West Texas Sailing.

Out in West Texas where I grew up, the local watering hole was Fort Phantom Lake.  I say “was” because after years of drought, there might not be much lake left.  When I was a kid, my dad and I spent many hours sailing the lake, first in an 8 foot styrofoam dinghy called a Viper, then in a 12 foot Tornado and, finally, a 16 foot O’Day Day Sailer.  We often took part in local regattas– Dad was treasurer of the Abilene Sailing Association– and usually we came in last.  Dad didn’t mind that we never won– he loved sailing for its own sake.  Myself, I did not take to it with the same enthusiasm (I was a teenager, and motorboats were much more exciting), but I couldn’t help learning and even enjoying some of the finer points of the art.  Years later, after Dad had given up sailing, he and I often drove out to the lake to see what others were doing with their boats.  I took these two snapshots almost 21 years ago– the top photo, taken in December 1991, shows my dad checking on his O’Day Day Sailer which sat there unused for years before he sold it; and the other photo, taken in May 1991, shows a line of catamarans at Lake Fort Phantom.  If you do any sailing, you probably know that there is (or was, 21 years ago), a cultural divide between cat sailers and those who settle for a single hull.  Dad was not much interested in cats, and therefore neither was I.  Still, a sail is a sail, and these cats make a pretty picture on a not so pretty lake, even with my inadequate 110 film camera.   Looking back on these photos now, I am grateful that I got to share sailing experiences with my dad, and I regret that I did not learn more about sailing when I had the opportunity.  Now, in my mid-50s– the same age Dad was when he did his sailing– I just don’t have the time.  On my “to-do” is a drive out to Lake Fort Phantom, to see how much water is left.   I might have some other sailing photos, and I will share those as I find them.

Please let us know what you think about what we see.