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August 05, 2009


O Docker

Sadly, a few (usually novice) sailors are lost at Lake Tahoe every year in just the conditions you describe.

I remember floating off a beach there one day in a rubber raft when the wind was mostly about five knots. But every 15 minutes, almost like clockwork, a single 25-knot gust would come through, scattering hats and beach umbrellas.

In the middle of the lake, the gusts are stronger.

The science dudes who study lakes (limnologists) have a name for the sharp drop in temperature below a certain depth. They call it a 'thermocline'. I think it's common to all deep lakes at high altitudes that are fed by snowmelt.

Carol Anne

Actually, besides the icy temperatures below the thermocline, there's another reason that swimming is not permitted: The lake provides drinking water for the city of Denver, and the Denver Water Authority doesn't want it getting dirty.

Of course, sometimes people end up swimming in the lake but not on purpose.


Sounds like a great day out. Thanks!


It's not always so dramatic, but mountain lake weather is certainly changeable.

Also, at Dillon you'll notice fewer powerboats than usual for most places; that's because powerboats lose a lot of power at the lake's 9017-foot surface elevation.

The lake's longest dimension is only about 4.3 miles but it feels bigger because of the rugged terrain, clear cool air, numerous coves, islands, and arms of the lake.

The surface area is five square miles (3200 acres) with the deepest spot about 210-220 feet deep just southwest of Dillon Dam. The main area south of the dam measures about 1 mile (statute/land) north-south from the dam to near Windy Point and 2 miles WSW-ENE from Crown Point to Dillon.

During the summer, there's a sailboat shop in Dillon. (In winter it's a ski shop, or at least was as of the last time I was around town.) Frisco has a Wal-Mart and various auto parts and other shops are in the immediate area. Aurora (Denver suburb) has a West Marine.

We never had a huge amount of trouble with gusts when we sailed Dillon, but we may have been lucky, plus we have a very well ballasted boat and are pretty much accustomed to mountain lake wind trickery.

Some coves, particularly in the NW part of the lake, such as adjacent to Giberson or Heaton bays, provide some protection for smaller craft.

One concern for visitors bringing boats to Dillon is that incoming boats must be inspected (business hours) to ensure that they don't contaminate the lake with alien quagga or zebra mussels (drysenids).

Water from the lake goes east in a tunnel under the Continental Divide to reach Denver.

This year's Dillon Open had about 70 keelboats and 15 centerboarders (separate course) racing. Tillerman would have found eleven other Lasers with whom to compete had he been there. There were also fleets for J/24s, J/22s, J/80s, Ultimate 20s, Start, Pearson Ensigns, as well as PHRF A (racers) and PHRF B (mostly cruisers).

Fishermen are said to be able to catch rainbow and brown trout, arctic char, and kokanee salmon.


A little correction--according to the map, the long axis of the lake from Dillon - Sentinel Island - Frisco is more or less north - south or at least NNE - SSW. I think the mountain air had me turned around.

Jordan Flipsyde

Your blog has an I liked the faith! You defend your interests, I get my light, nothing more.

Account Deleted

Oh this is exciting to sail on Catalina yacht in a lake. It is the best highest quality yachts in the sailing industry. But make sure to have a proper guidance from an experienced sailor prior to your sailing to avoid any dangers.

holy land tours

I really enjoyed to read your post, looks like you gays had terrific time. I also a love to sail in beautiful places, this summer we took a vacation to Alaska and sailed there in Icy waters, that was wonderful experience.


I had been browsing on google for blogs about Hiking and cycling when this post showed up in the results. Although not actually what I was looking for it was actually worth the read and for that I would give it four stars.

חופשות סקי

The boats are often a reflection of the main dock. Fortunately, Lake Dillon is the first. The boats and the attendance was excellent.

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