2010 Aspen Open

We pulled off the road at a fishy looking spot along the Frying Pan river that we planned to probe for trout with our latest selection of flies. As we donned waders, hats and vests a guy on a bicycle pulled up behind us, dropped his bike then scurried over to the ditch where water was pouring out of a pipe. The biker filled his water bottle from the pipe and hurried on his way. A few moments later a car pulled up behind us and a young man in his early 20’s jumped out with several containers, he also filled them from the pipe. As he went to get back in the car I asked him what was the source of this water. He hurriedly entered the back seat of the car and the driver started to depart, as they drove off the young man stuck his head out of the window and said: “this is Gods water, man…..Gods water!”

Before we could get over our befuddlement a lady in a car with Indiana plates pulled up to repeat the ritual. She told us that as far as she knew the water came from a spring up on the mountain. How it got diverted to this ditch through this pipe was anyone’s guess. We decided to sample this precious liquid…. Ahhhh, Gods water indeed!

When driving up the Frying Pan road from Basalt, look for mile marker #10, then go 4 tenths of a mile further and pull out on the left. You'll find God's water here.

The Frying Pan river flows out of Ruedi Reservoir and is one of the best tail-water trout fisheries in the USA. For the last 4 years Patti and I have spent our summer vacation fishing the “Pan” the week prior to the Aspen Open. Fishing was good, as usual, but the outing on Friday evening July 16 provided one of those memorable fishing episodes whose legend will no doubt grow as the years go by. Hey, it's a fish story, what do you expect?

Patti and I accepted an invitation from BW to race with the Aspen Yacht club on Sunday July 11; the week before the regatta. We rigged and launched our boat just in time to arrive at the start line with one minute left in the start sequence, we won the start but not the race.

The lake was manic-depressive this day; one minute the winds were 8 knots, the next minute a micro-burst would knock us over then, a few minutes later, we had no wind at all. Great fun! It would have been even more fun if we knew where the marks were located or remembered in which order to round them. Thanks for the invitation BW.

Seven U20's made the trip to Ruedi Reservoir for the 41st Annual Aspen Open Regatta. Located in the mountains 13 miles up river from the town of Basalt, CO at approximately 7800 feet of elevation, it offered a refreshing break from the heat stroke conditions along the Front Range. Ruedi also serves up a heaping dose of beautiful mountain scenery to please the senses.

The winds were generally light on Saturday. Mark Allen and his team on The Moma Dance put up a good fight but Marty May on Red Line, racing with only two on board, completed day 1 with a 2 point lead. Peter Muller was very close behind in 3rd place. We were tired of looking at the rear end of Rolihlahla all day.

As in the last 3 years, the Aspen Yacht club put on the best Saturday night party at any regatta in the State. Beer and wine flowed freely while we ate pork, chicken or salmon. A live band entertained the drunken sailors with dance tunes appropriate for the mostly baby boomer crowd. Hangovers were plentiful on Sunday morning.

On Sunday the winds were a little stronger and more consistent. My team on Underdog made the fatal mistake of not showing up at the start line on time and RC started the first race without us. Don't ask what we were thinking because the answer is … we weren't. It was interesting to race around the course with no competition; we simply focused on staying in the strongest wind and on going fast. We learned a few things from the experience and it will make us better racers. Lemonade anyone?

Mark Allen won the first two races on Sunday and took the lead by 1 point. It was going to come down to the last race. On the long windward leg from mark 5 to mark 2, Mark Allen decided to take the right shore in an attempt to find better wind, this gamble did not pay off. Mark finished the final race in 5th place with Marty taking first in the race and first in the Regatta.

Lest you think that this was a two boat race, there was plenty of action with the other boats and mark roundings were often very crowded. The rest of the fleet was seldom far behind the leaders; this kept the regatta interesting to the end. At the award ceremony, the PRO commented on how much fun they had on the RC boat watching the battles going on in the U20 fleet.

Congrats to the crew of Red Line for their second win of the season.

Story by Cliff Begnaud
Underdog #126