Saturday, March 17, 2012

CLR 2011

Here's a long one, but a good one, recounting our second appearance at the CLR (Carlyle Lake Rendezvous) in Carlyle, Illinois

The 2011 CLR has not even started yet and we are already having a blast. We arrived in Carlyle mid-day Wednesday, launched, checked out the West Access Marina and then went for a much needed swim. The water is high and the water is warm!!! Then we met up with Steve and Sarah (a.k.a. Kickingbug) for an evening cruise. We started with cold beverages under the shade of our awning in our boat, went out for a nice meal followed by a sunset/night sail. The sky was clear, the wind was perfect and we sailed and chatted for hours. Mike motored us out and then we set sails and Mike found something to do on the front of the boat so that Steve was obliged to take the tiller. Since he hasn't been sailing yet this year, he seemed to be enjoying himself. Mike never did finish whatever he was going to do up front and Steve sailed the entire time. Nice to have a chauffeur! Our course back to the marina was marked by the moonlight trail. Very beautiful.

On Thursday, we sailed on our own for awhile awaiting the other arrivees. Carlyle Lake is a man-made lake that is ideal for trailer sailing. The sailing area is roughly 4 miles wide and 10 miles long (26,000 acres) with several beaches and lots of protected coves and inlets to explore. There are many access points around the lake, however, there are no residences allowed on the lake shore itself. There is a state park with campground in one corner and there are four marinas scattered around the lake. For daysailors, there is perhaps the best launch we have ever seen and it is free (Hazlet). There is parking for at least 200 trailers, a stainless steel fish cleaning station along with shelters picnic area and pottys.

At 6 p.m. we decided to return to our slip at the West Access Marina to meet Steve and Sarah to go out to eat. However, Carl and Joan arrived with Miss Adventures and we helped them launch. But that's another story. Once Miss Adventures was in her slip the six of us headed to Pizza Hut at 8:30. Island Time and Little Darlin' arrived and were in the hotel parking lot accepting ooooh' s and aaaaaah's from anyone who walked by. Everyone wanted to see the boat that was cut into quarters and put back together again and meet the couple who was crazy enough to attempt it.

Friday morning the crews of Island Time, Audrey J, and Geraldine joined the fleet. The ladies enjoyed a "Lime Bite" before departure. It was a calm day of sailing (and hot). Mike and Becky were ahead of us wing and wing and we followed suit.
Island Time Wing and Wing
The moderate winds were enough to push us along at 5 mph. We headed over to Hazlet to raft up. We had a long hot beat back against the failing winds. After all that excitement we had to push to get back in time for the Meet and Greet at Bretz's Wildlife Winery.
Bretz's Wildlife Winery
There we all heard the story of the creation of Little Darlin'. Cal and Merry took a Com-Pac 16 and cut it in half lengthwise, widened it, added a motor well, and made it a gaff rig. What an accomplishment.

After the dinner we gathered at the docks to continue the storytelling and camaraderie. It was neat to see all the Com-Pac's gathered together flying their personalized burgee's that Brenda and Mike's mom made for everyone.
New burgee in the wind.

Saturday morning saw some of us at the Lighthouse for breakfast and others at the continental breakfast at the hotel. Luke and Debbie on Knot Fast (a Com-Pac Eclipse) arrived from their son's wedding in Connecticut. How cool that they would come all that way to make it to the rendezvous!

Cal and Merry on Little Darlin' and Rich on his soon to be named 16 launched for the first time. It was great to add two more to the crew. Today was race day and tensions were high (haha). You couldn't get a more relaxed group. Steve said we should meet at Point 1 at 10:30 for our might not have been exactly 10:30 by the time everyone got there. We all lined up in a perfect line parallel to the start point awaiting the starters horn - NOT! The actual start looked like a bunch of daysailors wandering around the bay, some still coming out of the marina, and some of us not really knowing where we were supposed to be or go. A perfect kind of race as far as our crew was concerned. Eventually we all headed off in the same direction. It was a very windy and choppy day. We all took our turn at pointing into the biggest wake we have ever encountered. The boats literally went bow straight up and banged straight down with water coming over the bow rail. Grins and giggles from most of us. It was quite a ride for us, we can't imagine how the 16's felt.

As the race continued there were nice whitecaps with the wind blowing the foam off the top. Heading around the turn some confusion arose because the yacht club also placed yellow markers out for their race. We all agreed to just head for the next point which was a good idea anyway because we were running into the race with the big boys. We all arrived safely at the raft up spot and jumped in the water for a much needed swim (it was HOT!). The "slushie mobile"  (more on that in another post) made its debut appearance and there was a beer bucket sighted hanging off the stern of one of the other boats. Stories were swapped, tales were told, and body temperatures gradually returned to normal.

