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.

Call for Newsletter Director (October 2017)

 SSSF Newsletter Director Volunteer Wanted

Do you enjoy the Mainsheet, learning about the upcoming Club events, finding yourself and friends in photos of past months sails, socials, and parties, reading the Commodore’s monthly message, the reviews of pasts events, and articles submitted by other members? Many of our members do and would like the publication to continue.
There’s a vacancy on the 2018 Board for Sailing Singles of South Florida and we’re looking for a volunteer to be our Newsletter Director, responsible for producing the Club’s monthly publication.
Are you available to work on a monthly project at your own pace, to coordinate input from other Club Directors, to encourage members to submit informative articles and photographs of past events?
Help us document and publicize Club events ~ Click here to contact Lynette Beal, Chairperson of the SSSF Nominating Committee
 Volunteer to be our 2018 SSSF Newsletter Director!

Of Interest to Captains (October 2017)


by Brian Brown

That old expression…an ounce of protection is worth a pound of cure is absolutely true.  However in the case of your boat’s lines you better ante up up:  An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure; your lines could be tasked to hold a ton of weight in a millisecond.  A worn or old line could be life threatening to you, your family and friends.  Its one thing to be docked, another when you’re rolling in ten foot seas and a frayed line splits and something comes loose.

Most people take ropes for granted—did I say that?—errrr…you’d better call them LINES if you’re crew on a boat.  (Don’t ever say ropes or a boater will know you’re a newbie.)  Lines do everything from keep your boat docked to hoisting your sails, rescuing a crew member and more.  To many people lines are replaceable and frequently overlooked…needing not to be looked after properly.  The use of lines—worn or until they break–is a common practice.  For safety’s sake, it’s better to regularly inspect, maintain and replace lines.

Let’s talk about reconditioning and line maintenance first.  Keeping your lines clean and salt water free will extend their life.  OK, so you say that’s impossible when you’re blue boating in the ocean, but just an hour or so spent maintaining your lines will change your mind.

Here’s a great trick for helping maintain lines…wash them in your washing machine.  Use normal laundry detergent but also throw in liquid fabric softener.  Yes…you’ll find that fabric softener—which is liquid wax—will soften the “feel” of the lines almost returning them to their “original” soft and pliable condition.   Next you’re probably asking…”won’t the wax allow for slippage?”  The answer is no.  Try it Mikee, you’ll like it!  You won’t believe the feel of the “hand” returns to your lines…it will be like, wow, they went from stiff and old to feeling almost brand new.  And for you laundry fanatics, please don’t put them in the dryer.

When you can, keep your lines inside and out of the sun.  In most cases both salt water and the sun will break down your lines (it’s a chemical reaction).  After every outing its best to hose down your lines inspecting them for fraying.

Next, let’s talk about dock lines and address chaffing…not the underware type.  Every boat in “resting” mode has to have some sort of line to keep it in position.  Whether that’s at a dock or on a mooring, these applications demand different types of lines.

When your boat is away from its regular slip or mooring, you need to have some designated nylon lines aboard, preferably with spliced eyes, ready for use when you tie up somewhere. We call these transient dock lines.  The eye in the end is easily passed around a cleat or piling by someone on the dock and the bitter end is adjusted on board. There are dozens of combinations of diameters and lengths.

Permanent dock lines are also made of nylon, but differ from transient dock lines in several ways.  First, they must be protected from chafe, the enemy of all lines in constant use. This calls for leather, rubber or fabric chafe gear where the line passes through the chocks, and possibly a chafe sleeve on the eye where it goes around the cleat on deck.  At the dock, lines should be protected from chafe using eye splices and shackles if the dock has rings, or eye splices and short lengths of chain if the dock has cleats.  Permanent dock lines should be cut to fit the particular boat in the slip.

Dock lines should be made from nylon, a synthetic fiber that has a superior combination of strength and stretch.  Nylon is strong (although it shrinks and loses about 10-15% of its strength when wet), durable, and stretchy (three-strand nylon stretches up to 16% of its length when loaded to 15% of its breaking strength), so it absorbs shocks.  Low-stretch lines, like old worn-out polyester double braid used for sailboat running rigging, are less desirable because they transmit shocks from waves, loading up and loosening dock cleats and your boat’s deck hardware. There are three main types of rope construction for dock lines:   three-strand, double braid and Mega Braid.

Three-strand line has a knobby finish, is easy to splice and is the most affordable.  Double braid is somewhat stronger for a given size, has about half of three-strand’s stretch, and is available in many colors so you can color-coordinate your dock lines to match the color of your trim or canvas.

Mega Braid is a 12-strand single braid.  Single braids are very supple and limp, so they are easy to coil and handle.  Mega Braid is frequently the choice for boats above 70′ and it’s harder to splice.

Many boaters will want lines which match their canvas work, or trim color.   Double braided dock lines are available in six colors plus white and white/gold.  Its recommended that 1/8″ of line diameter for every nine feet of boat length.  Larger lines will wear longer but stretch less.

Boat Length
Up to 27′ use 3/8″
28′ to 31′ use 7/16″
32′-36′ use ½”
37′-45′ use 5/8″
46′-54′ use ¾”
55′-63′ use 7/8″
64′-72′ use 1″ or more

Last, transient dock lines should be about 2/3 of the boat’s length when used on the bow and stern.  Spring lines should be equal to your boat’s length.