Catalina Fleet 21 - Chicago Region
FleetSheet Newsletter


September 2008



Book your passage for another sailing adventure! This month the Fleet hosts Oscar Fittipaldi who will relate his experiences sailing the South American seas aboard the tall ship, Libertad. Fittipaldi has sailed 13 seas and visited 18 countries. While he calls Argentina home, he’s currently a captain of the Odyssey, one of the luxury dining and entertainment cruise ships that dock at Navy Pier.
The September 16 meeting is at the Burnham Park Yacht Club. The presentation begins around 8 p.m. Come early and enjoy dinner at the Yacht Club. Please, please, please call 312-427-4664 for dinner reservations. As far as we know, nothing else is going on that evening. We should be able to accommodate parking.

In October our General Meeting is scheduled for Friday the 17th at Corinthian Yacht Club in Montrose Harbor. The Buoys and Ghouls program should be a scream!


Hello again everybody. Welcome to September. I don’t know why it is, but Labor Day seems like some kind of a switch. Up until Labor Day everything shouts summer through and through and then all of a sudden it’s not summer anymore. Nothing really changes meteorologically, but something happens in our minds. For example, I start staying at work after noon on Fridays. Go figure.

August was a good month for the Club and our individual members. We had our shrimp boil at North Point, raced in the Leukemia Cup, had a wonderful presentation by the Harrington’s about their voyage to the Caribbean, the Michigan City outing and more. Read on and I’ll give you some details.

We had about 50 at the August general meeting to hear Dan and Pat Harrington and see their PowerPoint presentation on their trip to the Bahamas on their 1994 Catalina 34, Weal Sea. It was a wonderful presentation. Thanks to them for their flexibility and everyone who attended for their patience. The meeting was moved back a week after we realized that our date clashed with a CharterOne concert at Northerly Island. We got in touch electronically and by phone with every one in the directory and the program went off without a hitch. Thanks to everyone who made the phone calls. This is just a hunch, and I have no real hard data to base this on, but – I get the feeling that Pat Harrington might just be on a fast track to sainthood.

Larry and Part Meekma and Joe and Nancy Vilimek did another stellar job putting on the shrimp boil at North Point. The food was fantastic and it couldn’t have been a nicer night. Looking at the Lake from the yacht club up there was just like looking at the ocean that night. So peaceful and tranquil. It has really been a pleasure to see more and more members from North Point involved in all the Club activities. Who knows, that may be our home base someday if the Olympics come to Chicago.

I don’t know how many of you know this but this year the Board voted to contribute $50.00 from the Mariner’s Fund to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for every boat from our Club that raced in the event. We had nine boats and contributed $450.00. There were 12 Catalina’s overall. Tom Grove on FINS placed first in our class. Good job. There was a lot at stake in this race. A lot of reputations could have been made or lost. One rumor that has been persistently floating around is that our boat, Mabuhay, skippered by none other than me, did not cross the finish line. This is completely false. We did. It is true that the committee boat had left and pulled the mark and also that our motor was running but hey . . . we did cross the finish line. Part of this Club is about learning and sharing experiences. I learned something and I’ll share it with you. Next year I’ll have a GPS so I know where the start/finish line is and I will also tune in to the correct radio channel at the beginning of the race. I feel that part of my role as Commodore is to make the mistakes so you don’t have to.

Now that I seem to be in that part of my message where I mention some individual “accomplishments” I am going to combine a report on two outings. John and Hazel Luther did their usual bang up job on the Labor Day outing at Michigan City. We had 27 attendees and 8 boats sail over. Ted Kuenzli demonstrated his
organizational skills by getting a group together for the evening concert at the fair next to the marina. Ted checked out the band. They were going to be great. Ted then went about the difficult task of herding a bunch of wine drinking sailors over to the concert venue. Wine drinking sailors can be a difficult lot to herd. Ted did so courageously and got the group over there just as the concert ended. Kudos to Ted

N0w comes the combination and wrap up of outings and “accomplishments” mentioned in the last paragraph. Ted is co-sponsoring and helping to run the “Pirates of the Caribbean” Hammond outing September 20th. How’s that for creative writing. Fortunately for all our members who should be attending and are going to attend, Ted will have help with this outing. Francine Kuenzli and Lois and Jack Bretall have put together what should be a fantastic last outing of the year. Check out the flier in this newsletter or check the website. If you plan on sailing over to the event call the marina to reserve your slip but then call Ted on his cell phone or channel 72 for further details. Again, Ted will be supervised by his lovely wife and this event will go off without a hitch.

Just a few more accomplishments and I’ll close. Our/my own Deborah Ruxton seems to have opened her own boat brokering business. She connected Don and Lydia Giuliano with a local Elmhurst Hospital doctor who purchased their boat, Boogaloo. Anyone seeking to sell their boat should talk to Deborah to see if she can find a buyer in the medical profession. She works cheap and is nice to look at. I know, that’s sexist. Sorry.

Speaking of selling boats, congratulations to Branson and Danita Stone on their purchase of a new Catalina 387. As of this writing the boat name has not been decided. Best wishes and may you have many happy years with “insert name here”. Also, Danita was missing one of her good spoons after the Michigan City outing. There was a spoon left over so it was probably inadvertently switched. Give Danita a call if you have the spoon.

Finally, Leon Anderson will not be mentioned in this month’s message. He’s probably avoiding me.
Enjoy the rest of the summer and fall. Sail safe and stay connected.


