Editorial on the 2019 Fernridge Sailing Season & Other Dribble

My first sail on Fernridge was in 1986. After so many summers, you start to get into a rhythm and years of low water are a real nuisance. The last few years have been phenomenal! We have had plenty of water, and this year has graced us, so far, with clear air and warm but not hot days.

Our Tuesday night events have been fun and each week we see many new faces on the water. This is essential to keep our sport healthy and active. Hopefully, some percentage of the new faces will join the race community as well. Since 2008, we have seen the number of PHRF boats racing on Thursdays dwindle from around 20 down to 7 or 8. I understand that racing is not for everyone, but for those of us who enjoy it, the benefits are many. Back in 1986, we were just getting into regularly planned sailing days and racing was not on our radar. One evening, we joined in a weeknight race (I think it was on Wednesdays back then). We were hooked right away and began learning about how to join formally. We also began to study “The Racing Rules of Sailing” which at the time, were way more complicated than today. I say that not just because I am more familiar with them today, but because a big simplification effort was put into it in the late 1990’s. I believe they succeeded. Part 1 and Part 2 contain the 9 or so important pages to follow. The rest is back-up material such as how to run a race, and other forms of racing.

So, because of racing, I find myself to be a more confident sailor when cruising. Because of racing, I have gone out in conditions that I might have avoided without the drive to compete. I mean, why go out in a blow in foul weather? Right? When cruising, you may be out and the conditions will suddenly change. Because of racing, I know how to handle that situation and am able to do so without panic or jeopardizing my crew. Because of racing, I have invested more time into learning many sailing skills such as picking laylines and trimming sails effectively. These skills help you to be more efficient when cruising and make your trips less stressful and more enjoyable.

Bottom line: I would highly recommend learning and participating in racing. It may be a little intimidating at first, but most racers will be helpful when asked. Advice is free and will be always be given with the best of intentions as we all profit from you becoming a better sailor.

Back to this season: We have one more Regatta left on the lake in the form of the Harvest Regatta. I will, unfortunately be out of town and will miss it. Saturday and Sunday, September 7 & 8 are the dates. If nothing else, come out and watch the event from your boat. Try to stay clear of the racers for pure courtesy, but the rules of the road apply to them as well.

Finally, The Triton Emerald Cup had fewer participants this year, so I”m sure that the board will be discussing how to improve attendance for next year. I know that the timing for me was bad and that June works better for my Summer schedule. Again, these discussions will be happening and we will see what solutions are proposed.

Ohana is out of the water now because of other late Summer commitments, but we’ll be back first thing in the spring. In the meantime, I’ll see you out on the water from other peoples boats. This activity/sport is in my blood and so I will always participate at whatever level my body and schedule permit.

Don’t forget to be preparing for the end of the season with the lake draw-down set to begin on October 1. Keep a watch for any notices from the Army Corps of Engineers that indicate an early draw as they did last season. Let’s hope they don’t, but as always, “Be prepared!”

Fair winds and following seas!

Bill Schafer
Newsletter Editor

Thursday Burgers after Racing

JUNE Thursdays

TYC will do its annual hosting of the Burger Feed after racing on Thursdays. For a few dollars you too can enjoy the burgers and friendship to be had every Thursday this month. You do not need to be a racer to join in. All racers from both EYC and TYC are invited of course.

Orchard Pt Floating Feast Date Change

Due to predicted inclement weather on our previously scheduled date in May, we have moved this event to Sunday, June 16th.

This event was fun last year, so let’s repeat it by having appetizers and drinks on A or B dock and moving up to the sheltered picnic area next to the snack bar for burgers and hot dogs with salad and desert. The club will provide the burgers and hot dogs. Orchard Point volunteers will be asked to bring appetizers, salad and desert (I’ll provide one of the three). Bring your own drinks and chairs (for sitting on the dock).
A rough timeline would go something like this:

  • Meet for drinks and appetizers on A or B dock at 2:00 (bring your own drinks and chairs)

  • Move to the sheltered picnic area to grill the burgers and dogs and to eat around 3:00 until folks are ready to leave

Please RSVP to Bob if you plan to attend so we make sure to have enough food.
We need a couple of Orchard Pointers to volunteer to bring one of appetizers, salad, or desert (I’ll bring one of the three).
Bob Hiskey

2019 Sailing Season is Underway!

Fernridge Reservoir is full and the sailing has begun. Tuesday evening Fun Sails happen every week. Just show up in your boat or hitch a ride with one of us to meet up out between the EYC docks and the closest 5MPH buoy around 6:30PM. A Conch Shell will be blown 5 minutes prior to the start, the another at the start time of 6:30PM. The course it to proceed out to Leakin’ Lena or its buoy. Leave all marks to port and continue around the outside of the Olympic Circle until the “Reverse Course” horn is sounded. Proceed in reverse back to the Start line for the finish.

