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All Catalina Gif

  All Catalina Fleet 69 

Lake Travis, Austin, Texas

 NEWS 

sunset

Upcoming events are on our fleet home page, http://www.catfleet69.org.

Note: Google changed the URLs for all the Google Picasa web album links, so many of the links in the news pages no longer "work."

November 2017 Autumn Flotilla Cruise: It was a pleasant Autumn day to go sailing, with temperatures in the low 70's and winds south 5-10. Four boats (C22, C25, C250, C30) and 13 sailors met at Starnes Island around noon and leisurely sailed to Arkansas Bend, North Cove. Leaves were starting to change and the park was closed for renovation, so the anchorage was scenic and peaceful. The blue heron was undisturbed by our presence until one of us caught a fish.  Lake level 670.2'. Water temp 69. We snacked on sandwiches, fruit, brownies, and pumpkin pie squares. The C25 and C250 stayed the night. No specific host.

November 2017 Meeting: "Sailing and Wellness".
Lizette gave us an energetic and informative presentation on how to be well and fit for our sailing activities. She talked about good nutrients and how important it is to drink water. Exercise, including stretching, is very important to maintain various parts that could be easily injured by repetitive or occasional stress. Yoga is a good way to maintain fitness, and she demonstrated a few poses for us. Everyone tried to do the back bend. After the program, we "surprised" Keith with cakes and candles to commemorate his 90th birthday. Happy Birthday, Keith! Keith and Sue are longtime members of Catalina Fleet 69 and sail a Catalina 27. He's been sailing since a youth. He has participated in Turnback Canyon regatta almost every year (maybe all.) 
(Notable quote mentioned by Sue: "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails." by William Arthur Ward.) There were 24 members in attendance. Lake level 670.23'.

We had nomination of officers (we forgot to vote!) for 2018: Commodore: James, Vice Commodore: Clay, Treasurer: Robert. Secretary: TBD. Cruise Chair: Lizette. Historians: Cheryl and Clay. Web: Cheryl.


October 2017: Oktoberfest 2017
, hosted by Diane and Mark, was a wunderbar success! 7 boats: C30, C270, 2-C25's, 2-C22's, and Columbia 7.5. Sailors: 18. We had all types of German foods & beverages. Sailing was good (5-9 kn) and swimming was fine (80 deg). Barry's Cove. Travis level 671.25'.

October 2017 Meeting:
UT Meteorologist Troy Kimmel talked to us about Wild Texas Weather. Excellent presentation. Thanks!

September 2017 Breakfast Cruise:
The annual tradition of the Catalina Breakfast Cruise continues, in one form or another. Many thanks to the 2017 Batter Blaster Team of Clay, Robert, and James for fantastic cruise. The challenge this year was to find a place that allowed comfortable and safe access from both land and water. Arkansas Bend Park is closed until end of 2018 for renovations. Sandy Creek Park is sloped and rocky at this lake level. Cypress Creek Park (great last year) is too shallow at lake level 672'. And Bob Wentz Park, next to Windy Point is too exposed for anchorage. So we had a 2 (or more) part cruise. On Saturday evening, 4 boats (C22, C22, C250, & C30) and 6 sailors anchored in Barry's Cove (map). We had grilled sausage, fried chicken, steak, and salads. And some beverages, adroitly served by Robert. The day and night temperatures and breezes where just right. Not too much and not too little (72-90 degrees, 0-12 knots).
On Sunday morning, we were up before the sun (7:25 am) and feasted on pancakes, scrambled eggs, bird's nests (not the real kind but eggs in a hole cut out of bread and grilled), and 2 types of sausage. And beverages. It was fantastic. After a swim, it was time to leave for the next part of the weekend event, which was a 11 am lunch at 
Ernie's on the Lake, which is near/in Emerald Point Marina near the high-lines. One boat sailed directly there, one went to AYC and drove, one sailed back to Cypress Creek, and another had other afternoon obligations. At Ernie's, there were 16 sailors and landlubbers. The service was great and the food was pretty good. The view of the lake was great. There's a very nice set of docks between the shoreline and a motor-boat marina. The entrance between the marina and the jetty looked narrow, but apparently a 36' sailboat can get in there. If the guest docks are too shallow (mentioned as a possibility), one can tie up to the long side of the marina. Note to fleet: we should add this to our list of places to sail to, just like we've done to Sandy Creek Marina. Also, it would have been possible for those with boats to come to the Saturday dinner or Sunday breakfast only. The numbers: 6 people on 4 boats overnight, 16 people & 1 boat at lunch, 18 participants, Lake level 671.5'.  

September 2017 Meeting:
"Journey of a Lifetime." During her 70th year, Linda participated in the challenging 41,000 nautical mile 2015-16 Clipper Round the World Race. http://clipperroundtheworld.com/ . This is a race of about a dozen 70-meter (75.5') steel ocean-racing yachts with 95' off-the-water masts. They start and finish in the UK, going around the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Leeuwin in Australia, and thru the Panama Canal. Not Cape Horn! It consisted of 14 races in 6 ocean crossings and they stopped in about 14 ports on 6 continents around the world along the way. While Linda has been sailing since she was 6, participants were not required to have any previous sailing experience. They went thru 4  weeks of safety and skills training before leaving in August 30, 2015. They finished on July30, 2016. Participants signed up for around the world or specific legs, but there were about 690 participants in all. It was exciting and exhilarating, to say the least. From beautiful sunsets & sunrises, to waves taller than the mast and challenging winds, the memories and friendships that were formed are golden. Read about her trip here: bandboat.wordpress.com.
Also, now that she has this experience and the desire to return to the sea, this past summer, she participated in the famous sailboat race,
Fastnet 2017!  608 miles, 4 days and 10 hours. Wikipedia's Fastnet_Race tells the basics. Cowes, England, by Land's End, around Fastnet Rock (off the coast of Ireland), and finishing at Plymouth. Thanks, Linda, for an informative and inspiring presentation!
More links: clipperroundtheworld.com/news/article/meet-the-crew-linda-mcdavitt, texasmonthly.com/the-culture/sailing-round-world-seventh-decade/, charity teamability.org/linda-around-the-world/, and more.
At the meeting, there were 26 attendees, including our guest speaker. Lake level 672.12' and water temperature 81..
 

August 2017 Cruise: Wok n Roll Land Cruise. Hosts Robert & Sheila and Clay & Norma.
This was the best ever Wok n Roll cruise, thanks to the incredible effort by Norma and her crew. We had Tofu Egg Rolls, Colorful Prawn Chips, BBQ Pork (Cantonese style), Steak with Green Peppers and Cashews, Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings, Seafood and Broccoli, Egg Fried Brown Rice, and White Rice. Also Broccoli Slaw with Ramen Noodles and Mandarin Oranges, green tea, Petits Pineapple Cakes, Almond cookies, and much more. There were 37 attendees, and better yet, we had a wonderful mixture of new and experienced members. We all enjoyed exchanging sailing stories and adventures. Who sailed where when and how? Plus, Blackbeard the Pirate himself showed up and "knighted" one of our members with a saber and eye patch. It was a wonderful time and many thanks to all, especially our hosts, for a wonderful evening. Temperature at 6:00 pm was 100 degrees. Lake Level was 673.14'.

August 2017 Meeting: Preparing a Cruising boat for Cruising, by Steve and Meri. 
It was an informative Q&A session in which they talked about the work they have been doing on their beautiful Island Packet 38. The boat was in excellent condition, but like most used boats, she required some work to make her into a reliable live-aboard boat. She is currently on a dry-dock cradle in Florida, looking forward to blue-water sailing soon! Attendees: About 25, including guest Pete R, who used to be a sail-maker. Lake level was 673.94.

July 2017 Bastille Day Cruise:
Even though it hadn't rained for a month, the rain and lightning decided to pay a visit to Lake Travis on our usual cruise day. The theme was Bastille Day and all things French. There were three boat-crews, including 2 at AYC (C30 and C270) and a C25 at Lake Travis Lodges Marina. The 2 AYC boats waited at AYC to see if the storms would blow over in good time, but they did not. So we first gathered underneath the AYC clubhouse to discuss plans. Meanwhile there was to be a race, but it was abandoned because of the weather. When the front came in with full force (28 mph wind) we moved upstairs to the clubhouse and set up the cruise event there. We had several quiche dishes, Salade Nicoise, sparkling beverages, wine, bread, fruit, donuts, sushi, and many types of cheese. All delicious. We enjoyed the camaraderie and after a while, the cooled down temperatures made for pleasant outdoor seating. The C25 had plans to go to Barry's Cove and spend the night, and got there early, before any storms. They had the cove to themselves, endured the wind, rain, and lightning, and returned safely to their marina. We'll declare there were 3 boats and 13 cruise participants. Lake Travis level was 675.09'.

July 2017 Meeting: 28 attendees, including one guest. Lake level 675.41'. We watched the film "Sailing the World Alone." This documentary was about the 1994 - 1995 BOC Challenge race in which 20 sailors from various countries sailed solo around the world, starting from Charleston, S.C.   Many boats sustained severe damage, and unfortunately, one man was lost at sea and never recovered.  It was an excellent documentary, and you can learn more about it here:
June 2017 
Flor de Caña: The Flor de Caña Cruise is always a popular cruise for Fleet 69. This year was no exception. Twenty-three sailors arrived on 8 boats, including 6 Catalinas, a Columbia 7.6, and a Sunfish. Hosts Robert and Sheila did an outstanding job with food and beverages, and attendees pitched in with delicious dishes and more. Traditional hosts Salvador and Nina were unable to attend, but based on the photos, a few attendees tried extra hard to make them proud. It was around 90 degrees so most went for a swim. Others sailed the Sunfish, thanks to Louise. Coyoacan came to her first cruise in over 2 years! She's beautiful. We were in Barry's Cove, Lake level 679.7. Winds light to moderate. A beautiful day.

June 2017 Meeting: The rebuilding of Catalina 22 Coyoacan.
In the second installment of this series, James presented a slide show on the many wonderful things did to restore "El Coyoacan" over the last 2.5 years. After an incredible amount of effort, precision, and dedication, and amazing support and patience by his wife the boat was launched at AYC on June 2. From bow to stern, from top of the mast to the bottom of the keel, every part was carefully examined, restored, and/or improved. Even the trailer was extensively repaired and improved with useful features. James thanked several fleet members for their support and assistance throughout this effort. The hard work paid off, as the shiny nautical-black-hulled boat is gorgeous. Now they can reap the benefits, i.e. go sailing, of all the hard work and dedication. A couple of fleet members are going thru medical issues, and we wish them well and look forward to their return to fleet activities. Meeting attendees, all members: 17. Lake level: 679.81'.


May 2017 Turnback Canyon Regatta & Cruise:
Repeating the success of 2016, Turnback Canyon Regatta participants returned to Lago Vista. Three fleet boats with six members
raced or sailed on Saturday to Lago Vista, anchored overnight, partied at Lago Vista’s event in the park called “ Lago Fest” (Lagofest.com)  and sailed or motored back to AYC on Sunday. At Lago Vista there were food trucks, 3 bands, and a good place to compare the day's sail. Fleet member Diane did an excellent job managing the regatta. At Lago Vista, one fleet car with 2 members hosted an information table about sail training opportunities at AYC. 8 fleet members participated. In the entire regatta, there were 52 boats. Weather was nice on Saturday and Catalinas arrived in about 4 or 5 hours (20 miles). On Sunday, the wind was light to non-existent, so many motored back. Trophies were presented and then the traditional storms arrived.

May 2017 Cruise: Cinco de Mayo.
On the 13th of May we celebrated Cinco de Mayo in Barry's Cove. James and Sarah prepared a delicious marinated pork butt and beans while others brought themed sides. Winds were light but several managed to sail to and from. The heat was on so several went swimming while the mariachi music played. There were six boats, 17 sailors. Co-hosts Diane & Mark provided the host boat and brought a special surprise guest (see photos). Lake level 679.45'. It was a great day to be on the water to sail, swim, eat and enjoy the camaraderie of Fleet 69. Muchas Gracias to our hosts !

May 2017 meeting:
"Weather for Sailors," presented by a former Air Force pilot and avid sailor who is keenly aware of challenges we sailors face when we sail. We learned all about the various cloud formations, what they indicate, and what they forecast. Thanks to Joe for an excellent presentation. 22 attendees. Lake level 679.63'.

April 2017 Easter Egg Cruise:
Todd and Patti had a clever idea for a cruise that combined a Sailing Scramble on the water with patronizing a new restaurant on the lake, where the landlubbers could join the on-the-water sailors. On the water there were 4 boats and 11 sailors, including 3 competing boats with 9 sailors. Todd dropped 9 sets of plastic balls attached with string into the water, and the competitors picked up the balls with book hooks. When one ball and string, a competitor wound the string on the pole like a piece of spaghetti. All attempted to retrieve the lonely ball with a bucket, but alas, there was one lost bucket and ball. Prizes were chocolate bunnies, appetizers, and drinks. On the shore, we met at the newly installed
"Shack 512" restaurant at the Sandy Creek Marina, where Cafe Blue and Nik's used to be. (Which was quite busy and the docking space was crowded with power boats.) There were 23 in attendance at the restaurant. The landlubbers went on a land-based Easter Egg hunt and found eggs with jelly beans and coupons for appetizers and drinks. That is, unless the kids got there first. It was all great fun! Air 82 degrees, water 68 degrees, wind 7-14 mph. Lake level 681.1'.

April 2017:
Sea Shanties with Joy and Lane. This favorite meeting program subject was offered in memory of our favorite Shanty-mam, Caryl P. Weiss, singer and song-writer in the Admiral in the Texas Navy. We learned about the various types of music and rhythms that were sung during specific tasks on a sailing vessel, such as running the capstan, raising the sails, pumping the bilge pump, or spending time in the fo'c's'le. We all listened and sang, and had a great time. Many thanks to our singers. There were 26 in attendance, including one repeat-guest. After rain earlier in the week, the lake reached 681.6' and by the time the meeting was over, the level was 681.3'.

March 2017 Meeting: French Canal Cruise. For the program this month, Steve and Akiko showed interesting pictures and videos and told stories about their October boat cruise on the Canal du Midi (wiki) in the southwest of France. They chartered from Le Boat a 36' (13' beam) river boat that was comfortably set up with 2 cabins and 2 heads. In ten days, they traveled 98 miles, passing through 63 locks, dropping 579 feet overall to the Mediterranean Sea. The largest single drop was 44'. They took the train from Paris to Bordeaux to Toulouse and to Castelnaudary, where they got their boat. Speed limit was 5 mph. Along the way they saw Carcasonne (Medieval fortress, the highlight of the trip). They tied the boat up each night and visited towns such as Trebes, Homps, and Beziers. They ended the charter in Port assafieres, where they rented a car and stopped in Lyon on their way back to Paris. They recommend this trip, but with few locks and shorter distance, so one can better enjoy the towns in the daytime. 25 meeting attendees. Lake level 682.14' with temperature 62 degrees.

February 2017 Catalina Chili and Chocolate Cruise: It was a beautiful February day, with a high temp of 88 degrees and south winds between 10 and 15. Just perfect for an afternoon on the lake, now at 682.5'. Two boats sailed around and met in Barry's Cove. There were 4 on the Catalina 25 and 7 on the Catalina 30 for a total of 11. We enjoyed both mild and spicy Chili, thanks to Joy and Cindy. We had brownies, chocolate cake, frosted brownies, chocolate wine, chocolate almonds, and bread. Add to that, lots of conversations and friendships. We sailed back to our marinas, either on the helms or winches, or enjoying the sun, wind, and waves. Many thanks to hosts Lane, Mary, Joy and Joe for a memorable cruise on a enjoyable afternoon.

