Sailing in the High Sierra
Huntington Lake is one of the most popular high elevation lakes in the western United States for sailing. It seems the wind just keeps blowing and no sailor worth their salt can resist that. Many of the races are run by the Fresno Yacht Club.
You can expect up to 150 boats racing each weekend of their racing series which usually occurs the second two weekends of July. The number of boats each weekend is limited by the Forest Service. So as always, there is a first-come first-serve basis for participants.
The High Sierra Regatta attracts Olympic gold medalists, and national champions. The consistent winds and beautiful scenery attract sailors from all over the country.
Huntington Lake is also the premier lake for spectators viewing the racing from the shoreline. The Start/Finish line is just West of the launch ramp, about 50 feet off shore. Mark 1, the downwind jibe mark is about the same distance from the shore at the point which is about a 100 feet walk northwest of the Start/Finish line.
Huntington Lake is nearly five miles long, this lake is surrounded by mountains on three sides and contained on its western end by three dams. On summer days, hot air from the central San Joaquin Valley expands and rises up the canyon, forcing cool air that has settled above the lake at night into the mountains above.
This thermal effect produces consistent afternoon westerly winds averaging 15 mph - ideal for sailing. Boat launching facilities, mooring and rentals are available at several marinas. A public boat launching ramp is located between College and Deer Creek Campgrounds. There is a fee for parking vehicles and trailers at the boat ramp.