GoSun Solar-powered Stove Finds New Home in Wisconsin

December 4, 2016 by Monica Grant


North West Sailing Association member and Fleet Captain, Mike Saavedra, is this year’s winner of the GoSun Solar-powered Stove.


I’m absolutely thrilled to have won a GoSun ‘Sport’ Solar-powered Stove for participating in Summer Sailstice 2016!!! Although I do not own a boat personally I belong to a sailing club, called the North West Sailing Association (NWSA), as you may already know,’ Mike said.



Instead of keeping the GoSun Stove for himself, Mike offered up the stove as a door prize for the NSWA’s end of year banquet in Chicago. You can imagine the excitement in the room, as everyone waited to hear their number called out. However there was only one GoSun Stove and therefore only one winner, and that person was Ken Butterly who sails his 22’ Westerly Nomad out of Racine, Wisconsin.  


NSWA is a social sailing club which has around 170 members, 60% of who happily step aboard as crew on other members’ boats. And with the club hosting 20 or so annual events which sail out of all the major Chicago area harbors, Waukegan, Great Lakes, North Point, Kenosha, and Racine harbors, plus trailer-sails to inland lakes such as Lake Geneva, Lake Mendota, and Green Lake, there’s no shortage of crewing opportunities.


One of our premier events is the Summer Sailstice event that we’ve been doing for about 7 or 8 years. For the Sailstice we do a multi-harbor sail out of as many harbors as we can get boats from. We also do a weekend trailer-sail up to Lake Mendota on the Sailstice weekend.'


This year’s Sailstice on Lake Michigan was a great success, with a total of 6 boats sailing from Burnham, Monroe, Montrose and Waukegan. The wind differed between Waukegan and Burnham quite a bit.'


It sounds like Mike was in light winds as he celebrated this year’s Summer Sailstice aboard fellow club member, John Mason’s 34’ Hunter, called ‘New Adventure’. John and his crew sailed around10 miles east out of Burnham Harbor, at an average speed of 5 knots.


In a good example of sailors looking out for their fellow water-sport lovers, NSWA members Larry Makowski, Larry Hagemann, Michelle Gasinski and Jan Ward interrupted their Sailstice celebrations to rescue a couple whose Sea-Doo had flipped and wouldn't start, and needed to be towed back to Monroe Harbor. "Well done team!"


Sea-Doo rescue in action!


Mike has been member of NSWA since 2007 and manages to take part in around 15 sails each year. Not bad when you consider the average sailing season in his part of the U. S. is a short 4 -5 months. And it’s even better when you consider that Mike has a mental illness and only began sailing 10 years ago. 


I first began sailing by taking a course on 12th Street Beach with the Chicago Park District Rainbow fleet on 14’ Barnetts back in 1996. The following year the program moved to Montrose Beach where I took still more lessons on Barnetts as well as 16’ Hobie Cats. I rented both Barnetts and Catamarans for the next several years, while taking friends along to introduce them to sailing too. Unfortunately, after a few years the park district program got sold to a private individual. The equipment was very old and worn out at that point, so the owner decided to retire the sailboats and replace his fleet with kayaks, kayaks galore!!!!' 


My friends and I wanted to continue sailing so we ended up renting J22’s out of Belmont Harbor for $60/hr. I found that I wouldn’t be able to afford that for long as I had a mental illness and was on Social Security with a very limited income. I then found a handicap sailing program located in Burnham Harbor in Chicago called the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Program. Most of the participants were paraplegic and were in wheel chairs. The main focus of the organization was on racing, as they had many racing clinics and races throughout the season. After about 7 years the director of the program kind of gave me the cold shoulder because my handicap was mental rather than physical. Then I found the North West Sailing Association at a boat show in 2007. The cost of membership was only $35 for the year. For the cost of membership I was allowed to sail all of their 20 events and more. The price was phenomenal and the opportunities were incredible.


The NWSA was formed in 1975 when 25 sailors from Chicago’s northwestern suburbs came together to share their sailing knowledge and experience. Over the next 41 years the club expanded in the spirit of the camaraderie and fun of sailing. 


Owning a boat is not a requirement, but an interest in, or a love for sailing is,’ Mike added.


Which is exactly how it is with Summer Sailstice; you don’t have to own a boat to celebrate. Just join one of the many events that occur throughout the country, or simply find a friend and sail together, either way you’re certain to have a great time on the water. 


So mark the date on your calendar - June 24/25, and get organized for Summer Sailstice 2017!

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