The Bee is a local newspaper in Portland, Oregon. They visit us (August 2010) during one of our "fun sails" and wrote the following article published at http://www.readthebee.com/morenews.html
Sailing in miniature in Westmoreland’s Casting Pond
By RITA A. LEONARD for THE BEE
When the Westmoreland Park Casting Pond was constructed during the 1930’s as a W.P.A. project, it actually predated the park later created around it – and it was intended not only to create jobs during the Great Depression, but to assist those who fly-fish to develop their cast.
Although undoubtedly that purpose is not entirely neglected these days, it appears that the pond – today, a reservoir for the park watering system, which results in fresher water being in it – serves as home to a variety of floating craft events.
During the summer, THE BEE covered radio-controlled model motorboat races and the Milk Carton Boat Races…but the competitions continued, with other hobby craft.
As fall approached, members of the Oregon Model Yacht Club met under clear skies at the Westmoreland Park Casting Pond to practice racing their radio-controlled sailboats.
“This is just a fun race,” smiled Commodore George Georgiadis. “The wind is not great today, but it’s a relaxing day to try out maneuvers with our three classes of sailboats.”
“We meet about every other week during spring, summer, and early fall,” explained Vice Commodore Curt Knight. “We have members from, and hold meets, all over the Portland area. It’s a great sport for retired people. It doesn’t take a lot of money or energy to get into the hobby. If you come to a club meeting, you can try your hand at the controls of one of our club boats at no charge. Check our schedules online at: www.omyc.org.”
Club member Terry Schulz was watching the action from a nearby park bench. “It’s really a fun activity, and most members build or modify their own boats,” he said. “I also build model airplanes. If it’s windy, I work with the sailboats. If there’s no wind, I fly airplanes. My wife does quilting, and I have the boats. It’s a nice quiet hobby, and the ducks pretty much stay out of our way.”
Georgiadis explained for THE BEE the basics of this “poor man’s yacht club”: “There are two batteries in the boat’s hull – one for the rudder, and one for the sail,” he explained. “We have three classes of boats: The Victorias, at about 32 inches long, are racing today. The larger boats are called IOM’s, for ‘International One Meters’, and are one meter long. The smaller-class boats are called ‘footys’, and range from one foot to 15 inches long.”
Footy Fleet Captain Ted Van Syckel has a fondness for the smaller boats. “The footy is an emerging fleet,” he commented. “We’re trying to get more interest going on footy races. Terry Schulz has one out on the water right now.”
While at the helm, the captains keep a close eye on their own radio-controlled craft – but ashore, they’re happy to show their sailboats and compare notes about performance and design.
As this particular meet came to an end, boat captains gathered their sailboats for a group photo. Blue sky, white clouds, and pointed green cedars reflecting in the placid waters of the Casting Pond made a peaceful backdrop for the relaxed yachtsmen and a few interested onlookers.
OMYC members display their sailboats, after the races at Westmoreland Park Casting Pond. At left is Terry Shulz, showing a “footy” style; beside him is Commodore George Georgiadis, with a “Victoria”-class model. Other club members brandish their own craft. (Photo by Rita A. Leonard)