By Cari Gervin
Community News Writer
Eric Almlie is on the phone trying to find a specific part for a sailboat.
“Yes, we’re a new customer. Yes, this is Sale Creek Marina,” he says, and then catches himself. “That’s Sale, S-A-L-E, not s-a-i-l.”
The marina’s name is not a deliberate pun, as it is located where Sale Creek flows into Chickamauga Lake.
Still, Sale Creek Marina specializes in sailboats —; storing them, selling them, repairing them, and, of course, sailing them.
When Andre Rijsdijk bought the marina in 1980 after moving to Chattanooga from the Netherlands, there was but a single boat docked there.
“It was an income of $100 a month —; if you could collect it,” said Mr. Almlie, the marina’s vice-president explained.
Over the years, Mr. Rijsdijk rebuilt the crumbling marina, originally constructed in the 1960s, and turned it into a small haven for sailors.
Mr. Rijsdijk, who first learned to sail at 12, said there is a small group of dedicated sailors in Chattanooga and the surrounding area who prefer to boat the old-fashioned way.
Sailing involves actually catching the wind with a sail to propel the boat forward. The Tennessee River valley might not be ideal for sailing, but devotees of the sport hold regattas nonetheless.
“It’s a much nicer experience to have no noise,” Mr. Rijsdijk said.
Sale Creek Marina does cater to the less athletically inclined. Around 20 percent of the boats docked or stored at the marina are motorboats, cee-doos or other water vessels without sails.
And in the summer, an onlooker won’t see very much sailing anyway, Mr. Almlie explained. The winds here are great for sailing in the spring and fall (and even in the winter), but come the humid Southern summer and most sailors just take their boats out on the lake to go swimming.
E-mail Cari Gervin at email@example.com
Sale Creek Marina, 332-6312, is located at 3900 Lee Pike in Soddy-Daisy, or Tennessee River Mile 495. The shop is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.