Friday, July 24, 2015

A Beginning

Antelope Island Marina in its heyday, circa 1998.
Today, there's only enough water in the marina to float a row boat.
Some years ago I worked as a historian on Antelope Island, a Utah State Park in the middle of Great Salt Lake. In those days, the lake level was high, 4205 feet above sea level. Every day as I drove across the causeway to work, I passed the marina where sailboats bobbed in the slips. From time to time one would come up for sale, and I'd wonder if I might enjoy sailing that salty wilderness.

The job didn't last long, and soon enough I was moving to another state, getting divorced, moving again, and so on. About three years ago the idea resurfaced. I was living near Flaming Gorge in Manila, Utah. This man-made lake also sits in a barren desert, and it felt rather like home. Of course Flaming Gorge has big fish to catch, where Great Salt Lake has only brine shrimp. The fishing distracted me from the idea of sailing.
Flaming Gorge Reservoir
Last year I found myself near the Great Salt Lake again, living and working locally in northern Utah. While visiting an uncle I was awakened to the idea that I might build the boat I wanted. I could build it myself from plywood and screws and glue. Some skeptical voices suggested that perhaps it might be cheaper to buy a used dinghy and discover whether I really enjoyed sailing before I invested too much energy in the project.

And so it happened in the spring of 2015 I found a knocked about Lido 14 on the KSL classified ads for what seemed like a bargain price. I had no idea what to look for, and I pretty much bought it without knowing what I was buying. It turns out the poor little hull has seen its share of damage, and its original sea-green fiberglass has been painted over in khaki and maroon. The sails that came with the price were ill-fitting, and I spent two months tracking down the appropriate sails before we managed to get on the water. Perhaps in our next installment I will detail a list of problems this little boat has. Or at least a list of all the problems I've discovered so far.

We still haven't found a name for this boat. Any suggestions?