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SCOUt, ship 5111 current vessel

SCOUT, a Sydney 41, built in 1998 by Bashford Howison of Australia, was donated to Sea Scout Ship #5111 in November of 2018 by Betsy and Dorsey Ruley, formerly of Chicago. Dorsey has raced offshore on various winning boats for over 40 years and now resides in Corpus Christi, TX


The Bashford Howison 41 was based on the hull design of a successful ILC 40 from the pen of Iain Murray. The deck layout was designed to comply with the IMS Cruiser Racer rule and is practical and user friendly. The laminates were designed to American Bureau of Shipping scantlings which make for a strong light structure. The design was first launched in 1994 in time for the 50th Sydney Hobart race in which there were nearly 500 entries. Hull #2 Raptor dominated the race and was placed first overall in a top fleet.


In the summer of 2016, the leadership of Sea Scout Ship #5111 met to plan a new course, to rebuild the Ship. Its racing, service, Long Cruise and Mac Race initiatives had been dormant for two years. Youth membership was diminishing, with college, military or work being the main factors. The loss of a big boat in our own harbor did not help. The new BSA Pathway to Adventure Council's program of a few boats at 31st Street Harbor did not attract much enthusiasm, participation or recruitment. It was time for a sea change. 

With advice from several consultants, it was decided that we would incorporate as a 501.c.3 non-profit organization, so that we, like the Council, could take donation of sailing vessels, allowing donors to realize the accruing tax benefits. As luck, good fortune and great forces would have it, the owners of Cheep 'N Deep, a C&C 39 at Larsen Marine in Waukegan, had their boat up for sale, and she was not selling. Jim Richter contacted us to offer her as a donation. A small group made up of Marty Bernstein, Bruno Lago and Wally Gorzen made the trip to Waukegan for an inspection. She'd need some work on the seam between the hull and keel, but she looked beautiful in gleaming red. Now we needed the blessing from the yacht club. 

Immediate Past Commodore Joe McGinnis, Commodore Craig Horton and Vice Commodore Scott Johnson were in our corner. The yacht club was eager to have a sailboat in Monroe Harbor again, and it was decided that we pursue the acquisition. The owners would retain title until our IRS paperwork was official, then make us and COLYC additional insureds on the existing policy with GEICO/Boat U.S. Along with Wally's twin sons, Jared and Liam, we spent three weekends digging out all of the old caulk in the hull-keel seam. The crack in the leading edge, known as a "C&C smile" was then filled with a thickened flexible epoxy polymer, which would not crack as easily with the customary loads experienced by heeling underway. By early September, she was ready for splash and delivery to her new mooring in Monroe Harbor.

The three Gorzens and the Skipper arrived at Larsen's harbor early on a sunny, windy day. Beating into 15-20 knot south winds would be wet and wild, but as with our previous big boat, we were "a lot of Sea Scouts". Near the last third of the delivery, with the added loads from reefing and deterioration from exposure to UV sunlight, the roller furling line snapped, forcing us to strike the Genoa. We motor-sailed under main alone for the duration of the delivery. Her first season was short but sweet and with the 501c.3 paperwork final that November, we were now the proud owners of our own sailing vessel. 

Season two was one of getting to know her, fixing things, and most important, renaming. To honor the Commodore Emeritus of the Chicago Area Sea Scouts for his 60 years of service, it was decided that the vessel be re-christened as SSTV Edward B Stein. A ceremony was arranged for this at the Columbia Yacht Club docks in June. Mr. Stein's personal sailing vessel, Doghouse IV, was brought to the dock nose-to-nose with SV Cheep 'N Deep. Both vessels were dressed in signal flags, as was the club ship. Red, white and blue bunting was added along CND's starboard rail. A color guard was present, invited guests and dignitaries, and the ceremony began. 

Skipper Marty Bernstein gave the tributes to Poseidon and the spirits of the four winds, with the obligatory splash of champaign over the side for each. Of particular importance, sailors being a superstitious lot, was having the old name inscribed on a metal ingot, then tossing said ingot into the water to "sink" the former name. Ed Stein's daughter Myrna then smashed a bottle of champaign against the properly positioned anchor at the bow of the boat, and she was officially christened Sea Scout Training Vessel Edward B Stein to huzzahs and raised glasses. 

