Welcome (November/December 2017)

All too quickly the end of 2017 is upon us, and 2018 is right around the corner. It has been a fun year. We would like to thank all who have contributed photos and articles to The Mainsheet,  and we wish the incoming board a very successful year. We will be celebrating Sailing Singles’ 30th anniversary in 2018.

In this issue, our Commodore reflects on the past year in From The Helm.  In Sailing News we cover the International Raft Up, the Boat Parade, Deckhands at work, and the SOS.

In Social News we report on the Thanksgiving Party and the the Holiday Party. Check out the photographs of our members having fun.

And in Of Interest to Captains, Brian Brown describes the very important task of  keeping your food and drinks cool.

We have a Sunfish for sale in our Classifieds section.


Save The Date!  Sailing Singles of South Florida  Change of Command

Join Us for the Formal Induction of 2018 Board and Annual Awards at Lighthouse Point Yacht Club.
Saturday, January 20, 2018       6:00 PM  – 11:00 PM
Cocktails, Ceremony, Dinner and Dancing all Evening to the sounds of EBONY. Cash Bar 6:00 – 7:00 ~ Ceremony 7:00-7:30 ~ Dinner & Dancing  ’til 11:00.    Cost  $45 SSSF Members / $65 Guests. INVITATIONS WILL BE MAILED ~ Please RSVP to Dot Castell, Sailing Singles Social Director by January 14th.

Go online to register for the New Year’s Celebration Overnight Sail, December 31-Jan 1 and ring in the New Year on the water.
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a happy and healthy New Year to all.

Doug Noble and Gillian O’Neil,
The Newsletter Team
Email newsletterteam@sailingsingles.org
Photos to photos@sailingsingles.org

From The Helm (November/December 2017)

From The Helm

by Commodore Kelly Dobbs



I can see the final destination from the helm.

This year has been amazing for our club. I think I have met almost every member of this club. I have worked with some amazing board members who moved this club into the next phase of progress for its members.

Vice-Commodore, Sheila O’Neil was always ready to step in when I was away; she developed the General Meeting presentations from our Board Minutes each month, created our new Member Orientation package, and produced two outstanding Sailing Orientation Sessions (SOS) this year, each with interactive informative sessions, hands-on activities, and a boat-on-the-water learning experience.

Your Board Secretary Cheryl Lutz did an outstanding job of not only meeting minutes but helped our club grow through Meet-Up, an online meeting place where she directed potential members to club socials at Flip Flops, and answered questions to engage those interested in sailing. Also, Cheryl handed birthday gifts to members at our general meetings. If you had a birthday this year, (who hasn’t), see Cheryl for belated birthday wishes and your gift.

Our Newsletter Editor Gillian O’Neill and IT Director, Doug Noble worked together to create a blog format for The Mainsheet which is easily read from mobile phones and other devices. Gillian reported on all club events, profiled our Captains, took photos at all events and also encouraged members to contribute photos and articles.

We all had a great time this year, thanks to our Social Director Dot Castell who offered a variety of venues, entertainment, and a choice to cook or contribute to the meals for our social events. Just look back on the fun we had at Feeling Lucky, Wacky Tacky Hillbilly Picnic, Summer Beach Party, Pirates of the Caribbean Island Party, Boo Crew Halloween Party, cake at Flip Flops, Thanksgiving Social, Holiday Party and yet to come, the Change of Command!

Keeping track of registration fees and dues was streamlined this year by our Treasure John Konheim who expanded our accounting to handling payments on line. All payments generated an email confirmation to members and immediate transfer of credit card payments to our SSSF bank account.

Membership Director Ben Nahabedian greeted members and guests at almost every meeting this year. He grew the club by nearly 50 new members and helped ensure our returning members had waivers in place to participate in club events.

A special Deckhands Program was established this year by our Fleet Captain, Susan Cohoat to show our appreciation of our Captains and to thank them for allowing us to be their crew. Susan also organized our extended sails to the Keys, Palm Beach, and the Bahamas.

Our Sailing Director Sheila O’Neil organized monthly sails and raftups always scheduled for the second weekend to make it easy for all to participate. Each club sail had a sailing objective for Captains & Crew to learn more about sailing while on the water, and each sail had a themed raftup for fun. A major contribution Sheila made to the club this year was configuring our website, sailingsingles.org, to allow online renewal and new member applications, registration for club sails and socials, recording captains sail credits, calendar display of all club activities and even paying your dues, guest fees and party contributions on line.

