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Action County

Devon O'Neil
Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Bob Evans at the Dillon Marina.

Bob Evans has lived his share of interesting tales. Now in his eighth year as marina manager at the Dillon Marina, the Wildernest resident got his start in the boating business by working for the Playboy Club in Lake Geneva, Wis., where he rubbed elbows regularly with the Great American himself, Hugh Heffner. Evans arrived in Summit County to be a ski instructor at Keystone for the El Niño winter of 1982-83, and took a job as a dockhand at the Dillon Marina the following summer.Since then, he’s been called harbormaster, assistant marina manager and now, marina manager. He is one of only 130 certified marina managers (CMMs) in the world, and is responsible for virtually every boating matter that originates off Dillon’s docks. An accomplished competitive sailor, Evans has competed against America’s Cup icon Dennis Connors and is well respected across the J24 national sailing scene. In the winters he works part-time at A-Basin, where he skis with a grin every chance he gets.

Best true sailing story?”We were sailing last summer in Newport, Rhode Island, in the Silver Anniversary J24 Regatta. There were several America’s Cup captains there, a really good field. We were doing pretty well, I think we were in seventh or eighth place (out of 70-plus). In the last race of the day we had an excellent start and were in third or fourth position, when the rudder pin – which holds the rudder in place (and steers the boat) – broke off. We lost all control of the boat and were sailing around kind of wildly. We started heading right for the Japanese national team, who had won worlds the year before. We almost totally wiped them out. I’ve never seen Japanese eyes so wide in all my life.”

What was it like sailing against Dennis Connors?”We actually didn’t do very well; we finished about in the middle. But it was a great race (the Hot Rum Series in San Diego), and it was all the rum you could drink afterward. A fantastic party at the San Diego Yacht Club.”How is racing on Dillon Reservoir different?

“If you make a mistake here, you never get it back. One wrong move, and you can go from first to last. But we’ve got some of the best sailors in the world that come to compete here, because the winds are so tricky. This is the Palivacinni of sailing.”Characterize sailboat racing for those who don’t sail. “It’s like standing underneath a cold shower while tearing up $100 bills. It’s moments of sheer bliss combined with moments of sheer terror, seconds apart.”- Devon O’Neil

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