Cinco de Mayo Parade at Lake Piru

by Dave Carroll

For those of you who haven’t checked the maps or race schedule, Lake Piru is located on the about 6 miles on the north side of highway 128 between Ventura and Santa Clarita.  With a dam on the south side and mostly desert on the north and to the east, the sea breeze builds up through the Santa Clara Valley and pressure spills over the south side onto the lake.  Afternoon breezes easily get into the 18+ range, insuring sore butts from full out upwind hiking and a few thrills off the wind as near planing and scary jibing conditions are the order of the day.

The event, put on annually by the San Fernando Valley Yacht Club (you’ve never heard of them?) is the nearest thing to the Lake Woollemes Regatta in the past decade, the lake is different, however.  Friday night sailboats begin to fill the camping area and by 10:00 AM Saturday two and a half dozen of these strange craft eased their way into the water.

A dozen Lidos appeared ready to race.  Fleet 9 easily won the square wheel award, for being the closest fleet in distance to the lake and not having a single entrant.  Fleets 1, 6, & 7 were represented by only a single boat from each fleet.  Morro Bay, fleet 59, produced 9 boats…clearly a travelling fleet.  After a brief practice race things got serious.  The regular wind had filled in and 12 Lidos raced for the (sort of) weather mark.  Tom and Bette Jenkins led wire to wire and set a pattern for the weekend.  The Lockwoods and Carrolls mixed it up in a tie after 4 races with the Rothenbuechers and newcomers Steve and Tamara Hendricks also in the hunt. Jack Vowell finished the afternoon activities by taking a cool bath and checking out his centerboard in the lake water before the finish in the last race.

With plenty of time for a cold shower before dinner, most of the entrants sat around their campers exchanging war stories, drinks, and snacks instead while waiting for the big party in campsite # 3.  Potluck plates appeared with a huge variety of delicious goodies, fresh strawberries, chorizo, ceviche, Caesar Salad, trout, taco salad, bean salad, quesadillas, etc, etc, desserts, and yes, there were margaritas and margaritas and margaritas and margaritas.  Appropriate Cinco de Mayo musica was provided by several of the neighboring campsites.

Sunday began with a bright sun and a discussion of the scoring and planned races.  The wind filled in by 11:00 and the races were on.  Jenkins quickly assumed his standard lead with Lockwoods and Carrolls in hot pursuit.  On the second tack, Hendricks blew by as the Carrolls slowed when a motorboat wake put about 3 inches of green water in the bottom of their Lido.  The Lockwoods cruised to a second clinching (well, almost clinching) the #2 spot in the regatta.

The weather being so good and all, a final race was decided upon, and the upwind parade started…Jenkins, Carroll, Lockwood (this maybe could be close) and Hendricks.  Hendricks may have briefly intervened between the old greybearded sailors (which would have evened the score again) but halfway up the beat they tangled up their jibsheets while tacking and capsized.   In the meantime, the Carrolls engaged a Rhodes 19 stuck head to wind at the weather mark, then hit the mark while avoiding the Rhodes.  While the Carrolls performed a confused 360 the Lockwoods moved to 2nd in the race to clinch the number 2 spot in the regatta.

Awards and congratulations followed shortly after docking and derigging, and we were on the road by 3:15 for the drive home.  Congratulations to the San Fernando gang for a fun regatta, good winds and a great party.  Put this one on your calendar for next year, you can’t lose!

First:                 Tom and Bette Jenkins with a full set of bullets

Second:            Don and Kitty Lockwood

Third:                Dave and Barbara Carroll

Fourth:              Peter and Anita Rothenbuecher

Turn Turtle        Jack Vowell (only one incident, but turned over again while the boat was awash