February 2017 Meeting: Celestial Navigation.
Todd gave an excellent presentation on Celestial Navigation by starting with the basics and continuing into more advanced subjects, so that everyone in the meeting could understand at one level or another. For example, Dead Reckoning and other pieces of knowledge, such as how to measure time and speed, were early requirements for navigation. Where are the planets tonight and what will their positions tell you about your latitude ? Where is Polaris (North Star) or the Southern Cross? How can you know the precise time (GMT) on a boat that is damp and rocking? Many thanks for expanding our horizons. In attendance were 32, including one guest. Lake level 682.8'.

January 2017: Sandwich Cruise.
It was a foggy day with temperatures in the 50's, but the wind was gentle and made for fun "winter time" sailing. It was a 3-5 layer day and we stayed warm. The food theme was "Sandwiches and Snacks." Two boats, six sailors.  We watched the AYC Frostbite race and enjoyed sailing around. For après sail, we went to Los Pinos.
Lake level 682.9'.

January 2017:
This month's meeting was about Planning for the Year. We had active discussions on what we would like to learn and do. See the calendar page for a draft of what we discussed. If you have more suggestions, talk to one of our officers or cruise chairperson. There were 33 members in attendance. Lake level at the meeting was 682.93'. On the first of January, the lake level was 681.7'. In 2016, it was 676.77. In 2015 it was 623.24. In 2014 it was 628.59. In 2013 it was 631.07. In 2012 it was 626.52.

December 2016:
We had a fantastic holiday party at AYC on Saturday, 12/10/2016. There were 48 attendees, including 4 guests and some new members. Many thanks to the organizer, Diane; meat smoker and carver, Joe; decorators Cindy and Joy, and many many others who volunteered to set up and clean up.
Congratulations to Joe, who received the Stough Award! And congratulations to our new officers for 2017!
Co-Commodores, Joe and James, VC John G, Treasurer Robert (returning for his 11th year on the job), and Secretary Cindy. Cruise Chairperson will be Lizette. Cheryl and Clay will continue as co-historians.
For the record, the Lake level was 681.7'. Temps were in the 50's. It was a great evening to be by the lake.

November 2016 Cruise to Sundancer Grill, Hurst Creek. Organized by Diane. It was an unseasonably warm November day (80 degrees) with winds 5-9, better than the forecast. Two boats and 8 sailors (6+2) sailed to the Sundancer Grill in Hurst Creek. 11 sailors went by car for a total of 17 attendees. We dined on blue-burgers, shrimp and grits, salads, etc, while overlooking the Sail and Ski Marina at a lovely lake level 682.5'. There was a nice dock (to the far right as entering the harbor) for visitors.

November 2016 Meeting: "Racing the Pacific Cup, San Francisco to Hawaii." Justin and
Chris sailed in the Pacific Cup Regatta, the "FUN Race" from San Francisco to Hawaii, twice, in 2014 and 2016. He showed photos and exciting videos of their races. The first race was in their J/120 (40') named Shearwater. It was not your typical image of a J; it looked quite comfortable and took 13 days for the trip. Wanting to go faster, they bought a custom Schumacher 28, a very sleek and downwind-fast sailboat, and named her Spadefoot. Conditions were quite different, bigger waves and higher winds this time, making for an strenuous adventure of 11 days. Go to this website and watch the movie he presented and read more at  http://www.svshearwater.com/.  It was a most fascinating tale of experiences.  Awesome to see and hear. Thanks.

October 2016 Kemah Galveston Cruise:
On October 29 and 30, Catalina Fleet 69 chartered a Hunter 42 mid-cockpit sailboat from Sea Venture in Kemah, and cruised on Galveston Bay. Nine sailed on Saturday, 8 on Sunday, for a total of 10 participants. Weather was unseasonably warm, in the 80's. Winds were 5 to 12, East to SE. There was much to see, including J-Fest, a regatta of J-boats ranging size from 22' to 35'. There were also  fishing boats, barges, cargo ships, dredgers, diving pelicans, the Beast, cruisers, and the Texas White House. We ate at Joe Lee's on Friday and Baytown Seafood on Saturday. A fantastic time was had by all. We missed those who wanted to come but could not.
Many thanks to John G for making this happen! Travis level was 680'.


October 2016 Long Distance Cruise:
Host: Robert. Since the level of Lake Travis is at a recent high of 680.3', the goal for this cruise was to sail and/or motor up the lake, past Lago Vista and past the area where the Pedernales flows into Travis. The plan was to meet near Starnes Island at before noon on Friday and start sailing to the cove at Lago Vista, channel marker 30. On Saturday, the destinations could be Turkey Bend, at channel marker 45, on the north shore, or Cow Creek, aka Turnback Canyon, at channel marker 32 on the north shore. Sail back on Sunday. Two boats participated, a C250 and C22, and two sailors, Robert and Clay. One boat went to Cow Creek, up the Pedernales River, and to the Gnarly Gar, which is across from Lakeway. The other boat sailed to Lago Vista on Friday and back on Saturday. Participants said there were waterfalls, pretty shorelines, ghosts, birds, and wildlife. Weather was perfect, with highs near 80 and lows in the 50's. Travis level 680'.

In reality, the Friday destination was Cow Creek. The cruise then went up the lake and into the Pedernales River. (p.s. watch out for power line). Saturday night was at the dock at the Gnarly Gar (They have plenty of guest slips, tho check on the size and availability. They also serve Sunday breakfast and brunch.) Two boats and 2 skippers participated, and additional photos and details will be aded as they are known.


October 2016 Meeting: More Places We Have Cruised.
Led by Co-Commodore John, starting with some slides. Lake level 680.79. The program consisted of mostly verbal reports by various members who had sailed in locations described in the book. Places included  sailing experiences in the 1970’s in Sai Kung bay and crewing a race on Hong Kong harbor. Ocean navigation sailing class in Tahiti. Motor charter in the Channel Islands from Vancouver to Desolation Sound. Others described the beautiful rugged coastline scenery and sea wildlife such as Orcas that were seen while cruising from Vancouver to Alaska and the San Juan Islands. Another recounted her trip to Antarctica and visit Terra Del Fuego. Another recalled seeing Thailand beaches and islands from the air during a Vietnam tour of duty. Another shared impressions from their cruise among the islands of Stockholm, Sweden. Only member present had visited New Zealand. In short, it's clear that the Fleet 69 members have been to a large number of the great places to sail described in the book!.

September 2016 Cruise: Breakfast Batter Blasters.
Once again, this was our Best Ever Breakfast Cruise. Many thanks to the Batter Blaster team of Joe, Clay, Robert, and John. The lake is near "full", so it was a good opportunity to try a Travis County Park that is closer to town, Cypress Creek Park. (map). For those coming by boat, it was fairly easy to drop a stern anchor, pull up to shore, and step onto large rocks on the shoreline. On shore there were picnic benches and we set up a shade tent. Several came on Saturday and spent the night on their boats. Nice sunset, waxing moon, and lots of stars. It was not too hot and not too cold. In the morning, more sailors arrived by boat and by car. The cooks fired up the grills and cooked pancakes, sausage, and eggs. Attendees brought toppings (walnuts, blueberries, real maple syrup), fruits, juices, cheesecake, coffee, beverages, and more. There were 7 boats (6 overnight), 30 sailors (10 overnight), and 3 dogs. Lake 680.9'.

September 2016 Meeting:
Coastal Navigation with a workshop plus a mini workshop on knots. By Capt Gary. USCG 100 Ton Licensed & Certified ASA Instructor. With a detailed packet of handouts, Gary went over the skills needed to sail beyond the visible horizon, using navigational techniques of Dead Reckoning, Plotting a Compass Course, shooting a Bearing on a tower or light, using charts and a compass rose, and using Parallel Rules and Dividers. We practiced using real nautical charts, making variations from Magnetic North from True North. What are the colors and shapes for the navigational buoys? Even nuns get embarrassed (red.) Odd cans are green. Some are striped, vertically and horizontally. The top color indicates the main channel. For those who were interested in tying knots, we will also had a mini-workshop on the bowline knot, stopper knot, Deck Cleat knot, Reef Knot, Clove hitch, two half hitch & slip hitch knots and more. It was a quick overview of complex topics, but it served as a review, reminder, or introduction for fleet members. Thanks, Gary. Attendees: 26 members, no guests. Lake Level 680.94' (the graph).

August 2016 Land/Lake Cruise, "Jump In." On the day before the cruise/party, it was 105 degrees in Austin and (in most opinions) too hot to sail.  In August we often have a "Land Cruise." If it is near the lake, so much the better. This year's event was hosted by new members and gracious hosts, Lydia and John. It was an unusually rainy and cooler day. (This August is the rainiest ever in Austin.) Thirty fleet members and guests attended We feasted on John's brined, smoked, and pulled pork, and attendees' delicious sides. We talked about the Olympics in Rio, discussed more than just 50 places to sail in the world, and enjoyed the camaraderie of a friendly and fun fleet. Many thanks to our hosts! Robert won the door prize, a night at a B&B on the lake! Attendees: 30. Lake level 678'. A link to the photos was emailed to members.

August 2016 Meeting:
We have a fun and interesting meeting based on the book,"50 Places to Sail before you Die". (2007, Chris Santella). We had a slide show, photo albums, and lots of interesting discussions on all the places fleet members have sailed. It's an impressive list, covering most continents and many, many countries. We didn't cover them all, so we will likely continue this theme next month, along with a discussion of where we would like to go next. Attendance was 34, including 2 guests. Lake level 677.97'.

July 2016 Picnic Cruise: Pot Luck. 4 boats, 2 cars, 13 sailors. Nice south breeze for sailing and keeping cool. We sailed to the Sandy Creek Marina
(website) for swimming, having a picnic, and swapping stories. Nik's on the Lake opens this week. Lake level 680.1'. Water temp 84. Air temp 100. Photos.

July 2016 Meeting: Common situations that could require a tow. The scheduled speaker could/did not come so Co-Commodore Gary filled in with a talk about his experiences, and then opened it up to members for discussion .  We covered the following subjects: running aground, retrieving a stuck anchor, managing a leak in the hull, and getting help if you don’t have a radio or phone. 19 attendees. Lake level 680.25'.

June 2016 Cruise:  9th Annual Flor de Caña Cruise. Barry's Cove (map). This year it was hosted by Robert, Mark & Diane. Traditionally hosted by Salvador and Nina. Senor Roberto made his famous Nicaraguan shredded pork tacos, Argentinian beans, and grilled plantains. Senor Marko made his famous blackened tomato salsa from home grown tomatoes, Senora Akiko made her famous flan, and Don Stephen made Nicaraguan Empanadas. Everything was delicious, along with sides such as fruit, chips, upside down pineapple pie, and hummus. Suggestions. There was also cola and rum.
Winds were light getting there, so most of us motored most of the way. Afterwards, there was more wind in the 5-10 range, so many of us raised the sails. At the raft-up, we sought shade and the cool waters in the 90 air temperature heat. 6 boats (C25, C25, C25, C250, C27, C30), 18 people. Lake level 682.75'. Photos.

June 2016 Meeting: China’s Maritime Disputes, by Todd, Maritime History Lecturer.The History of this conflict and the US’s Pivot to Asia. Here are some additional references: 11-dash line,” SuzeraintyUnited Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. 29 attendees, including 3 guests. Lake Level 692' and falling, and closed until noon on Friday, 6/10/16.

May 2016 Cruise: Turnback Canyon Regatta. For the first time in 5 years (2011), thanks to the (more than) full lake level, this popular regatta "got back" to Lago Vista. On Saturday, over 60 boats sailed 20 miles up the lake in moderate southerly winds (reaching and downwind) to Bar-K Park in Lago Vista. It took 4 hours for the Catalina 30s. We anchored our boats, tied to shore, swam to cool off, and went to Lago Fest, which included plenty of  food (BBQ, Mexican, Cajun) and music (including the Beatles cover band, The Eggmen). After an entertaining lightning show to the north, rain storms rolled in, and sailors retired to their boat cabins, tents, or other accommodations. On Sunday, the upwind sail was challenging with light and shifty SE winds and power boats everywhere. The race course was shortened at LCRA Marker 14, near Hurst Creek. That was 4.5 hours in a C30. Race participation included 3 fleet boats and 5 fleet members (should have been 6, ask Clay.) At Lago Fest, there 11 fleet members and family/friends. Lake level 684'. Photos.

May 2016 Meeting:  "Basic Navigation and Piloting - a Path to Earn Your ASA-105 Certification," by Captain Harry, who is an ASA 101, 103, 104, 105, and 106 instructor and a US Sailing Small Boat Sailing Instructor Level 1. This was a very informative presentation on Navigation, Cruising locations, Useful tools and references, and opportunities for expanding knowledge and gaining certifications. He has led navigation courses on boats in the Caribbean twice a year for many years. Students on board take on the serious roles of Captain, Helms-person, Navigator, and Engineer, all in rotation so everyone gets experience and testing on navigation, including night-time.
Basics: Where am I and how do I get to where I want to go?
Types of Navigation: Line of Sight, Dead Reckoning, GPS, and Celestial. All are important, and it is also important to gather information from multiple sources, to verify & correlation for accuracy. Do not depend on the GPS alone. Confirm your position with the depth. Get your head out of the boat. Work well with the team.
References:
U.S. Chart No. 1 describes the symbols, abbreviations and terms used on all NOAA, NGA and international nautical charts, as well as the symbols used to portray NOAA ENC® charts on ECDIS. http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/mcd/chartno1.htm
How to Read a Nautical Chart, by Nigel Calder. amazon.com/How-Read-Nautical-Chart-Understanding/dp/0071779825
The Weekend Navigator, by Bob Sweet. amazon.com/Weekend-Navigator-2nd-Robert-Sweet/dp/0071759964. Read what the the U.S. Power Squadron and the U.S. Coast Guard trust as the definitive authority on electronic navigation.
Attendees: 17, including 16 members, 1 guest, including our speaker.

April 2016 Cruise: Olympics Scramble Cruise. We met North of D Marker near Barry’s Cove and Starnes Island. A temporary buoy was set up for On-the-Water Events, including being on time, hailing on the radio, sailing around the buoy, and heaving too. We then went to Barry's Cove for the following events: anchoring, rope toss, crew starting the engine, finding first aide kit, finding and properly putting on life jackets. All this included snacks and sandwiches. Many thanks to our hosts, Todd & Patti, Robert & Sheila. Sunny, light air, but we managed to sail anyways. Six boats, including 5 sailboats and a power boat. 14 people. Lake level 684' (or almost). Photos: on Picasa, on Google.

April 2016 Meeting: "Amazing Restorations of Older Catalina 22's" by Jon F and James D.

March 2016 St Patrick's Irish Green Cruise: The Luck of the Irish was upon us as we had a beautiful March day for sailing. Five boats and 18 sailors enjoyed the afternoon in Barry's Cove. We had Irish stew, Corned beef sandwiches, Green bars & cookies, Irish veggies, and more. Temps were in the 70's and winds around 10. Co-hosts were Steve, Cheryl, Cindy & Paul. A fun time was had by all. Lake level was 679.43' (and rising to 681' one week later.) Photos.

