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.