

We head the opposite direction the first weekend of August. The Shrimp Boil takes place at Hammond Marina, an easy sail from Burnham, Jackson Park, 31st Street, Monroe, Belmont, and DuSable. It’s only 33 nautical miles from Michigan City. Plan a weekend in Hammond (lots of slips available) or just come for the food. Complete details inside.

Both of these events require advance reservations. Make your reservations early. If the weather makes sailing to the events questionable, drive there. Free parking is available at both Waukegan and Hammond.


By Lori Lauraitis
Meeting held June 27 focused on high water issues.
BELMONT HARBOR – under 9’ clearance & reported a Security issue. Also, high water.
BURNHAM PARK – Security, non-existent at any time. Ducks & geese problem on docks along with high water a problem with flooded ramps.
DU SABLE HARBOR – Parking improved.
31ST HARBOR – no report
MONROE HARBOR – outer pump raised 10” .Parking improved.
MONTROSE HARBOR – “C” Dock issue & will be addressed. No 35’ Docks available.
JACKSON PARK HARBOR – using garden hose to run water. Will be addressed. Launch ramp issues.
CYA EVENT – Cut off date for reservations 10/30 for scheduled event on November 30, 2019 on the Spirit of Chicago boat. Price $115.00 per person via PayPal as a payment vehicle.


It is hard to believe that it is already July. Many of us got our boats in the water later than normal. Once in the water, the cool wet spring has kept most of us stuck in the harbor. Hopefully the remainder of the summer will be better.

High water is affecting every harbor on the lake. Docks and sidewalks are under water, and electric is having to be turned off on several docks. Corps of Engineers say this week should be the high point, and then the water level will begin to go down.

We have already had several events and outings. The annual Launch Party at Burnham was will attended, and enjoyed by all. The general meeting at Burnham Park YC on the care and use of inflatable PFD was very informative. Everyone attending learned something. The cruise to New Buffalo had to be moved to Michigan City because the municipal docks in New Buffalo are under water. However, those who did attend had fun visiting the Michigan City Lighthouse Museum, followed by dinner at Fish Camp. For those who did stay over, Danita and I made omelets in a bag for Sunday breakfast.

The next events on the calendar are the LMCA Rendezvous in Holland, MI, July 12th to 14th.  After that is the Waukegan Overnight on July 20th, Hammond Shrimp Boil in Hammond on August 3rd, and then the Michigan City Labor Day Lobster Fest.

Remember, this is your club, what you get out of it depends on what you put into it. I hope to see you at the upcoming events.

Branson Stone


Great dinner at the Fish Camp!









Choosing a Backstay Adjuster 
By Jeff Danhauer
Whether you’re cruising or racing, an adjustable backstay is a helpful device for changing sail shape and controlling forestay tension for improved upwind and downwind performance. By dialing in the right backstay tension you can increase boatspeed. Regardless of whether you have a masthead or fractional rig, using an adjustable backstay is essential to good sail shape. While an adjustable backstay isn’t as popular on a cruising boat, it is an important tool for easy and comfortable sailing.

Backstay adjusters for cruisers
Most manufacturers of roller-furling gear recommend that you sail with a tight headstay, as this allows the luff foil to rotate more easily and improves the furler’s overall performance; this is particularly important in a gathering breeze when you need to roll a reef into the jib. Whether you have roller-furling or hanked-on headsails, it is useful to be able to control forestay tension easily and quickly. A forestay that sags off to leeward increases the fullness of the headsail as the wind builds; this leads to excessive heeling, which in turn contributes to weather helm. By keeping the forestay taut, you are flattening and depowering the headsail, and the boat sails more upright.

While it’s possible to increase headstay tension by simply tightening the headstay or backstay turnbuckle, this is not something you’d want to do under sail. And when turnbuckles have been tensioned in this fashion, all too often crews forget to loosen them again, leaving the rig over tensioned for extended times. This puts the hull and deck, the mast, and the standing rigging under constant—and unnecessary—stress. On a masthead rig, a backstay adjuster allows you to increase headstay tension when sailing, and to release tension when it’s not needed. It will improve furling-system performance, and allows you to bend the mast aft if you have a fractional rig. This helps flatten the mainsail, often allowing you to postpone reefing, and reduces heeling. Tensioning the backstay, however, won’t increase headstay tension on a typical modern fractional rig with aft-swept spreaders; this is controlled via tension in the cap shrouds, which often induces some pre-bend in the mast.

Choosing an adjuster
Backstay adjusters are either hydraulic or mechanical. Hydraulic adjusters consist of a hydraulic cylinder fitted between the backstay and its chainplate. Integral adjusters have a pump incorporated into the bottom of this cylinder, while other types (typically found only on high-end raceboats) have a remote hydraulic-pump panel connected to the cylinder with a high-pressure hose. The load-multiplying capabilities of a hydraulic system allow you to exert several thousand pounds of pressure on the backstay.