March 2016 Meeting: Co-Commodores Gary and John talked about Polynesian Navigators.  Starting around 1500 BC, sailing was a key part of the Polynesian culture. They sailed to South America, North America, Indonesia, Easter Island. Historians have found corresponding languages, food, etc. all over. They used the sun and stars to navigate. Also, proximity to islands was determined by winds and clouds (Color reflections off of islands), waves and swells, birds (40 miles from island if small) and fish. Notches on boat that line up with the stars and the circle (latitude.) Paid attention to where they had been. Canoe had a spiritual connection.
In 1976, a group decided to recreate the Polynesian sail from Hawaii to Tahiti. They had help by a master navigator. The Hōkūleʻa was the name of the sailboat. In 2007, the Polynesian Navigation Society graduated 17 Master Navigators.
* For an excellent presentation on this subject titled "Never Lost," go to and study http://www.exploratorium.edu/neverlost/ .
* Read about the Hōkūleʻa  and the Polynesian Voyaging Society: http://www.hokulea.com/. The site has numerous interesting links. It was built in Honolulu, Hawaii and launched on March 8, 1975.  It is now approaching Cuba after having sailed over 140,000 nautical miles across the Pacific. Length: 62 feet,  Width: 20 feet.  Hōkūleʻa is the Hawaiian name for the star Arcturus.
* Mau Piailug, was navigator from a small island called Satawal, in Micronesia. He was key in the education of Polynesian Navigation. Here is a video tribute to him, complete with chants: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGzc38ODWEg.
* Learn about the 32-point Star Compass: http://pvs.kcc.hawaii.edu/ike/hookele/on_wayfinding.html.

February 2016 Valentine's Cruise: Our newly engaged couple and sweethearts, Lane and Mary, hosted this cruise in Barry's Cove. Reports say that there were 5 boats and 19 people in attendance. They told stories of first sailing adventures with sweethearts. High was 71 and southerly winds were 5-12 with early gusts to 17. Lake level 677.6'. photos

February 2016 Meeting: Sailing Photography. Bill R is a professional photographer and an active member of the Austin Yacht Club. He has combined those skills and takes many photos of the regattas and kids programs at the club. He proceeded to show us great photos of many regattas, kids, races, and close ups of participants.
His advice when photographing is to put the camera away between 10am and 4 or 5 pm. The light is more interesting before or after those times. He prefers photos that are 2x3 format. For Junior and other sailors, remember "Tiller Towards the Trouble." There were 4 photos entered in the contest although there was no clear “ winner” announced. 20 members attended. Lake level 677.6' and steady. No rain since January 6.

January 2016 Bloomin' Cedar Fever Cruise: On a sunny and cool January day, 3 boats and 7 sailors sailed to Barry's Cove and rafted up. It was a very pleasant day to be on the lake, with very few boats around. Even tho the temps were in the 50's, the winds were light and we did not feel cold. We enjoyed hot chocolate, hot tea, hummus dip with veggies, Alouette dip and crackers, chocolate liqueurs, brownies, and shrimp. There was no specific host. Lake level is a beautiful 677.5' and steady. Photos.

January 2016 Meeting: Officers for 2016 are as follows: Co-Commodores Gary and John G. VC James. Treasurer Robert. Secretary includes a crew of 12, coordinated by Cheryl. Appointed positions include Cruise Director Diane and Historians Cheryl and Clay. The meeting was held at Mangia's on Mesa. Attendance included 32 members. Lake level 677.35. Gary led the meeting, Kimberly took minutes. The program was to talk about what program topics and cruise themes (and dates) we'd like to have this year. Many ideas were bounced around. The calendar will be updated when specifics are determined. It was a great start to the new year.


December 2015: Fleet Holiday Party. On a relatively warm and humid evening, 40 members met at the Austin Yacht Club to celebrate the past year, renew acquaintances, and look forward to the coming year. For the record, 46 were originally expected, 40 attended appetizers, 36 had dinner, and 34 were there for the gift exchange. The Catalina 22 Fleet 69 (racing at AYC) was also included. Several fleet members belong to both Catalina Fleets. Ten attendees are members of AYC. Cheryl coordinated the event with decorations by Diane, Kimberly, and Cindy. Joe and Robert prepared the meats. Co-Commodore Steve led the recognitions. Last year's Stough Award recipient Diane awarded the 2015 Stough Award to Steve and Akiko. Congratulations! Read all about it here. Many many thanks to all the Fleet Contributors in 2015. Photos. Lake level 674.7'.

November 2015 on Lake Travis Cruise: One boat braved the threat of rain and went sailing. In spite of the forecasts of a 40% chance of rain, there was essentially none. It was cloudy and cool, with temps in the 60's, and winds were light. One boat, not sure how many crew. Say 4. Lake level 671.5.

November 2015 Kemah / Galveston Bay Cruise Weekend was planned for Saturday and Sunday, November 7 & 8. Twelve participated. On Friday we did the pre-charter walk-thru of "Paradise," a 42' Hunter center-cockpit sailboat from Windward Sea Ventures, based in Kemah. Friday Dinner (Nov 6) at Joe Lee's was an excellent choice by our "local knowledge expert."
On Saturday the forecast and result were cold (60's), windy (gusts in the 20's), and rainy. We went shopping, eating, and touring. Went to the new location of Boaters' Resale and found good bargains. Went to West Marine, of course. Lunch at T-Bone Tom's. Some of us went to the San Jacinto Monument and the Battleship Texas. Others tried to go to Galveston to see the Elissa, but it was closed because of the motorcycle rally. Dinner was at Baytown Seafood in La Porte.
On Sunday, we were ready for sailing. It was a perfect day with temps in the 60's and sunny to partly cloudy. Winds in the teens. We sail up towards the cruise ship channel and observed a cruise ship preparing to depart. Did not see any dolphins and even the pelicans were rather sparse this day.
Sunday dinner was Monument Inn.
Monday, we had ten. Winds were lighter but we had expert light-air sailors aboard, so we found the wind and had another fun day of sailing.
Some then left for home, and the remaining 6 had dinner at an Italian restaurant that is popular with the astronauts, Frenchies.
Many many thanks to
John G, who was the organizer, skipper, and boat charterer of record. And thanks to all who participated! Lake Travis level 671.1. Photos.
November 2015 Meeting:
The Speaker was Flotilla Commander of the U.S. Coast Guard, Berhilo Galvan. He had some interesting stories about safety and rescues of Lake Travis and the Highland lakes. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed, all-volunteer component of the United States Coast Guard. The Auxiliary was created by an Act of Congress in 1939. The Auxiliary conducts safety patrols on local waterways, assist in Search and Rescue, teach boating safety classes, conduct free vessel safety checks for the public, provide boating safety literature to dealers, as well as many other activities related to recreational boating safety. The Coast Guard considers the Auxiliary its primary resource for recreational boating safety outreach and prevention.
Gary led nominations and elections of 2016 officers. Co-Commodores: Gary and John G. VC: James. Treasurer: Robert. Secretary: A crew, one per month.
Attendees: 22. Lake level: 671.5. 

October 2015 Mediterranean Competition Cruise: The first-ever Catalina Mediterranean Travis cruise included boats from France, Montenegro, Gibraltar, Lebanon, Greece, Morocco, Slovenia, and Spain. Each boat was decorated and crews brought food, costumes, decorations, music, and knowledge of their countries. Nick & Jessica were the judges (They are the proprietors of Cafe Malta, a Mediterranean Restaurant in Southwest Austin & well traveled Mediterranean explorers.). Competition was tight but Mark and Diane of Morocco were the winners. Many thanks to our hosts Steve and Akiko for this clever and fun idea. There were 8 boats, 2 cars, 24 fleet members, and 2 guests. We met at Sandy Creek Marina. Travis lake level was 665.7' and falling. Near record temperatures were in the 90's and winds were light. Photos.

October 2015 Meeting: Chuck Wheeler of The Sailboat Shop talked about on the season that was and what is trending. Lake level 665.8'. 25 attendees, including our speaker.

September 12-13, 2015 Breakfast Batter Blaster Cruise: It had been 5 years since we've had a breakfast cruise at Arkansas Bend, North Cove (map) and it was great to be back. Many thanks to our Batter Blaster Team, Joe, Clay, John, Robert, and Joy. At lake level 667.4', there was plenty of water. Each boat dropped a stern anchor, tied the bow up to shore, and some were close enough to allow cruisers to step off the bow onto the shore. We also had a LBRB (Little Bitty Rubber Boat) that served well for transporting people and things. The weather could not be better, as a break in the hot (upper 90's) weather dropped 10 degrees day and night, and there was a nice breeze. Saturday: There were 5 boats and 7 sailors. There was also a truck and trailer with grill, cooker, and smoker. For dinner we grilled burgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, chili, and steak. There were also educational aspects to the cruise. We used our VHF radios to communicate while boats were under way. As boats approached the cove, sailors on land and sea used signal mirrors to communicate. After sunset, we enjoyed the lights of the stars and airplanes. Steve used a flashlight beam to point to constellations, planets, and bright stars. Binoculars were also used. Overnight, the temps dropped into the 60's but the warm lake water (85 degrees) kept us warm. In the morning, 11 more sailors arrived in 1 boat and 5 cars. Total attendance was 18 with 6 boats and 6 vehicles. Driving to the park is fairly easy: https://goo.gl/maps/VWMbe and driving directions. The Batter Blaster Team cooked up eggs, pancakes, bacon, little smokies, and served syrup, orange juice, coffee, and mimosas. Others brought fruit (including Akiko's beautiful fruit tray), bagels, breads, and more coffee. We enjoyed it all under the tent and in a circle of folding chairs. Afterwards, the boat people went for a swim. Then, we all enjoyed a delightful sail back to our marinas. Many many thanks to our hosts and everyone involved. Let's do it again! Photos.

September 2015 Meeting: Our speaker and fleet member, John G, presented a slide show of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) and the Tall Ships in Philadelphia this summer. At the CBMM they saw various boats that are unique to the east coast such as the skip-jacks, a flat bottom boat used to harvest oysters and a log canoe. The Tall Ships Festival in Philadelphia main attraction was the French ship replica L'Hermione sailed by Lafayette in the Revolutionary War. The warship was 217 feet long, 40 feet wide with a draft of 16 feet and could reach 13 knots speed with all sails being used, and had 32 cannons. Lafayette and his navy played a major part in the Revolutionary War blockade of Chesapeake Bay and the defeat of the British. Tied along the shore of the Delaware River were a 16th century galleon replica; the "Eagle" a coast guard boat built in 1937; the battleship "The New Jersey" which saw action in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf retired in 1991; a 1925 wooden gaff rigged schooner, and restoration of 1888 Elf and a copy of the 1812 "Lynx," a privateer ship. The "Sagres" departed for Portugal under full sail from the docks. Quite impressive. Pointers: The Philadelphia-Camden Tall Ships Festival 2015, Philadelphia Independence Seaport Museum, and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museumtallshipsphiladelphia.com/ships/ .
There were 24 attendees, including 2 guests and new owners of a Catalina, Karen & Dale. Welcome! Lake level is 667.5' and falling.
p.s. Watch out for the power lines over Lake Travis. Details here.


August 2015 Wok n Roll Land Cruise.
It was hot and the winds are light in August, so Norma and Clay cooked up a storm of Chinese dishes at the home of Robert and Sheila. This was the 8th time they have put on this buffet of Chinese delights for the fleet. We had tofu and vegetables egg rolls, prawn chips, Cantonese roast duck, BBQ Pork (Char Siu), sweet and sour chicken wings, pepper steak with cashew nuts, shrimp and seafood with vegetables, fried brown rice with Chinese Sausage, steamed Jasmine rice, fortune cookies, almond cookies, Oolong Tea. Attendees brought appetizers, salads, and desserts. There were 33 attendees. Lake level 669.4'. Photos.

August 2015 Meeting: Capt. Greg, Rear Admiral of the Austin Sailing Society, gave us a talk on anchoring. He not only talked about 'how to' but how the darn things work and will cover some of the newer fangled devices that are out there. He covered everything from the basics (which we could all review by reading one of those basic sailing books we all have at home) to the more advanced cruising situations that involve tides and other boats in an anchorage. Take your time to find the right anchorage. Practice effective communications between bow and stern. Have the appropriate size and type of anchor, chain, rode, and number of anchors. Different bottom surfaces have different requirements. Greg recommended googling Tom Neale's articles, which you can find online in such places as Sea Savvy. 28 attendees. Welcome to new members, Lydia and John! Lake level is 669.5'.

August 2015: Balloons over Lake Travis: This was the 25th year of this event, usually held the first or second Saturday of August at sunrise. Sunrise was at 6:54. Balloons first became visible from the lake around 6:49, and take off was around 7:10. There were many sailboats and power boats in the area near Mansfield Dam Park, hovering over Sometimes Islands since the lake is around 670'. This year, there 6 balloons, but only 5 actually left the park. There were 2 red/white/blue realtor balloons, one Texas flag-like balloon, one red/yellow/blue checkered one, one pink/yellow/turquoise, and one green/yellow/red. One of them "dipped the basket" (or nearly did so, as it was too far to tell for sure) in the lake. Winds were near 10 from the at the surface. They flew over Commander's point, Travis Landing, then over towards Volente. The number has varied from year to year. It was well worth the effort to get up early and leave the dock by 6 am. Many people drove to the park to observe. Central Texas Ballooning Association: centraltexasballooning.org.

July 2015 Catalina Sailing Scramble: The Sailing Scramble Cruise, hosted by Todd and Patti, was a fun cruise with maneuvers and tasks to accomplish while under sail and at anchor in Barry's Cove. On the water, we had to arrive at D-Mark (north of Starnes) by 2 pm, check-in via VHF radio, heave to, pick up a mooring, and do 2 man-overboard drills, while reaching and running. At anchor, the crew had to find the first aid kit, put a band-aid at the tack of the main, start the engine, and retrieve the fire extinguisher. Details. After all that, we sailed, swam, ate, awarded prizes, and toasted the hosts' wedding anniversary. What a great idea...let's do it again! Lake level is a luxurious 671.52', weather was sunny, 90's, and light wind. There were 7 boats and 20 participants for the first half, 4 boats and 13 participants for the second half. For the third half, there was an additional boat with 6 people. Photos. and/or G-Photos.

July 2015 Meeting: Our speakers this month represented the Sea Scouts Ship that is associated with AYC, "SSS Old Ironsides." It is ship 681 of Lago Vista. We first heard an excellent presentation by a 15-year-old Sea Scout, who is working his way up the Sea Scout ranks from Apprentice to Ordinary, Able, and Quarter Master. He told us about a recent cruise on a retired coast guard ship in the Gulf of Mexico and the ICW, where they cruised 24 hour a day for several days. They had to deal with navigation (including communications with tugs speaking in heavy accents in the night) and engine maintenance. He enthusiastically described his experience with sailing, boat safety, maintenance, & handling, seamanship, as well as knowledge of 20 kinds of knots. He aspires to a career in the Merchant Marines. If a scout works all the way up the ranks, they automatically earn the Military rank of E-3. The organization is open to both boys and girls.
He was followed by Chris S, who is the Skipper of SSS Old Ironsides. Sea Scouts are a part of Boy Scouts of America, and is a program for Scouts in High School up to the age of 20 or 21. If you have any friends or family who might be interested, this is an excellent opportunity to learn seamanship, along with the skills of leadership, discipline, citizenship and to be prepared. Learn more at 
bsacac.org/scouting/sea_scouting or seascout.org. Meeting Attendance: 18 members and 2 guests. Lake level holding steady at 671.46'.

