Welcome (August/September 2017)

It’s been an eventful couple of months thanks to Hurricane Irma, hence this newsletter is a bit late.  We had to reschedule some sails due to inclement weather. A couple of boats ventured out for the Silly Sunglasses sail. Then we had an awesome “Pirates” themed weekend sail/beach party Labor Day weekend at Peanut Island, which you can read about here.  More Social News on upcoming events here.   Our featured Captain this month is Debi Hallmark, read her story here.

We learned of the stunning loss of our friend Rich Hustins August 30th; members gathered at Flip Flops the next day in shock and disbelief. We report on the Celebration of Life ceremony for Rich held at Flip Flops here.  And then on September 11th (yes, 9/11), after watching its slow and devastating progress across the Caribbean and being tortured by endless forecast models alternately raising then lowering hopes,  Hurricane Irma’s winds and rain finally reached South Florida and disrupted our lives seemingly forever; we still get a daily reminder weeks later as we navigate trash piles, utility vehicles and dump trucks in the street. Due to the storm we had to postpone the memorial service and burial at Sea for our friend Rudy Sprenger. The service will now be held October 28th at 2:00 PM at Christ Church 4845 NE 25th Ave Fort Lauderdale FL 33315 with burial at sea on the 29th.

We also had to cancel socials and re-arrange our meetings as Stingers and Flip Flops had no power. We thank the Downtowner for hosting our September board meeting at short notice. We are thankful that our part of South Florida was spared the worst of Irma, and send our wishes for a speedy recovery to those less fortunate in the Keys, the West coast of Florida and further north, and to those battered by Maria.

For boat owners current and future, this month the ever practical Brian Brown shares his advice on Service Logs.

Amazingly, we are past the season of Nominations for the Board of 2018;  you can learn of the 2018 Nominees and read Capt. Kelly’s reflections here.  And a reminder if you have something marine related to sell, or an article to contribute, an experience to share, please contact the Editors by the 20th of the month.

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

If you have had a birthday and missed receiving your gift, see Cheryl Lutz at a General Meeting. We hope you all have/had awesome birthdays!


From the Helm (August/September 2017)

From The Helm

by Commodore Kelly Dobbs



Well, here we are, at that very important time of the year where the Nominating Committee is seeking members to volunteer to serve on the 2018 SSSF Board. Consider also volunteering for a standing committee: Financial Audit, Pink Book, and Nominating. Throughout the year lend your special skills to a sail, training, a social or other activities.

Before you volunteer for the Board or any committee, or before you vote, read the Sailing Singles of South Florida By-Laws and the Policies and Procedures. For Board Members, those pages state our club mission, officer job descriptions, duties, and what you will be expected to do to manage and promote your club. Additionally, duties and responsibilities of Captains and Crew are stated in these pages. These guidelines and rules set by past and present members have guided this club for nearly 30 great years of sailing, socializing, learning together and making new lifelong friends. THEY WORK!

We have survived for thirty great years because of the foundation laid out by members; all volunteers with a passion for this club and what we share together.

Please support your club by do a little reading, volunteering and voting in the elections. Get involved all year long, volunteer for a committee, you will like it.

Fair Winds,

Cmdr. Capt. Kelly

And the Nominees Are (drumroll) . . .

As this issue of The Mainsheet is being published later than anticipated, we can now announce the Nominations for our 2018 Board were announced at the September General Meeting. Per the Bylaws, their appointment will be ratified at the November General Meeting.

