Ed and Lois Dixon first got their yearning for sailing while watching sail boats in lakes around Des Moines, Iowa.
They took up sailing Hobie Cats for 25 years, working their way up to a Division 7 Hobie Cat championship. The Division included sailing the lakes in seven Midwestern states.
Ed says age caught up with them, that top flight Hobie Cat competition was for a younger, very athletic person.
When they moved to Marco Island in 1996 they became interested in sailing a Trimaran, a multihull sailboat.
“It’s called a wet boat,” Ed said, because of the boat’s light weight of 2,200 pounds. When the winds kick up and the waves get higher they get wet.
But their Tri-Power can fly in the right conditions. In Sailing Association of Marco Island (SAMI) competition they do well against larger boats because they can take advantage when the winds are light and with their handicap points due to size.
Both agree that Ed is better at the helm while Lois is better at managing the sails. In heavy winds they need more muscle and add a crew member. Often it is Scott Milligan, Larry Geller, or Bill Bennett.
The Dixons say that there aren’t as many competitions where there are several multihulls as years ago, but the competition is tough. The Dixons sailed to Punta Gorda to win the Conquistador Cup Multihull Class, against five boats, for the first time in five tries.
Last weekend they won the Multihull Class in the Porsche Naples Regatta, which they have done for three straight years. They have also won the Avow Hospice Multihull Class for three straight years.
In the SAMI Ladies Day Regatta in 2009 Lois won for the first time, breaking up a nine-year streak by Jean Preston of Dan Kendrick’s Tippecanoe. Lois didn’t get a chance to defend her title as they were winning the race in Punta Gorda when Preston reclaimed the title.
Dixon is quick to note that the 18-by-24-foot Tri-Power is no match for Kendrick’s 39.5-foot, A Spinnacker Class sailboat.
However, in a SAMI race with the handicap points for being a smaller boat, Dixon says it becomes a goal to compete with the likes of a Kendrick powerhouse.
The title that escapes them is the National Organization of One Design Sailing (NOODS).
“Every multihull is exactly alike,” Ed said. “It’s held in St. Petersburg and we’ve been second three times and third twice.” They tied for second in February, behind Bert Rice of Pensacola.
“He is the cream of the crop, winning the national championship three of the last four years,” Ed said.
For the Dixons it is not all racing. While the trimaran might not have all the comforts of a larger boat, they go “camping on water.” They go down to Everglades City, Cabbage Key, Sannibel, even to Key West, which takes about 11 hours. They particularly like to take lunch runs to Naples.
Oh, they won the Multihull Class in the Naples New Year’s Day Sail and are on tack to be named the Southwest Florida Multihull Boat of the Year for the sixth straight season, which usually runs mid-October to mid-May.
The Dixons, however, are quick to point out that sailing is about the people you meet and the friends you make.
“They are like desert on the menu,” Ed said.