June 2015: Flor de Caña Cruise. 2015's 8th Annual Flor de Caña cruise, hosted by Salvador and Nina at Arkansas Bend. 8 boats, 29 sailors. At lake level 670.1' (40' higher than last month's cruise), the cove looked very different with overgrown bushes. We all enjoyed sailing up the lake on a nice breeze, then rafted up with bow and stern shore lines. Nicaraguan Foods were fantastic, as were the beverages. There was some rain on the anchorage but the air was warm. Later, we went swimming. Around 5:30 we started to leave to motor home. Half-way there, it rained and rained. Spirits were not dampened and good times were had by all. Photos.

June 2015 Meeting: Todd has an excellent series of presentations called "Pirates, Patriots, and Privateers," and this month he talked about "Barbary Coast Pirates and the Birth of the US Navy."  It was very interesting and I obviously need to do more reading on this topic, including the Tripolitan War (aka first Barbary War (1801-1805), Napoleonic Wars, paying of tribute to the Barbary Pirates, Commodore William Bainbridge (US Navy), Dey of Algiers, Xebec Mediterranean sailing shops, William Eaton, and the frigate class ships such as the USS Constitution. We learned about how the frigates were built to be strong, but selecting word from specific types of trees from various parts of the nation, based on the wood's shape and flexibility. Todd recommended a 1950's news reel called "America's Enduring Past," about the USS Constitution. I didn't find anything with that name, but this you-tube link on the Constitution, done in the 1950's, looks very informative. Thanks, Todd! Lake level 669.02'. 22 attendees.

Turnback Canyon Regatta (5/23-24/15): It was a weekend of sailing, music, rain, wind, and floods. Central Texas experienced floods, loss of lives, and extensive property damage. Lake Travis rose 7' Saturday night, and 10' Friday to Sunday. The weekend started at around 637'. By Sunday evening it was 647'. By Tuesday morning, 655.5'. Recalling some stats: On 1/1/2015 it was 623.34'  (>32' feet rise to Tuesday a.m. over the Memorial Day weekend. ) At the beginning of May (5/1/15) it was 629.5' (26' rise). You can view lake history at travis.uslakes.info/Level.asp. John's sailtravis.us, and the LCRA daily report.

Turnback Regatta was a great success in spite of the rain. There were 3 races: 2 on Saturday, which went up past mile marker 14, just past Hurst Creek and before that huge Crosswater marina, and back. One on Sunday, around the buoys. Saturday evening there were 3 bands, 3 food trucks: juices, cupcakes, and Mexican/Italian, and BBQ. One fleet boat raced, and that was Robert and Sheila on their C250. Keith crewed on a Ranger 23 (which received a nice 4th place trophy.) Other fleet members co-chaired (Steve), decorated (Diane), served on race committee (Steve S), did registration, helped with dinner tickets, helped around the club, took photos, hauled centerboard boats as the lake rose, went on the spectator boat and came to dinner. I can think of 19 fleet participants. Thanks to all! The large set of AYC photos is here. The subset with Catalina participants, and more, is here.

Cinco de Mayo Cruise (5/16/15): Hosts James & Sarah (food), Todd & Patti (host boat). Sandy Creek Marina. Sailing there was downwind and fun.  Good location, with a nice dock and the ramp getting there wasn't too bad (and there was a funicular for part of the trip). No lost anchors and no rocking boats. Lake level was good for fixed keel boats. Great food (quesadilla tacos, sort of) and beverages (grapefruit fizz with additions.) There were 3 boats with 7 sailors, 7 cars with 11 more, for a total of 18. Lake level 631.36' and rising. Photos.

May 14, 2015 Meeting: Vic of AYC was our guest speaker. He told us everything we always wanted to know about the Austin Yacht Club, how to become a member, learning opportunities, the programs for kids, plans for the future and more. Attendees included 22 members and our guest speaker. Lake Level 630.8' and rising)

April 2015 Galveston Charter Cruise, aka Third Coast Cruise: April 11-12, Kemah to Galveston and back. Charter was canceled due to the forecasts. Eight sailors went anyways and enjoyed an evening and a day in Kemah and Galveston. We will attempt to reschedule the charter in October. Here are the original details:

  • Coordinator: John G. He will captain one boat and Gary will captain the other.
  • Where: Watergate Marina on Clear Lake to Harbor House Marina in Galveston on Saturday and return on Sunday.
  • We are chartering with windwardseaventure.com/charter-fleet. Beneteau 40 "Mary Jane" and Hunter 42 "Paradise". 10 people per boat.
  • Accommodations: Stay on the boat for a small fee or stay in nearby hotels.
  • Food: We'll go out for dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings. Bring your own beverages, snacks and lunch on board for the day sails
  • Of interest: The Elissa and exhibits at the Texas Seaport Museum link
  • Lake level 628.54'

April 9, 2015 Meeting: Sail Making 101 by John Bartlett, bartlettsails.com, talked about Sail-making 101. He is a local sail-maker with an excellent reputation. He races locally and afar on all types of boats, including a Moth. He is also a cruiser. His sailcloth provider of choice is Dimension-Polyant.
He said sails are "all about the cloth" and talked about the different types. Some are better for racers (such as laminates, which have short lifespans) and some for cruisers. Dacron is still an excellent choice for cruisers. His favorite sail cloth is polyester molded Dacron, which get better with each generation. For Catalina cruising sails that are functional and durable, consider film weight and thread count. For each boat, one needs to find that sweet spot angle of heel that balances the boat, usually 10 to 12 degrees of angle.
Thanks, John! There were 20 attendees. Lake level 628.38'.
P.S. For entertainment, look at Sailing Anarchy.

March 2015 Cruise: Jane Bond Cruise. Agent 007 would have to agree that this was the best weather weekend all year. Agents Jane (Bond) and Lane co-hosted a fun "James Bond" theme cruise with a tricky trivia game and appropriate beverages, near the north end of Sometimes Peninsula. Agents brought gold-themed foods to nourish the gathering, as we schemed our next assignments. Some dressed to kill. There were 19 sailors with 5 boats present and 12 boats represented. Temps were in the 60's, winds were light. Lake level was 626.86'. Last year, SPECTRE attempted revenge by grabbing onto an anchor, but MI6 prevailed. Not so this time. The score was 3-1. In any case, it was fun and many thanks to our hosts for a great time. Lake level = 626.86'. Photos.

March 2015 Meeting: Captain Harry Polly, ASA Master Sailing Instructor. He is an ASA instructor for ASA 101, 103, 104, 105, 106, and maybe even more. He has certified sailors not only on Lake Travis, but also on the Texas Coast and Lakes, Galveston, and the BVIs. He has had his own sailing school around Dallas and taught open water sailing for a week around Hawaii. He is very interesting and informative, with a wealth of sailing knowledge and stories. Lake level 626.48'. Attendees included 31 members and 4 guests.

February 2015 Cruise: We had a little of everything on this cruise on the 15th of February. Winds varied from 18 to zero. Sometimes it rained. Mostly it was cloudy. Temperature reached 70, but by the next morning, it was in the 30's and rainy. It was good weather for ducks, as you will see in the photos. There were 3 boats sailing and the ten sailors represented at least six boats. (maybe 16 boats, depending upon how you count.) We sailed from AYC or Keller's Marina to Starnes Island, to just past Devil's Cove, back to the island and south towards mile marker 5. It was a fun day for all. Lake level 625.7'. Photos.

February 2015 Meeting: "Standing on the Shoulders of Claudius Ptolemy" or "What is this Old Guy doing in my Chart Plotter?" Exploring the relationship between time and place, Captain Greg, Licensed as a 100 ton USCG Captain about 1990, received his Certification as an ASA instructor around 1995, and serves as the Rear Admiral of the Austin Sailing Society. In his day job, he uses GPS and GIS to gather field data in creating cartography for the Official Departmental Map for TxDOT and in the regulation of billboards. He has skippered square topsail schooners on three coasts and the Great Lakes as well as pleasure vessels in the Caribbean and on Lake Travis. His personal sloop is the Catalina 28, Mk II “Ruthmary T.”
There were 28 attendees plus our speaker. L
ake level 625.5'.
To learn more, watch these:

January 2015 Boat Show & Spontaneous Cruise:
The Austin Boat Show had one kayak with a sail, 2 Beneteau sails (not the boats) hanging from the ceiling, and lots and lots of power boats and campers. Plus there were exhibits with cushions, drones, cooking pans, yard sticks, and marina promoters. At least 5 of us went and handed out a few Fleet 69 postcards.
The Spontaneous or Impromptu or Flash Cruise happened on Sunday the 18th. While some chose to stay indoors and watch football, and/or didn't pay attention to the much-improved weather forecast, three Catalina and 10 sailors enjoyed a beautiful afternoon sail on Lake Travis. Temps were in the sunny 60's and winds were 0 to 10. We started at AYC on a 22 (Steve, Meri, guest), a 27 (Keith & Sue), and a 30 (Steve, Cheryl, Lane, guest, and Jane C), and motored half-way to Starnes Island, where we found some wind. We sailed north towards Sandy Creek, then turned west up the lake, just beyond LCRA marker 8. The wind slowed down but that gave us time to enjoy sandwiches and snacks. Then we caught the wind again and headed south towards Windy Point, and back north to AYC. It was fun to enjoy a day on the water, after more than 2 weeks of unseasonably cold weather. Lake is holding steady at 623.4'.

January 8, 2015 meeting: On a cold winter evening, 18 members and 2 guests met at Mangia Pizza on Mesa Blvd. Officers and Appointees for 2015 are as follows: Co-Commodores: Steve L and Gary P, Vice-Commodore: John O, Secretary: Paulette, Treasurer: Robert, Past Commodore: Diane C, Webmaster: Cheryl, Historians: Cheryl and Clay. After an active social time and dinner, Steve L led the meeting. There was active participation in the planning of activities for this and future months. We will have traditional cruises, repeats of new ideas from last year, and some new and creative ones. Some will be on the lake, on the land, and on the coast. See the Calendar page for the results. Lake level is 623.4'. Photos.


Dec 2014: On a seasonably warm December evening, 54 sailors of the All Catalina Fleet 69 and Catalina 22 Fleet 69 met at the Austin Yacht Club to celebrate a year of sailing and friendship, and to look forward to the year ahead. That included 43 AC69 fleet members, 3 of their guests, and 8 who belonged only to C22-F69. There are 8 who belong to both fleets. Officers were installed (see November notes below.) Contributors in 2014 were recognized. The Stough Award was presented to Diane for her dedication and love of sailing and Fleet 69. Lake level 623.6'. Photos.

Nov 2014: Catalina-ville Cruise:parrtWith a forecast of 53 degrees and drizzle, we decided that Jimmy Buffet would rather be someplace warm and dry, so we went to the Iguana Grill. In a large glass-enclosed room overlooking Arkansas Bend, we had a fun time listening to tropical music, eating Tex-Mex, and catching up on what we missed at the Thursday meeting. 21 Attendees. Lake Level 622.19'. Photos.

Nov 2014: Veterans of the Fleet: We had a very productive meeting with discussions of plans for the holiday party, the fleet treasury, and nomination of officers and nominees. Thanks to these volunteers: Co-Commodores: Steve L and Gary P, Vice-Commodore: John O, Secretary: Paulette, Treasurer: Robert, Past Commodore: Diane C, Webmaster: Cheryl, Historians: Cheryl and Clay. Then some of our fleet Veterans, and we were surprised how many there were, talked about their services to their country. We had representatives from the Navy, Air Force, Army, and Air National Guard. They shared lots of photos and stories. Thanks!

Oct 2014: Autumn Cruise: The rain stopped by noon, clearing the way for a very pleasant Autumn Afternoon on the lake. While several were busy with football, ACL Music Festival, US Boat Show, car racing, singing, work, under the weather, etc, two boats and 4 sailors sailed to Arkansas Bend for a fun afternoon of pot-luck sandwiches & snacks, relaxation, camaraderie and sailing. Temperatures were in the upper 60's, skies were cloudy, and winds were north around 5-12. Lake level 623.93'. Photos.

Oct 2014: La Belle: The Ship That Changed History Special Exhibition. The Director of Special Exhibits at the Bob Bullock History of Texas Museum, David D, gave an excellent talk with plenty of details and photos of the exhibit. His presentation started with the initial construction of the ship in France and talked about the fleet of 4 ships that left France in 1684, with 3 purposes: military, merchant, and colonization. La Belle was 54' long and 18' wide, with a shallow draft. Not a big boat. They were looking for the Mississippi River and ended up near Matagorda Bay. Wealthy French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle was the leader of the expedition. Researchers first discovered the possibility of a shipwreck in the Bay in 1975 and upon the very first dive in 1995, a canon with the seal of French King Louis XIV was found. After nearly 20 years of excavation and restoration, the ship will be reassembled piece by piece in the museum. You'll want to visit it often to see the progress. There will also be a web cam, so you can watch it remotely. There will also be a 4-D film with a true story of a youth on the ship. Read all about it here: thestoryoftexas.com/explore/exhibits/la-belle and thestoryoftexas.com/la-belle. Lake level 623.96'. 26 Attendees.

Sept 2014: Brunch Cruise: This year, the Batter Blasters took a break and we patronized a new lakeside restaurant, Sundancer Grill, at the Sail and Ski Marina in Hurst Creek. The plan was to spend the night at the S&S Marina dock, and go to Brunch at 11 am. However, a cold front rolled in just in time to dampen our plans for an overnight on the boats, but not the brunch. Several boats were planning to spend the night (we'll try again later). One boat sailed/motored in on Sunday. 23 sailors enjoyed the autumn-like 60's degree weather on the scenic outdoor deck of the restaurant. The food was creative and delicious. Thanks to our hosts Joe and Clay (and others)! Lake level 622.9'. Photos.

Sept 2014 Meeting. Chuck of the Sailboat Shop talked about various sailboat topics, which included sailboat sales in the US (up), Catalina yacht plans, new services at the shop, new location, new boats, used boats, and more. Someone, to be left nameless, asked, "Suppose a friend is sailing a Catalina 22 with a swing keel, and the wind suddenly picks up and our boat ... er, his boat.... hits the rocks. Hypothetically speaking, of course. After that, the keel makes a lot of knocking sounds. What could be going on and how can it be fixed?" Well, if your boat hits the rocks, hypothetically of course, you may have loosened the keel bolts or damaged the pivot pin. You need to inspect these parts and tighten up the keel bolt. It's best to take it out of the water and inspect, if you can find a ramp. He recommended replacing the worn out bronze pivot pins on old swing-keel Catalinas. There were 19 attendees at Mangia Pizza Mesa. Lake level 623.0'. Air temps in the 90's.

August 2014 Cruise: Pirate Invasion. Temperatures had been at or near 100 all week, so all agreed that it was a good time for a Pirates Pool Party. Diane and Mark hosted the Fleet in their backyard pool with 26 pirates and wenches. The pirate theme included a treasure hunt, cannon ball toss, grog, and a delicious buffet. Costumes and sword play were in abundance.  Lake level was about 626.3' on August 16. Photos.

August 2014 Meeting: 28 attendees at Mangia Pizza on Mesa Drive. Lake Travis level continued to fall to 626.56'. One year ago it was 622.7'. (Ref: travis.uslakes.info/Level.asp.) New fleet postcards are now available for placement at marinas or to be handed to people we meet on the dock. You can see them here: Front and Back.
For the program, Todd talked about his recent Blue Water Passage from St Thomas to Bermuda to Newport. The trip was part of the certification courses for ASA 107 Celestial Navigation (relies mostly on the sextant) and ASA 108 Offshore Passage-making (which requires very detailed post-voyage documentation and a seamanship book.) The school was the Blue Water Sailing School. The boat was a Dufour 43. They went over 1500 miles and were on the water twelve days. You can view a subset of the charts here: charts.

