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Sailing Story: John Rimel

John Rimel’s father didn’t get the chance to show John the ropes of sailing himself. However, he didn’t have to be around in person to ignite the spark that fueled John’s love of sailing. Go Sail Flathead Lake Dayton Montana

When John’s father died from leukemia at 42, he left behind a Penguin sailboat he had built himself just a few years prior. “It was always around when I was growing up,” John explained. “It was in our shop up at the ranch and I used to play in it.”

However, while John always found himself innately drawn to the sport his dad so fondly loved, it wasn’t until his own nephew took an interest in sailing that John became fully involved. 

“My nephew left me a 16 foot Hobie Cat when he was passing through one time and I started sailing on it,” John explained. He found himself inspired by his own nephew’s ability while learning the ropes himself. 

“I can make a Hobie Cat go where I want it to go but Daniel is one of those guys who can really “flying a hull,” John said. “He is the master of that. He knows exactly where that balance point is.” 

While John isn’t sure he’ll ever match the ability of his nephew, it doesn’t stop him from trying. “I right the boat…and then a knock down… and then I end up flipping the boat,” he laughed. 

Having a community of Montana sailors to laugh with and learn from has kept John coming back for more every summer as well. “There is a lot of comradery around the people who sail [in Dayton],” he explained. “We try to foster community and create a welcoming atmosphere.” 

For John, community makes Dayton feel like home, however, the beauty and history also make Dayton special.  “It’s just a beautiful area and sailing certainly has its own magic,” he said. “Wild Horse in many ways is a crown jewel of Flathead.”

While Wild Horse Island has its own fascinating history, John points out this isn’t the only intriguing piece of history in the area. “Dayton in other ways is a funky backwater little town,” he explained. “At one time the dock was a railroad trestle.” 

Somers trestle

This fun piece of history is even baked into one of John’s favorite events at Flathead Lake, the “Trestle to Trestle” sailboat race. The race ends at the Dayton dock, the point where steamboats used to drop lumber into the water and barge it to Somers (the starting point of the race).  

The events, community, beauty, and history of the Dayton area all make Dayton a destination John is passionate about sharing. Throughout the year John rents out four cabins in Dayton and encourages his guests to really get to know the community and all it offers. 

To get to know what makes Dayton so special yourself, book one of John’s cabins on VRBO and set sail with Go Sail Flathead Lake. John, Geneieve and the rest of the community look forward to introducing you to the beauty of Dayton— Flathead’s Lake hidden gem town!