Friday, December 12

Real Quick Like

Annual Boat Show Ticket Giveaway Promotion!
Spend $50 or more in the Ship’s Store and get 2 free tickets to the Chicago Boat, RV & Strictly Sail Show. This offer is good through Friday, January 9th.

Friday, December 19th Crowley’s employees will be headed to our annual holiday party at 12 noon and will be out for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, December 24th we will have limited staff on hand and close at 3:30pm.

Closed December 25th through December 28th and resume normal hours the 29th.

Wednesday, December 31st we will close at 3:30.

Closed January 1st through January 4th and resume normal hours the 5th.

There will be 24 hour security on site during the closed periods. Please call Customer Service at 773-221-9990 ext. 330 if you plan to visit while we are closed.

That’s all folks!

Thursday, December 4

Extra! Extra!

By Michael Argyelan

Clogged fuel filters and oil filters, broken belts, failed impellers; all can change the perfect day on the water into a total nightmare. If you plan ahead, the nightmare transforms into a mere nuisance. Engine spares, you want them. You need them. Let us help.

I was working with one of our mechanics and putting together an engine spare parts kit for one of our customers and he had a great idea, let’s offer engine spares kits to everyone. I carry spares. Do you? If not, let us help.

We put together a simple kit consisting of primary and secondary fuel filters, an oil filter, belt(s), and an impeller. Each part was put into a watertight zip lock bag to keep moisture out. Ryan, our resident expert mechanic, took this further and placed the parts in a dry bag. We tagged the bag with the appropriate and obvious label, “Spare Parts Kit.”

Want us to make one for your boat? Contact me with your engine information as well as your primary filter info (if applicable) and I’ll put one together ready for your spring launch. Call me before the end of the year and I’ll take 10% off your whole order.

When you winterize your boat, use the spares and replace them to keep the spares fresh. If we winterize your boat, let us know you have spares on board and we will use and replace them for you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at

Stay warm, friends.

Wednesday, November 26


By Michael Argyelan

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, awesome. It’s one of my favorite days. Pie, turkey, football, friends, family, more pie, inclement weather and all, I look forward to it each and every year.

Although distanced from the original 1621 celebration of hunting deer and menus completely absent of potatoes and turkey, the exchange of thanks is still front and center. This year let’s give thanks, enjoy the warmth of home, welcome even the most stubborn of our relatives, and be grateful together.

If you find yourself stuck in traffic, arguing about politics over dinner with your polar opposite cousin, or being forced to choose from a Jello loaf or a sugarless cake at dessert, remember to be magnanimous. Be noble, courageous in spirit, and generous. Make others feel right even when they are wrong. Be larger than life, grateful, and give thanks to all you encounter this holiday season.

From all of us here at Crowley’s, we wish you prosperity, warmth, and happiness.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21

Notice, Follow Up

By Michael Argyelan

I would be remised if I didn’t remind you all that this weekend is the Annual Two Day Sale in the Ship’s Store at Crowley’s. Everything in the Store, and I do mean everything, is 25% off. If it’s on a shelf, a hangar, a peg, or sitting on the floor, it’s on sale. This means our 35% off closeout items are now 60% off! We couldn’t stop there. There’s more. 

All in stock Lewmar and SealLine products will be sold at 10% above cost. Yes, I’m serious. Need a new block? How about a folding wheel? Need a new winch? Maybe you’re looking for a dry bag? They’re all on sale at 10% above cost this weekend.  

Where? The Ship’s Store at Crowley’s Yacht Yard, 3434 E. 95th St., Chicago, IL 60617
When? Saturday, November 22 from 8am – 4pm and Sunday, November 23 from 10am – 4pm
Why? Because we like making money as much as you like saving it!

Mmmm Mmm Good, continued…

After last week’s column exploring food on boats, I received a couple of great responses from fellow boaters. As promised, I’ve included their responses this week (see below). Enjoy and if you want to contribute to the food on boats theme, please do.

“Ever since Craig Juel brought Joe Froggers for the 2013 Mac they have been on board for every offshore race Hope has sailed.  For warm food/drink we heat water and keep it hot in a large thermos which then provides for instant coffee, tea, and most importantly for me oatmeal with brown sugar and a dram of Scottish whiskey.

For Mac races we bring three crew meals of frozen stew in individual boiling bags.  One is Guinnes beef (Viks traditional recipe), one either savory pork or turkey (my creation), and one pasta (Fred's).  We've never used more than two on the race.  This system must be working as suggested by our record!

For my ocean crossing in 2016 I'll bring a dry Virginia or Serrano ham, two dozen freshly laid free range eggs which I'll keep in the bilge un-refrigerated, potatoes, carrots, onions, root vegetables, nuts, dried fruit, and for the first few days a couple of frozen Mac stews. Of course I'll bring limes (to prevent scurvey), Tonic (to prevent Malaria), and rum (to keep me happy).

