The fleet is in
Sailing club hosts race on Lake Pepin
By Dawn Schuett
LAKE CITY — Karl Brogger prefers to race with his catamaran, and Reb Blanchard would rather cruise with his.
Despite their preferences, the two men have shared an interest in the twin-hulled boats known for harnessing the wind for speed. It’s why they formed a new catamaran sailing club this year with Lake Pepin as its home waters.
Hobie Fleet 444 already has 10 to 12 active members, some as far away as Canada. The fleet will host its first race, the Muddy Waters Regatta — 2007, Saturday and Sunday on the 22-mile lake, which is 34 miles northeast of Rochester. About 30 boats are expected for the event.
Brogger, 26, of Dennison, started sailing catamarans several years ago after giving up motocross. Last year was his first season racing his own catamaran. He competed in seven regattas, sometimes traveling several hundred miles for a race, and finished second in his class.
"It works well for my mental state," Brogger, fleet commodore and chairman of the regatta, said about racing. "It’s pretty laid-back. There’s nothing on the line as far as stakes. If you don’t win, you don’t win."
Blanchard, 43, of Lakeville, Minn., began sailing in high school. He lived in Massachusetts before moving to the Midwest and belonged to Rhode Island Fleet 448.
He’s sailed on larger bodies of water, but Blanchard enjoys Lake Pepin where the winds coming off the surrounding bluffs can be a challenge.
"It is a tremendous sailing lake," he said.
Brogger said the popularity of catamaran sailing has waned among his generation since its peak 25 to 30 years ago.
"It almost seems to be a bit of a dying sport," Brogger said.
Membership in Hobie Fleet 444 is open to anyone. Owning a catamaran isn’t a requirement. Blanchard and Brogger said they just want more people to learn about the boats and the sport.
For more information about Hobie Fleet 444, go to postbulletin.com/weblinks.
Hobie Fleet 444
What: Muddy Waters Regatta — 2007
When: First flag will be at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: Lake Pepin