Our IT Director, Doug Noble, ensured our website was secure with all the new online payment activity by monitoring and installing special security certificates. Additionally he published our Pink Book Directory, maintained our club email and website services and kept our image and information on Facebook up to date.

Wow, way to go 2017 Board Members!

There has been a lot of good times and some sad times. The club lost three great Captains: Shel Miller, Rudy Sprenger, and Rich Hustins. Your Commodore designed a special SSSF Burial at Sea burgee with a pink border surrounding a field of 8-stars on a blue background signifying the 8-bells that sound for “end of a sailor’s watch at sea”. It was my honor to develop an SSSF Ceremony and to officiate the Celebration of Life and Sea Services for our members.

Thank you Sailing Singles of South Florida for having trusted your fellow members who served as your 2017 Board to run your club and promote our club purpose: bringing together single adults who sail, or wish to do so, in order that members can meet others with similar interests, participate in sailing and social activities, share information about sailing and learn safe boating practices.

Tight Sheets,

Commodore Capt. Kelly

Sailing News (November/December 2017)

Fall SOS

The Fall SOS (Sailing Orientation Session), our SSSF training for members, was held on  Saturday, November 4, at Sailor’s Point facility in Hollywood. Members rotated each hour to another of the 3 sessions offered:

  • Boating Essentials
  • Health & Safety on the Water
  • Dinghy Operation

The Boating Essentials was taught by SSSF member, Bill Bratt who shared his years of experience sailing to explain the rules of the road, navigation aids (beacons and buoys), and the meaning of the lights we see on boats at night. Here’s a quick reference:

Health & Safety on the Water was taught by an EMT from Heartfelt, CPR and AED Training, who offered an overview of current CPR practices and provided CPR mannequins for hands-on activity. We formed Captain with Crew teams and practiced the CPR procedures using the mannequins on the ground as we would on a boat.

Dinghy Operation was taught by Commodore Captain Kelly, Captain James Bradford, and Bill Bratt. Each instructor reviewed the proper way to board a dinghy, equipment needed in the dinghy for short excursions to shore and provided instructions on operating the dinghy motor. Members took turns operating the dinghy. James Bradford showed how to tow a boat in distress back to the dock.

Thank you to Gulfstream Sailing Club, responsible for operation and maintenance of Sailor’s Point facility. Copies of all SOS training handouts for 2017 are posted on our club website, under ABOUT US>Sailing Education. After logging on to the website, members can download the handouts.

Another success SOS was enjoyed by all who attended.

Sheila O’Neil, Vice-Commodore

Deckhands Report – Irish Rover

On November 5th (Guy Fawkes Day) a group of SSSF members descended on Patrick O’Brien’s  Irish Rover. They rubbed and scrubbed till his boat gleamed … then they went off to Lake Sylvia to celebrate.


International Sail & Raft Up





The SSSF International RaftUp is a tradition started by Captain James Bradford, decades ago and is always a great event. On November 11th, the flags of many nations were flying over the SSSF International RaftUp in Lake Sylvia. Eight vessels participated:

  • Escape – France
  • Meridian2 – Netherlands
  • No Mo – USA
  • Ryan’s Place – Bahamas
  • Rising Star – French Polynesia
  • Viking Princess – Japan

TT Val Hal also joined the raftup, and part of the French Polynesians arrived by waverunner! Colorful costumes, festive food, and iconic decorations showed the boats country for the day. Prizes were awarded to the following winners:

Escape – Best Captain and Crew representation of country with the French Maid, the French Playboy just arriving from the Riviera and the French Fashion.

Individual– Captain James Bradford with his ornate Japanese Kimono and Jean-Marie Gordon with her coordinated, colorful island ensemble for French Polynesia.

Meridian2 – Most Authentic Food with a spread of Dutch delights representing the Netherlands with rookworst (sausage), cheeses, various herring and of course windmill cookies!

Rising Star – Best Decorations for French Polynesia. There were so may palm fronds and totems on the boat it was hard to tie up!