The third season, like what is said of perennials - sleep, creep, leap - was just that. Our seasoned young crew and adult leaders entered her in the Chicago to Waukegan Race and she took 2nd Place in her section, beating several veteran racers who'd entered the race as a feeder for the Queen's Cup the following week in Milwaukee. This gained the attention of Dorsey Ruley, a very competitive Area III racer with successful boats year after year, going back to the '70s. His latest winner, Scout, a Sydney 41 built by Bashford Howison of Australia, had too deep a draft, 9.5 feet, for his relocation in Corpus Christi, Texas.  His preference was to donate the vessel to Sea Scout Ship 5111. With the financial assistance of our current Skipper, James Bruno Lago, and the consent of the yacht club leadership, a deal was struck for the acquisition and on September 28, 2018, a crew of five boarded her at Milwaukee, WI and undertook delivery (in a record 9 1/2 hours) to Monroe Harbor. We now had a fleet. 

RETIRED FROM FLEET: sstv nautilus

A few years after the charter of Sea Scout Ship "Challenge" #5111, a group of influential yachtsmen, past and present yacht club Commodores and others in the Chicago nautical community formed the Sea Scout Steering Committee. Among them were Ed Stein, Lindy Thomas, Dean Tank, Gibby Vartan, Grant Crowley and Gerry Thomas. Through donations, they developed a $100,000 endowment fund designed to provide a 10% annual contribution to the Sea Scout budget at the then-named Chicago Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. 

Instead of a few well-worn larger cruising boats in the harbors, which did little to attract the attention of potential youth recruits, they envisioned a program that included racing, and sought donation of such a vessel; shortly thereafter, SSTV Live Wire, a Dobroth 42, came into the fleet in 2004. It was to be managed, maintained and campaigned by Sea Scout Ship #5111 at Columbia Yacht Club. 

A few weeks after its launch, Sea Scout Commodore Ed Stein asked Marty Bernstein to assume command of the unit as Skipper. They began to assemble Ship 5111 into a motivated, energized unit, and the racing program began to take shape. A crew member of the former Live Wire racing team, Bill Fanizzo, volunteered to put together a group of adult consultants to act as mentors. Bill, his wife Viviana, along with Rod Salazar, Jon Santarelli and Phillip Pollard began training the Sea Scouts during the Wednesday night Beer Can Racing series, and they started winning. Of course, long cruises and other aspects of sailing training and service were still very much a part of the program.

After three years, Live Wire was sold, as the program was designed. The Steering Committee met to address acquisition of a new racing vessel. Lindy Thomas, in the market for a larger vessel, offered his Tripp 47, Goblin, and a deal was struck for the donation. When he proposed acquiring that vessel to the young women and men of Ship #5111, Skipper Marty Bernstein gently cautioned them that it was "a lot of boat"... their reply. "Yeah, but we're a lot of Sea Scouts!" and the deal was done. They held a naming competition among them and she was renamed SSTV Nautilus. 

As they were getting used to her that season, the boat was offered for bareboat hire in the Chicago-Mackinac Race. A syndicate of racers from four states put together a donation of $8,000 to the Chicago Area Council and took part in the race. Several Sea Scouts and leaders travelled to the island post-race for the return delivery, harbor hopping over five days to Charlevoix, Frankfort, Muskegon, St. Joseph and Chicago, a great long cruise experience for those young people. 

That experience led to a very successful program of Wednesday night racing and long cruises, which included service projects at distant ports of call. The visibility and reputation of Sea Scouts and Ship 5111 grew substantially. The boat was hired for the Mac Race for seven subsequent years, except 2010 when she was out of service for keel replacement. A group led by Russell Salzman hired the boat repeatedly, inviting senior Sea Scouts aboard for the race, and over that period, nearly a score of Sea Scout women and men joined the crew. The return cruise was always part of the attraction. 

In 2014, the newly formed Pathway to Adventure Council had new plans for Nautilus and its other vessels, and we had to bid adieu to our lovely, sound, comfortable home of seven years. It was time to make our own plans and chart our own course.

As sailors, we know that when buffeted by adverse winds and seas, we need to adjust our course and sails; and weather the storm we did. Forming our own 501.c.3 organization in 2016, Sea Scout Ship #5111, Inc. accepted the donation of the 1973 C&C 39, SV Cheep 'N Deep from Jim Richter and Randy Kuhn. She was renamed for Chicago Sea Scout Commodore Emeritus, Edward B. Stein and our Ship now began to right itself. But that's a story for another narrative. We will always hold SSTV Nautilus fondly in our memory, as the vessel that built Ship #5111 into a model for Sea Scouting in Chicago. 

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