In 2020 with Roosevelt Lake hitting the 100% full water-level mark and our usual sailing site Horse Pasture/Bermuda Flat completely submerged we had to scramble for a new site. Windy Hill did the trick. We had to launch from the ramp, but resourceful cat sailors could find a nook or cranny to beach the boat not too far from our camp-sites–which were excellent–with defined sites, ramadas, fire-pits and bathrooms and awesome views. We had three events there in 2020 with the lake level ranging from 99% to 89% full. Fast-forward to 2021. We had a good event in March, but then with June temperatures hitting 112 (at-the-lake!) we called off the June sail. The bright side of that was the lake levels were steadily decreasing and it looked like our first fall event would have us back at Horse Pasture. Horse Pasture does not have designated sites, does not have ramadas, or fire-pits or event decent bathrooms. So why, you ask, would we want to sail there? Because you can park your catamaran on the beach and plop your tent right next to it. I have never sailed anywhere, including Mexico, that is more convenient. However, to sail there the lake level needs to be between 50-60% (which is actually more or less the ‘normal’ level for Roosevelt). At the start of July the lake level was 66%, well on its way to the prime level of 50-60%. And then the July monsoons hit and we had near record rainfall. Rather than continuing to recede the lake level jumped back up to 70%! So, why am I rambling on about this? Because when Mary and I left for Roosevelt lake the morning of September 23rd we still didn’t know the location of the event! We had scouted the lake a week and a half prior. Horse Pasture was iffy. There were a few spots, but the level was too high, up in the weeds and there were a lot of bugs. To be honest Windy Hill wasn’t much better. The camping was still good, but the lower lake level meant the designated camp-sites were farther from the water and the view was not as good. And of course there we would have to ramp launch-and-retrieve. So we decided to wait until the day of the event to decide the location. We would first drive by Horse Pasture and if the conditions weren’t good we would proceed to Windy Hill. I had already decided we would probably end up at Windy Hill. When we arrived at Horse Pasture the level was down an additional 1% to 69%. Still high, but to my delight we found a good, unoccupied, dry spit of beach! We wedged the RV between two tree-sized weeds about 50 feet from the water, set the trailer, boat, and awnings up strategically to reserve space for a group and lit up facebook and Whatsapp group with the news! We were on!
Mary and I arrived Thursday morning. Winds were lighter but steady and decent. We arrived so early we took a nap and by the time we launched the winds had disappeared. But no trouble, we just beached the boat and waited for them to come back! Because you can do that at Horse Pasture. 🙂 The wind did arrive in the late afternoon as it frequently does. Got in some great double-trap runs between 3-6pm to end the day. The first to arrive to join us were Diane Norden and John Henderson with their new-to-them Hobie 16. My former <sniff and cry!> crew. They were excited to sail it for the first time and made it in time Thursday to join us for dinner.
Friday dawned and the weather was beautiful, but the wind had abandoned us. Crystal and Tom arrived with their Hobie 16 mid-morning. Chris Picknally joined us soon after with Ana and his Flying Fish G-Cat. Richard and Maryann, the parents of new-to-the-fleet Darren and his G-Cat (who knew there were two!! 😉 arrived and set up their RV to the back of us a spell. The wind kicked-in about 3:30pm and there were four cats out on the water chasing each other. Darren then arrived with his G-Cat and threw it up in record time and was out on the water by around 6pm. His son Damien also set up a laser-like dinghy, so we had 5 boats on the water! I should add that Darren wins the award for bringing the most shore-support-crew! Christy, Richard, Maryann, Damien, Jade, and one more son and his girlfriend (sorry I missed their names!). Thanks for bringing them all out Darren, it was a lot of fun! Friday evening people and boats continued to roll in. Steve Dawson (H16), Karla and their daughter set up camp, as did new-to-the-fleet Mike & Mike (M&M), and Cathy (Hobie-18). All made it in time for some good talk around the fire. Late in the night, while falling asleep I heard some engine noise and some general shouts, and nodded off thinking to myself: that has the mark of one Jim Tomes. Sure enough come daylight there is a massive motor home muscled in all the way to the front of the beach! But no catamaran. So it couldn’t be Jim Tomes? After reviewing Whatsapp I found a Jonathon Magic picture of Jim’s rig. A perfect match! Jim, Heather and Jake had arrived!
Saturday morning hadn’t dawned and the rain kicked in. It rained for much of the morning. As seven and eight AM rolled by more folks were up and started gathering, sheltering under the group canopy, waiting for the rain to slack and the sun and wind to come out. Chris provided breakfast casserole for all those awake (it was awesome Chris, thank you!), the morning winds kicked in and a lot of people got out on the water. More folks rolled in, Jonathon Magic and Eugene (C2), friends of mine (Junko, Sylvia, and Brian and thier tear-drop style camper), Chris’ friend Nestor and his daughter Mia with a waverunner, and Mike & Mike’s nephew and girlfriend. The sun and toys came out. The beach was covered with water toys: cats, a laser, eFoil, wing foil (thanks Tom and Crystal!), and kayaks! And dogs! Oh the dogs. Zuno, Rocky, Scout, Ginger, Louie, Jack, Pickles, and Aurora. They were friendly and had a grand time racing around the camp! As did Ana and Mia (human girls this time). It was exciting to see the energy of such a good turnout. Jonathon cooked dogs (hot-dogs that is) for everyone for lunch, Tom put on a righting-bag clinic after the wind had died down after lunch, and also taught people how to ride the eFoil. Nestor allowed the group to ride the waverunner. Lots of activity, lots of good conversation, and a lot of fun on the water. To close it out the group put on a fantastic and delicious potluck. That was “Fleet 42 style” as Scott Agan likes to say.
All good things eventually end, so at the end of the potluck a lot folks elected to pack up and head home. The overnight forecast was for Sunday to be rainy and stormy most of the day. We said a lot of goodbyes. A few of us stayed to Sunday. It rained overnight, and into the morning again, but like Saturday it cleared up around 9am. Mike and Mike got in another sail, as did Jonathon and Eugene, and Tom & Crystal. Mary and I were thankful to take down the boat and pack up the RV in the clear weather window. We were on the road thirty minutes when the rain kicked in again. Some backup on the roads for weather and accidents but everyone made it home in reasonable order.
This was really a great trip and turnout. Everyone was great about contributing in some way. That really is Fleet 42 style. Thank you all.
Photos (sorry requires fb): https://www.facebook.com/media/set?set=oa.235306118611111&type=3