Commodore: Stan Dekiel

Vice Commodore: Lynette Beal

Treasurer: Nikki McSweeney

Secretary: Terry Patterson

Fleet Captain: Brian Brown

IT Director: Karen Foster

Newsletter Director: Kim Golodner

Sailing Director: Debi Hallmark

Social Director: Arlene Sprenger

Membership Director: Susan Tracey




Meet Captain Debi Hallmark (August/September 2017)

Meet the Captain: Debi Hallmark

By Gillian O’Neill

Debi Hallmark “Sailor Debi” grew up in Erie, PA. She is the center of a large extended family which consists of her children, grand children and great grand children. Some still live in Erie, but they are also spread over many states, so when you add in other relatives, Debi puts lots of mileage on her car traveling to family celebrations. Many family members enjoy sailing, and most recently her 6-year old great-granddaughter and 8-year old great-grandson sailed back to Deerfield Beach from The Abacos. However in this case, one was seasick, and both complained they were bored in spite having their iPad on board! Maybe later… in a couple of years…


Debi arrived in South Florida in 2006 and joined Sailing Singles that year. A power boater for most of her life, she speaks with nostalgia about a wooden boat she owned “Windaleigh”, a 33 foot Cheoy Lee.

In order to get a handle on the basics of sailing she read “Sailing for Dummies” several times. Shortly after, Debi bought her second sail boat – a Morgan 30’ Sloop – which she christened “Ryan’s Place” and she continued learning more and more about all aspects of sailing. She soon realized that knowing how to sail her boat was only half the experience of boat ownership. As she quickly found out, the other part is the cost of parts and maintenance. So with lots of hard work and some help from her friends Debi gradually developed the necessary expertise in boat repairs which has not only saved her money, but invaluable when at sea and she needed to find creative solutions for unexpected problems.

Debi and Stan

Many people in the club have sailed with Debi, even those who recently joined the club and those who didn’t even know how to sail. She says the only thing she requires is that a member be interested in sailing and willing to learn.   In addition to sailing, Debi has served on the board of Sailing Singles in several capacities including: Commodore, Vice-Commodore, Sailing Director and Social Director. She is always willing to participate and help whenever she can. Debi is usually accompanied on her sailing trips by her friend, fiancé and co-captain, Stan DeKiel whom she met shortly after joining Sailing Singles.


When asked about some of her best sailing trips, Debi unhesitatingly said her first trip to the Marquesas and Dry Tortugas as part of a group of captains and their crews which included James Bradford, Jim McBrayer, Fred van Everdingen and Dick Linehan. Having a float plan helped keep the group together. She said it was some of the best sailing, and despite her sailboat being the smallest, she arrived 30 minutes ahead of the other boats one time, which she counted a “win”. Debi loves to race and is quite competitive.

She recalled one time in the Abacos as a new boat owner when four women spent a week with only a tank of 20 gallons of fresh water and never ran out. She has some hints on how to make that work. Just ask her. During that trip she did not have a windlass and she thinks her crew must have lowered and raised the anchor “hundreds of times”. They became known as “the four women from Fort Lauderdale” throughout the trip.

Then there was the trip to Cuba. Debi was part of the crew of “The Grand” which participated in the 2016 Miami to Havana sailboat race. It was the first time this race had taken place in 50 years and it generated a lot of excitement. Debi says it was a memorable and grueling experience due to the length of the sail and some really bad weather.


  • A recent trip to the Bahamas took 24 hours because of a terrible storm. She took down all the sails, and learned it would have been better to have at least kept the jib up.
  • The Hillsboro Inlet can be dangerous. Once when approaching the inlet, and the sails were already down, the engine failed. While waiting for Tow Boat US she dropped the hook, which prevented the boat from crashing on the rocks at the entrance. It was a close call.
  • Always bring spare parts. She had them with her on a trip when the back stay on “Ryan’s Place” snapped, and members of the group helped her fix the problem.
  •  Once you think you’ve managed to fix something, something else breaks, so she keeps on learning.


