News: DSA Members Sail in Lightning North American Championships

Congratulations to DSA sailors who did well in the recently-concluded Lightning North American Championships!

Steve Davis, with crew Amy and Jeff Linton of St. Petersburg FL placed 20th in the Championship division and and 3rd in the Masters division.

Bill Cabrall, sailing with crew Raeyane and Norm Jarvis, placed 14th in the Masters division and 19th in the Governor’s Cup division.

David Spira, with crew Will Tyner and Randy Shore placed 21st in the Governor’s Cup division.

And Jim and Lori England, sailing with skipper Bill Mauk of Miami FL placed 33rd in the Championship division and 9th in the Masters division.

Well done, DSA sailors!

News: Spring Racing Series is Concluded

Last updated 7/26/2016


Spring Series

Results to Date
Spring Series Keelboats
Spring Series Dinghies

Spring Series Recap

We had a fabulous 2016 Spring Series this year, with racing on 19 of the 20 race nights — only one night was canceled, when there was heavy rain and 47 degree temperatures at the lake at 6 PM on Dinghy Series # 4.  Race Committee was on site that evening, but, not surprisingly, not a single boat had rigged, and nobody wanted to go out.  Other than that we had beautiful sailing conditions on all the other evenings, with heavier winds on keelboat nights and gentler winds on dinghy nights.

Eleven PHRF keelboats and 10 Santanas raced during the series and got in 19 races — missing just one race, on a light air evening on July 6.

Thirty dinghies (10 Lasers, 9 Lightnings, 6 Santanas, 2 Buccaneers, a Swift Solo, an Alerion Express 20, and a 420) raced during the series and got in 16 races, with one race night canceled and two others with one race each, due to light winds.

Spring Series 2016 also saw the re-introduction of Thursday Burger Nights, starting June 2, at the DSA clubhouse.

Read below for details, or click here for a PDF version in ascending date sequence.

Spring Series # 10

Thursday July 7

Tonight was one of the best sailing nights of the season.  Steady breezes and warm winds made for a fast enjoyable track.  Two races were completed, the second being three laps around a W-6 course.  Still plenty of daylight to return to the marina.


Wednesday, July 6

The day was breezy with forecasts of gusts at 20+ mph for the early evening.  Winds were diminishing as RC was able to set a W-Finish course in light winds.  As the race progressed the winds dwindle close to zero.  Not all the boats were able to finish and the second race was subsequently abandoned as engines were turned on to return home. This Wednesday night was our first low wind/no wind race of the year!


Spring Series # 9

Thursday June 30
The radio and TV forecasts all day were calling for severe storms with big wind, hail, and monsoon-style rain (up to 5″ in spots) for Denver, and while that might have happened somewhere in Colorado, it didn’t happen at Cherry Creek Reservoir!  This forecast may have kept some competitors home however.
True, between 5 PM and 7 PM a storm cell passed from west to east somewhere north of the lake, kicking up shifty ragged gusts of northeast wind 16 – 20 MPH
, but otherwise not noticeable — certainly without any visible lightning or rain, and with skies that seemed to be clearing behind the dam.
So RC (Tom Downing and Steve Barney) headed out at 5:50 PM to set a course, and they were followed by three Lightnings, two Lasers, a Santana, a Swift Solo, and Rich Allen’s Corsair Pulse 600 trimaran.  Winds were shifting through 90 degrees, making it difficult to set a course, so they dropped two hippity hops for Windward and Leeward marks, motored back to the start line, then waited for racers to appear.
On shore, the crane was out of service, so one Lightning and the Corsair ramp launched; the other two Lightnings, the Lasers, and the Swift Solo launched on the beach adjacent to the crane.  Boats navigating the narrow channel between the marina docks and the shore had a difficult time making the needed short tacks through the shifting wind that was blowing straight up the channel, and were late to the line, but RC accommodated them, with a first warning for Lightnings at 6:41 PM, and a warning for all other boats 5 minutes later.
Thar race went quickly, with boats challenged to stay stable in the gusty winds, with the last boat finishing at 7:04 PM.
RC set a longer course for the second race, a W-5-W-L, and got it off at 7:10 for the Lightnings and 7:16 for the others.
And then the winds died down to the 5 – 10 MPH range, getting closer to 5 MPH as the clock got closer to 7:45 PM.  RC in the meantime had shortened the course at the windward mark, and boats, after finishing made it back to the marina by 8:15 PM.
The 5th Thursday burger night event was held,  but attended by only the RC and one competitor.
Scores to be posted later.

