A Fleet 58 Story from Becky Burdick Consonni

Those who sailed in Fleet 58 will never forget the experience.  As Clark Lake prepares for the Fleet 58 Reunion and Regatta on July 6th, some are retelling stories of those days. After all, at one time, Clark Lake had more Hobie Cats than any other inland lake in the United States.  Sailing a Hobie was part of the Clark Lake lifestyle!

What follows is a Fleet 58 story from Becky Burdick Consonni who captained her Hobie 16 in races at the lake.  Do you have a Fleet 58 story to tell?  Email clarklakespirit@gmail.com.

On Sunday morning early on a Hobie Cat race day, we looked out in front and saw beautiful Clark Lake, a sheet of perfect glass. It was bad news for us though. I thought, “another freaking drifter!”

Photo from Becky Burdick Consonni of their boat in Fleet 58.  Do you have a photo?  Email to clarklakespirit@gmail.com.  Thanks!

Photo from Becky Burdick Consonni of their boat in Fleet 58. Do you have a photo? Email to clarklakespirit@gmail.com. Thanks!

My brother and I paddled our way to the starting line. When the horn sounded, off we went–sort of. There was a little wind over by Eagle Point. We made it with the other Hobie 16’s to the east end of the lake. We were all at a standstill just bobbing up and down and listening to our halyards bumping against the aluminum masts. BORING.
It was times like these that you would swear under your breath that you had better things to do than sit in a drifter race like this. The sun was beating down and some lucky sailors had friends that were bringing them cold drinks from their motorized boats while we just sat there dehydrating.

It seemed like a lifetime to my younger brother and me—remaining in a stall. Then through some mysterious force, Bruce Clark, who was behind us, all of a sudden caught some wind that seemed reserved only for him. He was the only boat moving! His boat danced around the whole group of 16s. As he moved into the lead, he sang a little tune to us: “Bye, Bye! Been Nice to Know Ya.” He pulled into the lead and was about 25-feet ahead when we heard a sickening sound. SNAP! That was the sound of one of his stays giving out–and instantly his mast fell. No longer upright, it was laying over the water. Luckily, no one was hurt.

Somehow that wind finally arrived to our sails. As the rest of us started to move, and pass his disabled Hobie, my brother and I were biting our tongues. A mast disaster is something you NEVER want to happen during any kind of sailing endeavor. Luckily my Dad, Bob Burdick, was nearby on our raft and helped Bruce.

I never liked those drifter races–but there is no comparison to the exhilaration of sailing a Hobie when there is even a light breeze. You just take off like a rocket.

About the day Bruce Clark’s mast fell, we never spoke of it again–until now. I wish he were here to talk about that fateful day and be part of the Fleet 58 Reunion. We miss you, Bruce.

 

Yoga, Clark Lake Style

Sally Lyons edit

Sally Lyons “standing upside down for Clark Lake”. On the day that this photo was taken, the water was very cold. Not too long before, there was still ice on the lake. So there were consequences for not pulling this off!

If you were going to do yoga at Clark Lake, where would you do it?  In the water–on a paddle board–of course!  That’s what Sally Lyon’s yoga class experienced this Saturday at Ocean Beach.  You may recall an earlier story about Sally who, on a paddle board, was “standing upside down for Clark Lake.”  To review that story, please click here.

The new version of the paddle boards is the current trend at Clark Lake.  Everyday more of them show up on the lake.  If you look at historical boat trends at Clark Lake, certain kinds of watercraft start slowly, build quickly and stay awhile.  Think of how each of these got their start and how they became mainstays on the lake–speedboats, rafts, Hobies, paddle boats, kayaks.

The Little Red School House on the Lake

Clark Lake School House, about 1900, located in what is now the Columbia Towhship Park on Hyde Road.  Notice the small building to the far right.

Clark Lake School House, about 1900, located in what is now the Columbia Township Park on Hyde Road. Notice the small building to the far right.

How many kids who spent summers at Clark Lake have wondered “what would it be like to live here year around–and go to school here, too?”  That question gets answered in a fascinating new addition to the Historical Perspective section of this website.  Walt Reed writes the introduction to a story told by Dick Hitt in the early 1980s, titled “The Little Red School House on the Lake.”

Did kids actually ice skate to school?  Find out by clicking here.

Clark Lake Water Quality Improves

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One of Clark Lake’s 150 springs that continuously deliver clean, cool, crystal water to the lake that we love

Carolyn Zader reports that the latest test of Clark Lake water shows improvement over the previous year.  The test measures three characteristics–transparency, phosphorus and chlorophyll.  The amount of phosphorus detected was way down, which is the area of greatest improvement.  Transparency also was better.

Carolyn has tracked Clark Lake’s water quality–using the same metrics–over a period of years.  To read Carolyn’s report that includes a five year perspective, please click here.

Clark Lake’s Memorial Day Parade 2014

Lions Club President Walt Reed greets spectators from the Lions Club float

Lions Club President Walt Reed greets spectators from the Lions Club float

Clark Lake remembered fallen heroes today in the traditional Memorial Day Parade held at the head-of-the-lake.  Clark Lakers gathered for the 8:30 am march along Hyde Road.  The parade included the Columbia Central High School Marching Band, Clark Lake Lions Club, Napoleon Community Band, some really cool classic cars, a horse or two, and of course, the kids who had decorated their bikes in the spirit of the event.