As it was Veterans Day it was also a time for all to thank the many veterans we have in the club  for their service, plus  it was Captain James’ Birthday!

Sheila O’Neil, SSSF Sailing Director

Boat Parade and Raftup

The annual Fort Lauderdale Boat Parade was held December 9th. We were advised by the weatherman that it could be wet and cold – and we were prepared! Although it was a bit chilly, it dried up in the afternoon and we had a clear night for the parade. We got an early start to grab a front row spot in the Middle River  so we had a really good view of the boats from our raft-up.  Five club boats participated – Meridian2, Viking Princess, Andy Jay, Ryan’s Place, and Lex Rex, and about  thirty members and guests hopped from boat to boat, sampling different foods and enjoying the fun.

Social News (November/December 2017)

Thanksgiving Dinner

Once again, Dot Castell organized a pot luck Thanksgiving Social at her condo clubhouse in Pompano Beach for those of us without a local family.

Holiday Party

Our annual holiday party was held at Tropical Acres Steakhouse on Dec 1st, more than 70 members and their guests attended. According to one member the appetizers were great, the dinner was super, the entertainment by Ebony was amazing, so all in all it was a great success. See for yourself!

Thanks to Gabe Forray and Max Goldstein for many of these photos.



Of Interest to Captains (November/December 2017)



by Brian Brown


You probably think this article is about air conditioning…but it’s really about cooling off your drinks and keeping your perishable items from spoiling. So here’s where this begins.

This article addresses making ice and keeping your food/drinks cool…and how to do it on a budget…about $500 all in. Note, buying a DC powered fridge and ice maker will cost you a couple of thousand dollars.

First, having a generator on board always helps but most of the people I know don’t have a provision for that on their sailboats under 40’. Well, they might have that little Honda generator that’s about a foot wide by 2 feet wide that purrs …and can run for 7 hours on a little more than half a gallon of gas. But they are expensive, around $1000 for 2000 watts. So let’s look at other ways to cool off that cost around $500.

In order to make this $500 equation work, we first need to look at the total wattage required for both an ice maker and refrigerator: 400 watts for an ice maker and 320 watts for a small fridge. Oops, did I mention that’s AC and not DC voltage? Most sailboats are DC. So let’s look at the power sources to provide 720 continuous AC watts (the combination of the ice maker and the small fridge).

There’s the motor, solar and wind power to produce DC power—but remember that DC power needs to be converted to AC. Solar and wind power rarely produce enough power to run a fridge and ice maker so it’s pretty much left up to the motor or generator to do the job. And with the motor running you’ve got to have an inverter—a unit that converts DC to AC– but inverters draw a tremendous amount of power. If your engine is off, an inverter can fully drain a battery in 15-30 minutes when fully loaded (running several AC powered devices). Even if your engine is on charging your battery an inverter can drain your battery. Beware…turn OFF the inverter and charge up the battery before shutting off the engine otherwise you might not be able to start your engines again! (Its best to have a back up battery not connected to any source on the boat—spending $99 for that battery is, well, priceless.

Step one—getting an inverter. A decent inverter—will cost around $300 and output about 3,000 watts. You don’t want the devices you attach to it to come close to the 3,000 watt total capacity. Its better if you run on a 2/3’s of the converters capacity…or about 2,000 watts. If you run it on a battery only while consuming 2,000 watts without running the engine it will drain the battery in about 15 minutes…so keeping the engine on when the inverter is on is critical…remember even with the engine on the inverter can drain your battery so learn what is the correct balance.

Step two—an ice maker and a small fridge will cost about $100 each. Wow eh? Yes, they will be small but a small ice maker will make 20lbs of ice in a 24 hour period or about a tray every 10 minutes. The fridge will be similar to the one like you had in your dorm room in college; probably a little bigger. Cooling off yet? You bet. Both will fit inside a small sailboat…the ice maker will most likely be countertop styled and promote easy access for those guests that are thirsty.

Step three—don’t expect miracles. The fridge and the ice maker will do their best job when you are docked on shore power…so let that party begin! But, once you leave the dock and are motoring make sure that you have your inverter going to keep that party going as long as you can because once you anchor and shut down the motor, you’d better turn off the fridge and ice maker…and have enough back up ice made that you can enjoy your day. With only the fridge running (320 watts) on a 3000 watt inverter you might be able to get a couple of hours on the battery without starting the engine.