Some mechanical backstay adjusters are essentially precision-machined turnbuckles that employ either a winch handle, built-in handles, or an integral wheel to adjust backstay tension. They have high-strength stainless steel and/or silicon-bronze threads or worm gears designed to be adjusted under load without compromising strength. Some have enclosed gears, which can be fully lubricated without the risk of grease coming off on sails, clothing, or the deck.

You might think that simply adding handles to a standard rigging turnbuckle would have the same effect, but the threads on a turnbuckle aren’t designed for repetitive tightening and loosening under load, and so they shouldn’t be used in this manner. Another form of mechanical backstay adjuster is simple tackle arrangements that use purchase, not hydraulic fluid or precision-machined threads, to tighten the backstay.

These systems, which are common on both cruisers and racers, attach to the backstay with a single point of attachment; this single point (usually comprised of high-strength cordage) then multiplies as it travels around and through a series of blocks before terminating at a cam cleat. Tackle systems can either look like a tackle-style boomvang, or they can form a triangle (from the single point of attachment at the masthead down to a block. High-strength cordage attaches at one stern quarter via a padeye, travels up and through the block before turning into a tackle system on the block’s other side, which attaches to a second padeye on the appropriate stern quarter).

Other times, a boat might have twin wire backstays with a car in between the two stays; by pulling down on the car via a tackle system, you can create more load on the backstay. Most of these systems are designed so that the helmsman or mainsheet trimmer can easily adjust the backstay on a racer; most cruising boats have the line termination near the backstay itself, ideally in easy reach of the helmsman. While these systems are fairly simple compared to hydraulic units, they can generate a lot of force if they are properly spec’d for the boat and the rig.

The choice between a hydraulic or a mechanical adjuster is largely one of convenience versus dollars. The hydraulic adjuster is faster and physically easier to use—both for applying backstay pressure and for rapidly bleeding it off—but it is the costlier option.

In conclusion, the backstay is a valuable tool for improving sailing performance and ease of sail for both you and your first mate.
Happy Sailing.


FOR SALE: 2001 Catalina 380 #314. EASY TOO RF Tall Rig, 40 hp. Yanmar Engine (950 hrs.), Wing Keel, Centerline queen-sized aft berth, Nearly new UK 155% Furling Genoa w/ Foam Luff and Roller Furling Main. Cockpit Cushions, Dodger & Bimini, Full instruments including Radar & Chartplotter, Autopilot, DSC radio connected to GPS, Air Conditioning/Heat, Refrigeration, 3 burner stove w/oven, Microwave, Sirius Satellite Radio with Cockpit Speakers, SS Anchor with 100’ Chain+ rope, Steel Storage/Shipping Cradle, Custom storage cover and lots more! Freshwater Boat (Lake Michigan exclusively). Extremely well maintained. Asking $114,000. In the water at Tower Marina (Douglas, MI).
Contact Phill Klein at 847-971-7445 or for specs.

FOR SALE: 1992 Catalina 34 sailboat $42,000. Well maintained FRESHWATER cruiser. Fresh bottom paint 2018; Diesel inboard engine- new hoses/water pump 2018; new steering cables 2017; newer mainsail and Jib purchased approximately 10 years ago; Dodger & awning (Navy Blue); Schaefer Furling System; Dutchman Sail Flaking System B/C Topping Lift; interior floors refinished 2015; autohelm; Sleeps 7 with (2) staterooms, plus the dinette sleeps 2, and 1 settee berths. Contact: Vickie/John 847-274-9229

FOR SALE: 1988 Catalina 36 Team Effort. For sale through Sail Place in Kenosha. Go to listings. $22,000 or best offer. This is a steal!

FOR SALE: Reduced! 1981 Catalina 25 swing keel. She sails beautifully! Roller furled jib. Clean and ready to go. It is at 31st street Harbor. Powered by a Tohatsu 9.8 Four stroke outboard with all in-cockpit controls and power trim. Navigate with a Garmin NMEA 2000 navigation system. Relax in comfort with all new cushions and upholstery below deck. Sails included are one main and three jibs. $8000.00 OBO For more information contact John Jackiw at 708- 828- 4318.

FOR SALE: Reduced! 1980 Catalina 30 Tall Rig Archangel. Belongs to Indiana Sailing Association, Inc. (a sailing training charity group operating in NW Indiana). Little used. Slip available. Surplus to training program of Indiana Sailing. At East Chicago (Pastrick) Marina opposite launch ramp. $9500 OBO. Contact: 219-614-4372