Curious landlubbers turn out for a taste of sailing at LAPS benefit |

Curious landlubbers turn out for a taste of sailing at LAPS benefit

Reid Williams

DILLON – You don’t need to know the difference between jibing and coming about, or how to tell when your tack is a broad reach. You simply need to be curious about sailing, and a love of animals wouldn’t hurt, either.

The Dillon Marina is hosting its fifth Go Sailing! event, a weekend of introduction to sailing and a fund-raising benefit for the League for Animals and People of the Summit (LAPS). Sailing and pets might seem like a strange combination, but marina manager Bob Evans puts it all together.

“I guess I got into it because of my dog,” Evans said. “But we do it to let people know about LAPS, that it’s not only about dogs and cats, but ferrets or birds or any other animal. And we want to introduce people to the sport of sailing in a not too intense setting – just to get their feet wet.”

LAPS coordinates several services for pets and their owners, including assistance with adoptions, spaying, neutering and other medical bills, a fund for abused pets, as well as raising awareness of animal issues through the Canine 4K race, Fourth of July parades and pet photos with Santa.

The marina hosts the event on Father’s Day weekend to offer an activity for families looking to give dad something different and to let people know about the LAPS cause. Volunteers from the marina’s yacht club, sailing school and marina regulars use their boats to give people a tour of the lake and share their knowledge of the aquatic sport.

Jill Sadler manages the Prospect Point campsite for Thousand Trails and the U.S. Forest Service along with her husband, Chuck. Sadler said she heard about the event and found the birthday surprise she’d been looking to give her husband.

“His birthday was a couple days ago, and I thought, “That sounds like fun,'” Jill Sadler said. “This way we can check it out and be able to tell the campers about it. And, it’s for a good cause.”

The Sadlers said they’d sailed before, but they had plenty of questions for their captain and tour guide, Geary Ritchey. Ritchey, a sailor with 20 years’ experience who’s been in Summit County since the ’70s, had plenty of knowledge to pass on. Ritchey explained some of the physics behind sailpower, differences between his Pearson Ensign and other classes of boats, the competitiveness of captains and weather patterns common on the Dillon Reservoir.

Ritchey handed Chuck Saddler the tiller, or rudder control, and told him to keep her steady.

“I think I’ve got a handle on this,” Chuck Sadler said. “It’s just like steering a canoe.”

LAPS board president Sally Beerup said she hopes many more people enjoy the event like the Sadlers did. According to Beerup, demand for LAPS assistance has skyrocketed in the past year and the organization is hoping to raise enough money to continue offering their services.

“It’s been tough,” Beerup said. “We had to stop our medical assistance for June because our fund got too low. Where we had maybe two or three requests for assistance with vet bills last year, we’ve had 15 this year. We’ve given away twice what we did last year.”

The Go Sailing! fund raiser continues today, from 10:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sailing tours are open to all for a suggested donation of $10 per person. For more information about LAPS, log on to www., e-mail

Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 237 or

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