When I do solo distance, I don't drink coffee and only a little alcohol (most of the alcohol evaporates from my oatmeal).  I need lots of protein. I eat no processed sugar. I take a multivitamin every day.  I have plenty of fat stores on my body, so I don't need to bring any additional on board.”

Michael Leland, MD
Hope  USA18

“On my T-10, Rainbows End, like Mike's crew (on Mischief), I make dinner at home, freeze it and boil it on the boat during the race.  Everything brought aboard to eat is pre-made at home.  I make a jambalaya for Saturday night and a beef stew for Sunday night.  Sandwiches, which we make and store for lunches, can be switched out for dinners if the sea gets too rough for easy cooking.  The boiled meals are sealed in a vacuum seal bag. One quart bag gives two servings and the used bags get tossed so there is no cleanup.  The heels and small slices left over for sandwich making are brought aboard to eat with dinner.  We use a hearty craft-baked rye bread.  Try Bruno’s, which Jewel can order.

Breakfast consists of a concoction my wife adopted from an oatmeal cookie- it’s called a breakfast bar.  It’s flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, molasses, and raisins all mixed into deliciousness.  It eats like breakfast and tastes like a cookie: its no muss, no fuss, and filling.  Along with that we have juice or V-8 and hard boiled eggs kept on the frozen water bottles.

Use 8 oz. water bottles- they're small and one serving.  I don't like half full bottles rolling around in the cockpit.  We drink them and toss them.  The crew is allowed 6 of their favorite beverages for the race so that a couple of times a day you have your favorite.  For my crew of 6 we freeze 144 bottles and keep one cooler full and taped up under the cockpit for use on those Mondays we find ourselves running low.  I also bring a dozen, unfrozen 16 oz water bottles to use in the pot for cooking on the race and on the way back to make coffee or tea.

The snacky parts are filled in with jerky, chocolate cookies, brownies, carrots, celery, peanut butter, small sized candy bars, peanuts, and saltine crackers in the event people might feel sick.  We also carry instant coffee for the night watch.  Sometimes people have brought instant latte mix and shake them up in the 8oz bottles.”
Steven J. Fink


Friday, November 14

Mmmm Mmm Good

By Michael Argyelan

With Thanksgiving creeping up on us in a couple weeks, food is on my brain. I love Thanksgiving dinner. I go for an extra long run and do an extra workout the morning of to justify the extra calorie consumption. More pie? Yes please!

Equal to if not more pleasing than a plate of delicious food covered in homemade gravy is the people I share it with. Sharing a meal with friends, family, or crew alike is intensely gratifying. What might be more gratifying is eating a meal while sailing or sitting on the hook relaxing.

Fellow Crowley’s employees/boaters shared their experiences with prepping, storing, and making food while on board. If you have any food related stories, tips, tricks, etc to share, please do. I’ll post them in the next newsletter to share with everyone.

For long distance trips or weekends aboard vessels lacking electric reefers or freezers, there are some common tips to pay heed. Freeze jugs or bottles of water rather than use bags of ice. Cubes melt considerably faster than blocks of ice. Columbia Yacht Club sells blocks and half blocks of ice to its members and racers for this reason. The bonus is your jugs or bottles melt and you’ll have crisp, refreshing water for consumption. You can also use a bucket to make your own blocks. Fill it 1/3 of the way up and freeze it and you have a block of ice.

Another space saving and temperature management practice is to freeze your larger meals, which is common among long distance cruisers and racers. A roast or stew is always better the day after. The spices have time to really soak in. Heating up a chilled cabin with the fragrance of a lovingly prepared stew is all the more rewarding; especially when you’re on the night shift, it’s 3am and the temperature is 45 degrees. The taste of that roast is like finding a unicorn having a cocktail on a rainbow who’s hanging out with the Lucky Charms leprechaun; unbelievable.

Mitch Weisman, cook extraordinaire here at Crowley’s goes beyond the usual cold cut sandwiches for his crew. Each Wednesday night for beer can racing he uses the oven on board to prepare a home cooked meal. He will frequently prepare chicken legs, but sometimes he goes all out and splurges on a small pork or beef roast. The key is to prep the meal at home and then right before leaving the dock pop it into a preheated oven. According to Mitch, “Sometime before the second leg, things will start to smell good.” I’ll never forget the first time I heard Mitch announce on the race committee VHF channel, “If you smell something good, it’s Snafu.” I laughed all the way to the second mark.

For the Mac race, Mitch will often cook a ham. Once cooked, you can make sandwiches; use it in eggs for extra protein, or however one sees fit. When he had a fridge on his last boat Snafu, he had leftovers for the trip back home. The other Mitch-Mac tip is using frozen pizzas.

As the fleet moves farther north during the Mac night time temps drop quickly and warming up the cabin is always a great idea. Plus, who doesn’t want pizza in the middle of a long distance race? Mitch added that at least one person skips the pizza just to stay in their warm and cozy bunk.