  • Safety: Listen carefully to the captain’s instructions, then wait for the signal to proceed.
  • Housekeeping: Keep gear in assigned space on board. Clean up after yourself. Be sure to take whatever you bring off the boat when you leave. The captain is not responsible for finding forgotten items.
  • Crew Chief: Each crew member provides all meals for one day or provides the same meal for each day of the trip. Each person takes turns cleaning up the galley.
  • Clothing: Pack lightly. Keep to the rule of 4/4/4 as closely as possible (4 swimsuits, tops and shorts).
  • New Members: Be aware of the club’s basic policies and procedures. It really will help you.
  • …Don’t jump ship! It can make it more difficult for a captain if other crew members are not experienced sailors, and besides, it’s rude.
  • … Don’t hit anything.
  • … Don’t go aground.
  • … No, Non, Nyet, Verboten: Umbrellas, suitcases and ice chests with wheels on any boat.
  • … The list will get longer depending on the length of the cruise!


Is there a trawler in Debi’s future? Maybe, who knows, only time will tell. But one thing she is certain about…she wants to go cruising.

Sailing News (August/September 2017)

Peanut Island Labor Day Weekend  Sail and Beach Party “Pirates of the Caribbean”

by Sheila O’Neil, Vice Commodore

In the pre-dawn hours of Sunday morning on September 3, our SSSF Pirates began preparing for the assault on Peanut Island to secure the beach. Cmdr Capt. Kelly, VCmdr, Sheila O’Neil, and Fleet Capt. Susan Cohoat packed the “Pirate Bar” pontoon with several coolers of ice, water, tents, chairs, a 5′ grill, and other provisions for the awesome grilling and events of the day. They beached the pontoon near channel marker 42, carried all provisions ashore, and staged a shipwreck scene with a pirate flagged mast, trunks with jewels, silver and gold, barrels of rum and crates of whiskey.
Other SSSF Pirates and Swabs began arriving mid-morning from the boats that participated in the extended sail:
  • Ryan’s Place – Capt. Debi Hallmark
  • Skeeter – Capt. Tom Mestrits
  • The crew of Val Hal joined the party in the afternoon.
At 11:00, Capt. Kelly began to shuttle SSSF members from Riviera Beach Marina to the island for a day of fun and sun.
As our members arrived on the island, they checked in at the “Ahoy SSSF” tent and selected a treasure from the Pirate Chest.
Our Guest Chef, Kelly M. Dobbs, grilled up delicious shrimp and colorful veggie kabobs, prepared coconut rice, and a tasty tropical salad with mango dressing. Meal was complimented with Banana Nut Bread and tropical fruit drink. The Pirate Bar was docked a few feet from shore with members’ adult beverages and ice!
A snorkeling excursion to the southeast corner of the island began in low visibility water but swimming to the outer rocks revealed a visible variety of tropical fish.
The most outstanding SSSF Pirate costumes:
1st Place – Jean Marie Gordon & Max Goldstein
2nd Place – Camille Galindo & Jerry Adams
3rd Place – Debi Hallmark & Greg Womack
Thanks to all that helped cleanup our island area and carry items back to the pontoon. And special thanks to Capt Kelly, Sheila and Susan for their sunrise to sunset efforts in producing yet another memorable Peanut Island event on Labor Day weekend. Here are some pics!

Silly Sunglasses sail August 12th.

SSSF Members anxious to sail in the summer breezes traveled to Miami and Palm Beach Gardens to participate in the Silly Sunglasses Sail. On August 12, wearing their glitter glasses, blinking lights glasses, upside down glasses, and more enjoyed a day of silly sailing and snorkeling. Participants included:

Winim – Captain Richard Harper (sailing out of Miami) with Cathy Harper, Bea Garcia and Art Herrera.

The Grand – Capt Kelly Dobbs (sailing out of Palm Beach) with Sheila O’Neil, Camille Galindo, Anne Ekstrom, John Konheim and Cindy Kehoe.

Of Interest to Captains (August/September 2017)

Service Logs… a tool well worth investing your time in keeping

By Brian Brown


You are about to buy, or have the boat of your dreams. In both cases you’ll need to see/or maintain the service logs. Let’s talk about the “about to buy: scenario first.