Rules are to be courteous, and have fun. If someone hollers for room, give it. If you need room holler. Port/Starboard and Windward/Leeward rules do apply. Since it is really not a race and no trophy or reward applies, the real reason to be there is to enjoy yourselves and hang out with other sailors. Meet up on “A” Dock at Richardson Marina afterward for food and more camaraderie.

If you want to be more serious, show up on Thursday evening and join in on the fleet racing. See the JRC website for instructions. https://sites.google.com/site/jrctyceyc/Home

2019 Dam Closing Party

Eleven of us (TYC members and guests) gathered together on a fairly dry but windy February 2 noontime event at the Richardson Marina Guest Dock. After a few words to appease the rain gods, we all made a gesture of adding a few pints of water to the reservoir. Priming it in this way has been shown to be beneficial toward creating a great year of sailing on Fernridge.

UPDATE: 4/13/2019

The Dam Closing Party was a success as can be witnessed by the already full reservoir. The rain gods obliged!!! Thanks for your help.

Racer's Registration Required

If you plan on racing the Thursday Series on Fernridge, the sponsoring Yacht Clubs under the Joint Race Committee requires registration at the following site:

UPDATE: 1/31/2019

Please register by March 1, 2019 to enable us to complete RC assignments. Failure to do so will cause issues with those assignments and will preclude you from receiving “your choice of dates”.


Failure to register will result in no scoring for your boat. We require registration for safety and liability reasons.

2018 Richardson Park Marina Launch Ramp Issue

Update 3/19/2019: The county is submitting a proposal to repair and extend the ramps at Orchard Point as well as replacing the launch/recovery dock. We don’t have a timeline as yet, but the grant proposal is being completed for this work. Will update as information is available. So far, no work is proposed for Richardson, but the county has indicated that a proposal will be forthcoming on that as well.

Update 12/2018: Talks have progressed about possible repairs to the toes of the ramps at Richardson and Orchard. The ACE is OK with the work proceeding and OSMB is online with us and discussing funding options. We are looking forward to repairs being accomplished, but until we have a confirmed date please read the next paragraph.

There are exploratory discussion being had with the governing entities to perform maintenance on the launch ramps. Since this will not likely occur this year, we would like to warn our fellow boaters about the conditions at the toe of the Richardson Ramp. A couple of us have inspected the ramp as we do every year. As an annual temporary measure, we have added some rock at the toe to make for a smoother transition, but as we know, by mid summer the power boaters will have scrubbed that area of our effort. Just be cautious as you launch and retrieve as the drop off is significant. It is on the order of 10 to 12 inches and your trailer will likely lurch as it moves on and off of this drop. Please take appropriate precautions. We will pass on any news of impending improvement when and if they are scheduled.

Triton Profiles: Dean & Janet Mitchell

(This post was originally written by Frank Patten on May 5th 2016)

On a recent rainy Tuesday I crewed on Dean Mitchell’s Santana 30-30 “Camelot” with

Ron Fish, a regular crew member, as we participated in the most informal of races on

Fernridge, The Tuesday Night Races. It was an opportunity to quiz skipper Dean Mitchell on the

upcoming Emerald Cup Race, the more formal of races. The Emerald Cup is Triton’s

premier racing event and has been a highlight of the Fernridge racing community for

many years. Dean has chaired this event a number of times; he’s not sure how many.

The Emerald Cup takes place on June 25th and 26th. It is anticipated that there will be a

number of fleets- Wavelength 24’s, Santana 20’s, Thistles, Lidos, possibly multi-hulls

and the PHRFs(Performance Handicap Racing Fleet) as they are known (pronounced

Perfs). PHRFs are a mix of boats that are handicapped according to the boat type.

Emerald Cup participants come from Oregon, Washington and California.

Each fleet winner receives a trophy. In addition, the Emerald Cup is awarded to the

skipper and crew based on a formula that evaluates overall performance.

Participants can register and purchase their meals using the link on our website to the US

Sailing Regatta Network.