By Lori Lauraitis
Highlights of the Meeting held August 28:
• CYA Ball at United Club (Soldier Field)
November 8, 2008
• Update on Olympics 2016. While the Olympic Committee has been laid-back for the past 4 montsh, they are looking for views and inmput from boaters. They are hoping to form a committee to work on the “Legacy Plan” concerning what might be a lasting improvement after the Olympics.


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 or fax to 630-668-8950 or email to Listings will run for 2 issues unless you notify me otherwise.


We’ll cap off a great 35th year of Fleet 21 activities with the banquet on November 22. Don’t miss it!
We’ll have great food, our favorite band, and lots of surprises. Plan now to attend!

The Date: November 22
The Place: Burnham Park Yacht Club
The Price: $50.00

Invitations will be mailed in October.

By Bob Kuba

Thank You Capt. Chuck
First of all, a special word of thanks to Chuck and Linda Reed of CLR Marine, for sponsoring our Fleet 21 website for another 3 years! Please surf on over to and help support our gracious sponsor, they have some great boating items on their site.
I know some of you are wondering just "where" our website is located in the physical world. It is hosted on a server in Dearborn, Michigan by a company named Acenet. Our reliability has been very good over the previous 3 years that they have hosted the site, with almost no down-time, and at a great price of $3.95 per month. And, when I call with a question, I talk to an American voice in the USA. Hooray for them!

The Fight Against Spam
You think you get a lot of spam? Well the Fleet 21 website gets a whole lot. Most of it is targeted to our message board by sellers of online pharmacies, penny stocks, porn sites and various other topics of which we are all too familiar. When I delete spam from the Fleet website, I do it 500 emails at a time. Recently I cleared out 4,621 junk emails from the server that had been accumulating for the last 12 months. And yes, it is time consuming. Now why would they target our message board you ask? It's Google's fault really. They have a page ranking system that is set up to give a website priority in the search engine based on how many "linkbacks" a particular site has to it. The more links to a website, the higher the placement in the search engine. And Everybody wants to be on page 1.

So who has time to sit down and send out all that spam? That's the key, it's done by robots. All a spammer has to do is to buy a robot program script from a hacker, for less than $100, and send it out on the web to collect information. In our case, the robot looks for all message boards that were written by, a very popular message board system that is in widespread use on the Internet. Once it returns with a list of all these bulletin boards, step two of the assault begins. Using another automated script, the spammer attempts to gain access to these boards and automatically post spam ads by the thousands. They don't really expect to sell anything from these ads, but rather, they are looking for the "linkback" to their primary website to boost its page ranking in the search engines. As if we need to Google Viagra.

A robot exists for every type of bulletin board in use, but there is a way to defeat them. Simply by asking for an email verification before a user can post a message will stop 99.9% of the spammers. That's why our message board has that feature. Before you can make a posting, you must register with your email address and a password. When I get your registration request, I authorize it, and an email is sent back to the address you provided to verify that you really exist. It's an extra step in the process, but this is the world we live in. If you simply want to view the message board, no registration is needed, you just aren't able to reply or post any messages until you register. So with this security feature enabled, how did I wind up with 4,621 bad emails? When a spammer tries to gain access to a bulletin board they submit a phony email address hoping that the system isn't going to verify it. So when the Fleet 21 message board tries to verify the phony email address, it can't, so an "undelivered email" message is generated that indicates someone tried to access the website with bad intent in mind. As it did 4,621 times.

Another Defense Measure
Another automated robot that cruises around the internet has but one programmed purpose, to "harvest" email addresses. These robots surf the internet web sites and look for pages that have an email address on the page, and they capture it and move on to the next page. They can gather ten of thousands of emails before they hit their programmed quota, and then return to the originator. Who then resells the list to other spammers. Now on the Fleet 21 website you will notice email addresses displayed here and there, but mostly on the For Sale page. These email addresses that you see displayed here have gone through a process called "obfuscation". A ten dollar college word that basically means scrambled. The browser that you view the internet with understands the code and unscrambles it to display as normal text. But the robot only sees it as a series of meaningless numbers and skips on by. You can see this for yourself by going to the Tools menu on your browser and selecting "View Source". This will enable you to actually see the code that the web page is made up of. The email will show up here as a line something like, <a href="&#97;&#x69;&#x6C;">&#87;&#101;&#x62;&#x6D
For the Rocket Scientists among us:

Revenge, how sweet
Hidden away from view on the Fleet 21 website is a trap door for these malicious robots. It's an "Easter Egg" of sorts and it fights back without remorse against the spammers. You can find it if you surf carefully on the website, it's located on every page. It's a link that goes to a special page that is generated on the fly creating a page of meaningless text along with a few dozen bogus emails. This trap door has links to an unlimited amount of pages that also generate more text and even more bogus emails. But the robot doesn't know the difference, and it harvests everything until it hits the quota it was programmed for and returns to its sender. The spammer usually resells these lists of emails to other spammers who are eagerly running their own spam campaigns. There is no way to verify each address, so the end result is the spammers lists are completely corrupted and become worthless. Will we win the war against spam? I would like to think so, but I doubt it.

Is the Internet safe?
There are plenty of safeguards in place but it really comes down to your Internet habits. Be aware of the latest scams, is a pretty good resource for keeping up to date.

New Email
Since I'm on the subject, the email for Fleet 21 has been changed on the website.