So, let the party begin…but at the dock first OK?

Classifieds (November/December 2017)

For Sale :

Sunfish Sailboat for sale. 14.5 feet. Complete with brand new bailer, in excellent condition, $550. Contact Joseph Basil 954-993-2003

Want to sell something? Send your ad to newsletterdirSSSF@sailingsingles.org. Classifieds (except real estate) are free to members. Promote your business to members. Business ads start at $60/year for business card size ads, $100/yr for double card size.

Welcome (October 2017)

For reasons too numerous and boring to mention, the October issue is a little late, our apologies to those who have been waiting with baited breath. In this month’s issue:

In Sailing and Social News we report on Columbus Day regatta, the Funny Phrases Raft Up and the Halloween festivities.

We sadly report on the burial at sea ceremonies for our friends Rudy Sprenger and  Shel Miller

In Of Interest to Captains, Brian Brown gives advice on the care of lines (ropes for you landlubbers).

Our 2018 board is incomplete, we have a vacancy for a Newsletter Director. Read here to see if the job is a fit for you. Gillian and Doug have enjoyed writing The Mainsheet this year but it’s time to pass the baton.

Doug Noble and Gillian O’Neil,
The Newsletter Team
Email newslettersssf@sailingsingles.org
Photos to photos@sailingsingles.org

Sailing & Social News (October 2017)

Columbus Day Regatta

By Sheila O’Neil

Columbus Day Regatta October 7th and 8th in Elliot Key is always an adventure; extended sailing in Biscayne Bay, challenges of the Featherbeds and other shallow waters entering the anchorage at Elliot, anchoring amongst tens to hundreds of other vessels, snorkeling opportunities, and parties 24×7. This year, participation for Columbus Day at Elliot Key was down due to Hurricane Irma. But, Sailing Singles of South Florida was there!
Whether it’s ten vessels or tens of tens vessels, Columbus Day Regatta and Celebration at Elliot Key is always a great gathering of sailors and celebrators!  Viking Princess and Irish Rover participated this year. The Grand made an attempt, but the weather was too challenging on Friday to make the Key by Saturday. Viking Princess took to the ICW on Friday and sailed Biscayne Bay on Saturday to make Elliot. After several hours of anchorage at Elliot amongst many motor yachts, Viking Princess noticed two sailboats anchoring. They pulled up anchor and approached these boats, one of which was flying a Vice-Commodore flag. We found,  the crew were members of Coconut Grove Sailing Club who had sailed the regatta that day!
SSSF rafted up with CGSC and made great friends; enjoyed the company, the sailing stories,  and a fantastic happy hour!  Club boats made way north on Sunday, sailing to Biscayne Bay, Nixon anchorage, then Fort Lauderdale on Monday. The sail home had great boating conditions and all arrived at the home dock with memories of another Columbus Day Weekend. Crew of Irish Rover included Captain Patrick O’Brien and Janet Pogozelski. Crew of Viking Princes included Captain James Bradford and Crew Sheila O’Neil and Christine Romanski.

Funny Phrases Sail & Raft Up

On October 15th, we had our monthly raft up. The theme was Funny Phrases. One boat, The Grand, sailed out of Palm Beach. Three boats in Broward rafted up in Lake Sylvia: Viking Princess captained by James Bradford, Val Hal with Capt Jay Thomsen, and Meridian2 captained by Capt Fred Van Everdingen.  The weather was kind, and a fun day was had by all. Viking Princess ventured out of Port Everglades, and sailed south, we had light winds, saw a navy submarine off the coasts doing an exercise, and a school of dolphins followed us for a  while. After our sail we joined the raft up, we swam in Lake Sylvia and enjoyed lots of delicious food and drinks.

Halloween Party

On October 20th, SSSF held a Halloween Party at Debbie and Stan’s condo rec room at Hillsboro Cove. The fun included Music by Robbie Williams, Dancing, Costumes, Prizes  and a Potluck dinner. Susan Cohoat won the best female costume.  