Next stop the marina. However, several of us took off for another run in the waves. When we got back to the marina Sarah had a grand dinner arranged. We had chicken, salad, potatoes, grilled corn on the cob, fresh veggies from the garden (thanks Debbie), potato salad, beans fresh fruit, salad and a variety of beverages. Lies and exaggerations flowed. Everyone had a great time. The marina facility was an awesome choice. It was air conditioned, clean, roomy, kitchen facilities available for our use, and a view of the marina. You couldn't ask for more.

Awards and presentations were made. Salty awarded Com-Pac hats, donated by Hutchins Co., to the most unique boat (Little Darlin'), one to Steve for coordinating the event, and one to Carl to show that not everything is a "mis-adventure". Steve presented a bottle of wine to the race winners, us, but really we won because we were the first ones to quit racing and drop anchor! Geraldine and Island Time were obviously the fastest boats out there, but they didn't quit soon enough to win.
Looks like a good party!

After cleaning up the galley, we wandered back down to the docks for, you guessed it, more beverages. Are you detecting a trend here? No one had to drive, so we were all good.

Sunday saw us up for breakfast at the Lighthouse with Luke and Debbie. It was fun to see the pictures from their son's wedding and swap stories about sailing in Wisconsin. We were on the water by 10:30. Winds were calm, but enough to move us around a little. It was fun to see Little Darlin' put through her paces. Another good day for taking pictures of each others boats. Great day for umbrellas as well. We spent about two hours in the water bobbing and talking. Then back in the boats for another long hot tack back to the marina. We had hoped to meet at 6, but no one made it back until 7. Luke and Debbie were not coming out of their air-conditioned cabin until they had cooled off! Steve and Sarah were celebrating their 35th anniversary, so the whole crew took them out to dinner.

Monday we had to say goodbye to Mike and Becky C. as they headed back to Ohio and Luke and Debbie as they headed home. Sad to see them go. Joan was ready for a break, so Carl joined up with Rich. Audrey J and Miss B's Haven joined them for another enjoyable sail. We had fun tacking around each other, taking pictures, racing a bit, and chatting back and forth. That night everyone was on their own for dinner. We went back to Bretz's Wildlife Restaurant and Winery. Later we met up with Joan, Carl, and Rich on the dock for another round of sundowners.

Tuesday morning Joan and Carl pulled out. Rich set out to sail to the end of the lake and back. We sailed out shortly after him, but we never saw him to chase him down. So we decided to sail over to a beach for a swim. Steve and Sarah called us and said they were on the water and wanted us to sail with them toward Hazlet. It was another wing and wing run to catch up to them. We rafted up (yes we did that again!) and enjoyed a couple of hours bobbing in the water. We both had a close reach back - never catching sight of Rich until we got to the marina. It was Rich's choice for dinner so we went to the nearby Lighthouse Restaurant.. The all-you-can-eat catfish was really good.

Wednesday we said goodbye to Rich. What a really nice guy and accomplished sailor. His sails always seemed to be perfectly trimmed and pulling hard. Since we were on our own, we decided to head to the laundromat (phew!). When we got back, we walked the docks to check out all the sailboats. Mike liked the Bayfield 25 the best. Then we went out to El Indio for a Mexican dinner. We returned to the marina to a beautiful evening. We lit up our Weems and Plath lantern to give the cockpit a cozy feel. Even though we were beat, we couldn't help but sit out watching the stars.

Thursday was a no wind day so we decided to drive up to Keyesport to explore the town and the rural areas to the northeast. We had really nice chef salads at The Keyes Bar on their covered deck overlooking the marina and the lake. (We stayed in the best marina). We made our way back to our marina to meet up with Steve and Sarah. They brought dinner to cook outside on the grill at the Galley. It was an evening of good conversation with good people who are fast becoming good friends.

Friday Steve and Sarah returned to the marina for an all-day sail on our 19. Steve took the helm in moderate winds for a long lazy tack the whole length of the lake. Brenda introduced Sarah to the joys of riding the bow of a 19. We enjoyed the fresh breeze and comfortable temperatures.
Brenda and Sarah enjoying the day on the bow.
We went into Hazlet for yet another two hour swim. For the return sail, Mike and Steve took their turn at being bow candy while the girls took the helm. Steve and Mike jabbered about common interests and the girls kept their eye on the GPS and gave everyone a running account of the speeds we were achieving highlighted by the simultaneous yell of "5 MPH" from the girls. Once we returned to the marina we got cleaned up we grabbed the umbrellas for the first rain we had seen all week. We walked across the street to the classic car show. We weren't too upset about the rain as we were all hungry for dinner. Back to Bretz's Wildlife Winery for a wonderful meal, lots of laughter and a bit of wine.
Then it was time to say goodbye. Thanks to Steve and Sarah for making our stay a wonderful time. We hope they enjoyed our company as much as we enjoyed theirs.
Enjoying a break under our tarp.
We tried our best to relate the week as accurately as possible. The names and dates have not been changed because there were no innocents. Check for more pictures and videos on our Photobucket site.

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