Saturday’s wind equals "powder day’ for Dillon Open sailors |

Saturday’s wind equals "powder day’ for Dillon Open sailors

Jane Reuter

DILLON – Chilly, windy and flecked with intermittent rain, Saturday was a perfect day for sailing.

“The wind to a sailor is like snow to a skier, so good wind is like a powder day,” said Dillon Marina Harbor Manager Bob Evans. “They don’t care about the rain.”

They also apparently don’t care about the low lake levels at Dillon Reservoir. The turnout for this weekend’s Dillon Open was about normal, Evans said, much to his surprise.

“I cannot believe the turnout we have,” Evans said. “We haven’t been getting the best press, so I thought we’d get 40, 50 boats. There are over 90.”

Sailors came from Texas, Wyoming and New Mexico, among other states, and no one, Evans said, complained about the water levels. Perhaps that’s because the Open is considered the premier sailing event for the region. Unlike other races, the Dillon Open includes a variety of boats, nine classes in all. The aim for the weekend is to get the lowest amount of points, a feat accomplished in four races – two on Saturday and two more today.

“This has been named one of the 10 best regattas in the United States in Sail Magazine the past couple of years,” Evans said. “It’s just a novel place to come.”

And it isn’t well-known merely because it’s pretty. Dillon is reputed for its unpredictability. Many well-established sailors have come to Dillon and found their sailing skills thrown, literally, to the winds.

“All bets are off here,” said Evans. “Because of the winds, winning a race on Dillon is very prestigious,” Evans said. “Dillon is known around the world.”

While the winner gets a trophy, that team also gets bragging rights for winning the Dillon Open.

Each race lasts about an hour-and-a-half, with each boat making its way around a series of bouys, some turning into the wind and others forcing the boat against it.

So prestigious is the event that many of the sailors are “hired guns,” Evans said, sailors paid by the boat owners to guide the crafts through the course in the hope of earning them the coveted trophy.

Despite drought conditions that have dropped reservoir levels to more than 30 feet below full, Evans said race conditions aren’t much different from other years.

“It might affect the start areas,” he said. “They don’t have as big an area to start in.”

Otherwise, he said, it’s full speed ahead.

Jane Reuter can be reached at 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at

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