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Time Outside: Soaring on Lake Hartwell

Corey Glenn // Asst. News Editor
Views from the lake.

When I first visited Clemson, I was immediately drawn to the lake, and when I came to campus my freshman year, one of the first things I looked for was a way to get on it.

From the misty memories of days past to camp days and vacations with my grandfather, sailing called out to me — also, Clemson had a cool sailing club within biking distance.

That first semester, I fell in love with the art of sailing.

Sailing is unlike anything else. You don’t overcome the challenges of moving on the water by sheer brute strength, like rowing or kayaking, or by outsourcing the effort to dinosaurs of ages past, like power boats.

In sailing, you must outsmart the wind, overcoming where the breeze seems destined to send you through knowledge, perception, planning and clever timing. You go upwind by sailing at an angle, going ever so slightly up toward the source of the breeze.

It demands intelligence, wisdom and knowledge. You must know how your boat works to relatively fine detail, and you must know the points of sail and how best to exploit the breeze in winds high and low. You must know currents and tides, where they exist and wind patterns.

It demands perception. You must be able to read the wind, see the ripples of the gusts on the water and read the telltales to maintain proper trim to ensure you are getting all you can out of the boat.

It demands preparedness. A boat not properly maintained or set up can vastly slow you down.

And it demands good, clever timing. An improperly timed or executed tack or turn can cost you a tremendous amount of speed, making it hard to get the boat wholly around to where the wind drives you forth once again.

On our section of Hartwell, the gentle breezes swirl, especially in the area around the Snow Family Outdoor Fitness and Wellness Complex, where several narrow arms of the lake come together. This is where all our sailing journeys must go through to escape the sheltered cove where the docks float.

However, if you manage to navigate your way up the channel where the rowing docks sit and past the dike, you break out into a glorious big water area. Here, the winds blow strong and steady, and there is much to explore.

Some of my favorites include the distant cliffs by the Treaty Oak and the coves by the marina.

Just be sure to get home early, as the winds almost always die just before sunset.

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Corey Glenn
Corey Glenn, Asst. News Editor
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