July 2014 Bastille Day Cruise: Vive La France! We met along the NW side of Sometimes Island/Peninsula (see Sometimes Peninsula map). Apologies to those who drove to Mansfield Dam Park, planning to hike and swim to the boats. We later heard that they enjoyed an evening at the AYC pool. On the water, we enjoyed French wines and snacks and floated around. Thanks to Lane for hosting, and Robert and Sheila for sharing their boat. Winds were good for sailing to & from. Water level 628.8'. Tally: 25 attendees, with 21 on the water and 4 at AYC.  For boats, there were 5 on the water, 9 represented on the water and 2 represented at AYC for a virtual total of 11. Photos.

References:

July 2014: Lake level 628.9'. Attendees 22, including one guest. There were 2 programs this month:

  • Rafting Techniques, by Salvador. References (links) and notes:
    Sailnet Forum Discussion. Also here. This is a good article that everyone should read. It describes some tie-up techniques and etiquette tips.
    Ground Tackle: Selecting Anchors and Rodes (Boat US, Don Casey, April 2012): Three strand nylon is "king" for anchor lines. Use 1/8" rope for each 9' length of boat.
    Choosing the Right Rope (Boat US, Don Casey, June 2012).
    Dock lines (Boat US,  April 2012): Up to 27', use 3/8" rope. For 28-31, use 7/16" rope.
    Etiquette: Circle the fleet before joining, evaluate the situation, request permission to tie up, and ask which place is best. Use your VHF Radio  to communicate. Request permission before boarding a boat, and try to avoid crossing thru the cockpit. Help keep host boats clean.
  • Cruising the Baltic Sea. Robert and Sheila gave an excellent presentation on the history, geography, culture, and touring of several countries around the Baltic Sea. They went via Enrichment Voyages, starting in Germany, and visiting Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, and Sweden. It's an interesting region for sailors because the Hanseatic League was a sea-going commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and their market towns that dominated trade along the coast of Northern Europe in the 13th to 17th centuries. They showed us many great photos of their trip, including several of sailboats, of course.

June 2014 "Flor de Caña" (Flower of the Sugar Cane) Cruise: The 7th Annual Flor de Caña Cruise had good sailing winds, anchorage, food, and friends. A total of 21 people (one guest) arrived on 5 boats, 1 powerboat, 1 car. Fourteen boats were represented. We tied up in a small cove in the north side of Arkansas Bend. Lake Level 630.5'. Air low 90's, winds 12-18 mph. Many thanks to hosts Salvador and Nina for yet another fun cruise! Photos.

June 2014 Meeting: Program: Tim B, the LCRA Water Operations Manager for all of the Highland Lakes. http://www.lcra.org/water/Pages/default.aspx . He gave us thorough overview of water surfaces management programs on the entire chain of Colorado River lakes, from Tow to Matagora Bay. LCRA was established in 1934 as a water conservation district, thanks to Representative LBJ. Purpose was related to rural electrification. With popularity, so came the challenges of control of marinas & docks, houseboats, buoys, etc. There are 144 marinas and 7000 wet slips on the Highland Lakes. LCRA maintains 1100 buoys.
Here's an LCRA video of the Sandy Creek September 2012 flash flood:  LCRA Sandy Creek Flood Video. Here's the longer unofficial version: Sandy Creek Flash Flood Video. Many thanks to Tim for a very interesting program.
Lake level 629.4 before the meeting and the latest rainstorm. 19 attendees.

May 2014 Cruise: Cinco de Mayo (on the 10th): James and Sarah did an outstanding job hosting their first fleet cruise. It was a great day to be on the lake, with just the right mixture of wind (5 to 12), air (90), and water  (72).  Host boat "El Coyoacán" flew the Mexican flag in the host country position while we all relaxed on a floating piece of Mexico. Hosts prepared a sumptuous variety of flavors: Puerco Pibil, Chori-Beans, rice,  flour tortillas, chips, and their favorite boat drink, the "Paloma." Others brought guacamole, salsa, and a delicious flan dessert. After digesting, the crew raised the brightly-colored star-shaped pinata, with the jib halyard and a whisker pole. Well, they did for a while, before it went for a swim. Still intact, but dripping red water over a guest boat, it was whacked by an oar, and bags full of candy fell on the decks and water. All or most were retrieved. Then it was time for a refreshing swim and relaxation. At the end of the afternoon, we raised anchors and sailed or motored back to the main part of the lake.
The location was in a Cypress Creek Cove. While pleasant in the colder seasons, the wake from power boats caused some rocking and rolling. We talked about returning to Travis Landing Cove (water access only) or Arkansas Bend for future cruises.
There were 6 boats physically present. 13 boats were represented by the 19 people present. Of those represented but not present, 3 were on dry land on trailers, a couple had motor issues, and 2 were in marinas 5-10 miles up the lake. There two C22's, one Capri 22, one C25, one C27, and one O'Day 28 (with a C28 owner on board).  Lake level was falling at 625.0. Photos.

May 2014 Meeting: Sailing Photography presented by local Sailor and Professional Photographer, Bill R Bill has an impressive professional and  volunteer resume. He is very involved with Junior Sailing at AYC, as both an instructor, coach, and photographer. He gave us lots of suggestions and ideas for taking better photos on and of sailboats, from both technical and aesthetic points of views. He also presented an slide show of his photos, including many taken of junior sailors and the Easter Laser Regatta, including a interesting sequence of photos in which a Laser sailor's hiking strap broke as she rounded the leeward mark. Tell a story with your pictures. He said to use your best camera, as there are ways to protect it from rain and splashes. The best times to take photos are before 10 am and after 4 pm for good light and shadows. Try manual mode, using 1/1000 second time. Try to get different angles and perspectives. Don't put the horizon in the very middle but keep it straight. Consider geometry and backlighting. For photos of people under biminis, use a fill flash (or features of some of the newer cameras.) Above all, remember that photography rules are made to be broken. If a scene or object looks good to you, take the picture.
Meeting Location Change: We met at the Mangia's Pizza restaurant near Mesa and Spicewood Springs Road, and decided to meet here in the future, instead of Pizza Bistro at Mopac & Gracy Farms & Burnet Road.
Photo Contest winners: Unusual Boat Photo: 1. "Rower in Maine," by Todd, 2. "Masts in the Mist," Salvador. Pets and/or Kids and Boats: 1. "Sailing with Grandpa," by Joy, 2. "Best Place to Read a Book," by Steve S.  Racing and/or Action: 1. "America's Cup Teamwork," by Cheryl, "Kiwis on Edge," by Diane. Funny Fleet Photo: 1. "Clay Dives In" , 2. "We Have a Funny Fleet." Photos.
There were 26 attendees. 
Lake level 625.1.

April 2014: This was our first-ever James Bond Diamonds are Forever Cruise, hosted by Agent Jane I. It was a beautiful April day with temperatures in the 70's and winds 5 to 15 mph. Our instructions were to sail to Arkansas Bend, raft-up, eat appetizers and drink Bond style beverages, and find out how much we know about James Bond. Three boats complied: Catalina 28 Destiny with 4 agents, Catalina 250 Flying Cloud with 4 agents, and Catalina 270 Solstice with 5 agents (one of them named Ursula). Catalina 25, Ebb Tide III, with 3 agents on board, including Mr Bond himself, had to abort her mission. She sailed from Lake Travis Marina (aka U-Float-Em) to a place to a point just off Emerald Point Marina where they turned around. The trivia game was a lot of fun, with questions about the music, singers, titles, and more. Prizes were little bottles and chocolates.
Attendance was lower than normal because it was Easter Saturday. We'll count 4 boats with 16 agents, including 4 guests. Lake level 626.7'. Photos.

April Meeting: Central Texas Amateur Radio Connection with Jeanne Socrates' Solo Unassisted Non-Stop Global Circumnavigation, by Tom W. In October 2012, Jeanne started her voyage from British Columbia, Canada, on her 38' Najad 380, named Nereida. Two months later, her 2 computer systems failed as well as a satellite phone (which also didn't work well in Southern regions of Earth.) Tom has a state of the art WinLink system and was able to communicate with Jeanne. He is also very skilled with Ham Radio Emergency Communications and contests. He helped Jeanne stay in contact with others for the remainder of the voyage by staying in constant contact and transcribing her dictated blog and emails, and uploading and emailing them. Refer to the article about Tom in the Austin American Statesman.
Attendees: 21 plus our speaker. Lake level: 627.0'.
This was our last meeting at the Pizza Bistro Restaurant. They closed 2 months later.

March 2014 Cruise: The "Honor the March Winds" Cruise was held at the closed Cafe Blue overlooking Sandy Creek on a not-too-windy & cloudy day, with a 50% chance of thunderstorms that never materialized. Temps were in the 60's. We had kites, wind chimes, socks & spinners to show our appreciation of the March winds. The food theme was Gone with the Wind Southern Cooking. To top it all, there was a surprise shower for special grandparents and great-aunt/uncle to be. Hosts were Sue&Keith, Patti&Todd. A fun and surprising time were had by all. 28 sailors (3 guests) came in cars and one boat. Lake level 627.8'. Photos.

March 2014 Meeting: (star)Star Gazing. This was a very special and different (for us) type of meeting. We first met at the Boat House Grill for (mostly) catfish dinners. Twenty-one fleet members (and one long time alumni, Marty, just happened to be there, too.) Representatives from the Austin Astronomical Society, Jim and Joyce, gave us a briefing on celestial navigation and a preview of what we will be able to observe in the night's sky. We then drove to the Mansfield Dam Observation Area on Lake Travis. The temperature was moderate and skies were mostly cloudy, but we were able to see Orion's belt and his brightest stars Rigel and Betelgeuse. Thru the telescope, we were able to see planets and more stars. Hints: If you are the Gulf of Mexico and lose all electronic navigation, just head north and you'll reach land, eventually. Which way is north? Find the North Star. If there is a crescent moon, the cusps of the crescent point to the south. So does Orion's sword. The angle from the horizon to the North Star approximates your latitude. To get the longitude, get a good clock, the book "Longitude," and the resource book. Learn how to use a sextant before you need to. To learn more, look at the web site for the Austin Astronomical Society and go to their public monthly star gazing sessions at a place near Lake Buchanan. Attendees: 21 members plus 2 speakers. Lake level is 627.7'. 

February 2014 Cruise (2/22): The Winter Olympics in Russia inspired the Boat Olympics Cruise, hosted by Robert and Sheila. Ten boats (one C30, one C27, two C250, two C25, one Capri 22, three C22) with 24 sailors rafted up in Cypress Creek. It was a beautiful day to be on the lake, with temps in the 70's and winds around 10. The games (and Gold medal winners) included anchor drop (John G and crew), line toss to a "man-overboard" (Keith, with quarter-finalists Jim, Salvador, John G, Keith, Mark, Harald, James, and Christian), motor start (Todd and it looked like Keith was close, too), and life jacket drill (Patrick and Salvador). The "raise the mainsail" drill was canceled due to shifty winds. Swim noodles were raised when a task was completed.  Robert prepared Borscht and Russian Boar (pulled port), while others brought Russian foods such as Pirozhkis, herring, potatoes, and Russian tea cakes. Everyone had a great time and we're ready to do it again! Lake level 627.7'. We have LOTS of photos and more.

February 2014 Meeting: Michael talked about his adventures while trailering his Catalina 25 on the Florida Atlantic coast, the Florida Keys (Key West 13 days, bad weather, rocket launch), the Erie Canal, Pennsylvania and Lake Erie for 5 months, and more. Lake level 627.86'. Attendees: 23.

January 2014: Return to Sandy Creek Sandwich Cruise. Winter on Lake Travis. One day it can be 18° and a few days later, 70°. That's what we had this week. On a sunny Saturday afternoon with light to variable wind, three boats (9 people) and three cars (3 people) with a total of twelve sailors found their way to the Sandy Creek Marina, which is up Sandy Creek, north of Starnes Island, and next to the closed-for-the-winter Cafe Blue. It was a successful cruise, in which we mostly sat on Charles and Pat's C250 and swapped sea stories, sailing mishaps (I mean "experiences"), and naval stories. Keith demonstrated the proper way to secure a line on cleat so that it doesn't get jammed. It was a great day and a good place to dock. The store was open, so we bought a few items. Later on, 2 members moved to the expensive boat's dock patio, where there was a free party with beverages. There was a good sailing breeze to get there, but everyone had to motor back in the late afternoon. The weather was great. Lake level was 628.46', which is 2.2' higher than last time we were there! Photos.

January 2014 Meeting: Commodore Diane (yes, we like the sound of that) kicked off the year with a lively discussion of program topics and cruise themes for the year. It's nice to see everyone so anxious to host a cruise with new and different ideas. While we like the traditional themes, it's refreshing to invent new ones.
We talked about sailing books we've read, sailing movies we've seen, and recent sailing adventures.
Diane first introduced the officers for 2014: Vice Commodore Salvador, Treasurer Robert, and Secretary Cheryl. The appointees for 2014 are Cruise Directors James and Sarah (welcome aboard!), and Webmaster/Historian is Cheryl, with assistance from Clay.
There were 27 attendees. Lake level 628.5'. Photos.


December 2013 Holiday Party: All Catalina Fleet 69 wrapped up a fun year of cruises and meetings at the 2013 Holiday Party. Our original hosts, Sue and Jim, had the flu, so we quickly pulled together our efforts and met in the AYC clubhouse. It was beautifully decorated and was a good place to have a sailing party. Thanks go to Commodore John for arranging for the venue at the last minute. Many thanks to Joe and Joy for preparing the delicious smoked turkey and brisket and managing the galley. For the "program," Commodore John presented thank you gifts (hats) to 2013 contributors and installed the 2014 officers. John was the well-deserving recipient of the Stough Award. Then there was the lively gift exchange, with everything from tools to towels to rum. A fun time was had by all! There were 38 attendees. Lake level 628.1'. Photos are by Cheryl and Clay. Photos.

November 2013 Cruise: WurstFest Cruise, now called the Anchoring Polka Cruise. Lake Level 626.61'. Arkansas Bend. We started with 7 boats and 22 sailors. We were anchored in the middle of the north cove. Then the gusts came out of the cove and 2 out of 3 anchors broke loose. Anchor drill. 1 and ah Start your engines. 2 and ah raise the anchors. 3 and ah Scatter. Hop. 1 and ah go forward. 2 and ah drop anchor, 3 and a  engines off. Relax and have fun! We "lost" 2 boats and 6 people during all that, but later gained a boat and 2 people. Overall there were 8 boats and 24 sailors at a Wunderbar Cruise!
Many thanks to Mark and Diane for hosting a fun and scrumptious cruise. They provided the smoked sausage and a mini-keg of beer. Our fleet cooks brought sauerkraut (3 kinds),
Kartoffelsalat (German Potato salad), Apfelkuchen (apple cake), pumpkin pie, salad, pickles, cheeses & crackers, and more. Danke to all!
As for the sailing part, we could not have asked for a nicer day. It was a good 2 hour sail for most of us to Arkansas Bend. Winds were as forecasted, 10 to 15 with gusts to 20. The high temperature was near 80. The buddy-system worked well, with guest crew on most of the boats. Photos.

