June 1, 2007
I set out on the 90 mile drive from Concord to Woodward Reservoir
a little before 5:00 PM, and arrived before 7:00 to a view of potters
on the lake for an evening sail. I found my way to the campsite and
set to getting Lazy Ka rigged to launch for the motor sail around the
peninsula to be beached for the evening along the shoreline adjacent
to our campsites. As last year I found the grass and mud of the
shoreline makes for a very soft landing for our boats.
turned next to raising my tent, a feat complicated by the dark of
night that was beginning to settle in and a brisk breeze blowing in
across the reservoir. With kitchen gear stacked on the picnic table of
the site, and stove deployed for an early morning cup of coffee, I
slid into my sleeping bag laid out on a cot to insure my comfort for
Saturday June 2, 2007
The campsite I had serendipitously fallen into was adjacent to that of
Brad Evens. I had first met Brad last year at the delta sail, Brannan
Island to Bethel Island and back, and now found my tent set up with my
fly facing Brad's. This was a good thing as it turns out that Brad is
an early riser like me. His movement each morning helped me roll out
to greet the day, not wanting to miss anything.
coffee in hand by 6:30 AM, I wandered back and forth between the dozen
or more campsites occupied by the Yachters to meet the folks I did not
yet know, and say high to those that I had not seen in some time. One
newbie encountered, Bill Bechtel, had come on the invitation of Don
Person during the night and slept in his car. Bill had come to learn
everything that he could about the P-15 he could in a single day. A
friend of Bill's had bought a P-15 for $400 at a garage sail in
Sacramento, and Bill, with some sailing experience, volunteered to
show his friend how in exchange for sharing the boat. As the morning
progressed, boats continued to arrive, giving Bill plenty of
opportunity to see how it's done; how they're rigged to sail. Bill
watched them all: Brad Evens with his Vagabond 17, Dave White's P-19,
and a multitude of P-15s as well.
9:30 I caught a ride back to the campsite from the boat ramp to put
out for a morning sail. As was my experience last year, the winds of
Woodward at this time of the year are some of most consistent to be
had. This is likely due to the lack of surrounding hills, buildings
and other shoreline obstructions. Woodward is totally exposed to the
winds. There are few shoreline obstructions; little to generate the
eddies and changes in apparent wind direction that one generally finds
on the reservoirs located in the hill country of the Coast Range or
the higher mountain lakes of the Sierra.
for a short break, I learn that Bill has found a ride back to the
camp, around the peninsula, with Dave White. I pick him up next for a
couple of hours out aboard Lazy Ka, and some P-15 sailing instruction.
This turns out to be a chance to share some of my Potter gleanings
learned over the past couple of years from my Potter mentors.
to the campsite, a bit past 3:30 PM, we slide our chairs into the expanding circle
gathering at a centrally located site. Rich McDevitt had outlined a
plan for the evenings activities that included a 4:00 o'clock, Happy
Hour and the 5:00 o'clock, potluck. It was quickly decided that Rich's
plan needed a little refinement: 3:00 o'clock, Happy Hour Rehearsal
and Auditions, 4:00
o'clock, Happy Hour (the real thing,) and somehow the Happy Hour was
greatly expanded and the potluck dinner was pushed back to 6:30.
what a feast it was!
Fresh Chili and
cornbread, made lovingly over an open fire by Dan & Gretchen Ricker, a
half dozen, or
better, salads, and
my smoked turkey and French rolls for sandwiches. I hear that the
chili was great. By the time I got the turkey carve, the chili and
cornbread was gone. Don Person went to town for ice cream and served
it up on cones along with all of the other confections laid out on the
evening passed, we settled into smaller groups, some turning in early
while others pushed the envelope. I ended up with a band of guys
huddled around a fire. We had a table full or wine bottles to be consumed and
a big pile of wood to be burned. A little after 3:00 AM, we had solved
all the troubles of the world and had run out of firewood, so all
Sunday June 3, 2007
In spite of the late hour last night, I still managed to roll out of
bed before most; a bit after 7:00 AM. A couple of cups of coffee and I
found myself working my way down the line talking to those who were
After several stops
along the way, I found myself at the opposite end of our line of
contiguous sites talking with Janet and Mike Dolan. They had invited
friends along (Paul and Junko Harris, with sons Michael & Chris) for
an introduction to sailing. Michael was excited to go out, and I was
ready, so I invited him to come along with me on Lazy Ka.
