Dillon Open Regatta will be family racing affair for locals | SummitDaily.com

Dillon Open Regatta will be family racing affair for locals

Joss Quarantillo, left, and William Fesenmeyer sail for the Dillon Yacht Club during last weekend's 2021 U.S. Sailing Rocky Mountain Junior Olympics on the Dillon Reservoir. Each will sail in this weekend's Dillon Open Regatta out on the lake.
Photo by Hans Bucher

On Saturday, July 31, a 22-foot recreational keelboat dubbed “Insert Name Here” will be called “Rydalupa.” Why Rydalupa? Because it contains the first two letters of all of the first names of the Fesenmeyer family members who will race together at the Dillon Open Regatta: brothers Ryan and Lucas, father Dan and mother Pam.

“And for Sunday you’ll just have to tune in, I guess,” Dan Fesenmeyer said of the boat’s name. “Maybe, ‘Family Feud,’ depending on how it goes day one.”

The Fesenmeyers are one of several local families who will come together to take part in the Dillon Open, the Dillon Yacht Club’s annual biggest weekend of summer races on the Dillon Reservoir. On Saturday and Sunday while Dan and Pam team up with eldest son Ryan, 20, and Lucas, 17, the 15-year-old William will join a team aboard Cita. Cita’s a 10-person, 42-foot-long Schock 42 ocean boat that Dan said is the biggest “hotshot” racing boat on the high-Alpine lake notorious for its fickle winds.

“They are a bunch of older guys, but Will has somehow gotten on that team,” Dan said. “He is the youth and spirit of that boat.”

While Cita, Will and the rest of the crew aim for a win in the PHRF A division, the rest of the family will be looking to earn Dan his first Dillon Open win in the J-22 division.

“I’ve gotten every place but first — it’s eluded me,” Dan said with a laugh, “but hopefully with Lucas and Ryan that can turn into a first. But it’s sailing. It’s (Dillon Reservoir). It’s the weather. You need a little bit of luck and a lot of speed.”

Fesenmeyer said his family has become a sailing tribe after he grew up sailing with his father on the shore of Norwalk, Connecticut. When relocating from Atlanta, Fesenmeyer said he was drawn to Dillon because of the junior sailing program at the Dillon Yacht Club. Now, each summer since 2010, the Fesenmeyers are mainstays at The Open.

Other local families racing Saturday and Sunday include the Quarantillos, Rainolds and Pierces. The Quarantillos — with mom Heather, dad Joe and brothers Joss and Bridger — will race their 24-foot Melges 24 “Cannonball,” for the first time at the open this weekend. Heather and Joe have developed a passion for sailing in their sons after the parents learned to sail on Lake Erie and Lake Ontario in Western New York in the late 1990s.

Father Dan, left, and son William Fesenmeyer, seen in a previous race, will sail in this weekend's Dillon Open Regatta on the Dillon Reservoir.
Photo from Dan Fesenmeyer

Heather said 14-year-old Joss was champing at the bit to join the Dillon Yacht Club’s Junior Sailing Program when he 5 years old and saw his parents racing each summer weekend. Joss wasn’t able to join until he was 10 while 9-year-old Bridger was able to join last year after the program began accepting younger sailors.

Heather said while Bridger is still getting his feet wet learning the fundamentals of sailing, the sport has become Joss’ greatest passion in life.

“He took to it right away,” the mother said. “He’s working his way up sailing as many boats as he can get on. He coaches with the Dillon junior sailing program — it’s his very first job. And he loves every minute of sailing. He hopes to someday become a pro racer.”

Heather said there aren’t many sports a family can do together. Sailing, she said, provides a summertime equivalent to what she can do with her husband and sons in the winter when skiing.

The Quarantillo family, seen here out on the Dillon Reservoir racing the family's boat "Cannonball," will race the boat together at this weekend's Dillon Open Regatta on the Dillon Reservoir.
Photo from Heather Quarantillo

The eldest Fesenmeyer brother, Ryan, knows that well, as he flew back Friday from Grand Forks, North Dakota, for the open. He’s stoked to sail for the first time with his family in two years — and for the first time at the biggest weekend of races of the summer.

“It’s something we can all get behind,” Ryan said.

Ryan also hopes it ends up better for his dad after the last time out in 2019 when Lucas passed his dad on a single-person Laser Radial toward the finish due to an unfortunate accident.

“‘Your hat’s caught on your rutter,’” Dan remembered Lucas telling him. “Sure enough, it was. So I was able to retrieve the hat, but it was like sailing around with an anchor.”

2021 Dillon Open Regatta schedule

Sailors race during this past weekend’s 2021 US Sailing Rocky Mountain Junior Olympics on the Dillon Reservoir in Dillon. | Photo by Elaine Collins


10:30 a.m.: Opening ceremonies

11:45 a.m.: Spectator boats available

Noon: First flag, all courses

1:30 p.m.: Spectator boats available


10:45 a.m.: Spectator boats available

11 a.m.: First flag, all courses

1:30 p.m.: Spectator boats available

5 p.m.: Dillon Open awards presentation

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