3 Cousins & a Pico!

                             Story written by Pat Butler, the cousins grandmother & ACBS Board Member

For many summers Coop, Will & Brody (in the picture above) developed their “aquatic creds” in the cool Lake Tahoe water. Each summer the cousins would acquire larger and larger kayaks, in successive summers they mastered the family paddle board, canoe and, finally, the new dinghy. They all relished a challenge, always looking for the next thing to do and in the summer of 2018, they would be 13, 11, & 10 respectively. Perfect ages for an exciting, active, competitive summer and they were also, really, really, ready for a big, new adventure!


That winter the three boys, all Youth members of the Northern
California/Lake Tahoe chapter of ACBS, put their fertile minds together and
devised their summer plan…. TO CONQUER THE LAKE!!  The key to their PLAN would be the Junior Sailing Clinic, a program put on by Tahoe City Parks & Rec as one of the summer activities and, being creative, they in-listed their Grandmother’s help with registration and fees. Step 1 complete, the cousins set about collecting all the gear necessary for the next step of their summer adventure. (This popular program is a collaborative venture of the Tahoe City PUD, the Tahoe Community Sailing Foundation, Obexer’s Boat Company and the Tahoe Yacht Club).

The July morning sun was warming the Tahoe basin nicely as Coop,
Will & Brody headed for Obexer’s Marina on the west shore to execute Step 2…. the long-awaited Sailing Clinic’s first lesson. All the cousins were
feeling physically ready too. Brody, the youngest, is in Cub Scouts and an
avid karate student; Will & Coop, the oldest, are both former racing
swimmers and busy baseball, football and soccer players.

Passing the required basic swimming skills test, the cousins gathered
with their fellow sailors to begin learning the necessary “rules of the road”,
water safety, knots and a new world of words like gyb, tack, rigging and
the dreaded “capsize”!

A fleet of small Picos and Lasers lined the beach and very soon the novice sailors were in the water learning how to upright a Pico after it has capsized and how to rig their boats. At the end of the day each cousin was quite proud of all the lessons learned but beginning to realize just how much practice and experience it would take to “CONQUER THE LAKE”!!

The next few days were filled with learning new skills, practicing the
teamwork required to successfully sail their Pico, safe docking technique
and repeat & repeat & repeat; all this time getting ready for their biggest challenge of the week….sailing the Pico from Obexer’s to the dock at Sugar Pine Point!! It is a 5.4 nautical mile course with lots of tacking required to stay on course. The fleet of Picos (and their chase boats) set sail about 10:30 on that cool, breezy Friday morning. Around 11 am the fleet passed by Chamber’s Landing but all we could see from the longest dock were very, very small sails bobbing in the water far, far out on the horizon. Pride and “scary” were among the feelings that mingled in our minds and filled the air around us. All those novice sailors were out there proving
themselves!! Good job, done well, new sailors!

From Chambers Landing…”all we could see from the longest dock were very, very small sails bobbing in the water far, far out on the horizon.”

Returning to port that afternoon the excited, exhausted sailors, some a
little more waterlogged than others, were all deservedly proud of their
accomplishment. Each cousin received his copy of US Sailing, Small Boat
Sailor; his Certification Record Book, known in the sailing community as
“The Little Red Book”. It detailed the skills learned and announced the
promotion earned—Intermediate Sailor!! Coop, Will & Brody were beyond
excited and ready to enroll right away for next summer’s clinic. Each one of
them believed with certainty that, this year they began THE PLAN…the big
adventure BUT next year they will…. CONQUER THE LAKE!!!

FOOTNOTE: Although every great story should have a happy ending this
adventure has one of the best! The cousin’s accomplishments were not
lost on the wonderful neighbors in the family cabin’s cul-du-sac and their
fantastic neighbors, Linda & Scott, who had outgrown his Pico, graciously
gifted his sail boat to the boys…..truly making them “3 Cousins & THEIR VERY OWN Pico”! Stay tuned for the 2019 Adventures.

**Thank you to Pat Butler for sharing this wonderful story of our very own ACBS Chapter Youth.  It’s so much fun to learn about what they are doing as they build their life experiences and grow closer and closer to our wonderful world of boating.  Do you have a story to share?  We’d love to hear it.  Send it to the Chapter webmaster @ cherylcaplan@gmail.com.