RIP Captain Rudy Sprenger (October 2017)

Rudy Sprenger died in July 2017. His funeral service was delayed until October when all of his family were available to come Florida. Rudy was born in Holland and emigrated to Canada when he was 10 years old. His origin was quite surprising to many as his Dutch accent was barely detectable. He bought his first boat, a 12-foot scow 3 or 4 years later. As a young adult, Rudy joined the Whitby in Toronto and started sailing around the Islands and across Lake Ontario to New York. It was about this time that he started racing Thunderbirds – very fast boats. Eventually, he participated in the Thunderbird World Championships and won third place in that event in 1973.

A year later, Rudy decided to leave Canada. He sold the Thunderbird and bought a 37-foot lrwin with a center cockpit. He sailed it to South Florida with his two kids, six and eleven, and ran charters out of Fort Lauderdale for a couple of years. He even home schooled his sons but then, by mutual agreement, decided to settle into a more conventional land-based life.

In 1984 Rudy became a social worker for Broward County where he remained until 2004. Initially, he was involved in the Meals on Wheels program, but later he worked with the county’s aging population. During his time there, he received many commendations, from the governor on down. He planned to buy another 37-foot lrwin with a center cockpit like the one he sailed in on over thirty years ago. In the meantime, he bought an Endeavor 32, “Sundance”.

Rudy joined Gulfstream Sail Club and started racing. Soon after that he joined Sailing Singles. In 2004 he received the “Volunteer of the Year,” award and became Commodore in 2005, serving two consecutive terms, and was always there to lend a helping hand to succeeding board members.

Rudy met his wife Arlene Bothwell in Sailing Singles, and after their marriage they continued to be active associate members. They hosted many themed parties at their home which was ideal for both inside and outside events. SSSF members enjoyed their gracious hospitality. Arlene and volunteer members planned and decorated for the parties and awarded prizes for the best category. At every party Rudy welcomed guests as people arrived, surrounded by his three dachshunds. He had a warm smile for everyone.

A memorial service was held October 28th at Christ Church in Ft Lauderdale , with over 100 people attending. Messages and Remembrances were given by the Pastor, Rudy’s son’s, friends Jim Huber and Gary Stinek and lastly Arlene, Rudy’s wife. A photo presentation of pictures from Rudy’s early life up to the recent present was shown. As soon as the Service started the skies opened up, but as the mourners left the Church, the rain subsided and white doves were released! Following the service family members and friends gathered at the Sprenger’s home. It was good to see old friends gathering together to reminisce, and it was obvious that Rudy was missed.

At Rudy’s request, his ashes were scattered in the ocean the following day. Five boats went out in high winds and motored up the coast, the crews included family members and many friends from Sailing Singles. They joined together in an eight bell ceremony after his ashes were committed to the seas. Arlene received an SSSF flag with eight stars as a memento.

Until recently Rudy still owned his Endeavor 32, and although he did not achieve his goal of owning another Irwin sailboat like the one he had thirty years ago, he lived a rich and full life. And that makes all the difference.

ED: Thanks to Anne Ekstrom and Terry Patterson for their contributions.

RIP Captain Shel Miller (October 2017)

Sheldon “Shel” Miller died unexpectedly on April 3 at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Shel was born in Shelburne VT in 1949. He earned a BA in Philosophy from the University of Vermont. He spent his early career as a carpenter and built a successful house building company.

In the late 1980’s, Shel sold his business, bought a sailboat and began his second career as a sailboat charter captain. For many years he ran charters from the east coast of Florida to the Bahamas. In 1993, he became an ASA certified sailing instructor and switched from charters to teaching others to sail.

In 2016 he purchased a large catamaran “KISS” which he chartered out. Shel was also an instructor with Blue Water Sailing School in Fort Lauderdale. After an absence of 20 years he rejoined Sailing Singles; and when not chartering or teaching, Shel took many SSSF members on sailing adventures during the short time he was with the club again.

A celebration of life was help at Flip Flops on October 19th attended by many members of Sailing Singles, who reminisced about their experiences sailing with Shel, and noted his love of teaching.

According to Shel’s wishes, his ashes were returned to nature, in the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Atlantic Ocean off Fort Lauderdale. On October 17th,  2017 a small fleet of SSSF vessels took Shel’s nephew and his wife Deb, and Shel’s close friend Dave Pyle out to sea for an 8 Bell burial at sea ceremony.  Shel is survived by his sister Loreli Miller and several nephews, nieces and great nephews and great nieces.