|Carlyle Lake Rendezvous|
Once again Steve and Sarah hosted a fantastic Carlyle Lake Rendezvous. In addition to the rendezvous, we were fortunate enough to partake in their generosity as they invited us to stay in their lovely home.
We flew from Punta Gorda to St. Louis where Steve and Sarah picked us up and whisked us away to their house. The next morning we packed up for a full day and headed to the lake. West Access Marina on Lake Carlyle (Illinois) is very accommodating. Soon we had Steve and Sarah's boat in its slip and welcomed some of the other sailors.
Our scheduled sailing time was 11:00 but Mother Nature had other plans. Winds were non-existent. So we chatted in the marina's galley for a bit, then decided to walk to the Wheelhouse Restaurant for lunch. Let the stories begin as we caught up on everyone's adventures since last year and became acquainted with our newest CLR attendees. As we talked you could see each of us peering out the window wistfully hoping for a whisp of wind. As we were finishing our lunches, the leaves starts swaying and the flag actually unfurled once or twice. Quick...let's hit the water.
|Sarah at the helm.|
In short order seven boats followed the leader out of the marina, much like a flock of ducklings all in a row. It wasn't long before sails were raised and you could see lines being pulled and leech cords tweeked in order to eek out as much speed as possible from the meager puffs of wind. Photo ops were abundant as we slowly passed by each other. Our goal quickly became, "Let's get to the raft up spot so we can jump in the water."
|Time to swim.|
Ahhhhh...that's much cooler. Boats were viewed from the waterline up to inspect paint jobs, motor mounts and various other modifications. After our fingers had turned to prunes and our core body temperatures returned to near normal, we climbed back in the boats for a leisurely sail back to the marina.
After showers and a brief sit in the air conditioned day room, we headed off to Bretz Winery and Restaurant for dinner. We were ready when the waitress asked what we would like to drink. "Kalahari Nooner" was our prompt reply. Despite the name and associated picture on the label (a lion and his mate having a good time) this is one of our favorite wines. Conversation slowed just a bit as everyone dug into their dinners and quickly resumed as tummies began to fill.
Back at the marina, stories were swapped and strategies for the upcoming races were developed, several of which involved figuring a way to slow Matt down...hanging a bucket from the back of his boat, duct taping his mainsail slot closed, and adding copious amounts of weight were the most popular. Somehow Matt would still win even if we did all these things.
Tuesday morning arrived with little to no wind. Since the pursuit race was scheduled for today, everyone sat around in the Galley with fingers crossed. As the 11:00 start time approached, the group decided that an early lunch might be in order hoping for some wind like the day before. True to form, the wind picked up a little and the race was on. Steve and Matt marked out the course with buoys that they claimed you could see from across the lake. None of us could see them. We were in Steve's boat and even though he knew where the buoys were, we still couldn't find them. After some jockeying around for position we sent the Com-Pac 16’s off first followed by the cat boats. The Eclipses and the committee boat brought up the rear.
|Brenda at the helm.|
Matt ran away with the race as we all knew he would. The rest of us just enjoyed the sail and followed his trail. Since it was so hot we felt another long raft up was in order. You could hear the water sizzle as we sailors jumped into the water. A few cool drinks and a lot of BS later we were all refreshed.
Wednesday we sailed and swam all day until we were ready for dinner. Meeting in St. Rose at Popeye's Chophouse we all enjoyed a great meal.
|Rich in his Com-Pac 16|
Thursday was race day and we all hoped for good winds. Once again the flags barely fluttered as eager sailors checked the weather forecast. By 1 pm everyone decided to motor out onto the dead calm lake and bob around or swim. With the race course set and boats milling around hoping for wind we swam in the refreshing water. After a couple hours the faintest breeze was detected and everyone scrambled onto their boats. Wind! Not strong, but it was definitely picking up. We quickly arranged the race start and several boats slowly sailed across the start line. The gentle breeze and some decent puffs of wind got all the boats moving with Matt and Rich in a battle for the lead. It was fun to watch as the boats all worked so hard to maximize the wind they had to use. Eventually Matt pulled away and claimed first place.
We returned to the West Access Marina to clean up and decorate for our Gilligan's Island themed party. The party was a hit with great food, music, a corn hole toss game (Brenda was the undisputed star), awards and cute costumes.
|Chris, Steve, Al|
|Sarah and Carol (Loveys)|
|Roger and Steve|
Friday was the day for some to pack up and head home. Fortunately for us Rich and Chris decided to stay. The winds started out calmly, but then picked up to a fun 7-10....just enough to get us heading down the lake. We took turns at the helm and soon found ourselves well past Hazlet State Park. Rich and Chris made it to the train trestle before they turned around and met us for a refreshing swim. Then it was a race back to the docks to pull boats and head home.
What a great week of sailing and partying. You meet the nicest people whenever you are around sailboats.