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Sailing on Lake Norman without a Rudder
By Greg Evans
Special Correspondent
Lake Norman
It is finally warm enough to get back out on the water. Everyone goes out sailing for their own reasons. And Lake Norman might be the best spot in the country for a scenic sailing tour.

Lake Norman was created for the sole purpose of having a shoreline for which to build gigantic houses with a water view. That is not true of course, it was actually created by a mad marine zoologist who filled the lake with anomalies from the animal kingdom like catfish the size of Volkswagen beetles, fire ants with fangs like ingrown toenails, boaters with coolers of beer, and farmers tans, and other misfits in the hopes of establishing an “amazing family attraction.” But what makes the lake so alluring is that it is the perfect body of water to take up sailing. You don’t get seasick sailing out on Lake Norman. It is one of the perks of living on or near a lake. Put me out on the ocean for ten minutes and I will turn green. Getting out on the water now that the weather is turning for the better it is like a dream. The cold has finally decided to go back to Canada and the shoreline is starting to become decorated with the first glimpses of spring brilliance that you see down here in the south, the fresh redbud, Mulan, dogwood, and wild cherry trees and cutoff jean shorts.

It is a scene of tranquility and then the candy-apple red speedboat comes ripping by, like a Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible, a gentleman in the grips of a mid-life crisis, wearing it out as the weekend settles in. The coterie of characters out on the lake are as eclectic as the diners at brunch at the AmoCafe. Everyone is out there for their own reasons, relaxing, searching for the optimal fishing spots, attempting to break the sound barrier, escaping the nagging spouse with the weekend all planned out that includes everything except watching the ballgame.

I used to live on the Pacific Ocean in Long Beach, California, we would take the boat out and it was fine until you got out past the breakwater and the boat would begin rolling back and forth and the stomach would turn over and the morning’s sausage and egg burrito were certain to become breakfast for the fish. That is part of what is such a beautiful thing about sailing out on Lake Norman, cascading over the gentle ripples of the cool water, gliding as if in a G102 Astir through the clouds. Oh yeah, and there are no sharks ... supposedly!

The biggest trick is not getting too comfortable and losing your focus and then finding yourself suddenly propelled from the craft with a sudden change in the wind as the boom comes whipping across the deck like a silent slap. And God forbid there is a craft of pretty girls nearby with their phones at the ready to record your mishap for posterity on TikTok, the slow-mo of you being manhandled into the water to thumping music of Blackpink. Suffice to say, there is a learning curve to the art of sailing. If Einstein can do it, anyone can! There are numerous ways to become part of the sailing community including texting and driving off Williamson Road Bridge or better yet, joining the “Lake Norman Yacht Club,” a sailor’s paradise that provides opportunities for recreational and competitive sailing for both adults and kids. They hold regattas all at a reasonable cost for membership for you to explore your inner water sign, challenge the open water of the Lake, outrun good ole Normie and not humiliate yourself going aground on the rocks while the patrons of Eddie’s cheer and throw lemons at you.

And for those with an adventurous spirit, after sailing all day and then dock and camp under the stars. The sailboat gently rocking nearby as you lean back warming your feet on a campfire, roasting brats, and sipping beer, telling stories about the day’s events sailing and all the crazy things you did and the giant garfish you nearly caught and weird shadows that may or may not have appeared beneath your boat. As the night wears on and the empty bottles and cans no longer make it into the garbage bag, the stories become grand, both today’s wildness out on the lake and every weekend you can remember. Everything that happened was so real and righteous and everyone is trying to top the other’s story. Once the moon is even too tired to stay up you crawl back onto the sailboat and drift off to sleep on your makeshift waterbed.

Come morning you realize that it is still the weekend and with cottonmouth and squinting eyes you make your way over to Clutch coffee for a pick-me-up and it is right back out on the lake, maybe this time you can bring a date for a romantic sailing tour of one of the most beautiful locations on earth, and who knows, you might even get a kiss.

Sailing out on the lake is the way to go this spring and summer. The sailing pace is slow enough for the faint-of-heart to try and hopefully not crash and drown a horrible death, but complex enough for the astute and skilled sailor to attempt to explore even the deeper sections of the lake, and going there is like floating into the Bermuda Triangle, maybe you will return but the odds aren’t in your favor. But truly, unless you have an abnormally large hole in your boat and no life preserver or charged cell phone to call for help, you will return just fine with amazing stories to tell your friends of pirate encounters, mermaid sightings, politicians discarding hard drives, and maybe even show off a couple of fish you hooked for dinner, neon skeletons illuminating the night.



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Greg Evans, associate director of communications of King University in Bristol TN, in the US, serves as a special correspondent for The Seoul Times. The seasoned journalist has been writing for such papers as the Mooresville Tribune, Lake Norman Citizen, the Bristol Herald Courier, and the Sentinel-Progress (Easley, SC). He can be reached at gaevans1@king.edu

 

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