Wednesday, June 29

A heavy rainstorm moved from west to east a mile or two south of the lake between 4:30 and 5:45 PM, with rumbles of thunder high overhead, but by 5:50 PM it appeared that the storm was moving out as skies cleared above. So RC (David Thompson, Joe Beierl, and Kim Komitor) headed out in the 10-MPH southerly breeze to set a course.  Since the winds did not exactly align with either the # 3 or # 4 buoys, they set a hippity-hop 200 yards upwind, then came back to the RC buoy and set up a start line for a W-8-W-8 course. 5 Santanas and 9 PHRF boats came out to race.

The first race started on time at 6:25 PM and went quickly for the PHRF boats, with the last boat finishing at 6:58 PM.  The Santanas started at 6:30 PM and the last boat finished at 7:06 PM.  Winds held steady in both strength and direction.  Likewise the second race, on the same W-8-W-8 course, started at 7:10 PM for the PHRF boats and at 7:15 PM for the Santanas, and proceeded as expected, although by the end of the race the winds had died down to the 3 – 5 MPH range.  The last boat finished at 7:54 PM and boats were back at the dock by 8:10 PM.  One protest was filed.  Results to be posted later.

Spring Series # 8

Thursday, June 23

A heavy rainstorm moved across the lake starting at 4:30 PM, but by 5:15 PM it had moved on, and RC (Tom Downing, Troy Rockwell, John Van Pelt) was able to head out at 5:45 PM to set a course in the fresh breezes kicked up by the storm.  They were followed by 7 Lightnings, 3 Lasers, 3 Santanas, a Swift Solo, a Buccaneer, Des Runyan’s Alerion 20, and Rich Allen’s new Corsair pulse 600 trimaran.

However, by 6:20 PM the winds had died down to a velocity too low to start a race, so the postponement flag went up, and boats drifted around the start line for the next hour waiting for wind.  Finally at 7:30 a slight southwesterly zephyr developed — not enough create ripples on the water —  and RC, having in the meantime dropped a hippity-hop 200 yards upwind,  started us off on a W – F course, Lightnings first and all other boats second.  That race lasted 35 minutes, and by the time boats had finished, it was time to come in.

Back on shore, after boats were secured, we enjoyed the fourth burger night evening of the season, with members and guests lingering well past 10 PM enjoying the warm evening and the company of their fellow racers.

Wednesday, June 22 


On a cloudy and warm Wednesday evening eleven keelboats (5 Santanas and 6 PHRF boats) headed out  in light northeast air for another Wednesday evening race.  RC (Richard Allen, Joe Beierl, and Kim Komitor) set a W-5 course for the first race, with two starts – PHRF boats first and Santanas second.  That race got started on schedule and lasted 50 minutes.

In the meantime, winds had shifted, so RC changed the course to a 6 – F and started the second race at 7:36 PM for the PHRF boats and at 7:41 PM for the Santanas.

During that race the winds picked up a lot, so RC decided to lengthen the course to make the race last longer, and moved the finish line farther to the east.  Even with the longer course, that race lasted only 20 minutes, with the last boat finishing at 8:03 PM.  Then it was a long haul back to the marina to end the evening.

Results to be posted later.

Spring Series # 7

Thurs June 16 Dinghies

Today was another warm and sunny day without a storm cell in sight anywhere in Colorado, with a haze in the air caused by wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico, with smoke riding the southerly breeze all the way to Denver and beyond.  The AccuWeather forecast of the morning had called for northeasterly winds at 9 – 10 MPH, but they were still blowing from the SSE when RC (Tex Poor, Doug Carver, and Karen K) headed out at 5:45 PM.

For the first race .RC set an ambitious 2 – 6 – 2 – 6 course for the SSE breezes blowing in the 5 – 7 MPH range, and got off starts on schedule for the Lightnings, Lasers, and Santanas (with a Buccaneer and a Swift Solo) on the line.

That made for a nice long downwind run to  # 6, with a gentle beat back to # 2.

And when the Lightnings got back to # 2, they saw that RC had shortened the course,in anticipation of the breeze getting lighter.  Boats were instructed to head back to the start area after finishing and wait there for the start of the second race.

But it took a while for the remaining boats on the course to get up to #2 and finish, and after the last boat finished, RC called for an abandonment, even though there was still some breeze, and nearly an hour of daylight remaining before sunset.

Still, that turned out to be a prescient move, as the wind continued to lighten as boats headed back to the marina.  By the time the last boat got in, the lake was a flat calm.

This made for a relaxed opportunity to get boats put away before skippers and crews headed to the clubhouse for the third Thursday Burger Night event of the season.  Crews lingered until after 9:30 PM enjoying the burgers, brats, and conversation in the quiet warm evening.