You’re standing in the marina about to buy, you decide to schedule a sea trial and survey as you continue to look the boat over. Casually, you ask, “what is the boat’s maintenance history?” The seller replies, “the marina takes care of my maintenance.” At this point, you still don’t know any more about the boat than before you asked the question; but you SHOULD get in contact with the marina because somebody there knows what condition that boat was in while they were working on it.

Contrast that with the seller who presents you with a service log and discusses the past maintenance history with you…and you’ll be very happy.

Obviously, a service log can be forged (but for the most part I wouldn’t think so) and does not guarantee that the boat has been maintained properly or at the recommended intervals. However, it gives you a place to start and can provide an insight into a boat’s past. For instance, if you see the zincs have been replaced every six months while the boat has been sitting in fresh water that should ring an alarm bell of potential electrical problems. Why? Well that’s for another article.

Even today few boat manufacturers supply new customers come with a service log, or if they do it is likely to be inadequate. When purchasing a used boat a service log is even rarer. Regardless of the situation, if you have a boat, you should have a service log!

This article will give you an idea of the minimum information that should be in your service log. Additional items can be added as you desire. Basically, any maintenance accomplished needs to be accounted for in the log. You should keep it organized, neat and up to date. Not only is this manual a great way for you to keep up with maintenance tasks, but potential buyers, surveyors and brokers will consider it an asset as well.

I recommend maintaining the service log with your computer where you can easily update and arrange items as needed—your dry land copy. Then print a copy and place it in the service log 3 ring binder; put your pages into clear plastic sleeves…that will help keep water and greasy fingers off for your on board copy. The computer program you choose to manage your log is up to you, but most spreadsheet programs handle the task very well, and make a folder scanning in documents like service manuals, etc. For example, you add a DC-AC power converter…make sure you keep the operators manual.

The layout of the log is left up to you but as a minimum, I recommend separate sections for the boat’s specifications, maintenance history, manuals and receipts, etc.  For example, keep your two way marine radio manuals, etc., safely and when they were installed. Even though you think you know how to operate all the buttons, you still might just want to return it someday for repairs.

Specifications Page

The first page of your service log should be the specification’s page. This page should contain all the specifications of your boat to include the registration number, boat name; date purchased, and all the maintenance-related part numbers and fluid types. Each time you have to purchase a part or discover a part number you should record it on the specification’s page. This will provide you with a quick reference for locating those numbers when it is time to perform routing maintenance. You can also just place the part manuals—highly recommended—into the plastic sleeves previously mentioned. For example, I keep EVERY new item’s manual there…from my gas grill, to bilge pump manuals.

Maintenance History

The next section to include in your service log should be the maintenance history for the boat. This is the place to log both routine and non-routine maintenance items such as oil changes, impeller replacements, component repair, etc. Regardless of whether you perform the maintenance or have someone else to do it, this is the place to log what was accomplished.  Patterns develop and if you are replacing, for example, the zinc regularly in fresh water, you’ve got a problem. This kind of stuff can also help a mechanic diagnose a repair…so think how much time that could save you…and money too.

Food for thought…when you go to sell your boat you can show your logs–people will be able to see that you cared about maintenance. That adds value…and provides a high level of security.

Receipts Section

In this section, you should keep a photocopy of any maintenance-related receipts. Keep the originals in a safe place at home. This should give you good idea of what should be in a service log. Attached you will find an example that can be used as a template to design your own.

Adding New Toys to Your Boat

We all have added a new toy, from an electric winch, to a windlass, even a new radio. Keeping all of that information handy, including the manuals, is essential. From a mini fridge, ice maker, new head, etc., keeping all of those changes will help you in the long run.

I even keep little things like pawls in the plastic sleeves labeled for each winch. And it doesn’t hurt to keep the disassembly and assembly manuals there too. Last, if you have all the diagrams of your boats construction, wiring, plumbing, etc., on board in your three ring binder with plastic sleeves, you’ll find its wonderful when you have to make repairs anywhere you are.

