On the first fall day with a real chill in the air, 19 skippers and their crews launched their boats to compete in the Clark Lake Yacht Club’s annual fall regatta.  The sun peered through the clouds only occasionally, and the winds were light to moderate–and varied dramatically in direction.  It was brisk. Sailors will tell you that conditions like today’s require more of them.  As well as the physical requirements, a knowledge of physics and an intuitive feel for what to do at just the right moment are keys to winning. Below are some highlights from the first two races today (Saturday).

How do you win a regatta?  In a regatta, there are several races. Your finishing places in each of them are added together. Your tally is then compared to others in your class.  As in golf, low score wins.  There are four classes of boats represented this year–Rebel, Buccaneer, Wayfarer, and Sunfish. Come back to this website tomorrow to see how each boat finished.  You’ll see a photo of the boat and the names of skippers and crews. First race tomorrow (Sunday) begins at 10 am.

Sailing when there are few other boats on the lake is one thing.  Sailing along side others who are competing with you and targeting the same place is another.  Sailors shoot for a good start.  When the official signals the start for your class, you want to be right at the start line.  Since sailboats have no brakes and cannot idle in place, that means you have to circle around the start line for a good start.  But so is everyone else as you can see in the photo below.

The course for each race changes depending on conditions.  Clark Lake is divided into eight different sections, and marks are located at points where you turn your boat and head for the next mark.

The fall regatta is a long time tradition at the Clark Lake Yacht Club, going back to about 1960.  This year’s competitors gathered at Clark Lake from other parts of the state and Canada. Some watched the activity from afar.  The Clark Lake Spirit Foundation’s DamCam provided a live view from its perch at the dam.

The Yacht Club has a substantial historic past at Clark Lake.  To visit its storied past, please click here.