Wed June 15 Keelboats

As DSA’s fleet of 16 boats came out of the marina they were greeted with gusts in low to mid 20’s on a beautiful warm June afternoon.  Gust speeds gradually came down as the race committee ran two W-8-W-8 races, with only a smattering of spinnakers showing. Both races were completed quickly and the fleet returned home in much calmer waters with plenty of daylight.

Spring Series # 6

Thurs June 9 Dinghies

Today was the first day of the season with a daytime high temperature above 90 degrees, but by 6 PM a high cloud cover had developed over the lake, dropping temperatures into the comfortable low 80s range.  Winds were forecast to be light from the SE, and they were — in the range of 3 – 5 MPH.  That was enough to get boats around the race course, so racing was on.

RC (Brad Lawson, Jorge Armstrong, and David McVey) headed out and set a W – 8 course and started racing on time, with separate starts for the Lasers, Lightnings, and Santanas, joined by a Buccaneer, a Swift Solo, and Des Runyan’s Alerion Express 20.  Six Lightnings were out, with the first appearance of the season by Team Vargish, with all five family members on board.  And Curtis Rist was out for the first time this season in his bright red Lightning, Loucetios.

The first race took 30 minutes for the first two groups, and nearly an hour for the third, as winds had died down substantially while they were on the course. A second race, also on a W – 8 course, took another 30 minutes, after which boats headed back to the dock. On the trip back to the marina many crews were motivated to paddle aggressively, as a large thunderstorm was building west of the dam, with spectacular bursts of lightning.  It was far enough away, and moving north-to-south, so was not actually threatening the activity on the lake, but nevertheless, skippers were eager to get back to the marina and secure their boats before it hit.  And once on shore, skippers and crews experienced strong downdrafts and a bit of rain as the edge of the storm cell passed over, complicating the task of getting boats put away. After that the storm passed with no lingering effects.

Then skippers, crews, and other DSA members and guests gathered for the second Thursday Burger Night event of the season, hosted at the DSA clubhouse by Lightning team Davis — Steve and Jan Davis and Francine Ulatowski.   That was a perfect ending to an interesting evening of sailing.

Wed June 8 Keelboats


16 boats came out on this storm free Wednesday.  First race was on a 5 – 1 – 5 -1 course started with 13 MPH SW winds, but the winds died before the first (PHRF) fleet got halfway to 5, then clocked 90 degrees east, at a maximum of 5 MPH. After that race finished RC changed the course to 4 – 8 and was subsequently shortened at 8. Then the wind clocked back to the west and kicked up to about 15 MPH.

Spring Series # 5

Thurs June 2 Dinghies


What a nice evening for sailing! Today’s high temperature was 84 degrees, and by 6 PM it was down to a comfortable 78 degrees, with steady southeasterly winds at 6 – 9 MPH. There were no storm cells anywhere in Colorado.  RC (Mike Roybal, Ralph Taylor and Steve Frank) motored out and set a 4 – 8 course for the first race and got it off on schedule, with 5 Lasers going first, followed by 4 Lightnings and 2 Buccs in the second sequence, followed by 5 Santanas in the third.

That race went quickly, and RC changed the course  to a 3 – 8 for the second race.  Winds had freshened a bit just prior to that race, but over the course of the downwind run in the second race they slacked off, slowing the pace as boats finished and headed back to the marina.  Still, all boats were back at the dock by 8 PM, with plenty of daylight remaining before the 8:22 PM sunset.6_2c

Following that, DSA celebrated the resumption of the traditional Thursday Burger Night activity, served from the nearly-finished clubhouse deck and enjoyed in the lighted picnic table area.  The DSA Lightning fleet is serving in June, and Fleet Captain Bill Cabrall and his crew cooked up delicious, piping hot burgers and hot dogs.  Our thanks to Raeyane and Bill who stocked the fridge, set up the grill, and served and cooked for the larger-than-usual crowd that appeared.

Speaking of the fridge, our thanks to David and Angel Neely for donating their used fridge to replace the flood-damaged old big clunker that wasn’t cooling any more, bringing it down from Frisco last Saturday and hooking it up in the clubhouse on Sunday.  Thanks, David and Angel!

Wed June 1 Keelboats

Another great spring Wednesday evening of sailing.  With a few  scattered showers around, sixteen boats came out to race last night — 7 Santanas and 9 PHRF keelboats. Winds were southerly, 13 – 17 MPH, with gusts in the low 20s.  Two fast races were completed and the sailors were greeted with a little rain on the way back in.  Great sailing!

