It wasn't the North Sea and no new lands were conquered, but the Vikings - floating amok on the Great Salt Lake Saturday - were having a great time even so. And so was everyone else.
Despite cool weather and the threat of rain, the "Opening Day at the Lake," sponsored by the Great Salt Lake Yacht Club in conjunction with Utah Parks and Recreation Division, came off as planned.A parade, featuring the sword-brandishing Vikings, along with California Raisins and bikini-clad women dancing to the strains of "In The Mood," entertained dozens of spectators lined on the craggy shores of the Great Salt Lake. Approximately 20 sailboats participated in the parade this year, said Clark Forman, who helped organize the event.
"It was a pretty good turnout," said Forman. "And it wasn't too cold. Except for the naked (bikini-clad) girls." Forman's Legend 37 yacht led the parade.
A skipper's meeting was held earlier, followed by a blessing on the fleet by the Rev. Canon Brad Wirth of the Episcopal Diocese of Salt Lake.
According to Yacht Club Commodore Ron O'Dell, the tradition of the blessing began in Italian fishing villages to help protect the fishermen. Since then it has been adopted by yacht clubs on the east and west coasts. O'Dell liked the idea so much when he saw it in San Francisco that he incorporated it in local festivities.
As the afternoon wore on, a flea market was held to sell old equipment, and a radio-controlled mini-sailboat race took place, as did a junior sailing spring race series.
Saturday evening, hamburgers and hot dogs were barbecued for $3 a person. All events were open to the public as well as to yacht club members.
O'Dell said the club has about 165 club members and that a "fair representation" of them showed up for the opening. "We were a little worried about the rain, but the sun came through for us."