Many participating in the race camp out with their families Friday night on club premises, starting the weekend by fraternizing with other sailors early. The race itself starts Saturday.
Megan and Dave Ainsworth are two members looking forward to competing in the event. On Sunday, the owners of a vintage 17-foot mahogany sloop, (numbered 45 out of 4050 produced Thistles made in 1947), pushed off the OSC dock for an afternoon practice sail with their nephew Nathan Heauner, a sailor in the making.
Megan describes the Regatta as good natured, competitive fun, with races starting in the morning, and lunch on the water. Normally the Cruisers start their race first, then the Thistles and other classes, all sailing south against the backdrop of Otsego Lake and its surrounding hills. The event ends back at the club with dinner and shared sailing stories around a big bonfire.
The facility itself includes camp grounds, a club house complete with a kitchen, changing rooms and bathrooms labeled “gulls” and “buoys,” a launch as well as docks and moorings. Membership means mandatory participation in spring dock days to prepare for summer sailing, as well as in autumn activities for taking the boats out of the water and dry-docking. Belonging also means access to sailing programs.
The junior sailing program is for ages10 to 17, with the class size usually limited to 20 students. Typically, the beginners are taught in the mornings during the summer months, and advanced students in the afternoons. The students taking the advanced class must have completed one year of junior sailing.
Walker said OSC teachers are usually well-seasoned sailors “who are great at teaching their skills to young people.”
“They’re really good at making it fun for their students,” he said.
There is an adult sailing program taught on evenings and Saturday afternoons. The kids hone their expertise on small Laser sailboats. But don’t let the size of craft or sailor fool you, both kids and Lasers are out in full force for races on the lake.