Spring Series # 4

Thurs May 26 Dinghies

We had heavy thunderstorms with hail roll through the metro area between 1 and 3 PM, with a forecast for more later in the day.May26Racing2 A cold rain was falling on a 47-degree evening when RC (Brad Lawson, David McVey, and Hamilton Cowie) arrived at the lake at 5 PM.  At 6 PM, after seeing that no boats were prepared to go out and race, they called for an abandonment and put up the N flag.  That was a good call, as shortly after the rain became much heavier.  Next week will be better.


 Wed May 25 Keelboats

We had good easterly winds with no thunderstorms anywhere in the area, and 7 PHRF boats and 4 Santanas came out to race.  RC (Curtis Rist, Des Runyan, and Jacob Vargish) set a 1 – 5 course for the PHRF boats for the first race and a 2 – 6 – 2 course for the Santanas after the winds shifted.  For the second race, both fleets sailed a 2 – 6 course.  Winds on occasion gusted to close to 20 MPH.

5_25On a serious and sad note, prior to splashing his Santana, while in line to use the crane, Geoff Zaun slipped while on the boat’s deck and fell off, landing hard on the concrete driveway and sustaining serious injuries in the area of his hips. He was taken by ambulance to Sky Ridge Medical Center.  Stay tuned for further details.

Spring Series # 3 

Thurs May 19 Dinghies

Another fine night for sailing.  There was a cloud cover over the foothills that kept the sun out of our eyes, and a cool 8 – 10 MPH southeast wind blowing, with occasional higher gusts, keeping us on our toes as we tacked out to the race course.  4 Lightnings, 4 Santanas, a Swift Solo, and Dan May’s newly-painted Buccaneer, Black Bart came out.

RC (Jim Ulatowski, Brad Lawson, and Brian Seim) set a W-8-W-8 course for the first race and got it off on schedule, finishing at 7 PM.  For the second race they set an ambitious W-8-W-8-W-8 course and got it started after one postponement.  Then, as winds calmed down in the second upwind leg, RC made the wise decision to shorten the course at the #8 mark on the second downwind leg, allowing boats to get back to the dock before sunset.  Results to be posted soon.

Wed May 18 Keelboats

Spring sailing season for 2016 has just been fabulous.  Once again cool steady winds running at 14+ knots made for a great evening of fast racing and long courses for the keelboats.  A busy night with 7 Santana 20’s, a U-20, J-22, S2, E Scow and a J-24 showed up to the starting line.  PRO Curtis Rist ran two races in two fleets (Santana 20’s and OOAK’s) on a 4-8-4-8 finish course.  Except for the chill in the air, it was just another evening of perfect sailing on Cherry Creek.

Spring Series # 2 

Thurs May 12 Dinghies

Last night was a beautiful sailing night, with steady wind in the 6-8 knot range from a little bit to the right of mark number 3. The weather was cool, and wonderful.

2 very good races were held, the first with a course of 3-L (‘L’ was set to the left of mark 8 looking downwind about 75 yards) and the second with a course of W-8-W (‘W’ was set about 100 yards to the right of 3 looking upwind and a little closer to the RC boat.

In both races, the entire fleet was started together as ‘OOAK’. There were 4 Lightnings, a Santana 20, a Laser, a Buccaneer, and 2 of the Community Sailing 420’s.

It was everything a Thursday Evening Race night should be!


Wed May 11 Keelboats

Six boats were out – four Santanas, a J/24, and a U-20.  Rain clouds were on the horizon and a cold, 15 MPH wind was blowing from the southeast when RC started the first sequence at 6:20 PM, on a W – L course.

Winds continued to hold during that race, so RC set a 2 – 7 course for the second race.

Winds died down some and skies cleared during the second race. All boats were back at the dock by sunset.


Spring Series # 1

Thurs May 5 Dinghies
It was a beautiful night for racing. We had southeasterly winds at 10 – 12 MPH and temperatures in the low 70s.  Winds were puffy in places, but not excessively so.  Five boats were out – 3 Lightnings and 2 Santanas.  RC set a 3 – 8 course for the first race and it went quickly.  So for the second race they changed the course to 3 – 8 – 3 – 8. That race lasted until 7:40 PM, and all boats were back at the dock by sunset.


Wed May 4 Keelboats
Winds were forecast to be light, 0-4 MPH on a sunny spring day.  As RC headed out (CurtisSS1_1 Rist, Jim Bogner and Dan May), SS1_2  a steady 9.5 knot wind built up from the east.   The perfect sailing conditions brought out six Santana’s, two J 24’s, a U 20 and the Evelyn 25.  A 2-7-F course was set and the Spring Series was off to a beautiful start.
It only got better, winds kicked up to 12.5 knots and a second 2-7-F course was set and quickly finished.   All boats were in before dark with smiles all around.SS1_3