Epic Day Sailing McKinney And Rubicon Bays


On Saturday, July 16th, Debbie and I got up early and headed for Tahoe to wash Splendido and prep for a fun day of sailing down to D.L. Bliss State Park for a picnic with our dear friends Patty and Mike, followed by a leisurely sail back again — a round trip of 14 nautical miles. Winds were forecast at 10-15 with gusts to 25, so I left the first reef in to keep things comfortable aboard.

Debbie helming Splendido on Lake Tahoe, July 16, 2016.

Debbie and I worked like a seasoned team to get everything ready for our guests. I’m pretty excited lately because Debbie’s been asking to learn different tasks aboard, such as opening thru-hulls, adding water to the engine, and other “guy stuff” that I usually do. I think her goal is to get comfortable enough to eventually go out on her own with a girlfriend, which would be awesome. Anyway, Mike and Patty showed up at 1:30 p.m. and I rowed ashore to fetch them in the dinghy. Let me say that the standard-issue Walker Bay dinghy is a tippy bastard in general, but amazingly fast rowing alone. It’s a dog, however, when I’m in the back seat rowing a guest who’s facing forward. My motion looks more like bench-presses than rowing, and Debbie finds it pretty comical to watch.

Mike Bryant, Ph.D. enjoying the cat-bird's seat aboard Splendido at Lake Tahoe, July 16, 2016.

At any rate, we got our guests safely aboard and headed south. I served up beer and Champagne to our guests, then Debbie went below mid-passage to make a cheese and cracker platter with olives that vanished in no time. There were a stunning number of sailboats out on Tahoe — more than I’d ever seen — and we speculated that the reasons for it were a) a good water year; b) pent-up demand, and 3) just an all-around epic day for sailing on Lake Tahoe.

Patty Bell enjoying balmy breezes aboard Splendido at Lake Tahoe, July 16, 2016.

We were hitting 6 knots and better going across both McKinney and Rubicon bays. On the trip down, it was swirly as hell (as usual) passing in front of the Ehrmann Mansion, with the Windex swinging wildly from S to NW for about a mile, which required a lot of tending the jib lines and adjusting the helm to keep everything from flapping like crazy. By the time we reached D.L. Bliss, I was ready for a break. I backed down on the anchor and Splendido came to rest, bobbing about 75 yards off shore of the main camping area, where lots of kids were running around. I went below and pulled out the $19 poly “sail shade” from Costco that we use as a boom-tent on really hot days, and got that set up, making a delightful shelter we could all sit under to stay out of the intense sun. Debbie went below and whipped up some yummy caprese sandwiches and a tasty salad to boot. A handful of stand-up paddle-boarders went cruising around, but we noticed only a few hearty souls were actually in the water. Rising to the challenge, Mikey and I both jumped off for a quick swim in the 60-degree F. lake, but we were back aboard in a minute or two, as there was no “getting used to it” happening anytime soon. After drying off, we relaxed and had some fresh blueberry pie that Mikey had made for the outing, and we talked and just enjoyed the scene as the gusty winds pushed Splendido around, changing our view every minute or so.

We weighed anchor at about 5:15 p.m. and made it back to our home buoy by 7 p.m., a bit tired but very relaxed, having enjoyed every minute of our journey and our time spent hanging out with dear friends.

Fair winds and smooth sailing! DB


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