Dillon Open sailors lie, joke and love the weather
DILLON – Watch out. Sailors are in town.
As the 27th annual Dillon Open sets sail today on Dillon Reservoir, most captains and commodores are hoping for a little breeze, a victory and not to wake up too hungover on Sunday.
“This one is special,” said four-time champion Mark Yeager, who anchored with his Dallas, Texas team Friday after practice. “You sail under snow-capped mountain peaks. It beats the hell out of August in Texas.”
Yeager, arguably, is the man to beat today, when action begins at noon. Friday at the Dillon Marina, he had opponents asking him for help and chiding him on his style. Yeager owns a marina in Dallas and, like many competitors in the two-day event, he sails as much as possible.
“We do it until the money runs out, anyway,” Yeager said. “MasterCard’s great about that. They call me and tell me there’s no more money. Then I have to go back to work.”
Dick and Greg Brown, a father-son duo from Denver, stood beside Yeager at the check-in point and needed some help.
“We’ve blown the sails out,” he said. “And this guy’s the master of sails.”
Friday’s pre-race talk also bordered on lunacy. Stories from last year’s post-race party included liquor being poured down the Tiki Bar roof and into a woman’s hair.
“I woke up the next morning and it was like dreadlocks,” she said.
By Friday evening, about 50 boats had signed up to compete, all vying for a coveted trophy. Classes of boats include: J80, J24, J22, Ultimate 20, The Stars, Lasers, and Portsmith Handicap Racing Formula fleets.
Teams that win a heat score one point, second place earns two points, and so on. The team with the lowest points at the end of Sunday’s races wins.
“Typically, we have between 80 and 100 different boats,” said Tom Hronek, commodore of the event.
“Boats from Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming all racing here. It’s a good regional event.”
After Saturday’s competition concludes, the sailors will start the evening festival, including live music and a chance to win a 5-day trip to Barbados.
One lucky team will win the drawing, sponsored by Mount Gay rum, and qualify for a final drawing at a regatta later in the season.
But with this many sailors in town, the winner might want to keep it a secret.
“We tell lies,” Yeager said. “Occasionally, a grain of truth is told on a Saturday afternoon, but that’s rare.”
Teams can sign up as late as this morning, but no later than 10:30, when a meeting at the Dillon Marina is scheduled for all participating crews.
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