That’s my 1,000 or so words on the subject. Have a great time boating.



Welcome (June 2017)

Another long hot and humid Florida summer is here, and snowbirds have headed for cooler weather. Your Commodore, Capt. Kelly has been busy delivering boats and cruising the Abacos so there is no From The Helm article this month. We hope he has fair weather and good winds.

In June we held a successful SOS at Tigertail Lake. In Social News you can read about upcoming events.

This month in Meet the Captain, we feature Patrick O’Brien. And Our resident Mr Fix’It Brian Brown writes about replacing your boat’s lighting with LEDs to save battery power (and a trip up the mast!)

Member$hip $avings!  If you know $omeone $itting on the fence about membership please let them know that new members can join mid year (on or after July 1) for $60, saving $40 over a full year membership. This takes them through December 31st 2017. Click here to join.

We welcome your constructive feedback and suggestions for ways we can improve the newsletter. We encourage you to submit for consideration any articles relating to sailing or topics that may be of interest to our fellow members. Please continue to email us photos you have taken at our events. Deadline 20th of each month. And we welcome your suggestions for articles.

Gillian O’Neill and Doug Noble,
The Mainsheet Team
Send photos to photos@sailingsingles.org

Sailing News (June 2017)

Cheeseburger in Paradise Raft Up July 15th

Watch out for the registration email. Talk to Sheila if you think registration should be open earlier.

SOS at Tigertail Lake

The first SOS of 2017 was held on Sunday, June 11 at Tigertail Lake, Broward College.  It was a great success!  Tigertail Lake is adjacent to Outdoor World Bass Pro Shops in Dania Beach, Fl and Broward College offers classes in rock climbing, SCUBA, and sailing at this facility.

SSSF members had opportunities to learn the basics of small boat sailing, knot tying etc. and then put them into action on comfortable  American 18 sailboats. Volunteer club Captains, James Bradford, Stan Dekiel and Kelly Dobbs commanded the boats and members were assigned as crew. Members enjoyed the immediate hands on experience, many using a tiller for the first time. The weather cooperated and it was dry all day.

Lifejackets were provided by the facility and a brown bag lunch was served. Crew Essentials with Max Goldstein: Knot tying and other basics were held under an awning and Crew Tips were taught by Sheila O’Neil – crew etiquette, toilet training and other fun facts were held in the comfort of an air-conditioned classroom.

After class was dismissed, we had fun sharing our sailing stories and socializing with Captains and Crew at happy Hour in the Marlin Room of Islamoralda Fish Company (beside Bass Pro Shops). Unfortunately the restaurant was out of their signature Fish Dip which disappointed some.

Thanks to Sailing Director Sheila O’Neil and her band of volunteers setting up and tearing down, and our volunteer captains and instructors for a successful day!


Meet Captain Patrick O’Brien (June 2017)

Patrick O’Brien first started sailing when he was 26.  He met a nice Irish lass in Brooklyn, who said she enjoyed sailing, so the next weekend they drove down to the Jersey shore, rented a Sunfish and managed to capsize 4 times in a 3 hour rental.  She was not impressed!  He bought a book, Basic Sailing, read it, drove down to the Jersey shore the following weekend and capsized only twice.  So, he reread it and sailed, reread it and sailed and reread it and sailed till he eventually learned to keep the boat upright.

Later that summer, he rented a 12’ Triumph trimaran on the south shore of Long Island and the rudder fell off the boat while he was miles from shore.  But, he had read about the center of effort and the center of lateral resistance and managed to steer the boat back across the bay, tacking his way up a canal and to the dock by putting his weight on his forward or aft foot to create lee helm or weather helm.  He was EMPOWERED!!!!

That winter he bought his first sailboat, a 14’ Seagull sloop, and was immediately transferred from New York to Ft. Belvoir, Virginia.  He sailed once on the Potomac before being transferred back to New York and relocating his boat to the Jersey shore.  The next year, he upgraded to a 16’ O’Day Daysailer, which he raced for two years on Long Island sound.

