Laser District 23 Championships: Young and old set sail 2010

Laser District 23 Championships Final Results

September 25-26 saw the annual Laser District 23 Sailing Championships held at Jordanelle State Park Reservoir, Park City.  The race was open to sailors from the four bordering states of UT, CO, NM and AZ.  The event attracted seventeen competitors, mainly local, who enjoyed two beautiful days on the water, with temperatures averaging a pleasant 80 degrees Fahrenheit and winds ranging from 5-9 knots.  The stage for the event was perfect: nestled amongst the mountains, their sides aglow with a cloak of vibrant reds and luminous yellows, and framed by clear blue skies. The tranquil ambience was enhanced by the peaceful sound of water lapping against the bows, and sails flapping in the breeze, interrupted only by the occasional horn or whistle.  It was a great way to spend time enjoying Park City’s Indian summer, whether a contender or spectator.

Photo: (l to r) Jeff Kluge (2nd), Jim Christopher aka ‘’Rambo (1st) , Dave Odell (3rd). (by Lydia Kluge).

The crew of sailors consisted of a variety of ages and from all walks of life, from teenagers to grandparents, and Company Directors to retirees.  Despite it being a race, and many of the entrants fiercely competitive in nature, the respect, admiration, and camaraderie amongst the group, both young and old, was tangible.  Tools and equipment were shared as boats were rigged, sailors would launch on and off the ramp in teams, snacks and sunscreen were freely offered around on the water, and cheers and congratulation given to those achieving wins or personal bests.  There was something to be learned from everyone, whether it was the determination and enthusiasm of the youngest entrant, seventeen year-old Karsten Gillwald, Park City High-School student, who competed with a broken arm and had his cast set with a bend in his wrist and fingers, to allow him to hold the tiller; or the love for life and humble talent of Jim Christopher, a seventy-five year-old out-of-state entrant, who drives around the country from race to race with little else but his boat, a sleeping bag, and his trusty road bike, making new friends, seeing new sights, sharing stories, and winning races along the way –he was the overall winner of the regatta (followed closely by Jeff Kluge in 2nd and Dave Odell in 3rd).  Jim affectionately earned the nickname ‘Rambo’ from the group, due to his athleticism and incredible physical shape, as well as an amazing spirit and presence about him; he was an inspiration to everyone.

The races were primarily organized by Geoff Hurwitch, President of the Park City Sailing Association, along with help from many others.  Amongst them was nine year old Wyatt Pike, who attends Parley’s Park Elementary School. Wyatt eagerly raised flags, blew whistles, tied knots, dropped anchors, and steered committee boats.  The event bought together young and old in our community.

The Park City Sailing Association is always looking to encourage new members into their fleet of Lasers, Radials, and Optimists –men, women, and children alike.  New sailors can benefit from the group’s instructional lessons.  Donations and sponsorship are welcomed by this non-profit organization.  More information can be found on their website: