As Scott Spurlin from J/Boats Southwest once said, “It's been called the "Most dangerous Regatta in America", the "Highest Regatta in America", and the "Largest In-Land Lake Regatta West of the Mississippi". No matter what the claim-- the Dillon Open Regatta is a lot of fun!”
Think you're good at reading the wind? Lake Dillon would certainly test your skills! Mountains and valleys with rapidly changing weather again kept the tacticians on their toes this year! With winds rolling down the steep mountain sides along the lakefront (or the occasional micro-burst blowing down vertically out of clear blue sky), the faster (and sometimes luckier) crews had a field day picking up windshifts and breeze lines to work themselves to the front of the fleet.
For well over 25 years, the J/24s from around the Midwest (as well as refugees from the heat in the Deep South) have made their annual migration to sail in the warm and friendly confines of Lake Dillon, nestled cozily in the Rocky Mountains. Eight J/24 teams made the starting line this year. It just so happened to be a good "vintage" year for the crew on Greg & Susan Johnson's PINOTAGE, posting three 1sts in their scoreline on their way to winning the J/24 class with a 5-1-3-1-1-2-3 record for 16 pts. Alan Dille's crew on SEPTILLION made a valiant effort to remain in contention, but two 4ths in races 4 & 6 hurt their chances for a comeback. Instead, SEPTILLION's 2-3-2-4-24.5-2 for 19.5 pts snagged them a second overall. Taking two 1sts but not staying at all consistent was Frank Kelble's team on USA 1966, amassing a 1-5-4-5-4-1-4 for 24 pts to take third on the podium. The balance of the top five was taken by Doug Pierini on COLD SMOKE in fourth and Stephen Bergman on EVENT HORIZON in fifth.
The Dillon Open has also bee quite popular with the J/22 class, this year fielding the largest one-design fleet in the regatta with twelve participants. Sailing fast out of the starting blocks on the first day was Mike Kline's NAUTI-MOOSE, taking a 1-1-2-1 to never relinquish the lead for the rest of the regatta. However, victory clearly did not come easy for this team. After what appeared to have been premature celebrations taking place on Saturday night, the "Nauti-Boys" on NAUTI-MOOSE could only muster a 6-5-2 on the last day to barely hang onto their lead to take class honors! David Baker's UP FOR AIR started slowly but closed the regatta with a 1-1-4 to take second overall. Third was Robin Jackson & Kristin Zagray's BIG BUTT BOAT, closing with a 3-2-1 to show rapid improvement in the standings to take the silverware for third. Fourth was Stan Strathman's SCREAMIN J and the "long-distance award" goes to fifth place finisher Richard Hallagan from Canandaigua YC on New York's Canandaigua Lake. Sailing photo credits- Greg Schertz For more Dillon Open Regatta sailing information