Date: Saturday June 3, 2006
Event: Potter Yachters at Woodward Reservoir, CA. 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM (5.5 hours of Sailing)
w/ Steve Potter, Don Person, Rich McDivett, Terry Gotcher, Janet & Mike Dolan, and many others.
Winds: building from 3-5 knots in the morning to 10-15 knots in the mid afternoon.
Weather: Temperatures in the mid-80s; lots of sunshine and wind with occasional high cloud cover.
  Jen and I were on the road by 6:00 AM for the two hour drive over some unfamiliar roads to Woodward Reservoir, East of Stockton, in the Sierra foothills of Stanislaus county. Newly permitted driver in training Jen took the wheel for a first-time of driving with a trailer, and did an exemplary job of it. With me acting as navigator, Jen followed each indirection perfectly, including "wrong" ones.

We found the Yachters camp site, and introduced Jennifer around as this was her first outing with the Yachters; many handshakes and hugs were exchanged with new friends not seen in some weeks. With help from Jen, "Lazy Ka" was rigged and in the water at the boat ramp on the opposite side of the peninsula by 9:30 AM. I set out to sail around the peninsula to the campsite while Jen drove the car and trailer. In spite of warnings from Don Person, I still managed to find the shallows off the north-west side of the peninsula . . . managed to drag my keel a bit as I sailed right into about six inches of water.

By 10:30 AM virtually all boats in attendance were on the water, the total count would reach 17 by day's end. Morning winds were constant and made for some delightful sailing. The strongest breeze in the, 6-8 knot range, seemed to be found coming over the dam on the north-west corner of the reservoir. At any given moment, just about any sail configuration could be found among our Potters: Main only, Reefed Main, Jib only, etc. I suspect everyone managed to get 5 knots of speed more than once.

 

While I tended the sails and tiller, Jen took up my camera and began taking advantage of the target-rich environment presented by the Potters all around. By day's end she had shot off 170 or better pictures, and managed to get several rather spectacular images as Steve Potter mugged for her lens (3 pics below). Kudos are also due Jen for the way she handled herself on the boat. She has a great sense of where she needs to be to help keep things in balance. She had expressed some concern as to weather or not our little Potter was stable enough to resist a knock-down. I fielded this as diplomatically as I could, but Steve Potter's little sailing demonstration really showed her (and me) how forgiving the P-15 is in the hands of a competent skipper.

In the early afternoon, we followed the lead of Janet & Mike Dolan, Rich McDevitt, Pat Brennan and Steve Potter into a little beach on the west end of "Gilligan's Island." In a short time Terry Gotcher managed to join us as well. The beach was sheltered from both wind and sun by a considerable growth of trees. The sounds of the wind-driven waves lapping both sides of the narrow beach made for very relaxing surrounds. An environment augmented by the Mai Tais and beer contributed by Rich and the Dolans. A goodtime it was . . . none had planned a big lunch, but all had a little something to share.

I think it was Rich who first brought it to our attention that things weren't as they should be with our boats . . . Weather it was the wind, or waves stirred by the power boats in the little cove, "Lazy Ka" had broken loose and drifted 10-15 yards from the beach. I jumped to my feet, to the amazement of all had the presence of mind to empty my pockets, throw off my shirt, as I ran into the water to swim after my Potter. While I'm risking my life in the shark-infested waters of Woodward Reservoir, Jen grabs the camera and manages to preserve my indignity for posterity. (And to share as proof around the evening campfire with those missed seeing it all first hand.)

One lesson learned from this experience--after the one that says, "Secure the boat."--is that sailors will, given the opportunity, make the proverbial fisherman's tail seem like a Gospel truth!

Rich tells the story like this: ". . . we went out to Gilligan’s Island, 3 of us, two boats. Janet and Mike were bringing the lunch and I had the mai tais. Well, by the time we get there we were spotted. Steve Potter was after us like a crazy man on a catamaran and suddenly we had 6 boats jammed in the lagoon beach. Biblical fortune was with us as the supplies for 3 grew and we now had enough for the whole wedding party. So after dispensing with the libations and chow we had BS for desert, a Potter Yachter favorite for as long as I can remember. Then the pirates on the bass boat came by and tried to steal Jerry’s boat. Jerry quickly cleared his pockets of all the gold so he would not sink and swam like Johnny Weissmuller throwing a rooster tail with the kicks after the boat. Jerry outfoxed the pirates only to be approached by the lawyer while swimming the Lazy Ka back to the beach. Jen grabbed the camera, shot the photo saving Jerry's life because I think the thought of photographic evidence frightened the lawyer away long enough for Jerry to get back safely. The whole story is currently under consideration to be an Oliver Stone conspiracy movie but we’re still working on who can play Steve Potter . . . that MacGyver guy maybe?????"

The lunchtime excitement behind us, it became necessary to head out for civilization to relieve a condition brought on by the consumption of copious quantities of liquid refreshment while on "T Island."

Much more great sailing was had by all in the afternoon as winds continued to build into the 15 knot range. Jen managed to take may more very good pictures (i.e. Pat Brennan (right) with the Sierra snowcap in the distance.) Though several of the Skippers continued to sail, by 4:00 PM the combination of sun and wind was beginning to take a toll on Jen and I, so we decided to call it a day and relax to swap stories with the like-minded already landed.

I decided to haul-out "Lazy Ka" at the campsite, rather than deal with the logistics of sailing her around the peninsula to the boat ramp on the other side. Except for a broken winch-line on the trailer--thanks to Harry Gordon for a replacement--this turned out to be the right choice. Though the beach was a little too shallow to allow launching without much help, recovery was easy with a strong winch.

Back on shore, we settled in for more good conversation on our day on the water, delightful potluck dinner and a beautiful sunset.

Jen and I turned our wheels down the hill at about 8:45 for the drive home. Jen took the wheel for her first nighttime driving experience, and got us into our driveway a couple of ticks before 11:00 PM.