Sunday, January 24, 2010

Winter Sailing at Its Toughest: The Horrors of Lake Pleasant

The Arizona Yacht Club Birthday Regatta and fund-raiser for leukemia research today in Phoenix featured racing in 4 to 16 knots of wind, blue skies, sunshine, and 70-degree temperatures. This was Frostbiting as brutal as it can be only in southern Arizona.

012. Buccaneers start race two during the "Friday Fracas".
12. Buccs start Friday's second race

As the day progressed, it was agonizing to have to shed layers to cope with the brilliant desert sun. By the time some boats reached the marina and boat ramps, some crew members were forced to strip down to t-shirts and shorts.

Not everyone has the stamina and hardiness to hold up to these conditions. Some might rather sail during January in the more refreshing, sprightlier climates of Massachusetts or Florida or some such. But, for those who can withstand the searing rays and sunny blue skies, Arizona offered a sailing opportunity for the tough mariners who ventured bravely into the wind and waves of January.

Don't be fooled by the name "Lake Pleasant". It's much more than that.

Don't let anyone tell you that Arizona Frostbiting in January is easy. Not every skipper and crew can focus on sailing in gorgeous, shirt-sleeve weather. Not everyone can acclimate successfully to warm sun and blue skies in winter. It's rigorous in the extreme, but some sailors nonetheless find the fortitude, by reaching deep inside for the reservoir of human indomnitability, by calling forth the ultimate reserves of resilience and courage, to conquer the horrendous environment that would defy the merest human presence.

(originally posted Jan. 15, 2010, 10:41 pm but resequenced to put photo in order with other posts)


At 11:44 AM, January 16, 2010, Blogger Capt. Puffy Pants said...

I'm just back from cross-country skiing, just in the nick of time as the temperature is 32 degrees. One more degree and the snow will get soft and more difficult ski on. It's a problem of slippage. Just thought I would provide a little contrast. It is nice to hear about some warmth and sun.


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