Lake Dillon Open Regatta Course
Test your mountain sailing skills on the world's highest regatta course!
- 16 km
- 0 m
- 0 m
- Low Point
- 2.7 km
- High Point
- 2.7 km
Lake Dillon is a beautiful high altitude lake that is surrounded by peaks that rise over four thousand feet above the water. There is no better way to enjoy the 300+ days of sunshine in the Colorado Rocky Mountains than by sailboat. This route will take you past the cliffs of the Snake River arm, views of 14,000-foot peaks in the Blue River arm, and the islands of Giberson Bay. It also follows the racing marks used by the 50-year-old Dillon Open Regatta, the world’s highest regatta!
If you have some experience and want to test your sailing skills this is a great lake. The sailing is always exciting as the altitude, peaks, and weather can throw challenging conditions at you in the blink of an eye. Be prepared for some of the toughest sailing conditions you can imagine as the wind patterns blow in almost every direction and can range from 4 to 40 knots. On this flat lake (waves are only generated by passing motor boats), mornings usually start out calm and winds start to pick up an hour or so before noon. The most “prevailing” winds generally come from the Northwest but can swirl through the surrounding mountains from any direction.
The largest challenge comes from “microbursts,” stealthy gusts of strong wind that can knock down your boat and throw you in the water before you realize what’s happening. It's most common to experience these as storms approach but people get surprised by them in all conditions, including bluebird sunny days. Frank Keesling from the Dillon Open Regatta recommends that you always keep a hand on the main sheet and trimmer in preparation to ease or blow it off when a microburst hits. Be careful, as even during the summer the water rarely gets above 50 degrees and the Summit County Dive Rescue Team says that hypothermia can set in within 15 minutes of falling in.
If you're a beginner, there are great sailing courses or tours that you can take to enjoy the lake without the stress of navigating the tricky conditions on your own. The Frisco Marina offers many of the same amenities and rentals, but this route starts from the Dillon Yacht Club, the nation’s highest sailing club at over 9,000 feet above sea level!
Like most activities in the mountains, dress in layers, as the weather changes quickly and can go from t-shirts and shorts to down jackets and pants in only a few minutes.
For refueling, Pug Ryan’s Tiki Bar located at the Dillon Marina has great tacos, beer, and views. Despite the price, it’s a good place to begin or end your adventure.
Sailing Information Source: DillonOpen.com
Best time to visit
- Water features
- Family friendly