November 2013 Meeting: "Sea Shanties with Joy" Our very own fleet Shanty-Mam, Joy, sang and led us in singing Sea Shanties. She started out with a tribute to Caryl P. Weiss, a distinguished shanty-mam who sang for our fleet several times (including 12/11/10, a Black Tot Day, and a fleet anniversary cruise) and was commissioned as an admiral in the Texas Navy. We learned about the types of shanties for working on the boat: Capstan (turning device to raise anchor and draw near the dock), Haul a Halyard (to raise one of many sails on a ship), and Pump (4 strong beats to pump out the bilge). There also Fo'c'sle shanties, for when sailors are on shore or have time off. It was a fun and joy-ful evening!  Lake Level 626.61'. Attendees: 23.

October 2013, Galveston Bay Cruise: In search of deeper water, 18 members and guests of Fleet 69 headed for Kemah for a fun weekend of sailing on Galveston Bay. The weekend was launched on Friday with a dinner for twelve on the deck at Jackie's Brick House. On Saturday, 10/25, there were 12 sailors on Hunter 41 Alamanda, chartered from Windward Sea Venture, and captained by John G. There were 6 sailors on Phyllis' Catalina 25, Summer Song. The weather was perfect. Winds were near 10, the sun was shining brightly, and temperatures were near 80. We just sailed around, mostly south of the Kemah channel and west of the ship channel, and when it was time for lunch (Subway was the popular non-domestic choice), Alamanda hoved to and Summer Song sailed downwind. We sailed from around 10 am to 5 pm. Everyone who wanted to helm, did. On Alamanda, there was coaching and teaching by Todd and John (and maybe others). All lines on the boat were identified and if possible, labeled. In the evening, we met at the Seabrook Classic Cafe for sea-food and sea-tales.
Overnight, a strong front moved through the area with lots of thunder and rain. (All but one were in hotels. We'll have to ask Andy for a boat report.) The forecast was for a clearing by noon, so many of us waited it out on Alamanda. Around noon Alamanda left the dock with 11 sailors on board. Winds were light but adequate. The rain had stopped and we had a pleasant sail along the shoreline. Our seaworthy Commodore passed a "what would you do?" test when the boat engine suddenly stopped as we were returning to the marina in the narrow channel, with one boat tailgating us and another coming towards us. We returned to the dock by 4 pm. Some headed for Austin, and some had dinner at T-Bone Tom's.
The next part of the weekend was on Galveston Island itself. Phyllis organized a day of touring, starting at the Sunflower Cafe. We visited the Elissa and Texas Seaport Museum, the Drilling Rig Museum, perused the fresh seafood shops, visited the Customs House and checked out the Cow Quilts exhibit. Hurricane Ike was in 2008, and thousands of oak trees fell due to floods and winds. The result was many tree stumps. Three creative artist transformed dozens of these stumps into creative sculptures, so we drove around to see as many as possible.
It was a fantastic weekend plus. Many many thanks to John G and Phyllis for leading it all!
p.s. Travis has been rising a little and is at 623.8'. Here are some Photos to start with. 

October 2013 Meeting: Sailing the Na Pali Coast: John and Ann Marie described a sailing trip they took on a chartered 65' catamaran along the Na Pali coast of Kauai.
America's Cup #34 in San Francisco: Steve and Cheryl were in San Francisco to watch the competition between Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA on AC72 catamarans. They showed pictures and described experiences of the day they were on a 65' sailboat named Ruby.
History of the Titantic: Gary Payne gave us a very interesting and detailed presentation on the history of the ship Titantic, which set sail on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England, for New York City in April 1912. The Titantic ran into a sea of icebergs and sank. You know the basic story. Gary told us things we didn't know. There were many ways to analyze the tragedy, such as what went right and what went wrong with the unsinkable ship. The Titantic carried 2,224 passengers and crew and more than 1500 people were lost that night.
Lake Level 620.1'. 26 attendees.

September 2013 Breakfast Cruise: Cloudy skies kept us cool for the annual Breakfast Cruise hosted by Clay, Joe, and John O on the expanding shores of the Austin Yacht Club. We christened ourselves the Batter Blasters! (see photos to understand). Joe marked the spot in his GPS, so that someday, we'll be able to sail our boats over the very same spot and say "back in September 2013, we had a land cruise 62' below." About five sailors spent the night on their boats. Total attendance was 30 (I counted 27 in the photos.) Joe made camp stove scrambled eggs and smokey links. Clay and John flipped pancakes to order with toppings like blueberries, pecans, and walnuts. Plenty of mimosas and Starbucks coffee too. Lake Level 619.4'! Photos

September 2013 Meeting: 28 members and one guest were in attendance to hear Mark Mitchell, a locally renown author and illustrator, tell us about the excavation and restoration of the ship La Belle: Here are some sources you might like to read: Mark's web site: www.markgmitchell.com/, Archeology Project: www.thc.state.tx.us/preserve/archeology/la-salle-archeology-projectsVideos of the people involved and the hull: illustrationcourse.com/Catalina/, Museum Site: thestoryoftexas.com/exhibits/upcoming-exhibits, Ship model construction: nautarch.tamu.edu/model/report1/, Conservation of the Hull report: nautarch.tamu.edu/CRL/Report7/hull.htm. Books: Raising La Belle  by Mark Mitchell, La Salle in Texas by Pam Wheat Stranahan, From a Watery Grave by James Bruseth.

The La Belle was built in France in 1684. She was 54’long, 8’ draft, and held 45 people, along with farm animals all living on deck! Her skipper was the famous French explorer, Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, aka "La Salle."
She had a shallow draft which was made for the rivers and swamps of America but was not a very sea-going rig. La Salle’s goal was to conquer west of the Mississippi and claim it for France. The La Belle sank in Matagorda bay in 1686 and was hidden there until some marina archeologists from Texas A&M found it in 1995. La Salle was murdered by his own men, but many of the occupants and children survived and integrated into the Indian and Louisiana culture. Some made it back to Canada and France.
The archeologists have been working since that time to authenticate it, raise it, and preserve it for future use. It is housed in a building at A&M where it resides in a polyethylene glycol pool and will be freeze dried to further preserve it. The La Belle’s hull is to be on display at the Bob Bullock Texas History museum in 2014, along with items found in and around her.
A few of our own members have been to the site in Matagorda Bay to view her in a coffer dam.19.6'.
Travis level is 619.6'.

August 2013 Summer Potluck Cruise. The high temp was 106 degrees, but the water was 21 degrees cooler and there was a nice breeze. Two boats with nine sailors, representing at least six Catalinas, rafted up in Cypress Creek Cove for a pleasant lunch-time cruise. It was too early for the powerboats, so the cove was relatively calm (and quiet after the party boat left.) We feasted on picnic fare such as fried chicken, macaroni salad, fruit salad, subs, and brownies. We raised anchor by early afternoon and enjoyed a nice sail (winds 2 to 12, ESE) back to our marinas. Lake level was a dismal 623.10'. Islands that haven't touched air in 50 years are starting to appear. Thanks to Capt Grz for hosting the cruise. Photos

August 2013 Meeting: Cruising in the Abacos, Bahamas: Six of our fleet members, Steve & Meri, Steve & Cheryl, Phyllis, and Diane Z recently chartered a Moorings 41.3 (Beneteau) mono-hull in the Abacos Islands in the Bahamas. It's a popular area for sailboat cruisers and is far from the activity and development of Nassau. It's more like a mixture of the BVIs (with islands and some settlements)  and Belize (with a turquoise sea between a piece of land and barrier cays.) Weather is similar to southern Florida. The beautiful Sea of Abaco is relatively shallow and most harbors must be entered and exited in rising tides. Other than a couple days of tropical rain, we had good winds and plenty of sunshine. Snorkeling was especially good at Fowl Cay. Food was great, especially if you like conch, fish, and Key Lime Pie. Island settlements were fun to visit. Some are known for their unique fabrics and creations, some for eating, some for boat-building, and the best-known of all, Elbow Cay, has the famous red and white striped lighthouse that has been operating for 150 years. We saw parrots and a micro-version of a Bahamian Goombay Festival. It was fun and is recommended for anyone who enjoys sailboat cruising. 30 attendees. Lake 623.45'.

July 2013 Cruise: Tanabata Matsuri Cruise (Evening of the 7th) is a Japanese star festival. It celebrates the meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi (represented by the stars Vega and Altair respectively). According to legend, the Milky Way separates these two lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the luni-solar calendar. Click here for more details. In present-day Japan and at this cruise, people generally celebrated this day by writing wishes, sometimes in the form of poetry, on tanzaku (small pieces of paper) and hang them on bamboo (wish tree), sometimes with other decorations.
The fleet dropped anchors in a new place,
"CypressCreekCove" in the updated fleet map. The host boat, Ebb Tide III, then made a grand entrance into the anchorage area, with music playing and flags flying from every available stay and shroud. Good luck fish kites were streaming from the top of the mast, and a bamboo tree was on the stern of the boat. It was quite a sight to behold.
It was around 109 degrees so many cooled off in the 85 degree water before feasting on a wide variety of homemade Japanese cooking, prepared by Akiko.
She served the following:

  • • Gomoku zushi - sushi rice with 5 (go) ingredients - mainly vegetables + shrimp
    • Green beans & fried tofu
    • Edamame (soybeans in the pod)
    • Sliced pork with miso sauce
    • Paripari salad (crisp slivered wonton skins over shredded vegetables)
    • Chicken stuffed with pickled plums
    • Oshinko - Japanese pickles (not what you think)
    • Azuki (sponge cake rolled with red bean jelly for dessert)
Many thanks to our hosts for putting on a fantastic cruise! There were 8 boats, and there would have been 9 if one more motor had been cooperating. I counted 25 people, including 2 guests. We'll discuss whether or not to return to this anchorage. It was nice because it was near most of our marinas, protected from the main body, and we could watch the zip liners zip along the shoreline. It was not the best because of all the other boats (power) in the anchorage, wake from the power boats, variable and light winds for sailing, and one particular unmarked shallow area in the creek (thank goodness for swing keels.) Winds were light, around 5. Temp at the UT Lake Travis Station was 109. Lake level was 624.9', the lowest since 1964. p.s. The next day, it rained 4" upstream and Travis rose near to 625.2'. Photos.

July 2013 Meeting: Zen and the Art of Boat Motor Maintenance, with Pat F. He is a local legend in the area for fixing boat motors. He discussed the care and maintenance of outboard motors, and diesel engines. He also answered many of our boat motor questions and problems. Welcome to new members James and Sarah! Lake level 625.05', the lowest since 1964. Attendees: 28.

June 2013 Cruise: 6th Annual Flor de Caña Cruise: All week long, Saturday's weather forecast was for a 10 to 20% chance of rain. That wasn't bad, because that usually means we could have, at most, a brief passing shower before sunset. However, Saturday's morning forecast from the NWS said there was a 40-50% of rain and thunderstorms, with lightning. The cruise was to be at Arkansas Bend, which is a 2-3 hour sail or 1-2 hour motor for some members. Quick, informed, and safe decisions had to be made, and we chose to find water elsewhere, in Mark and Diane's swimming pool. Many thanks to them for hosting us with 4-hour's notice, and many thanks to Salvador and Nina for a successful 6th Annual Flor de Caña Cruise. The culinary skills of our fleet continue to be impressive, with Grilled Port Tenderloin marinated in lime, achiote and other secret tropical spices, plantains, yucca, cassava, rice, Nicaraguan cole slaw, flan, assorted fruits, and much more. Tropical fruit juices were mixed with the exquisite rum or La Croix. After dinner, we jumped in the pool and had, how shall I say this, a really fun time. I'll just say this: Esther Williams' Synchronized Swimmers have nothing to fear from us, but watch out next year. There were 28 attendees, including 6 guests. Lake level was 628.5' (so Sometimes Peninsula is now there) and falling, winds 5 to 10, and temperatures around 92. Photos.

June 2013 Meeting: Mike of White Hat Rum provided us a very informative and entertaining presentation on the story of his locally-built rum business and the Nautical History of Rum. Their web site describes it well: "White Hat Premium Texas Rum is handcrafted in small batches just outside of Austin in Manor, Texas. We make it with South Texas molasses from plantations that have seen our state through all six flags. We add natural water originating from springs residing here long before Texas was ever Texas. We triple distill in an effort to produce the cleanest rum possible. And, once our spirit is allowed to rest in American oak barrels for just the right amount of time, it can be called White Hat Rum. The nautical aspect of rum began back in the 16th Century, when ships were starting to sail the seas for commerce, and crews were difficult to attract and keep. The beer and wine were not good incentives since they didn't do well in damp and hot conditions. However, sugar cane and rum were discovered in the Caribbean, and the tradition began. This on-board custom lasted until July 31, 1970, when the last rum was served in the Royal Navy. The tradition continues to this day in ports around the world, where hard-working sailors meet to relax after days on the sea. There were 28 attendees, including our guest speaker. Welcome back to Jim J!  Lake level persists at 628.5'.

May 2013 Dragon Boat Cruise: 5/11/13. It was a beautiful sunny day on the shoreline of Lake Travis at Travis Landing. Many thanks to our hosts Diane Z and Steve L, and assistants Gary and Paulette. 24 sailors and one dog were there. Clay came on Double Happiness, but we never saw her because she had engine problems and landed in another cove. (photo proof to follow.) We had several authentic Chinese dishes, many of them homemade, such as Kung Po Chicken, Almond Gelatin, Glazed Walnuts (recipe), Stir Fried Rice, Chinese Vegetables, and more. We also had Crispy Duck and fortune cookies. The air was near 80, water near 68, and winds 5-10 with gusts. The lake was at 628.3' (which is .2' below the level where Sometimes Islands become a peninsula) and some fleet boats could not be launched or preferred to avoid the shallows. Photos.

May 2013 Meeting: "Nautical Roundtable". Diane C facilitated a roundtable of sailing-related topics. We started with a panel of knowledgeable members giving 5-minute presentations on topics of interest to all. Gary talked about anchoring and which anchors to use in which situations. All cruisers should agree on a hand-signaling system between the bow-person and the helm-person (sometimes it helps to have someone in the middle.) Michael told us about risks of ethanol fuel in our boats' tanks and how aviation gas might be better. Problems can occur because ethanol and water can mix. Try googling "ethanol gas sailboats" to get good explanations. Todd talked about how to heave to (video), and how it can be useful on Lake Travis (to work with your sails when solo'ing), relaxing between races, or handling a storm. Robert talked about preparing for sailing on oceans and around the world. The room was then opened for questions. One question was about solutions for leaky windows. One solution was to "get a new boat." Another was to get a kit from Catalina Direct. That's a good source for all things Catalina. Then, in preparation for the Dragon Boat Cruise, Todd gave us a brief history of Chinese world sailing. The peak time was in the 1400's during the Ming Dynasty. Their boats were gigantic when compared to the European boats of the time. However, under the Ching Dynasty, they pulled back and became more isolated until the 1800's. Attendance: 31 people, including 3 guests (one new guest). Lake = 628.34'.

