Recreational, Competitive Sailing Attracts Many

Hang around people who sail very long and it becomes evident that sailing attracts those who are interested in personal growth and seek out challenges.
In Northeast Oklahoma there are nearly a dozen sailing and yacht clubs. These groups of people are eager to help others, are kind and intelligent and enjoy keeping traditions.
One of the largest sailing clubs is
the Windycrest Sailing Club on
Lake Keystone.
Windycrest, a nonprofit organization, was created 41 years ago. Windycrest provides a setting for one-design and handicap racing—as well as overnight cruising and day sailing —according to the club Web site.
There are seven fleets at Windycrest, including the Catalina 27 Fleet, the Catalina 22 Fleet, the Keelboat Handicap Racing Fleet, the Keelboat Cruising Fleet, the MC Scow Fleet, the Thistle Fleet and the Centerboard Handicap Fleet.
Windycrest raises money annually through its Multiple Sclerosis Regatta, according to Terry Dannar, vice commodore.
Last year, the club raised about $75,000, Dannar said.
Membership is about 250. The club has an “extensive” youth program, he said.
Windycrest offers an active racing schedule for six months of the year, from spring through fall.
“In addition to local club races, Windycrest hosts a number of invitational regattas throughout the year,” Dannar wrote in an e-mail.
Another of the larger clubs in the region is the Grand Lake Sailing Club.
Four years older than Windycrest, the club was known originally as the Port Grove Sailing Club, originally located near Sailboat Bridge in February 1962, said Cecelia Mayer, newsletter and Web site editor.
GLSC was renamed when it moved to its present location in Dilar Cove in August 1972.
Original members include Preston Pate, Jimmy Carter and Bill Burden.
Grand Lake Sailing Club has numerous traditions that continue today, Mayer said.
The first Blessing of the Fleet was held in 1986. It is a tradition that dates back to that of the Spanish / Portuguese sailors in the 16th century. Their ships were blessed before going out to an uncertain and frightening sea at the beginning of the sailing season, she said.
Another tradition is Die Hard Sail, which is held on Jan.1 of each New Year.
The first sail was 20 years ago in 1987.
“Many members consider it the best way to start a New Year—on the water with good friends,” Mayer said.
A very popular night sail, known as Moonlight Madness, takes place on a Saturday night in August nearest the full moon. Today the sail course is from the mouth of Honey Creek to Two Tree Island and back. The first Moonlight Sail was in June 1962 from Port Grove to Patricia Island, Mayer said.
The GLSC sponsors three regattas, the oldest of which is the Long Distance Classic, a 24-hour, 100-mile endurance regatta that was held for the first time in 1963.
It is thought to be the oldest long distance regatta on an inland lake.
Open to keel boats, participation ranges from 20-35 boats each year, she said.
Today, there are two sailing distances allowed, the 100 mile for the larger and faster sailboats and 50 mile for the smaller and slower sailboats. This is a full weekend of sailing under a variety of conditions as the regatta starts on Saturday at 10 am and ends on Sunday at 10 am.
In 1997, the first Carol Morton Regatta for Breast Cancer Awareness was held. Morton died in 1996 from breast cancer.
GLSC has raised more than $60,000 to date and has donated its funds to the Freeman Center in Joplin. Recently, the money was donated to a medical center in Grove that provides mammograms to underinsured and low-income women.
Another regatta is the Grand Cup Regatta, which was started by the Grand Lake Yacht Squadron.
This year for the first time, the Grand Cup will be organized by the Grand Lake Sailing Club and will be held on April 28.
Most members come from the four-state area.
The club has 86 slips for sailboats from 19 to 35 FT.
Membership ranges from 100 to 125 members, with the majority being regular members who own sailboats.
The Spindrift Sailing Club is located on Oologah Lake.
The club, founded in 1976, has 48 members and about 40 boats, said John Martin, commodore.
In 2005-06 we jumped to 55 members and 54 boats.
Spindrift SC works on charity events with Red Bud Marina, Martin said.
The club also has beginning youth sail days and works with Girl Scout, Boy Scouts and youth. ?

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