Peachland Endurance Race

Gordon Seiter up in Canada organized a "same day different place" race. The deal was that we had 24 hours to sail as far as we could, but we would do it at a lake near where we lived. The distance sailed was to be measured point to point, so people like me that only had small lakes to sail in could go back and forth a bunch of times to get distance.

The weather report kept bouncing around all week, first it was supposed to be blow torch hot with no wind, then it had forcast 14 mph winds. Turned out to be a partly cloudy day, the wind mostly faltered around 5 mph but got up to 12 mph with a few gusts for about an hour in the afternoon.

In this picture I am standing on the top of the hill near the South ramp at Pleasant Harbor, looking North into the lake.

Here I am at the dock ready to launch, you can see some rocks in the water below the boat, that is about 8' down, the water in the lake is very clear.

lake pleasant, phoenix arizona

This map is grossly unproportionate of the way the lake is shaped, it is shorter and fatter than drawn, but this basically outlines my route. Before I launched, on my chart I marked a number of spots "LP.." so that I could sail up to them, then quickly mark down where I had been and head on to the next spot.

My general strategy was to sail across the wind where ever it was coming from, then after making the next waypoint I would sail to the next place across the wind. I started off at LP1 which is the Pleasant Harbor Marina, sailed straight out which is near the dam and just upon getting outside of the no wake markers, the wind died and I sat there. A family in a power boat pulling an inflatable came right out behind me, they then started to make circles around me, about 5 laps and then they headed back into the dock. Never saw them after that, guess the high gas prices are cutting into their budget and that is all they could afford.

Made it to LP17 which is a big 10 lane launch ramp, tons of traffic in and out of there.

Then over to LP16 which is a small island. The breeze was consistent, light but still there and as I crossed over the other side of the island, I spotted a small sail. So I headed in that direction. He was just shoving off, and then noticed he had a small outboard, he cranked it up and headed off in the other direction, noticing me but not waving. Oh well. I turned to head back out into the lake, and the wind completely died. Bobbing around, I had a couple of cushions and fashoned them so I could lay down in the cockpit. Resting my head on the stern transom, the tiller over my shoulder, sailing in the easy chair. This technique REALLY attracted the PWC's, had numerous ones zoom on by to see if I was dead or not.

To keep from burning up, I had a golf umbrella with me, and continually poured water over my body to stay damp. It worked well, I felt a comfortable temperature all day.

Took me forever to sail the measly distance from LP16 to LP15, back and forth in the non-existant wind, bobbing away. I think the bobbing motion and sail flapping was what really drove me.

After I made it to LP15, the wind picked up (to about 7mph ?) and was blowing so that I could use my spinnaker again. I found that the spinnaker was only good off the wind, what seems like about 100 degrees or further. That leg was my best time, the wind was just enough to start making small amounts of wavelets to overcome the poweboat reflection waves and make them all go in the same direction. I rode down those wavelets and made great time. It is 137" luff, 137" leech, 101" foot, 126" perpendicular from foot to head = 44 sqft + the 59 sqft sprit sail = 103 sqft.

Mother nature was calling, there was so much powerboat and PWC traffic coming up close to me that I felt a bit shy about using a relief bottle, so it is a good thing that I arrived at LP5, the floating resrooms. Not very glamorous, just a floating dock with fiberglass porta potti's on them. After making my call, I noticed some masking tape on the side of the hull under where the leeboard usually covers. Hmmm.... whops! I had moved the leeboard forward a few months back, and forgot to epoxy the hole closed! I opened up the starboard air tank and sure enough, it had about a gallon of water in it. To repair the hole, I took the paper label off one of my drinking bottles and stuffed it in there. Worked fine, and I didn't get any more water in there.

The wind picked up even more to 12 mph, the little wavelets were all comming in the same direction, this was going to be the fun leg!! I set off from the potti dock across the wind to Scorpion Bay, which is LP15a. The wind was great the whole way, I was able to get up on the air tank and lean out a bit, having a great time. Pushed her hard the entire way, but only made a measly 1.69 mph average. The bow transom keeps thumping on the waves which each time, sort of knocks about half of my speed off. I tried a bunch of different positions, but couldn't solve the problem when going into the wind.

During the day I saw a couple of sailboats, this one was a Venture 222, spotted a Catalina 22 and another 20+ footer of some type.

I knew the cove I wanted to end up at which was just South of LP5, so the last couple of legs were in that area. After that first leg from LP5 to LP15a, the rest of the time the wind really died off.

For entertainment, I just happened to be in the middle of the main traffic lane and had endless numbers of powerboats zooming by. One great thing about power boaters is that if they have a good looking deck bunny, they put them right up on the bow so as they go by, you can have a good look. On one boat, there were 4 of them up in the bow. As the boat would slam over the waves, 3 of them all had their bikini parts bounce in syncronicity, but the 4th one who was much larger featured, didn't bounce hardly at all. Hmm.... figure those must be the fake ones.

There was a set of 3 ocean racing catamrans with the air channeling hulls, they would roar by, the only part of the boat touching the water was the jet intake and exhaust. They could make a full lap of the lake in about 5 minutes. I think it takes a little longer than that for me to paddle my kayak across my pool.

As I sat there, the mast would wobble back and forth as I would ride the boat wakes, then crrk.. crk.. CRACK ! Oh no!!! My mast sleeve broke free from the bottom of the hull where it was thru-bolted. Luckily it didn't start to leak, everything was attached to a bottom plate which was bolted on the bottom, and it had broken free from the plate. Couldn't stand up anymore, had to take it out and lay it across lengthwise, all 16'. Aw man, that was depressing. I had planned to spend the night on the lake, even sewed a tent that snapped over the hull. The tent wouldn't work with the mast laying like that, thought about tossing it on shore nearby where I anchor and then rowing back in the morning, but was tired and frustrated, had just enough daylight to make it back to the ramp by rowing, so I opted the toss in the towel for the day.

Where Time Min/Leg Distance Speed
LP1 - marina 9:58am 0 0.00 0.00
LP17 - state public ramp 10:56am 58 1.98 2.05
LP16 - small island 11:23am 27 0.75 1.67
LP15 - wind warning point 1:16pm 113 0.40 0.21
LP5 - float restroom 1:59pm 43 2.06 2.87
LP15a - scorpion bay 3:00pm 61 1.72 1.69
LP5 - float restroom 4:20pm 80 1.72 1.29
LP15a - scorpion bay 5:09pm 49 1.72 2.11
broke mast part way back 5:51pm 42 0.70 1.00
LP1 - rowed back to dock 7:08pm 77 2.74 2.14
9hr 10m 13.79 1.67 avg