Adapt, smile, and go sailing

Published on May 18th, 2021

Scuttlebutt HQ receives lots of class and club news, with this update from Rogue Yacht Club (love that name!) catching our attention. Located in Oregon, their home on Howard Prairie Lake in the southern Cascades has endured one thing or another. RYC Commodore Dick Barbara explains in this excerpt:


It has been a while since I have really had anything to say to you all and even now, I struggle with finding new information to share. We have been kind of stuck in a constant COVID/drought reality that hinders us as a yacht club from filling our upcoming sailing season with on-the-water events and even land-based social events.

But there are some positive and definitive news items that have aided your RYC board in making decisions regarding the scheduling of events.

Regarding COVID restrictions, the country and our state are easing some distancing and mask requirements that make it somewhat easier for us to schedule safe social events. For instance, vaccinated folks can now meet safely in most indoor and outdoor settings without donning masks.

This is great news for us since nearly all of our activities as sailors are held outdoors, such as happily sailing along with the mainsheet in our hands, gathering around picnic tables for an outdoor potluck, or sitting in a lounge chair on the beach with friends and family watching sailboats being pushed about by warm, steady winds.

However, it is now definitively clear that the drought situation in our region is unlikely to resolve in the next three to five months, leaving our lakes as mere puddles compared to their past higher, useable water levels.

Howard Prairie Lake now is at 10% full, which is down from its seasonal high of 11%, attained earlier this month. Emigrant Lake, another one of our favorite lakes in which to sail, is presently at 34% full. This is up 2% from early May. I would suspect that Emigrant’s water level will probably top out soon, barring any major precipitation in the coming weeks.

Usually, those soaking spring rains would have appeared by now easing drought concerns, but those rains never materialized during March and April leaving us “high and dry”. So, the above regional drought realities make it somewhat easy for your RYC board to make decisions regarding our sailing season calendar and that is to find the closest bodies of water in which to launch our boats and our season.

Despite the barriers that keep us separated from a normal sailing season at Howard Prairie, we must adapt to current realities. Our ability to adapt this season will keep smiles on our faces and our boats in the water.

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