A sailboat is hoisted into the Great Salt Lake Thursday, 6 April 2017, about 20 miles west of Salt Lake City. Dozens of beached sailboats that spent two years on the shore of Utah's drought-stricken Great Salt Lake were hoisted on cranes back into the briny waters after winter storms raised lake levels. Photo: Rick Bowmer / AP Photo

By Michelle L. Price
7 April 2017
 
SALT LAKE CITY (Associated Press) – Dozens of beached sailboats that spent two years on the shore of Utah's drought-stricken Great Salt Lake were hoisted on cranes back into the briny waters Thursday after winter storms raised lake levels.

"Mother Nature has been very kind to us," said Janet Robins, the commodore of the 140-year-old Great Salt Lake Yacht Club, comprised of the self-proclaimed "world's saltiest sailors."

Robins and other sailors watched and helped on the docks Thursday as sailboats, one at a time, were raised from their high and dry purgatory in the marina parking lot, carried across the sky on a crane and lowered into the water. […]

After an unusually high snowpack six years ago raised water levels 5 feet (1.5 meters), water levels dropped, skirting historic lows in recent years. Most of the 175 boats waiting ashore on trailers and cradles were removed the two years ago, when their keels had a tough time navigating the few feet of water at the mouth of the marina. Most stayed ashore because it's difficult to transport long sailboats, with their masts and extended keels, across Utah to other lakes, where sailors would contend with less-than-ideal waters, more drought and waiting lists for a space at the dock.

LeRoy Carter, who lives in the nearby city of Tooele, said the recent drought was the most serious he can remember in his 44 years of sailing the lake.

"We're subject to the whims of nature," Carter said as he took a break on the docks Thursday, helping to unload boats from the crane as they hit the water.

But then a wet winter raised water levels about 2 feet (60 centimeters), and 2017 is shaping up to be another high water year, according to Cory Angeroth, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. [more]

Boats left high and dry by drought back on Great Salt Lake

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