Dean’s love of sailing began through the Boy Scouts at the Lake of the Woods, a

Southern Oregon lake east of Medford. He said that there was no one in his scouting

troop that knew anything about sailing so they were self taught. They raised the main and

let the wind take them where it would. Then as a teen he moved to Eugene and was on his

high school’s wrestling team. He described his coach’s advice to him- “As soon as you

shake hands, do a little spin and grab for the take down and pin, as your opponent is

expecting that you will do a few preliminary feints first”. Dean said that most of his pins

occurred in the first minute of the match. Ron Fish noted during our sail that maybe his

aggressiveness is why Dean has been so successful at the Thursday night races on

“Falcor”, his Wavelength 24. The Thursday Night Races are more intense than the

Tuesday Night Races. While Dean is very competitive he is also known for the help he

has given to those new to racing. He certainly made me feel welcome on his boat in spite

of my limited skills. He recently retired as a pilot for Monaco Coach and previously flew

for Eugene Skydivers.

Janet is in charge of catering and has done this for a number of years. Several years ago

Janet suggested that we prepare the meals in-house rather than go to an outside caterer.

We found this to be not only more economical but also realized that, in Janet, we had

someone with a real talent for preparing a unique and delicious spread. Janet starts many

months ahead in planning the meals and securing volunteers. Her preparation is very

thorough. When the volunteers arrive all the ingredients are laid out so that each

volunteer has a job and knows what to do.

As an aside, the Tuesday Night Race begins at 7:00 in the evening and the start is

announced by the blowing of a conch shell that Dean brought back from a bareboat

Caribbean cruise he and his wife, Janet, took a few years back. The race proceeds toward

an objective mark and at exactly half an hour into the race, the conch is blown again, and

all boats do a 180 degree back to the start line. The first over the finish line wins. My first

thought was that the slowest boat is the closest to the finish line at the half hour mark, so

it seems like the faster boats are penalized for sailing further on the first leg. But as Dean

and Ron explained that’s the point. If a slower boat can only get half way to the mark

during the first leg then it may not get to the finish line any quicker than the faster boats.

This then becomes a handicap that applies not only to the boat but also to the skipper, an

encouragement for new captains. After the race an informal BBQ of hot dogs and sides is

served with a donation to the “kitty”.

Anyone interested in the Tuesday Night Races should show up at the next Triton General

Meeting, member or not, and express an interest. Potential crew need not own a boat.

The Scuttlebutt: Dam Closing

(This post was originally written by Frank Patten on April 2nd 2016)

The title “Scuttlebutt” comes from 18th Century English Royal Navy usage and

refers to opening a seacock (scuttle) in a barrel (butt) and was the location where

sailors could get ready water and share gossip, sort of the equivalent of our office

water cooler.

Several years ago when I began sailing at Fern Ridge Lake I was mystified when a

number of sailors seemed so excited about the dam closing. I even remember

that a celebration was planned for this wonderful day. I'd always thought of a

closing as meaning that something was coming to an end, the fun was over.

What was happening, of course, was that the spillways were closing; the lake

would begin to fill, and the yearly ritual of following the Army Corps of Engineer’s

“Rule Curve” had begun.

The Rule Curve is the graphical representation of the Corps mandate to balance

recreational needs with flood control and farming requirements along the Long

Tom River. The spillways are opened or closed to coincide with the Rule Curve.

As of this writing we are slightly below the curve which means if we have a

normal spring rain we will reach full pool a little behind April 9th, the full pool

date. We are also at the level that the lake reached at its highest last year.

The anticipation of a full pool was felt at Triton’s last general meeting. Our new

board outlined an ambitious program for the coming year. A summary is included

in this newsletter. A very enthusiastic Charlie Johnson led the group in a

brainstorming session to consider ways we see as the direction Triton might take.

The board will distill these ideas and present them to the members in a near

future meeting.

The members spent some time on the topic of racing and cruising and the

relative effort spent on each activity. Some members would like to see more

energy given to cruising. My observation as a cruiser is that racing requires a lot

of group focus whereas cruising is something that is done mostly individually or

in small groups and the planning can go unnoticed. Our board is working to put

more emphasis on cruising and plans are being made to have a jungle cruise this

year. Matt, our commodore, pointed out that the format of our general meetings

will feature a more focused business portion of the meeting and more time to be

devoted to sharing an enjoyable meal that affords more opportunity for

comradeship. This last meeting was an example of this approach and with

Charlie at the grill, we all enjoyed hamburgers, a myriad of salads, and enough

cookies to make monsters of us all.

As one of our initiatives we are renewing our website. We envision the site as the

“go to” location for information concerning Triton events and Fernridge Lake

activities. This column will be one of the first on the site and will be refreshed

often during the sailing season. I plan to update the column with club activities

and summaries of meetings, information about the lake. I'd like to include profiles

not only of some of our members but also profiles of people who make decisions

concerning the lake.