Tuesday, August 21, 2012

CLR 2012

It was with great anticipation that we unpacked from sailing last weekend and repacked for our annual trek to Carlyle Illinois for the Carlyle Lake Rendezvous of Com-Pac boats. As soon as Mike got home from work on Wednesday, we hooked up the trailer and headed out. We knew we could split the trip into two shorter sprints, but the boat was towing well and we were both wide awake, so other than gas, food and potty stops we drove straight through and arrived at midnight. It was really nice out, and we knew tomorrow would be HOT again, so we rigged in the parking lot and motored over to our slip. It sure felt good to be back. Many great memories were made here in the last couple of years!

All the Com-Pac's tucked in at West Access Marina
Thursday morning we were up for breakfast and called the host couple Steve and Sarah. None of the other Com-Pacs were in yet, so we went out for a short sail and swim. As we were swimming it started and Steve and Sarah called to say they were in. We sailed back to slip to meet our friends and catch up on their lives. We welcomed Cal, Luke and Debbie, Jason and Ginger, and Rich. Unfortunately the weather did not permit a midnight sail. However, we did get to sit outside the galley and talk, laugh and lie until Carl and Joan arrived. After welcoming them, it was "lights out" for everyone.

Friday, after breakfast, a welcome to Bruce and some touring of everyones' boats, we set sail for Haslet Park. It was HOT (95-100). It was a pretty sight to see a line of Com-Pac boats heading out from the marina. They sure are pretty boats. The winds allowed us to play a little, but we were more interested in getting anchored for a raft-up. Remember - it was HOT.

Com-Pac Raft-up

And the stories keep coming!
At the raft up we bobbed and talked for a long time before we had to head back in time for dinner at Bretz Wildlife Lodge and Winery. This is a must do if you go to Carlyle.

Ever had dinner with a giraffe?
Their Kalahari Nooner wine is a big hit with our group. It features a label showing two lions having an afternoon "interlude". That is creative labelling. Once again the dinner was superb and the conversation lively. As we headed back to the marina everyone was too tired for dock talk, so we all cozied in (some in their boats and some in a local motel) to be sure we were ready for the big race on Saturday.

Saturday was another leisurely morning of breakfast, looking at each other's boats and making minor adjustments. At 11 we headed out from the marina for a race to Cole's Creek. Rich crewed with Bruce (no fair!) on his 19. The boats were anxiously circling at the starting line. Well, maybe they were strewn all over the area pointing in different directions.

Which way do we go?
A Com-Pac 16 and 19 taking off
We do take this racing business very seriously. Soon the horn blew, sails were raised and we were off. Well, almost off. At first there were minimal winds. We were reefed because the winds were forecast to be strong and gusty. Big mistake by the crew of Wrinkles. When the light winds blew, we lost ground. However, when the winds built, we could catch up. Unfortunately, we took our reef out too late and the talented crew of Jason and Rich beat us to anchor at Cole's Creek.

After our raft up and swim, which featured cold Brandy Slushies, the wind picked up. As the boats started tacking back toward the marina the winds and gusts picked up substantially. Bruce and Rich later told us that their inclinometer pegged out at 40 degrees of heel. We hit 25 plus numerous times which is enough on our fun scale. We got some great video of Steve and Sarah on their CP-16 bravely working their way under full sail. Wow! What a ride!

Can you say "heel"?

Upon our return to the marina we got ready for the Hawaiian luau. Sarah and Steve put out quite a feast of pulled pork, veggies, mai tai's, (or as Steve calls them My Ties) cole slaw, etc. Rich conned his sister into making delicious chocolate cake and Ginger brought cheese cake using a new, untested recipe that her husband Jason declared unfit to feed to people who were so nice to him. Brave man! The crew was adorned with grass skirts, flowered lei's and there was even a coconut bra (on Crazy Carl, of course). Again, more stories of the "mighty passage" back from Cole's Creek, laughter, and good times.

On Sunday there was more crew trading and Rich sailed with us. After a few minutes, Mike turned the tiller over to Rich and Brenda headed for the bow.

Bow riding is a tough job, but somebody has to do it! It was fun for us to see an accomplished sailor take Wrinkles through her paces in strong winds. Rich was grinning from ear to ear as he played with the wind. Yes, our fun meter still stops at around 25 degrees (although Saturday it rarely stayed less than that with us at the tiller)! We learned a few things from Rich and thank him for the lessons as well as the good company. It was fun watching the other Com-Pac's tackling the wind and waves as we all maneuvered our way back to the marina.

Brenda on the bow
Rich at the tiller with Mike supervising
Once we were all secured in our slips and through the showers, we ventured out to Popeye's Chop House for supper and then back to the dock for sundowners. This is Mike's favorite part of the CLR each year as we relax, sip drinks and get to know this interesting group of sailors.

Monday morning brought beautiful weather, but unfortunately no wind. So we packed things up and headed to the ramp to put Wrinkles back on her trailer. The water level in Lake Carlyle was down this year and their ramps aren't the steepest we've seen. It took everything we had to get the boat on the trailer even with Rich lending a hand. As we unrigged our 23 Rich was there with his pencil and waterproof paper taking notes. He wanted to check out our mast raising system in action.

We had an uneventful (thankfully) trailer home sharing memories of this and past CLR's.

Thank you Steve and Sarah for making this a fun event. Sign us up for next year!

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