Regatta returns to Ruedi Reservoir |

Regatta returns to Ruedi Reservoir

Aspen Times photo.Spinnakers were flying during the Aspen Yacht Club Regatta on Ruedi Reservoir in 1998. More than 50 boats are expected to race in the 34th annual event Saturday and Sunday.

The West may be griped in a drought and the waterline at Ruedi Reservoir may be fathoms lower than average as a result, but the Aspen Yacht Club’s annual regatta will go on this weekend.

The 34th annual event returns to Ruedi Reservoir for two days of racing Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 11 a.m. both days.

“We’ve had to get very creative in order to put on the regatta,” said Margot Pendleton, the race committee chairman. “The last drought we had was in ’76, and the water wasn’t this low. But we’re going to have fun no matter what.”

Pendleton estimated the water level is 40 feet below average, a situation that’s left more than half of the Aspen Yacht Club’s docks high and dry. The club has arranged to use the Forest Service government ramp for additional space, though it’s still going to be tight.

“We’ve got cars parked in some of our usual slips,” Pendleton said. “But sailors realize it’s going to be tough no matter where you go in the West, and they appreciate the work we’ve done to pull this off. We’re probably not going to get the bigger keel boats this year, just because it’s harder to set the masts, but that’s usually not a big portion of the fleet anyway.”

Pendleton expects about 50 boats to enter the regatta, which offers divisions for all kinds of crafts including Santana 20, J-22, PHRF, Corsair 24s, Lasers, Fireballs, Lightnings, C-15 and Open Centerboard.

“People love to come up to Ruedi,” she said. “We always get a big returning clientele, I’d call ’em. They look forward to the Aspen regatta and come from all over the state and beyond.”

Spectators are welcome to watch both days, but are asked to leave their dogs at home.

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