Lake Livingston Winter Sail Trip Guppy 13Shorty Sailboat >> Article By Shorty
Bill and I were hatching a plan to go sailing at Lake Livingston in December of 2003. We first were planning on launching at Wolf Creek State Park, but discovered it is normally closed from Nov 30 - Mar 1, so we looked over the Lake Livingston access point map.
It looks like there are a bunch of places to launch, but many of those ramps are closed. The one we settled on was Patrick's Ferry at the base of the 190 bridge on the West side.
Tried to launch Bill's Sparrow 12 first (it is the boat with the rounded top cabin), but the water wasn't deep enough to float it above the axle. He also has 12" wheels so it was even more height to overcome. So we headed for the East side of the bridge to launch at Lakeside Resort.
Don't want to give the wrong impression, it only takes 18" of water to get the Guppy off her trailer, just that the Patrick's ramp was very shallow for a long distance out. I used a stick to measure the depth for the distance that Bill could back into, and it was just too shallow.
Bill helped and tied the Guppy over to the dock on the Southern side of the ramp. That dock didn't have a single cleat on it, so he made a knot in the bow line and jammed it between a couple of the boards. Then we launched the Sparrow, I tied it up as Bill went to park his truck. Just as I was finishing the figure 8 on the cleat, I realized that sure enough, Bill had swindled me out of the good dock! This dock had a couple of tires mounted on the side of it as bumpers, and had several good sized cleats ! A running joke for the rest of the day was that I had to respect my elders and let the old man have the "high class" dock, while I had to use the "economy facilities".
Started off with some pretty light winds, the luff on Bill's jib looked a little loose so he came over for a little on the water service.
A little trucker's hitch and it is all tight.
The wind started to pick up a bit and just as we made it to the open section of the bridge, I realized how nice this little patch of water could be for varying wind conditions. Livingston can whip up some chop pretty quickly, but since the 190 bridge is mostly an earthen bridge with the one small open section, you could sail on the lee side of it in the smooth water, yet still have bigger winds if they are blowing that day.
Does this place look familiar? Yep, sure enough, we sailed right back to the Patrick's Ferry ramp, and tied up at the docks for lunch. This is when disaster struck, Bill realized that he forgot his lighter and silverware back at the truck, so he was forced to improvise. He bent the can lid to a 45 degree angle and used it as a spoon, while I did the "Cody Method" and just brought open-and-eat type food.
With full bellies and a few hours left to sail, we headed out into the main body of the the lake.
I didn't take any pictures of it, but the wind kicked up for a brief time and we had a few white caps with some chop. Since we were on the receiving end of about 10 miles worth of fetch on a lake that is fully bulkheaded, the chop was a little bit bouncy. I was very suprised at how well the Guppy and Sparrow would stay upright, if I were out in the Potter 15 I used to have, would have been tossed around a lot more. Think that V bottom and the shoal keel is what makes them so steady in the choppy water, about the most steady 12' sailboat I have ever been in.
Heading back, we had plenty of room going under the bridge. Guessing that the cabin top is about 3' above the water, and the mast is only about 14' long, so we should fit under most bridges just fine.
Really neat hole in the sky that opened up above us, picture doesn't do it justice.
Just a little too chilly to sail barefoot.
Loosing daylight, time to head back. Am still completely lounged in the cockpit with my feet up on the other side.
Spotted a couple of boats in the slips that didn't look right, then I realized their masts were a little on the short side. I figure they must have been shortened to fit underneath the bridge.
Look who showed up! Greg Rinaca, he was going to come out earlier but it was too cold and he had an apointment, so he just came down for a visit while we unloaded.
Time to pull them out and head home. Wish we could have sailed to the far southern end and anchored around the island, but will have to save that for another day.