Dillon to host honorary flotilla in memory of Paul Kresge | SummitDaily.com

Dillon to host honorary flotilla in memory of Paul Kresge

Paul Kresge, left, is pictured during the Peak 1 Regatta on Saturday afternoon shortly before the accident.
Courtesy Elaine Collins

DILLON — Community members are invited to the Dillon Marina on Thursday to celebrate the life of Paul Kresge, a Dillon local who died after falling into the reservoir Saturday, June 13.

Kresge fell overboard his sailboat after a squall sent severe winds and heavy waves across Dillon Reservoir following the Dillon Yacht Club’s Peak 1 Regatta. Craig Simson, the operations manager for Dillon Marina, said the tragedy serves as a stern reminder of the dangers of sailing.

“This incident is humbling,” Simson said. “Everybody says it comes out of nowhere, and that’s not true. It came out of the big ugly clouds that were over Peak One. I don’t think anyone could have anticipated the intensity, including myself. The weather up here is to be taken very seriously. We all need to have a lot of respect for what Mother Nature is capable of and how indifferent nature is. … Paul was a good man. Unfortunately, it’s a sport where you take risks.”

In lieu of the typical weekly race Dillon hosts on Thursdays, community members will instead take part in an honorary flotilla, launching their boats into the marina and making their way around the lake in Kresge’s memory. As the boats circle the lake, they’ll pass by a floating wreath on a mooring ball near the Snake River arm — the usual starting point for races and close to where the accident took place — to say goodbye.

Simson said there also will be a Flight For Life flyover during the event and that yacht clubs from Dillon, Aspen and Cherry Creek will all be taking part.

Participants are being asked not to congregate before the event and to follow physical distancing measures. Out on the water, officials are expecting a significant turnout. Simson said the marina will be activating its entire rental fleet to support community members who want to pay their respects and that a number of staff members have agreed to help captain boats. Individuals looking to participate should reach out to the Dillon Marina at 970-468-5100.

Participants will begin gathering at the marina at 5 p.m, and the flotilla will begin at 6 p.m. depending on weather. For individuals wanting to watch, Simson said the event would be clearly visible from anywhere on the shore that has a view of the main area of the lake.

“It’s an honor to be able to support an event like this,” Simson said. “It’s an opportunity for us all to celebrate the life of a wonderful man in a way that I think would bring a smile to his face. And give us an opportunity to get out on the lake and put some thought into the incident.”

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