by Pam
White Rock Lake … yeah, you heard me right!  It’s a well kept secret in the middle of Dallas that only a privileged few have learned about.  No, I’m not talking about the herds of walkers, runners, cyclists, etc. that circle the lake on a regular basis.  There is no magic youth infusion going on there.  I’m talking about the lake itself.  Swimming isn’t allowed and rumor has it, an open cut exposed to the waters of White Rock can quickly turn into a nasty infection that might land you in the hospital.  But there is a magic youth infusion that happens on the lake.  The local sailors all know about it but they’re not always big on sharing the secret.

It’s right in front of everyone but no one really sees it.  Stop some Saturday morning as the Butterfly fleet is getting ready to sail and you’ll see the handful of 50, 60 and 70+ year olds getting out of there cars to go sailing.  One conversation with them and you’ll realize that they are, by far, the coolest old folks you’ll ever meet.  Sailing has this special way of keeping the body and mind flexible.  An inflexible body and mind looks and acts really old.  The amazing flexibility that comes from sailing keeps the sailor from getting old, at least in the ugly sense of the word.  

Now try this for a twist.  As much as getting old can be a real downer, being young, in the annoying, know-it-all, ugly sense of the word can be an absolute nightmare.  Sailing has this special way of equalizing age.  It builds character like nothing you can imagine and will age a junior sailor mentally and emotionally in a very pleasant way.  Mother Nature doesn’t play favorites or give anyone a break on the water.  Everyone is equal and you learn to play the hand you’re dealt.  I’ve observed that junior sailors become so much more flexible in life as they get older.  They develop muscle memory and learn to minimize adversity and maximize opportunities.  They learn not to waste time complaining or gloating because things can, and often do, change in an instant.  The life lessons learned on the water will serve a junior sailor in every aspect of their life for the rest of their life.  If they’re lucky, they will still be sailing when they’re in their 80s and 90s and will be the coolest and most amazing old kids you’ll ever want to meet.

White Rock Lake is located in the middle of Dallas and yet few people really experience its transformative properties.  Regardless of your age, you’re doing yourself and your family a huge disservice if you live in Dallas and don’t take advantage of this fountain of youth. 

Let’s talk about sailing for a minute.  D/FW, and White Rock Lake, in particular, have produced some extremely talented sailors.  We have Olympic Medalists, World Champions, National Champions, and America’s Cup sailors, etc. sailing the various lakes in the D/FW area.  The sailing in the D/FW area is competitive and its sailors are known all over the world.  Sailing is physically, mentally and emotionally challenging.  And it’s rewarding!  There aren’t many sports that you can pit a 15 year old against a 75 year old and the odds may well be in favor of the 75 year old. 

Think about that.  How often do you get to compete on an equal level with your grandfather, son and sister.  Not only compete with them but have a normal conversation with them, not to mention sensational memories.  I’ll never forget the day I was coming back into the docks and was about 10 feet behind a 72 year old and we were both hit with a gust of wind and the boats were immediately knocked over.  I was watching the 72 year old and the instant the boat started to tip, you’d think someone just set his rear end on fire.  He was out of the cockpit and up on the side of the boat in about 3 seconds flat.  I quickly copied him and was able to get the boat back up.  I learned how to right a tipped sailboat from a 72 year old.  Amazing!  But then I clumsily sailed over the top of his sail and then stalled and held his boat down.  He just won’t let me forget that.

White Rock Lake has two private sailing clubs, White Rock Boat Club ( and Corinthian Sailing Club (  The Butterfly Fleet ( sails every Saturday all year long and is a great boat for beginners (young and old) to learn to sail.  Two Butterfly fleet boats are available for guests to come use to help them decide if this sport is for them.  The cost of a used Butterfly can be from $200-$1,000 and a new one is about $4000.  You can certainly sink money into this sport but you can also do it on a really tight budget or for free if you just want to come crew on some of the bigger boats or just sail the fleet boats until you find a used boat in your budget.

Come dip your toe in the fountain of youth and see if you don’t feel a little younger afterwards.

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