We tacked out
Northwesterly across the
reservoir to the Main Boat Ramp, then turned east to Erickson Slough
and on to sail around Whale Island, the largest island on the
reservoir. All the while, Don Person is following us around the course
with Michael snapping pictures along the way. Somewhere along in here
I gave the tiller to Michael . . . it made his day!
Clockwise around Whale
Island brings us out into Sailboat Cove near the Bayview Boat Ramp.
After a quick pass on the ramp, we made out way North of the peninsula
and Bayview Point, then a downwind run back to the campsite. At 12:30
We were landed and secure, Michael was back with his family, and I
settled in for a light lunch and more skipper-talk with Dan Phy and
Brad Evens under the shade of a eucalyptus.
It was during these
conversations that the rumor that Pat Morrisy was going to stay over
'til Monday was doused. I learned that Dan and Brad would be staying
on another night; with confirmation earlier in the day that Alex and
Keith Hubbard would be staying as well, I didn't need my arm twisted
to extend another nigh myself.
With the exception of
the occasional group who refuse to observe the 10:00 o'clock curfew on
music and the occasional obnoxious PWC pilot, Woodward is a delightful
place. Many varieties of birds and waterfowl make the area home;
adding to the sights to see as one sails along the shoreline.
3:30-ish I couldn't
resist the call of the winds any longer; I pushed Lazy ka away from
her landing, slide aboard, raised my Main, and glided silently out for
a two-hour late afternoon sail. The constant winds of Woodward means
that an outboard motor is almost never needed to get away from the
beach. Landing is another question however. The soft shoreline is very
shallow at the water's edge, requiring the raising of the centerboard;
this makes the boat drift in a leeward direction. The landing maneuver
is further complicated by the sheer number of for boats along the
campsite frontage. One must target an anchorage point and hit it with
just a few feet of margin to either side. After a couple of missed
attempts on Saturday morning, I resorted to using my motor to land by
Saturday afternoon; I would sail to within a few feet of the beach,
then fire up my motor, raise the centerboard, and drive into the
beach. Landing completed just after 5:30!
Dan Phy and Brad Evens
had opened the bar by the time I returned, I joined them and we shared
various snacks of salami, crackers, etc. as hors d'oeuvres. In time
Alex and Keith Hubbard joined us as well. As it turned out, the snacks
were all that was needed to satisfy, so we passed on a more complex
evening meal. The good company of sailing friends kept us all going
past a beautiful sunset, then all turned in for a good night's sleep.
Monday June 4, 2007
Monday morning I rose to the sounds of birds and the movement of
wind-driven water on the reservoir; this was my earliest morning yet.
Seems as I become acclimated to the outdoor environs of Woodward, I
rise progressively earlier.
Brad was already up, while Dan continued
to sleep soundly aboard his P-15, "O'l Geezer." Coffee was made,
Dan stirred, and a light breakfast was had before Dan and Brad made
ready to haul out and rig for the road.
For me, I had to get in
one more sail before hitting the road home myself. Goodbyes said to
Dan and Brad, shortly after 8:00 o'clock I was easing out close-hauled
for the Main Boat Ramp on the opposite side of the reservoir. Then I
skirted the western shoreline past the day-use picnic area and the
developed campgrounds with their growth of trees that are missing from
the undeveloped sites occupied by we Potters. Along the way I greeted
the children and families who were camping along the shores of the
many little inlets that define this part of the lake.
This was the most
pleasant sail of the weekend. Missing were all the power craft with
whom we sailors had to share the reservoir over the weekend. I had it
all to myself . . . just the birds and me!
By 10:30 I'm back at the
campsite to the greetings of the now awake Keith and Alex who are
making ready to sail around to the boat ramp to haul out. Another hour
finds me on the road back to Concord, looking forward to this outing
again next year. Several of the Yachters had come up early in the
week, maybe I will be able to join them and stretch it into four or
five days of sailing on this wonderful venue.