April 2013 Cruise: Hawaiian Luau. It was an Aloha Luau cruise hosted by Gary and Paulette, with assistance from Dave and Diane, at Travis Landing. Several boats were sailed to the cruise location, which was also accessible by car. At lake level 631.2', there was a nice cove with dinghy access to a beach-like area. It was a nice day for a light-air sail. On the shore and under canopies, we feasted on a large buffet of Hawaiian food, including Kapalua Pork, Poipu Chicken, Hawaiian Rice, coconut fruit salads, cole slaw, bread, Hawaiian salsa, coconut cream pie, and upside-down pineapple cake. There were also an assortment of fruity beverages. In addition, we even had a sailboat made out of Spam. A cool breeze came up and we wound up  around a nice campfire. Many Mahalo thanks to our hosts for the food, location, tents, chairs, stump removal, and aloha spirit. Thanks also to Michael and Steve L for providing dinghies. The numbers: Forty-one attendees, 34 members, 7 guests, 5 boats, and 15? cars. Air temp 77, water 65, winds around 10 knots. Lake level 631.2'. Photos.

April 2013 Meeting: Todd gave us a fact-filled presentation on "America's Original Hybrid Vehicles -- the Transition from Sail to Steam in 1800s." It was very interesting to learn or be reminded of the transitions from square riggers to schooners to steamboats, paddle-wheel boats to propeller-driven boats to boats with both motors and sails. 27 attendees, including 2 guests. Lake level 631.3'.

March 2013 St Patrick's Green Cruise: St Patrick's Day Cruise. Saturday's winds were 20 to 30, but Sunday's winds were a pleasant 5-15 for the sail to Barry's Cove. Conditions were good for a raft-up. There were 18 people on 8 boats: C25 Ebb Tide III with 5, C22 Affinity with 2, C250 Flying Cloud with 2, C27 Cool Change, C22 Double Happiness, C28 Destiny with 3, C22 Be-Bop-a-Lula with 2, C22 Gata Gorda with 2. Temps were well into the 80's. Robert and Sheila hosted up an Irish feast with Corned Beef & sides, and Shepherd's Pie. Others brought a variety of green or Irish foods. It was a great day to be on the lake! Photos. Lake level 630.6'.

March 2013 Meeting: Sailing Photography, presented by local Sailor and Professional Photographer, Bill R Bill has an impressive list of credentials, far beyond being a volunteer photographer at the Austin Yacht Club. He's taken pictures for Sailing World, Texas Monthly, and Friday Night Lights. He gave us lots of suggestions and ideas for taking better photos on and of sailboats, from both technical and aesthetic points of views. He also presented an excellent slide show of his photos, including many taken of junior sailors, and talked about photo-op challenges and opportunities. He said the best times to take photos are before 10 am and after 4 pm, in order to get good light and shadows. Try manual mode. Higher ISO settings are OK on digital cameras. Tell a story with your pictures. Try to get different angles, from higher or lower perspectives. Don't put the horizon in the very middle. Always be ready to get that special photo by keeping your camera on Auto or Program mode when you aren't actively taking pictures. Excellent meeting and program! There were forty-one attendees, including 8 guests. Lake level 630.7'.

2013 Sailing Photo Contest for the First Annual Fleet 69 Photo Contest, 67 photos were entered by 17 people in 3 categories: 1. Sailboats, 2. People or Pets on Sailboats, 3. Sunsets/Sunrises. The extremely difficult job of judging was done by Bill R and Cheryl. Prizes of gift cards at Precision Photo were award to 2 places in each category, plus 5 honorable mentions. The pictures ranged from nostalgic to picturesque to gorgeous to whimsical. Thanks to all the participants!

Valentines 2013 Cruise: 2/10/13. On a very pleasant partly-sunny February afternoon, with temperatures in the 60's and winds 5-10 in the early afternoon, 18 sailors and 6 boats anchored in Barry's Cove for a Valentine's Fabulous Fruit Cruise. Many thanks to our host, Michael, who also provided a delicious Valentine's slush-punch libation. We had a well-balanced fare of fruits and chocolate concoctions. Boats (# sailors) included C25 1872 (2), C250 Flying Cloud (6 coming, 5 going), C27 Cool Change (1 coming, 2 going), C27 Escape (3), C27 Sweet Sue (4), and C30 (2). Lake level 631.5'. Photos.

February 2013 Meeting: Bob and Karen presented highlights of their 2012 live aboard cruising adventures, with focus on Chesapeake Bay cruising. This was their second year on their Catalina 30. For the program, (1) they showed videos and photos of sailing and motoring over the waves of coastal bays and channels of the ICW.  They saw lots of flora and fauna, including Bald Eagles, dolphins, and manatees.  (2) Then they gave us a visual tour of the historical, scenic, and interesting sites of the Chesapeake Bay area. They got to see the Pride of Baltimore under sail. They told us about the sinking islands, such as Tangier and Hooper, due to rising sea levels and subsidence of the coastal land. (3) You, too, can cruise the Chesapeake! There are several chartering companies based in Annapolis. Attendees: 29. Welcome to new member, Andy!

January 2013 Cruise: The high for Saturday was supposed to be moderate (60's), but the forecast also included a high probability of rain with thunderstorms. Sunday's high was to be in the 40's and windy. So, we opted for an indoor cruise. Karen and Bob proposed a new and clever theme: The Stone Soup Cruise. No, this wasn't to be based on my mother's favorite soup recipe, but rather a legend that goes something like this: Some sailors had just arrived in a port and were hungry. No one would give them food. So, they filled a pot with water, added a stone, and brought it to a boil. Villagers would walk by the dock and ask about the soup. One by one, they determined the soup needed more, and would contribute seasonings, vegetables, meats, and more. After a while, the sailors had a delicious soup to enjoy ! In our case, the hosts provided the broth and each sailor brought a bowl with something tasty for the soup. They brought meat, herbs, Japanese vegetables, other veggies, and pasta. The result was a delicious and warm soup to go along with talks of past and future days of sailing! Eighteen members attended. Lake level 631.9' (the rain didn't help much.) Photos.

January 2013 Meeting: Commodore John G launched the first meeting of 2013 with thanks to our holiday party hosts, a photo show of the fleet's 2012 photo album, and discussions of cruises and programs for the coming year. Cruise Director Steve L led the cruises discussion and successfully found volunteers for every month. See the Calendar for the results. Twenty-seven attendees. Lake Level 631.9'.
Officers and Appointees for 2013 include: Commodore: John G, Vice Commodore: Diane C, Treasurer: Robert, Secretary/Historian/Webmaster: Cheryl, and Social Director: Steve L. 
Meeting Photos.



December 2012 Holiday Party: December 2012 Holiday Party: Sheila and Robert once again opened their beautifully decorated home to the fleet and hosted a wonderful party. A near-record of forty-one members and guests attended. We socialized, ate well, installed new officers, and did the gift exchange. Cruise hosts and program presenters received non-skid and non-breakable Catalina mugs. Congratulations to Todd, the 2012 recipient of the Stough award for his outstanding enthusiasm and contributions to the fleet and fleet membership. For the gift exchange, the most popular gifts were Norma's hand-made blanket, liquid-filled bottles and cup-holders. There were also bottle openers, journals, sail bag, Jimmy Buffet CD, door mat, candle holder (sailboat), sailboat necklace, boat hook, flashlight, and more. Oddly, there were no calendars this year.
For photos, click on these links. Party Photos and the 2012 Album

November 2012 Cruise: Italian Pasta Land Cruise - Andiamo ! (Let's Go ! ) The lake was low (633.2'), the winds were high (15-25), and several fleet members were without accessible boats, so we had a land cruise. Michael was the cook and host, while Bob and Karen graciously opened their home to the fleet. Twenty-one attended. We feasted on 2 types of spaghetti sauce (meat and vegetarian), antipasto, numerous delicious salads (remember the kale), breads, and cheeses. For dessert we had Italian Chocolate cake, red-fruit bars, and fruit. We talked about boats, the Kemah cruise, and sailing on the Chesapeake Bay. Many thanks to our hosts! Photos

November 2012 Meeting: Twenty-five members met at the Pizza Bistro. Commodore Todd led his last regular meeting of the year with the nomination and election of the officers for 2013. They are as follows: Commodore: John G, Vice Commodore: Diane C, Treasurer: Robert, and Secretary: Cheryl. Also, Cheryl will be the webmaster and historian with Clay as the assistant, and Steve L will be the cruise director / social chairman. Officers will be installed at the Holiday Party. Many thanks to our officers of 2012 for their dedicated contributions. For the program, Steve showed a set of slides that showed overlays of our Kemah cruise  GPS trackings over Google Earth (r) satellite photos. It was fascinating to see our path. We could see the tacks and long 5.3 mile reaches. We also saw how our "anchored" boat moved at Redfish Island. It slipped foot by foot, then stopped for a while, then began to slip again, hold, slip, etc until we decided it was time to raise anchor. 
Remember the meetings of 2012 here. Lake level 633.3'.

Clear Lake - Kemah - Galveston Bay Cruise 2012  - We had a super time with great winds and wonderful hosts. 
On Friday night (Oct 19), 24 of us met at Jackie's Brickhouse for dinner on the patio. We ate everything from chicken fried steak to oysters, and exchanged plans of the weekend to come. Some stayed until 9 pm to hear the band. It was a pleasant evening to eat outside.
On Saturday (Oct 20) morning at 9:30 am, all 4 boats headed for the Bay. Two charter boats from Windward Sea Venture Charters and two member boats left from the Watergate Marina:

  • Hunter 410, Alamanda with Captain Gary and his reliable crew Paulette, John & Ann Marie, Akiko and Steve, Todd and Patti, and Judy & Bill.
  • Hunter 336, Sassy, with Captain Robert with sporty crew Joe, Shirley, Keith, Sue, Lane, Sue, Annette, David
  • Catalina 25, Summer Song, with Admiral Phyllis with intrepid crew Patrick, Clay, and Jane C
  • Catalina 320, Persuasion, with Ensign Dave with activist crew Steve & Meri and Steve & Cheryl. (On Sunday, Admiral Phyllis and Patrick joined the crew.)
Winds were great on both days, with a little more on Sunday. They ranged from 10 to 20 and waves were "not bad at all." On Saturday, we all sailed between the "barn and the silo" to Redfish Island, where we anchored independently and ate lunch. Redfish Island is a very low island with channel dredgings that has come and gone over the years. It makes a nice daytime anchorage, providing protection from the waves but the coolness of the breeze. Ships pass by in the channel, just on the other side of the island. The bottom is a sticky icky mud, which caused problems with the raising of the anchors in some cases. But, we continued on with a fantastic broad reach back to the Clear Lake Channel. Phyllis' boat performed beautifully and kept up with the other 3 boats.
On Saturday night, thanks to Dave "going overboard with hospitality", we had a delicious BBQ dinner from T-Bone Tom's, a popular Kemah restaurant. We ate next to the race-track shaped pool at Watergate Marina and exchanged stories of our sailing day.
Sunday (Oct 21) was also  great sailing. Summer Song took a lay-day since her crew abandoned her, and P&P joined Persuasion. As we exited the C-L Channel, Persuasion and Sassy stayed near each other as we sailed to the south, toward Red Fish Island. After that, we took independent courses. Persuasion headed towards the "north cut of the ship channel" to see what it looked like. It was well marked. The charter company said it was closed to charter boats, but there were sailboats making the crossing.  We looked for dolphins, which were in that area 2 weeks before, but none were found. We headed back to the marina and docked around 3:30. Sassy returned around 4 pm. 
Alamanda's Sunday report, thanks to John G: We sailed straight out of the Kemah channel almost to the shipping channel. We didn't see any of the other boats, and had to decide at that point to go towards Redfish or head northwest towards Morgans Point. Since we had sailed to Redfish on Saturday, and wanted a comfortable sail for lunch, we headed northeast on a nice broad reach. We broke out the food and had great lunch. We made it past the Bayport ship channel, and east of the Houston Yacht Club. HYC had dropped a yellow tetrahedron in preparation for their Sunday afternoon race, so we rounded that to port and headed back to Kemah close hauled. On the way, a fishing boat was dragging nets in the Bayport ship channel, and of course that attracted many birds, but also dolphins that swam near our boat. In one tack we made it all the way to the Kemah channel entrance day mark, where we took down sails and started the engine, and motored back to the dock, arriving close to 2:30pm. Everyone who wanted steer got a turn at the helm during this trip. 

Many many thanks are due to the captains, Gary, Robert, Dave, and Phyllis for hosting a wonderful weekend and taking the "risk" of hosting a boat and crew. We all had a great time.
Photos
FYI, Galveston Links

Oktoberfest 2012 Cruise: Oktoberfest 2012 was wunderbar! We had some of everything, with winds that were both calm and ideal, skies that were rainy and sunny, and temps in the 80's. Mark and Diane hosted their first cruise, and it was a spectacular one! With 5 boats (one C270, one C22 sport, two C25's, one C27), 1 car, and 13 people at Arkansas Bend, a good time was had by all. Lake level 634.5' allowed us to tie up to shore, tho getting on/off boats was tricky. The rocky hillside was 25' high. We had a mini keg of beer, bratwurst, sauerkraut, potato salad and more, PLUS a delicious array of German desserts. Vielen danke to our hosts!. Photos

October 2012 Meeting: We met at our old place that has been remodeled and renamed to Pizza Bistro. 27 attendees. Program:  John G. Tall Ships. 
*    Tall Ships America Challenge Festival in May in Savannah Georgia
*    Show photos and video
*    Handouts and quiz. What is a bunt line? What is the protocol to fire a canon?
*    At the end of the festival all boats go down river to Atlantic – John filmed them passing Fort Jackson
*    Helped explain the lines that move the yard arm and adjust sail trim
*    To raise and lower the sail, people have to be up on the foot ropes
*    You could ride on some of the boats for $100
*    Some have guest cabins you can sign up for
*    "Belle Poule" means more than beautiful chicken....

September 2012 Breakfast Cruise: The annual popular breakfast cruise was held Sept 22-23 at Longhorn Landing (map 1, map2). (Travis cruising map). At lake level 635.1, there was a nice cove that could be reached by boat or by car. On Saturday night, there were 2 boats, one tent, and a truck, for a total of six people, more or less. The overnight air temperature was a pleasant 69. Air was still. In the morning, one more boat (total 3) and many cars arrived, for a total of 22 people (to be verified.) Our cruise hosts Joe, Joy, and Clay, along with co-hosts Dave and Diane, set up a very comfortable camp site with a shade, tables, and plenty of chairs. Joe brought his new portable smoker and cooker. As he said, this was an "8-burner event" as all 8 burners were in use. On Saturday they had smoked brisket. On Sunday we had scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausage, bacon, brisket, coffee...you name it. Attendees brought all types of berries, REAL maple syrup, nuts, pineapple, etc to top the pancakes. It was an amazing feast. As the temperatures became creeping up near 90, some of us went swimming in the 81 degree water. It was a wonderful cruise. Many thanks to all our hosts for surpassing themselves, once again, with a fantastic Breakfast Cruise. Photos.

September 2012 Meeting: Since our usual location, Mangia's was being renovated and renamed to Pizza Bistro (with a peace symbol) this month, we met at La Morada, one mile north. In spite of the change in location and rainy weather, 26 people attended the meeting! Todd started the program section of the meeting with photos and stories about their recent trip to Newport, RI and Nantucket Island. It sounded like a sailor's paradise. They also successfully took an ASA sailing certification course. 
Next, Steve and Cheryl showed pictures and videos and told stories of a recent trip to see the America's Cup World Series race in San Francisco. It was so exciting to see the AC45 catamarans, 11 of them, racing back and forth along the bay front, very close to shore. With and without a zoom lens, the photo ops were fantastic, with backdrops of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and the city. Races will be there again starting Oct 2. Next year, the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup regatta will be held there on AC72s.  The youth will race on AC45's. 
Lake Travis level was 634.07' in the morning. After 4 days of rain, the lake was 635'.

