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Lake Lanier Sailing Club (LLSC)

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LLSC beach.jpg

Windsurfing and Kiteboarding at Lake Lanier Sailing Club (LLSC)

General Information

By the generosity of LLSC members who are also ABC members, windsurfing regattas and other special events are held here. There is a nice wide sandy beach for the launch as well as a camping area. The club house is capable of hosting cooked meals and social events. If joining a full sailing club interests you, the LLSC is highly recommended.

Note: Members only unless is there is a windsurfing regatta or other special event.

History of Windsurfing at the LLSC

Chris Voith posted the following on our forums:

I was asked to write a history of the WSing Fleet at LLSC for the 50th Anniversary Book. Here 'tis:

Franz and Janey Halaschek were the first windsurfing LLSC members, joining in spring 1987. They and a group of local boardsailors raced in the Michelob Open that year at the club. During happy hour on Saturday a few of them took advantage of a freshening breeze to show off the new sport for the sailors gathered on the point. One of them, Kevin Osburn, apparently made quite an impression on the group. The story was he sprayed the crowd on several high-speed runs past the point on his slalom board. Nobody had ever seen a sailing craft going 25+ mph. When they returned to shore, enthusiastic offers of sponsorship to join the club were made. Kevin, Pat and Greg Dillon, Steve and Patti Schmidt, and Reggie Strickland all joined that year and formed the LLSC Sailboard Fleet.

Sailboard racing changed over the years, and the level of participation ebbed and flowed as the equipment evolved. During the early days at LLSC, the Mistral Superlight was the hugely popular one-design board. The Superlight is a displacement hull with a rounded bottom and large centerboard. They are quick to tack and point very well– perfect for lake sailing. The sail is an un-battened “soft” sail– great for beginners. Because you could learn on and then race the same gear, the Superlight class took off with a vengence. National events in the Superlight class would often have 300+ entries.

At the club, the fleet’s first invitational event was called the Crazy Eight's Regatta, a self-deprecating reference to the eight fleet members and to the image of windsurfing generally. Most “sit-down sailors" regarded this new toy on the water as little more than a passing fad. (A sentiment that I think some still endorse). The fleet’s fall event became popular with many sailors and grew over time as people discovered the great venue and hospitality at LLSC. Remarkably, the Atlanta Fall Classic is the longest running windsurfing event in the country, celebrating 31 years in 2009.

Greg Dillon and his training partner, Kevin Osburn, did Olympic campaigns for the ‘88 and ‘92 games on the Division II board. The Div II hulls are like a Superlight on steroids– giant, tippy, somewhat esoteric boards that were difficult to master. The ‘88 Trials in Newport was a grueling event. The course was several miles off shore and no support boats were permitted. Greg survived the event at the tender age of 17. He persevered and made a strong showing in the ‘92 trials, finishing in the top ten.

In the early nineties a more modern planing hull, the Mistral IMCO (International Mistral Class Organization), replaced the Superlight. It also replaced the Div II as the Olympic board for the 1996-2004 games. Though similar in dimensions to the Superlight, the IMCO represented a quantum leap in performance. It works in displacement mode almost as well as the Superlight, but in a breeze it really comes alive. With its moveable mast track, hard-chined hull shape and wing-like, camber-induced sail, it is transformed on reaching legs into a rocket. During that time, a well organized national ranking series and major sponsorships brought out hundreds of regional sailors to race during the season.

Our fleet continued to grow in numbers and enthusiasm for racing with Pam Barron, Glenn Tanner, Jerry Zeman, Robert and Barbara Blazer, Steve Haase, Ginny Ferguson and I joining. Together with members of the Atlanta Boardsailing Club, our fleet was well traveled and made respectable showings at the very competitive regional and national events. In a fit of hubris, Ginny and I even sailed in the ‘92 Mistral Worlds in San Francisco. (That was a bit more humbling experience). In 1993, the Fall Regatta at LLSC was a “Grand Slam” event in the Tudor-Mistral Series and the club was at full capacity with 100 entries. I sailed in the ‘96 Olympic Trials in Savannah and had a great time running with the big dogs (and enjoying another big slice of humble pie). For four years beginning in 1998, the Sailboard Fleet also hosted the Senior National Championships together with the Fall Classic. The Seniors event featured age brackets and for several years the largest division for the whole regatta was the 70 and over group– very inspirational.

In the late nineties, manufacturers debuted a new generation of boards. Relatively short, wide and floaty, the so-called “widestyle” boards are very stable, making learning much easier and for the recreational sailor, they are quick to plane and have a ‘small feel’ despite their larger volume. Formula racing boards soon evolved from these designs and fragmented the racing scene in an unintended way. With their giant sails (almost twice the size of the traditional raceboard) the formula boards plane in amazingly light wind and are outrageously fast. But without a centerboard, they are only functional in planing conditions. As a result Formula boards are best suited for venues with a reliable, steady breeze- something in short supply at inland lakes. The price of fully carbonated rigs and highly refined boards and foils discouraged many weekend warriors as well.

The manufacturers responded with yet another group of designs known as ‘hybrids’. These are not quite as wide as the Formula boards and have centerboards, but like many compromise designs their overall performance suffers. With so many choices for the dedicated racer, participation in regattas ironically dwindled with the appearance of the new "advanced" designs. For course racing, the old-style longboards still prevail in many places like Lake Lanier and are now enjoying a resurgence. LLSC remains a popular stop on the sailboard racing circuit because of the great venue and hospitality as well as the top-notch level of race management.

The fleet has had terrific fun teaching eager kids one afternoon each Junior Week for the past few years.

The Sailboard fleet has been active at the club with members serving on the Board of Governors and as Flag Officers. Both Franz and Pam served as Commodores. Because it is the center of our activity at the club, the fleet has ‘adopted’ the beach and camping areas, helping to maintain and improve them.


Website

Lake Lanier Sailing Club

LLSC Web Cam (faces southwest)

Recommended Wind Directions

NW: yes | N: yes | NE: yes

W: yes | Wind center.png | E: yes

SW: yes | S: yes | SE: yes

Northwest North Northeast
West Wind center.png East
Southwest South Southeast


All directions are listed as races are run no matter which wind direction. Race starts may be in different locations based on wind direction, strength, etc.

Legacy Directions

55 min. N I-85 to N I-985 to Exit 12. Left on Spout Springs Rd. Right on Atlanta Hwy. Go 1/10 m to Spring St. and turn left. At end of Spring St. turn Right on Gainesville St. Continue across McEver Rd. on to Jim Crow Rd. (becomes Old Federal Rd.). Go a total of 2.3 miles to LLSC on left. Members only unless it's a windsurfing regatta.

Local Tips

Ability

Beginner Intermediate Advanced

Wind Shadows

Getting back to the beach in a light N to NE can be difficult but, more than likely, you'll be in good company.

Sailing Upwind

Map

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Map Key

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Maps in this Wiki

Windsurfing Sites on Lake Lanier