Once the parade made its way to the Township Park and back, it paused at the cemetery.  At that point, taps was played as a salute to those who served.  One trumpet played at the front of the cemetery and a second, echoed the refrain at the rear.  From there the parade and spectators moved to the Clark Lake Community Church where speakers continued the salute to those who fought and continue their service today in the military.  The Columbia Central High School Marching Band played the National Anthem.

Below you’ll find photos from today’s gathering, starting with the Columbia Central Band.

Defying Gravity at Clark Lake

Jet Lev up
The Jet can be maneuvered several ways--straight up 30 or 4o feet, flips or dives

The Jet can be maneuvered several ways–straight up 30 or 40 feet, flips or dives

The Jet Lev made another visit to Clark Lake today.  These photos were taken near the Columbia Township Park at the head-of-the-lake.  The person levitating straps about 28 pounds of equipment on his back and is hooked up to a jet ski.  The jet ski generates thrust via a stream of water delivered at 1200 gallons-per-minute to turn the user into a human projectile.

Last year, several Clark Lake residents experimented with a Jet Lev at Eagle Point–Dan Omo, Jerry Shaughnessy, Kevin Fink, John Collins, Gary Shultz, Connor Ford, Bill Searles and his daughter Elan, and Bruce, Roger and B.J. Lyons. You can read about that adventure by clicking here.

Clark Lake Cleanup at County Park Cancelled

View of County Park from the lake last week

View of County Park from the lake last week

The Clark Lake Community Center had scheduled a clean up day for Saturday, May 31st.  The work has already been accomplished, so the event has been cancelled.

A Surprise Wake Up Call Saturday Morning

Mike and Nancy Ligibel, on the southeast shore of the west side of the lake, took this photo as the balloon touched the water across from them.

Mike and Nancy Ligibel, on the southeast shore of the west side of the lake, took this photo as the balloon touched the water across from them.

Close up view of the balloon using a 300mm telephoto

Close up view of the balloon using a 300mm telephoto

Over Pierce Bay

Once the balloon reached the southeast shore, it rose above the treeline and disappeared from view.

Some Clark Lake residents woke up Saturday morning to whooshing noise.  Turns out it was a hot air balloon that did a survey of the west end of the lake.  First, the ballon touched the water near the head-of-the-lake, then rose again, heading southeast.  With little wind, it took a while for the balloon to travel across the lake to the southeast shore.  Once it arrived on the southeast shore over Pierce Bay, it rose above the trees just like in the 5th Dimension song “Up Up and Away.”

The surprise visit gave iPhone cameras a workout–and provided a good topic for Clark Lakers over their morning coffee.

Time to Sign Up for Fleet 58!

Poster logo Fleet 58 EventThe word is out that Hobie sails will unfurl again this summer for the Fleet 58 Reunion and Regatta on Sunday, July 6th at Eagle Point.  This is a call to all Hobies to be part of this big event of the summer at Clark Lake. Whether you sailed in Fleet 58 or not, you’re welcome to enter your Hobie.

Did you know that there were more Hobies on our lake than any other inland lake in the country at one time?  On July 6th starting at 10:30 am, Clark Lake will revisit those glory days of Fleet 58.  For sailing information, course map and entry form, please click here (and pass this along to others who may be interested).

Not a sailor with a Hobie?  The fun extends to you, too.  There will be a Caribbean Buffet at the waterfront deck at the Pointe Bar and Grill starting at noon.  Tickets are $30 in advance, or $35 the day of, and there will be a cash bar.

This event is sponsored by your friends at the Clark Lake Spirit Foundation, the Clark Lake Yacht Club and the Pointe Bar and Grill.

Spirit Trail Extension Approved

Google Earth photo of North Lake Road from Rita Dr. to Grand Blvd. The extension of the Spirit Trail will follow the red path line overlaying this satellite photo.

Google Earth photo of North Lake Road from Rita Dr. to Grand Blvd. The extension of the Spirit Trail will follow the red path line overlaying this satellite photo.

The Jackson County Commission has approved plans to extend the Clark Lake Spirit Trail on North Lake Road from Rita Drive to Grand  Blvd.  This will create more space between fast moving vehicular traffic and users of the Spirit Trail around this tight curve, where the speed limit for motorized traffic is 45 mph.  With the official go ahead in hand, project chair Tucker Boyers says “we expect construction to begin soon” just in time for summer, the season when the Trail is used most by runners, walkers and cyclists.    In addition to thanking the many volunteers and others involved in this project, Tucker praised the work of Phil Duckham, the Jackson County Commissioner for this area (district #4) since December, 2005.

“This is an ongoing effort to continue to improve the Trail and make it more user-friendly,” says Ann Swain, chair of the Spirit Trail committee and treasurer of the Clark Lake Spirit Foundation.

Although the permission of the Jackson County Commission was required and gratefully received for this latest project, it is important to note that the entire Spirit Trail story is about the people of Clark Lake.  They conceived of it, planned it, raised the funds to support it, oversaw its construction and continue to maintain it.  The funds came entirely from voluntary donations of individuals who strongly believe in Clark Lake.

Among those interested in growing the trail experience in the area, there are discussions of more expansions.  A group in Brooklyn is looking into creating a trail that would start with the Clark Lake Spirit Trail at one end and weave a path near Riverside Drive and Goose Creek to end in the area of the Columbia Township Office.  A trail near Weatherwax Road in Jackson could eventually reach Jackson College, and connecting with the Spirit Trail would not be too much of a reach.  And individuals at Lake Columbia would also like to have a trail that could be part of the network at some point.