Lake Powell Messabout Thoughts

by David Hahn

Messabout: A curious name for a curious meeting. Obscure and esoteric for most everyone that isn't a boat builder or that frequents internet boat sites. And the name is just the beginning.

Tell your friends that you are going to drive five hours, and you are taking two vacation days to scout out a meeting place for a group of people that you have never met and that haven't met each other, of undetermined number. Tell them that you are taking your long-suffering spouse into a large freshwater lake populated with indifferent if not homicidal power boaters and that you will be going in a 12' dinghy powered by oar and sail. After three days of travel
and camping you meet a man whom you have corresponded with for several years. It is a pleasant meeting. You leave him and his son to their explorations and find later that they have harrowing experiences, including micro-burst winds and huge waves and that they get back to shore under bare poles in a trimaran kayak. He later posts GPS coordinates for a proposed camp site that due to the falling lake level, appear to be 100 feet underwater. (It was a great site however).

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Bruce Anderson in his $90 Pirogue rigged for sail

(click thumbnails to enlarge)

There are no real roads to this proposed campsite, and
no real maps either. Since you don't have a GPS you
go to the wrong place and through the miracle of
portable radios, make contact with other people that
you don't know in the dark of the night. Filled with
curiosity and wanting to meet them you set off in the
dark and get miserably lost in thickets of prickly
waist/shoulder high sticker weeds. Being dressed for
the beach makes this a hike to remember and recall for
months. Possibly years.

Ron Swedlund ~14' Sailboat of his own design
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The next day, fueled with pancakes and determination,
you break camp and spend three hours four wheeling
around in a two wheel truck loaded with a boat and
assorted camping gear. Total distance traveled is
probably 20 miles, total distance to your goal is
probably about 1/2 mile.

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Elliot Hatch with his model Mouseboat

At the end of the journey you find the friends that
you have made virtually over the last year to be as
warm, wise, friendly and capable as they seemed on the
internet. You see boats that are everything from
workman like to works of art. You find that any
sacrifice that you might have made in driving a piddly
five hours is dwarfed by those who came from other

Kellan Hatch - Sail and mirage drive powered
Mill Creek Trimaran
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It was a great Messabout - it being my first, I have
little to compare it with. But the people, food, and
good times were pretty well etched in my brain in a
good way.

For the record, attendees included:

Bruce Anderson ($90 Pirogue, Skinned Kayak)(Prescott
Valley, Arizona)

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Jim Thayer (on right) of Kokopeli fame with his Nina

Ron Swedlund ~14' Sailboat of his own design
(Prescott, Arizona)

Dustin Robb (Prescott, Arizona)

Kellan and Elliot Hatch (Sail and mirage drive powered
Mill Creek Trimaran, (see 'A Curious Boat for
Questionable Adventures
') (Salt Lake
City, Utah)

Jeff Blunk's inboard Sneakeasy
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Jim Thayer (Nina, Grand Mesa
Boatworks LLC design (I think) fiberglass double
ender 16' sailboat) (Colbran, Colorado)

Jeff Blunk (26' Sneakeasy) (Fort Collins, Colorado)

Tom and Heather Gale, and Mud Kids Ruby and Will
(Whitehall hulled row/sailboat (Grand Mesa
Boatworks LLC finished by Jack Hicks))(Logan, Utah)

Jack Hicks Very cool pulling boat(hull from Grand Mesa
Boatworks LLC, everything else built by Jack) ((Salt
Lake City, Utah)

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Kids - left to right - Dustin Robb, Ruby Gale, Will Gale.

Chuck and Sandra Lienweber, Jim Michalak designed
'Ladybug' (Harper, Texas)

Dave and Anita Hahn Bateau V12, (Delta, Utah)

Most of us got to the site on or about September 10.
It was still nice and warm, and the powerboats were
vastly diminished since school had started. It was a
casual extended beach party that really organized
types would probably have suffered lack of structure
angst, but it seemed to suit us. The pictures tell a
lot of the story. It was fun for me to sail and row
in different boats, and educational to a self taught
boater to see how others rig, sail and provision their

Heather Gale's Whitehall
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Lake Powell is a big lake. We only saw a tiny part
and mostly looked at each others boats and had a fun
pot luck dinner. So there is lots of opportunity for
more exploration and adventure in future messabouts.
This year the lake is about as low as it has been
since it's initial filling phase, and until recently
all that we could see was more of the same. But like
washing your car will incite the rain gods to wake, so
too will a bold excursion dare them to do their worst.

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Jack Hicks' very cool pulling boat

There is a group of friends, some of which came to the
messabout that go on extended cruises on LP. They
recently sailed on Oct 23-30. And we had a 100 year
rain event for this area. Soggy, cold, windy,
possibly snowy as well. They planned to go up the
canyon from Bullfrog for 25 miles and camp along the
way in the different canyons. I worked day and night
for weeks to get Picara ready for this but in the end
just could not go. Neither boat or trailer was tested
and ready. Motor would start but not run. So I
stayed home and thought about their great adventure,
with both relief and wistfulness. It would surely
have been a trip to put in your journal, one that
would give bragging rights for years!!

Me and Anita rowing out little Bateau V-12

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Well, I had better stop writing, and start back to
work on the boat so that I will be ready for the next
messabout, or the next cruise.

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Chuck and Sandra's Ladybug