Patrick requested a transfer to Florida, so he could sail year-round but instead was appointed the Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Customs in Charleston, S.C.  Well, that was good for 10 months of sailing a year, so he upgraded to a Catalina 22, which he cruised and raced in the Charleston area for three years.  He next upgraded to an Irwin 25 keel-centerboard sloop and requested a transfer to Tampa.  Instead, he was transferred to Washington, D.C. and cruised and raced on the Potomac for 5 years.  He then requested a transfer to Miami and was sent back to New York City as the Special Agent in Charge of Customs there.

He cruised and raced for 2 years in New York and New Jersey until his final race.  He was doing well in Newsday’s 205 nautical mile Around-Long-Island-Regatta until a violent storm hit around midnight when he was just off the eastern tip of Long Island.  Six boats were dismasted and Patrick lost the centerboard on his boat.  Without the centerboard, he could not make any progress through the waves and wind for the 5 miles to Montauk Point and had to withdraw from the race.

That was the last straw!  He sold his boat and 3 months later was appointed the Special Agent in Charge of Miami.  That was in the heyday of the Miami Vice days and he had no time for sailing.  He had given it up – he thought for good.

He first joined Sailing Singles in 1999 but was never invited aboard a boat and soon quit.  Years later, at the urging of Doug Long, he rejoined in 2012 and was  invited by Marie Alcazar and Rich Hustins to the Lake Boca Circle raft-up aboard their board, Tranquility.  He had a blast and tried to get on as many sails as he could.  But, the boats were owned by men and they wanted women as crew, so Patrick had few opportunities to go sailing.  However, Dick Linehan did take him aboard as crew on the Enterprise for a Columbus Day Regatta and Debi Hallmark invited him aboard Ryan’s Place for a Memorial Day weekend cruise to Bimini, followed by a cruise to the Abacos a couple of months later.

Irish Rover

Patrick was bitten by the boating bug again, but he wanted more comfort and less hassle with the wind and bridges, so he went the way of many old time sailors and bought a trawler – a Mainship 34, which he christened the Irish Rover.  Many of us have enjoyed parties aboard the Irish Rover, when Patrick was not on one of his trips across Lake Okeechobee or down the Keys or over to the Abacos with our favorite crew, the Pogo.  Then last year, he upgraded one last time and bought the DEVOCEAN, a Sea Ray 47 motor yacht.  Patrick christened that boat as well and will soon be rechristening it from DEVOCEAN to the IRISH ROVER – the name says it all.

Patrick dockside with DEVOCEAN

Social News (June 2017)

Summer Beach Party – Save The Date

July 29th – 11 am to 5 pm. Hot dogs, hamburgers and fixin’s will be provided, BYOB and bring your bathing suit. Location: Beach at 1900 S Ocean Blvd, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, FL. Watch out for registration email or check our calendar.

Starlight Musicals

Once again Starlight Musicals will be held at Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale this summer and SSSF will have a tent where you can socialize with your friends while listening to music under the stars.

6/16 – Jaded- Aerosmith tribute Band
6/23 – Tim Charron Band- Country
6/30 – Jimmy Stowe- Buffet Music
7/7 – RD Project- Latin
7/14 – Across the Universe- Beatles
7/21 – Classic Rock Therapy- Classic Rock
7/28 – Fabulous Fleetwoods- Southern Rock
8/4 – Brass Evolution- Chicago Style Music

Bill Roberts and Lynette Beal will have a Tent and Table in the NW corner of the Park with the Pink Flag and an SSF banner.  SSSF Members are encouraged to attend and bring a dish to share, beach chair, and BYOB.  Concerts begin at 7 but people are encouraged to get there by 6-6:30pm.  Parking is free – enter by Parker Playhouse.  Wheeled coolers make it easier.

City of Fort Lauderdale website

Map: https://goo.gl/maps/1chi8M1fWY92