August 2012 Flip Flop Regatta Pool Party: Some boats flipped, some flopped, and some even "sailed!" The Flip Flop Regatta Pool party was a huge success, thanks to hosts Todd and Party. 22 sailors attended. Lake level was 638.1', but the conditions in the pool were just right. Photos.

August 2012 Program: John Bartlett, Sailmaker and owner of Bartlett Sails in Austin, gave us a very interesting presentation on several sailmaking-related topics. First he gave us an update on the latest fabrics used for boat and sail covers. There's a new one that looks like bubble-wrap covered with sun-protective fabric. This protects the fiberglass from being crazed (cooked) in the Texas heat. Sail materials haven't changed a whole lot in recent years, for cruisers. Dacron is still a good, common, and long-lasting cloth. If you want a storm jib, there's a 70% sail called a mule. For cleaning sails, use Oxiclean or throw it in someone's swimming pool. Bleach tends to stain. 303 hi-tech fabric guard is excellent. Sunbrella lasts "forever" but UC protection is only about 8 years. Then John told us about his Moth Sailboat. Look at the photos! Here's a wow photo. Thanks, John for a great presentation!
Attendees: 23 members and one guest. Lake Level 638.3'.

July 2012 Chinese Fire Drill Cruise, formerly called the "Year of the Water Dragon" cruise: As the ancient Chinese said (or someone), all's well that ends well. We experienced calm and wind, dry and wet, water and land. Many stories need to be told from about 12 different perspectives. We started out on the shores of Longhorn Landing. Hosts Dave and Diane had set up a tent with tables, chairs, Chinese decorations, food, drinks, kayak, mooring lines, dinghy, and more. We were ready to party. Mark and Diane brought a kite and it flew easily. The area had had showers on and off for the last week, but they usually only lasted an hour or so, and were hit and miss. We thought they would miss. However, there were 3 blobs on the radar (great use for a smart phone!) that were converging on Lake Travis. Todd & crew arrived by boat, followed by Afternoon Delight. Just as the storm started to come, Irish Ayes arrived, then looked to the sky and turned around and rode out the first phase of the storm at an AYC t-head. Todd took his boat back to Keller's. Afternoon Delight stayed for a while, but after a shore line broke, cushions blew off,  and the keel neared the ground, she left for Marshall Ford. Meanwhile, we spied Yellow Moon in the distance, with apparent problems with a motor that decided to stop at the wrong moment and sails that didn't quite want to go up all the way. She rode out part of the storm and then returned to the marina. For those on the point of land, they watched the rain and the boats, and saw Dave's dingy soar into the air and out of sight.
We then retreated to Dave and Diane's house as the rain continue to come. We had all types of delicious and carefully prepared Chinese food. Thanks to all our cooks! Many thanks to Dave and Diane for their great efforts, flexibility, creativity, and a fantastic cruise!  In all, we had 23 attendees on Longhorn Landing Point, 12 via 4 boats (3 anchored). After we went inside, we had 20. 
Lake level didn't budge much, even though in NW Austin, we had 6" on Sunday and 11" during the last week. Lake Level is 640.2'. Photos

July 2012 Meeting: We had a double-header program tonight. First we had "Bachelors on Board - Living on Sailboats." Michael started it off with a nice picture of box of dirt on the dock next to his boat, which was to be his vegetable garden. One day he noticed the dirt was disturbed. Strange. Next day, there was an egg in the dirt! Next day, more eggs! Each day brought more eggs until he had 8 duck eggs. He was an octo-dad! One by one they hatched, and the happy duck family lived near his home, a 38' Catalina. He then described how he adapted his life to a boat, by cutting back to the essentials because of space, setting up his office in the boat, getting a/c, and using an airbed in the dinette area. V-berths don't have enough space and air flow. A few months ago, there was a sudden storm out at the lake. Parts from a nearby houseboat flew off and bent his mast and caused other damage to his home, the boat. Long sad story followed and his home was no more. Meanwhile, he recommended working on yacht deliveries via www.sailopo.com.
Carl lived on a 1972 Coronado 23 while going to law school. It was actually less expensive than a traditional apartment or house, plus, it had the wonderful advantage of being waterfront property with beautiful sunrises and sunsets each day, with utilities included. Here's some Catalina history: Frank Butler was the original designer of the Coronado 23, but he sold the company before founding Catalina Yachts around 1970. Designs are quite similar. The boat was named "No no" (another story) but soon became "Pro Bono." He took advantage of every nook and cranny. If he cooked, it was on a Coleman stove in the cockpit. Otherwise, there were local dining establishments. He did a lot of fishing for fun and food. His advice: "To stay a bachelor, live on a boat." He also recommended the lifestyle, at least for a while. Enjoy it and go with it! 

Part II was "Sailing for 2 in the San Juan Islands on a 38' Beneteau sailboat", by Diane and Mark. They gave an entertaining, and informative presentation with lots of photos and maps about their June 5-day charter from Anacortes Yacht Charters, www.ayc.com, in Washington State. This was their third time sailing in that area. They went to Stewart Island and Port of Friday Harbor. The first day was picture perfect, literally. The sun was shining, water was a deep blue, and snow capped mountains were visible in the distance. The area is well set up now with moorings, thanks to a well organized state marine park system. The next day had totally different weather, cold and windy. They sailed on and it was well worth it, for they finally got to see a very active pod of 7 to 8 orca whales. The whales swam nearby and jumped out of the water. The main challenges of the area are the tides (12-15') and tidal currents (5-6 knots.) Fortunately, there is a book with well-documented detailed information with maps and arrows to indicate the net speed and direction of the water flow. 

Many thanks to all the speakers. If I got anything terribly wrong, let me know and I'll fix it.
Lake level was 639.3'. Attendees: 28.

June 2012 Taste of Texas Cruise: Deep in the Heart of Texas, the Catalina Fleet gathered in Barry's Cove on Lake Travis for a "Taste of Texas Cruise." Thanks to our hosts Robert and Sheila, and attendees, we had an abundance of Texas food and drinks to enjoy. Lake level 641.6'. Winds 5-10 in the afternoon, 10-15 in the evening. Temps in the low 90's. Four sailboats, 1 powerboat, and 16 people. One boat-person spent the night. Photos.

June 2012 Meeting: Anchoring and Person Overboard Recovery, Gary presented an excellent program, with explanations and handouts about how to recover a person who falls overboard, how to set and retrieve an anchor, and how to recover from running aground. To practice person overboard, throw an unwrapped roll of paper towels overboard and try to retrieve it before it sinks. Point to the person and say "man overboard," throw them a floatation device, do not lose eye contact, get back to the person in the best way. ASA teaches 2 methods. Beam or close reach or heave-to.  Don't use the motor near people in the water. For anchoring, there are 3 things to keep in mind: wind, length of line, and depth. 
Before the program, Todd explained what happened to his bandaged-up hand. Lesson learned: always wear your sailing gloves on the boat.  29 attendees. Lake level 642'. 

May 2012 Cruise: Flor de Caña "Flower of the Sugar Cane" Cruise
This was a fantastic cruise with all that we could have wanted: great food, drinks, turnout, friends, music, boats, location, and most of all WIND and an opportunity for some real sailing. At lake level 643.3', Arkansas Bend Park's north cove worked well for both anchoring to shore and arriving by car. (cruise map) (fleet lake map) (photo) There were 32 sailors, 18 fleet family units, 8 boats, and 2 cars. Winds were SSE 10 to 15 with gusts to 22. Many thanks to Salvador and Nina for a wonderful cruise day! We had a taste of the Nicaraguan Caribbean, with authentic food, drinks, music, weather, pictures, and Calypso music from Nicaragua's Caribbean Coast and Corn Islands. Food included Grilled pork tenderloin marinated in lime, achiote and other tropical spices, tortillas, Ensalada de repollo (Nicaraguan-style coleslaw), Confetti Rice, Beans, Green or Ripe plantains, Yucca ("cassava" as it known in other parts of the Caribbean), Plantain chips, and Rum cake. Beverages included Flor de Caña rum 7-years, Cola, Fruit juice, Rum & Cola, Rum & fruit juice. Photos.
 
May 2012 Meeting: 

  • Salvaging and Trailering Boats was the meeting program, thanks to local salvager and fleet member, Joe. While we all plan to take good care of our boats forever, there are some boats on area lakes and lots that have been abandoned, sunken, or neglected beyond repair. That's where Joe comes in to help. If the boat is beyond repair, he takes "all the good parts" off the boat and sells them. The key to  boat and trailer maintenance is "If you take care of it, it will take care of you." We learned the definition of hydroplaning, which happens when the water is deeper than the tire treads. So treads and tire inflation are important. The speed at which a boat trailer tire will hydroplane is 6 (a constant for boat trailers) times the square root of the inflation pressure. So if a trailer wheel is only inflated to 25 psi, then it could hydroplane at 6*5=30 mph. Here are 4 important things to remember: Securely tie the boat to the trailer,  Check the lug nuts (tight), Know the proper tire inflation pressure and use it, Grease wheel bearings (and check for heat a short distance after starting to drive.)
  • In addition, Todd gave a brief presentation about Hooligan's Navy. This was  a fleet of sailboats that silently participated in the WWII defense of the US coastline against German U-boats. It a facinating piece of naval history, so Google it to learn more. Or read Voyages in Desperate Times by Jule Miller. 
  • Also, fleet member Joy has released her first CD. Go to youtube link to hear her "Ranguana" song along with photos of Ranguana, Belize, taken and arranged by Cheryl.
  • The numbers: 24 attendees, lake level 638.38' before the meeting and 640' 24 hours later. (on on 5/18, it is 643.14'.)

April 2012 Cruise: The 4/14 Rain Dance aka Picnic Cruise was canceled due to high winds.

April 2012 Meeting: Jo Karr Tedder, the president of the Central Texas Water Coalition talked to us about efforts to save Lake Travis, and how we can help. Read these links for details: Overview, Information, LCRA Water Pie Chart, April 26 meeting.
Other news: Congratulations to Joy on the release of her new CD!  Watch the calendars for June and August...the cruises might be switched. The Ladies' Cruise will be moved to July (most likely). Lake level is 640.3'. Some fleet members are cleaning house and free sailing books were available. Turnback Canyon Regatta, held annually by AYC, will have a different format this year: the races will be held in the main basin and/or to Lakeway and back. Plus, there will be a "beach party." There will be a cruising fleet, so everyone can join the fun!
25 members, a guest, and our speaker were present.
 

March 2012 St Patrick's Cruise: It rained again on cruise day, so we met at the "Lion and Rose" restaurant and Pub in Westlake Hills. It was an excellent location.  We had our own private room for our group of 20.  Some had Guiness pints to get into the mood and everyone had a good time. Joy sang several Irish folk songs, since we were celebrating St Patrick's Day (early).  Some of the songs were taught to Joy by her mother when she was a little girl.  Joy also said that her dad had a beautiful tenor voice. What a musical family and we're so fortunate to have Joy (and Joe) in our fleet. Lake level 631.4'. Photos by Todd. 

March 2012 Meeting: "The Good, Bad, and the Ugly of Coastal Cruising." 35 members attended. Lake level 631.4'. Bob and Karen presented an excellent slide show of photos taken during their ongoing trip along the ICW, Intracoastal Waterway, from Texas to the Chesapeake on their Catalina 30, Watercolors. They shared their experiences with various aspects of their trip. Read more in their blog. They’ve traveled 4000 miles, logged 760 engine hours, burned 380 gallons of fuel, performed 10 oil changes and lots of repairs. Lesson learned: Be Prepared!

The Good The Bad The Ugly
Sailing the Chesapeake
Log Canoe Races
Wildlife Sanctuaries
Visits with friends
Seafood
Sea Turtle Centers
Dolphins and Manatees
So many birds!
Floating docks (rise with the tide)
Sunrises/Sunsets
Lighthouses
Washington DC
Some soft shell crabs
Mexican Food
Shallow Water
Beating into the waves
Stationary and short docks
Bugs
Jellyfish in the raw water strainer
Bridges, especially waiting for drawbridges
Rocks
Currents can be bad ~6kts
Exhaust leaks
Trucking the boat across Florida
ICW water – their boat had a 
moustache and they did not swim
once in the dirty water

February 2012 Chocolate Valentine's Cruise: With lake air temperatures ranging from 30 to 42 degrees, and forecasts of snow and sleet (which did happen, briefly), we voted to move the Valentine's Cruise indoors to the Iguana Grill. Twenty-three of us met in a nice private room overlooking Arkansas Bend (lake level 627.07',) where we indulged in many varieties of chocolate concoctions and excellent Tex-Mex meals. Many thanks to Jane and Lane for hosting a fun land cruise! Photos.

February 2012 Meeting: Kent Little, owner of Little Yacht Sales (Kemah, TX), is the Catalina dealer for the Texas coast. He recently visited the Catalina factory in Largo, Florida and showed us pictures and diagrams of the production of the new “5Series” of Catalina Yachts. His associate, John, talked about the rigging. Catalina has been focusing on building more luxurious and high-quality boats using "mass production" techniques and close attention to detail. “The closer you look the better Catalina gets” is a quote from the company. We took a closer look at the production facilities and the components of the Catalina yachts. Thanks!
In addition, we voted on the winning Occupy Sandy Creek posters and prizes were awarded to Jane, Keith, Michael, and Cheryl.
Lake level is 627.0. Attendees: 25 members and 2 guest speakers.

January 2012 Cruise: "Occupy Sandy Creek" On 1/15/2012, Sixteen members and guests of the fleet occupied Sandy Creek (north of Starnes Island) to protest the near record low level of Lake Travis, 626.3'. The low level is impacting recreational opportunities, which in turn impact local businesses and the economy. Four sailboats and four cars were there. We patronized the Sandy Creek Marina store with purchases of snacks and beverages. We made protest signs to express our objections to the low water level. It was a great day to sail and 4 Catalinas enjoyed the strong (10 to 20+)  southerly winds on our backs as we entered Sandy Creek. Starnes Island looks like a submarine. Barry's Cove is inaccessible. There are underwater power lines across the creek, where the depth is only 19'. Many thanks to hosts Todd and Patti for thinking up this great idea. For information on how you can help, go to the Central Texas Water Coalition, www.ourwater-ourfuture.com. Photos.

January 2012 Meeting: Commodore Todd launched the new year with an excellent meeting. 30 members attended. First we planned the cruises for 2012. Lake level is 626.4' and continues to fall in spite of some rain in December, so we had to taken all that into consideration. Commodore reported that our Past Commodore is attending the meeting of the Central Texas Water Coalition (ourwater-ourfuture.com.) Welcome to new members, Mark and Diane. Then the program, "Eyewitnesses to America's Cup Racing in San Diego." Four fleet couples traveled to San Diego to view the races. Sailing Teams race 42 ft. catamarans with fixed wings for main sails. Close course racing makes a great spectator sport. Each couple was asked to show their top 10 photos. Todd showed a 2 minute video of clips from the races, including the audio and video telecast. Steve S explained what the races are about and showed his best photos. Robert showed a selection of his favorite 10 photos. Keith and Sue told us about their experience on a 29 ft Catalina charter boat.  They lived aboard for 5 days.  Sue loved the Starbucks nearby. Todd showed his top ten photos. We all enjoyed the stories and photos! Meeting photos.

2012 Officers: Commodore Todd, Vice Commodore Steve P, Past Commodore Dave Z, Secretary Sheila, Treasurer Robert.
2012 Appointees: Social: Carl, Historian and Web-person: Cheryl



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