Sailing, sailing ... up on a mountain lake
June 6, 2002 -by Tim Omarzu

Hugh Talman, commodore of the Gold
Country Yacht Club, on his 22-foot
sailboat on Scotts Flat Lake. The GCYC
is hosting the Gold Country Regatta
this weekend. They also have sailing
classes available.

If you like looking at sailboats, you can get an eyeful this weekend at Scotts Flat Lake. Dozens of sailboats will show up for the annual "Go for the Gold Regatta" put on by the Gold Country Yacht Club.

Or, you can do more than look. If you spend $65 for an annual club membership, or $95 to take sailing lessons (the cost includes club membership) you can rent the club's sailboats, including a 22-foot Capri racing boat.

And sailboat rental is only $20 a day.

"If you went and rented anywhere else, it would be more than that an hour," said Hugh Talman, commodore of the non-profit sailing club.

Talman is a lifelong sailor who grew up in Newport Beach and moved to Nevada County because he and his wife, Nicki, thought it would be a good place to raise their children.

Initially, Talman thought he'd give up sailing here, but it didn't take long before he joined the Gold Country Yacht Club.

"Geez, you guys have a yacht club here?" is a standard reaction that people have when they find out about the foothill sailing club.

Many club members are like Talman - people with prior sailing experience who moved here.

As for Scotts Flat Lake, Talman said, "The sailing can be really good here."

The wind can be tricky. It can "come in, swirl around the lake and go back out again," he said. "Sometimes there's wind and sometimes there's not."

Sailing club member Lynn Buchanan keeps a 25-foot sailboat on Scotts Flat and teaches sailing lessons for the yacht club.

"The terrain causes the wind to shift a lot (on Scotts Flat)," said Buchanan.

But that's better for learning how to sail than the San Francisco Bay where the wind can blow the same direction for hours, said Buchanan.

"You don't really learn anything doing the same thing for two hours," Buchanan said. Scotts Flat sailing is "a lot more challenging. I think you learn a lot faster."

Sailing club members hope their home court advantage helps during this weekend's regatta, which will be held Saturday and Sunday from about 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"Our regatta is the biggest thing that this club does," Talman said. "We have sailboats that come in from all over California and other states. It's well known and we've been doing it for 20 years."

The club also has smaller races scheduled every month through September.

Talman said the club would like to increase its membership. Also, club members are volunteering their time to complete construction of a new clubhouse on Scotts Flat Lake, made of donated materials.

Junior sailing classes, for those age 21 and under, will be held beginning on June 17 with an orientation and swim test (participants need to swim 25 yards with their sailing clothes on). Then class will be held from 6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. on June 19-23, with on-the-water instruction from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 20-23.

Cost is $95, which includes all materials. To participate, call Tish Buti at 530-273-7810.

Another junior sailing class will begin on July 29, 2002.

To arrange an adult sailing class, call Lynn Buchanan at 470-0511.