Dan Bochnovic suggests that if you’re going longer distances and don’t mind the extra weight, be elaborate. Why not, right? Get everyone in the crew involved whether that means having a cooking party at home to prepare and freeze for later or bringing fresh ingredients with to make from scratch on board. Boats, food, friends, getting involved; what’s not to like?

Resident T10 addict Mike Travis prepares (or should I say consumes) stews and casseroles; staples on Mischief. Meals are prepared at home with great care, frozen, and act as ice blocks until ready to heat up on a gimbaled propane pot. They simply add a little water to steam the bag and serve up piping hot meals to the ravenous crew. An example of these magical boil/steam bags can be found here.

Protein is often necessary for athletic racers and can be difficult to come by if trying to save weight or space in the reefer. Mike and a few other long distance boaters recommend hard boiled eggs. They are easy to store in their carton, retain their temperature well, and have great protein levels. Other protein sources with easy storage are salami and other cured meats, nuts, and if you’re a protein crazed person, add in a little protein powder to a bowl of oatmeal.

Speaking of oatmeal, it’s one the easiest, lightest, most powerful sources of energy on the boat. Of course this takes fuel to heat up but a hot meal early in the morning is wonderful. Skip the protein bar and treat yourself and your crew to a hot meal. Other great ways to save weight and space are to carry powdered drinks like Gatorade rather than a bunch of packaged bottles, instant coffee such as Via by Starbucks (it’s not that bad), trail mix with extra M&Ms, and any other candy you can fit. If you’re a coffee lover but typically drink fancy mocha type drinks, brew your coffee and then add in a package of hot chocolate. It’s a poor mans mocha. It’s also delicious.

Another great tip is to keep ginger products on board. You never know when a new guest will start feeling a little queasy. A sip or two of ginger ale will do the trick. Bruce Rosenzweig of Sailboat Sales keeps ginger snap cookies on board for this very reason. Mike Travis does as well. I typically keep ginger ale on board because it also mixes exceptionally well with bourbon and rum!

Andrew Spaulding shared some lesser known tricks. If you want to bring fruits and vegetables on your cruise or long distance race wash them in a sanitizing solution to kill surface bacteria, which contributes to rotting. Use approximately 1 teaspoon of bleach to a gallon of water for a homemade solution. Use a measuring teaspoon, not the one you eat cereal with, folks. Your fruits and veggies will last longer in or out of the fridge.

If you want to bring fresh eggs, try going to a farmer or farmer’s market to purchase eggs with a fresh bloom on them. The natural coating keeps eggs fresh out of the fridge. Most other countries don’t refrigerate their eggs and this is why. You can coat them with Vaseline and they will last for months, not that many of us will be at sea that long, but it’s a pretty cool trick. If you do, flip the eggs over ever week or so to keep the yolk from settling on the bottom.

Another tip from Andrew is to never bring food boxes, aka cardboard, on the boat. This is especially true in tropical and sub-tropical climates as roaches lay eggs in cardboard! Many Caribbean cruisers and global cruisers are very aware of this age old trick. It’s not a bad practice here in the northern climates either as it saves space, weight, and you’ll have less garbage on board after consuming the contents.

Some of you may be asking, what about booze? I get that. I do. I’ve learned to enjoy sipping bourbon, whiskey, or rum and to just add a bit of ice. Who needs a mixer? If you’re a vodka consumer, a small bottle of Vermouth and a few olives are lighter and take up less room than soda water or other mixer. Some racers will even ditch the bottles and use plastic hanging bags. They won’t crack open in waves, save weight, and as the levels get lower and lower you can compress the air out for space savings.

Of course if you’re like me and on the Bi-State, forget it all and bring everything. Bring the pork tenderloin, the grill, extra beer, all the mixers, extra blankets, pillows, and whatever else makes your boating adventure more fun for everyone. After all, boating is about fun.

Saturday, November 1

We're Gonna Need a Montage

By Michael Argyelan

It’s over, final, fin; the Chicago boating season for 99% of us is complete. Upon coming to this harsh reality, I reached out to friends and friends of friends via social media interwebs and garnered images to wrap up the season. The response from the community was fantastic.

I collected so much more than images. What I found is all of us share the same desires and habits. Our love of the water brings us together whether we sail, fish, swim, paddle board, or fly a kite on the beaches. Of course, it seems rum and beers bring us together pretty well too. After sifting through the images, it’s obvious that whether we know each other through personal experience or not, we know each other through the love of boating and the water.

I want to send out a huge thank you to everyone that participated and gave me permission to use their photos. You’re the best and I’m proud to be a part of the Chicago boating community.

Achtung! Neither Crowley’s Yacht Yard nor I own these photos and were given permission to use them for this purpose only. Please do not copy or use for any purpose other than viewing in our blog. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

Title inspiration here

Photo Credit, David Travis

Photo Credit, David Travis

Photo Credit, David Travis

Photo Credit, David Travis

Photo Credit, David Travis