Lake Tarpon and the Turtle - July 2007

A day at the lake in July is usually a drifting affair, with light winds and cloudy threatening skies. Not this time! We were blessed by moderate winds out of the southwest all day! Ed and Becky Combs even reported gusts up to 18 knots in the afternoon. We also had a very good turnout for a summer event. Luke and Joy Lukoski brought their Sakonnet 23 daysailor by Edey and Duff to the lake, and she is a beauty! With a shallow keel/centerboard arrangement, she is both fast and able. Gil Walker also attended with his new Kingston Lobster boat. Gil's been working feverishly to finish her up for the event. Gil builds all of his own boats out of wood, and does a fine job. He was using the rig from his H-14 sailboat, so the Lobster boat wasn't as fast or weatherly as she will be when it has the appropriate rig, but she looked mighty good! Dale Niemann brought his new Core Sound 17 Lively along as well. She gets a lot of attention at the ramps, due to her finely finished mahogany deck and overall good workmanship. Dale is looking to make her "cruise worthy" by changing the rig so that it's more easily reefed. Steve Kingerly didn't think there would be much wind, so he came with a sweet looking white sea kayak. Gary Maxwell was there with his nephew Brian Maxwell and they were both sailing a Hunter 14 daysailor. Brian plans to join the Squadron very soon, and Gary was along as crew and enjoying the ride! Steve Morrill showed up with Shadow, his gray SeaPearl 21 and a very nice lady named Barbara. Steve always seems to have a different female companion with him! I think it has something to do with that "other club" he belongs to. Art Gregory came late to the lake, but managed to get his Peep Hen, Kiva into the mix and seemed to enjoy sailing her in the fresh water. As I said, Ed and Becky Combs were there early and sailed Minnow, their Potter 19. Ed cut his hand launching - something to do with having to lower the mast quickly to avoid an overhead power line - and didn't come to the restaurant because his shirt was all bloody! Sorry buddy. Hope it has healed! Harvey Brillat and I both came without a boat, and although I had planned to sail with Dale aboard Lively, Jim Leet showed up with a SeaPearl Tri-Sport that's for sale at Marine Concepts Sailboats. It was the original prototype for the Tri-Sport concept with sliding akas instead of hinged akas, and the owner had added a lot of aluminum superstructure around the forward cockpit and stanchions and lifelines around the whole boat. At first I thought it was in the way, but the rails actually made for good hand holds going forward on the deck! I didn't set up the cabin which apparently snaps on to the rails, but the cabin is there, and if someone wants a SP Tri-Sport, you could do worse!

It took us a while to get the amas deployed on the tri from the water. We probably should have pushed them out while at the dock or on the trailer, but there was a certain park ranger, AKA the "Dock Nazi", who was driving around in his golf cart ordering people around like he was a drill sergeant. We just wanted to get away from him.

Anyway, once we had the amas pushed out to their full length and pinned in place we back winded the main, spun the bow through the wind and took off for the southeastern part of the lake.

It wasn't long before the tall mast of the Sakonnet 23 was seen coming up fast behind us. We were on a close reach and doing our best, but Luke and Joy's Joyride ate up the distance and passed us to windward, while I snapped pictures of this shapely beauty from New England. Harvey and I had a hoot sailing the SeaPearl through the high reeds on the east side of the lake, something that only shallow boats can get away with. We eventually got down towards the south end of the lake, a distance of five miles. And it was getting close to lunch time!

We spun the boats around and began a long smooth broad reach back up the lake to the new Tarpon Turtle restaurant. Surprisingly there were still plenty of docks available and even a small beach area on the north side of the property where we could beach the tri without pulling in the amas! Harvey and I slid her right on up. A frenzy of docking and line handling followed, making sure that everyone who wanted to go in for lunch had some help, and lines tied securely. Meanwhile Steve and Barbara went in and secured a large table for all of us. Thanks Steve!

So, how was the food? Much improved. The menu is vast, and the prices are somewhat higher, but not too high considering the improved surroundings. The waitresses were likewise friendly and efficient, and since we had about 12 folks around the table by the time everyone was there, they did add an 18% gratuity to the bill.

After satisfying our hunger, some hungered for more sailing, and some hungered to get home before perceived afternoon storms thundered in. Harvey and I sailed out to see how Ed and Becky had fared for lunch, and Art was still out there sailing his Peep Hen, Kiva. We had some more fun before finding out that our engine would start but wouldn't stay running. Probably something with the fuel supply. So we decided to use what we did have - WIND! After two or three tacks we coasted to a stop right beside the docks to derig and push the amas in on the tri.

All in all a great day! Come on out and join us for the Picnic on Sunset Beach August 11th!