Date: Friday thru Monday June 1-4, 2007
Event: Annual Potter Yachter outing to Woodward Reservoir, Stanislaus County, CAWoodward Reservoir, Stanislaus County, CA (14528 26 Mile Rd, Oakdale, CA)

Friday June 1, 2007 - 7:30 PM to 8:15 PM (.75 hours on the water)
Saturday June 2, 2007 -10:00 AM to 3:30 PM (5.5 hours on the water)
Sunday June 3, 2007 - 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM (5 hours on the water)
Monday June 4, 2007 - 8:15 AM to 10:15 AM (2 hours on the water)
w/ Attendees included: P-15s: Don Person, Dan Phy, Keith Hubbard (Lateen rig,) Don Bergst, Terry Gotcher, Mike and Janet Dolan, Rich McDevitt, Dan & Gretchen Ricker (Gunter Rig,) Pat Morrisy, Ed Dove, Dave Candley & wife & Jim Pettit P-19s: Dave White Others: Steve Potter (Sailing his "Whatever It Is,) Brad Evens (Vagabond 17,) and a Monty-15 "Surprise" . . . and still others.
Winds: The winds blew! There were quiet times during the nights, and some lighter breezes in the mid-afternoon hours of each day, but mornings and afternoons were dominated with consistent winds between 6 and 15 knots. Great sailing conditions.
Weather: The weather was predominantly warm and clear with some periodic high stratus clouds. A coat or sweatshirt was needed to ward off the light chill in the early mornings and evening hours. By Sunday evening things began to haze up a bit, but temperatures remained warm and comfortable.
 

Friday 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.Rigging "Lazy Ka" Friday evening (PHOTO: Don Person)

I 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 the night.

Saturday June 2, 2007Rich McDevitt exploring the shoreline of Gilligan's Island (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)
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.Pat Morrisy sailing past Woodward Dam (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

Morning 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. "Lazy Ka" and Keith & Alex Hubbard's lateen rig "Triple Deuce" (PHOTO: Don Person)

Around 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.Steve Potter sailing his 'what's it' inflatable catamaran (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

Back in 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.

David Candey runs into a traffic jamb approaching the campsite (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

(PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

Jim Pettit sailing close in for a photo (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

Dan & Gretchen Ricker in their vintage P-15(PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)Back 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. Bill Bechtel, Keith Hubbard, and Dan Phy talk lateen rigs (Photo: Jerry Kergan)

And 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 table.

Rich McDevitt at the turkey table (Photo: Jerry Kergan)

Terry Gotcher and Janet Dolan (Photo: Jerry Kergan)

Jim Petet, Terry Gotcher, Brad Evens, Dan Phy (Photo: Jerry Kergan)

Don Person dishing icecream for Dave White (Photo: Jerry Kergan)As 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 turned in.

 

 

 

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 up.Boats on the shoreline in front of our camp sites (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

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.Dan Phy aboard "Old Geezer" with her glow-in-the-dark sails (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

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. Paul and Junko Harris aboard Wee Boat with Dave White (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

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.Michael Harris at the tiller of Lazy Ka (PHOTO: Jerry Kergan)

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! Lazy Ka and Dave White's Wee Boat sailing in tandem (PHOTO: Don Person)

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. Sunday evening stragglers (Photo: Jerry Kergan)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.