What to Expect:
Sailing on Lake Dillon can be very exciting and challenging at times. You may have sailed other places; however, mountain lake sailing can be drastically different. The mountains have a unique effect; causing winds to rapidly increase in velocity and change direction frequently. Maintaining control requires observation and anticipation of changes, as well as proper sail adjustment. The Skipper must watch for dark clouds forming over the mountains. These indicate changing weather and an increase in wind. Another sign is the surface texture and color of the water. An increase in the wind will cause ripples or waves, or white caps, and the surface will grow darker. With rapid increases, wind can exceed gale forces.
Once you observe the wind increasing, you must act. First, reduce the amount of sail by rolling some of the jib back onto the roller furler. If the wind increases significantly and your boat is rigged for it, reef the mainsail. Finally, if the wind continues to increase, lower the mainsail. The outboard motor should be started and in gear before dropping your mainsail. This will allow you to control the boat through some significant wind gusts and return to the marina safely by motor.
It is important not to let the sails flog (flap) in the wind, this is bad for the sails and creates a lot of noise - making things chaotic on the boat. If the sails are flapping- roll up the jib, start the outboard and put it in gear, then drop the main.
If you sail through gusts and wind increases, there are a few techniques to keep in mind:
1) Reduce the sail area as wind increases.
2) Be ready to ease the main sheet to keep the boat flatter and under control.
3) Fall off (steer away from the wind) to help keep the boat flatter.
Keep these techniques in mind, your head on a swivel and evoke previous experience for an enjoyable sail on Lake Dillon.
As Lake Dillon is located 9,017 feet above sea level in the Rocky Mountains, the weather can be very exciting. Storms roll in quickly, bringing thunder, lightning and extremely strong winds. Additionally, there is no prevailing wind on Lake Dillon, making sailing even more thrilling. For these reasons and the amazing views, Lake Dillon has been voted one of "50 Places to Sail Before you Die", and it lives up to expectations! Keep an eye on the water for shifting winds as well as the mountains and forecasts (we like Windy, NOAA, and Spark) for impending storms.
We understand that sailing requires the cooperation of Mother Nature. In the event of inclement weather (at the time of booking), we can reschedule or refund. However, once your boat leaves the dock, our cancellation policy will apply, with a 2 hour minimum on all bookings.
For example, if you're scheduled for a 3-hour lesson and return after 1 hour due to weather, you will only be charged for 2 hours rather than the 3 hour period.
What to Expect:
Come prepared to get the most out of your sailing experience on Lake Dillon. Check the weather and pack accordingly! Bring sunscreen, warm layers, and rain gear as the weather changes rapidly. Pack food and water depending on the length of your excursion and come ready to learn!
What is the wind like on Lake Dillon?
Lake Dillon has been voted as one of the most challenging lakes to sail in the nation. There is no prevailing wind and the high alpine environment make for extreme winds and weather that rapidly changes. It's a fantastic place to hone your skills or test your ability!
What is your cancellation policy?
We offer full refunds for cancellations made outside of 48 hours of reservation time. Within 48 hours, we'll hold 20% of the booking total.
What is your weather policy?
Programming will not run in the event of thunderstorms. If it's simply raining and you're willing to brave the elements, we'll still send you out! However, if you're not interested in sailing in the rain, we'll reschedule if possible or fully refund you. Varying wind conditions can also be challenging and if the wind is too low or high, we can discuss rescheduling options. For tours, if you choose to leave the dock we will charge for the two-hour minimum.
Is tipping customary?
Tipping is by no means necessary, though greatly appreciated. If you enjoyed your experience and your captain, let them know!
Where can my kids learn to sail?
Dillon Junior Sailing! Inquire about their week-long camps or a family private lesson!
What kind of sailboat will we be on?
We teach exclusively on keelboats ranging from 22 to 30 feet in length. Depending on your instructor, you may be on a Catalina 22, Santana 525, 22' Ensign, or an instructors personal sailboat.
The Dillon Marina is located at 150 Marina Drive in Dillon, Colorado. Our mailing address is P.O. Box 1825 Dillon, CO 80435.
Feel free to call or email with questions at (970) 468-5100 x 106 or SailingSchool@DillonMarina.com.