Monday, October 31, 2005

How we got our boat.

Years of life in New Mexico had left me feeling a bit.... well, dry. After living there for a couple of years and returning to the Houston/Galveston Bay area for a short visit, I was just a bit desperate for the sight and smell and sound of the water and the taste of succulent fresh seafood. Stopping at a small seafood stand near the bridge in Kemah, I was even able to convince the proprietor to take pity upon me and fill a clamshell plate with nothing but fresh Gulf shrimp and some sauce -- no fries, no hush pupplies, no slaw, just the shrimp and nothing but. I then spent a very happy half hour peeling and eating those wonderful delicate morsels.

However, New Mexico isn't the uniform desert that some outsiders might imagine; it has a varied landscape of deserts, canyonlands, high steppes and rangeland, rolling hills, mountains, and forests. There are even lakes, mostly man-made, with some large enough to attract seabirds and even, dare we say, sailors. We even found that we knew one of these unusual creatures and took a sailboat ride on Heron Lake, but did no more, busy as we were.

But, the sailing bug was growing inside. Some years later, we heard about a sailing club and I started to look at boats at Jack's sailboat yard in Albuquerque and elsewhere during our travels on one or another coast. Trips to visit Carol Anne's brother in San Diego inevitably generated into visits to maritime museums, marinas, chandleries, and other unsavory haunts.

Still, we resisted. Carol Anne thought the price of the boats I was looking at too expensive. Would we stick with the hobby? Was this a real commitment or a passing fad? Would we get enough use out of the boat to justify the expense and trouble? Could we afford it? And so, the weeks rolled by as winter approached and we had no boat.

Yet, interest was high enough that we took our first sailing vacation. In November of '99, en route to visit my father in south Texas for Thanksgiving, I drove Gerald to visit friends in Lewisville and Galveston. I was desperate enough to approach a charter company in Kemah and soon I was talking to skipper Kevin Vennell ("100 ton master") and arranging a half-day skippered charter for that afternoon. We'd originally though to rent a smaller boat, but the skipper suggested something a little bigger to handle the chop stirred up by the winds. With an inexperienced crew, Kevin had us motor out the channel into Galveston Bay and unfurled the big genoa on the thirty-two-foot Kirie Elite sloop. The boat responded well and we had a great afternoon sail, culminating with sunset and then a dusk approach under motor up the channel. But the day wasn't over; we motored on under the bridge a bit into Clear Lake, poking our way around a bit before heading back out and toward the harbor just as the moon emerged overhead. Truly a magical experience.

Carol Anne took a flight down to Texas to join us after finishing teaching and we drove to Corpus Christi. There, at the sailing school, we enjoyed another few great hours of sailing with a skipper on a 41-foot Morgan in Corpus' wide bay.

Christmas 1999 found us in Santa Barbara, California, taking a formal sailing class, basic keelboat sailing, on a J-24, which in the world of boats is rather like a very nimble sports car. It was an interesting time and worth telling about someday on these pages. Learning the language, doing person-overboard drills, and sailing in close quarters to other boats, we acquired some basic knowledge and confidence.

Yet, still, the same questions remained. Could we afford it? Would we really use it? Should we spend that much? And so, we still didn't have a boat, even though at the boatyard there was a boat that I had visited several times that seemed to be calling to me.

One morning I opened an envelope that promised an almost-free meal. That is, we could earn some free dinners by enduring a condo timeshare sales pitch. These sorts of things are rather painful to us, but this one was a pleasant drive away in Santa Fe and didn't look like it would be too gruesome. And, the restaurants where we would get the dinners looked very appealing. So, we bit. We showed up, did the tour, and endured the sales pitch that tended to highlight certain things and gloss over certain other "unimportant details". "We know you can afford this," was one of the sales refrains. "You'll have a place you can count on having one week every year," was another. And so on, with the incomplete math to justify the "investment". Next, the sales "consultant" mentioned the price of a deluxe unit, but without too much hope of selling it.

Then, the salesperson finally got to the amount of money we'd have to pay for the timeshare unit they were most hoping to sell. To within a percentage point, the price was identical to the price of the boat to which I'd been drawn. Carol Anne turned to me. "Yes, we can afford it. We'll get the boat."

Not Quite the Making of a Sailor

'Way back, shortly after dinosaurs had done their bit with ruling the earth and the retreat of the polar ice cap had left the seas in their present form, I set off from home for college (first attempt). Since I would be traveling far to the frigid frozen north of Houston, Texas, my parents tried to round up all the warm clothing they could find, which was in short supply in the sub-tropical Rio Grande Valley. I could still remember wearing socks over my hands during the one snow of my childhood.

Because of my childhood around boats at South Padre Island, with plenty of time on the water and even a couple of sails, the discovery that my school had a sailing club interested me enough to give it a try during my freshman year. Soon, I was chauffeuring sailors to the Seabrook Sailing Club and getting the occasional boat ride. Unfortunately, the college sailing club was set up for people who already sailed well enough to win races and didn't have any sort of program for teaching inexperienced sailors, so I mostly hung around, watched, and tried to cadge an occasional ride to stave off terminal boredom.

One afternoon we succeeded a little too well.

One kindly older gentleman at the host club who was literally quite shorthanded was quite willing to take on a couple of college students. So, one of the more experienced collegiate sailors and I were quick to help him rig and launch his O'Day daysailor. We had a good sail, with the boat coming to life as the afternoon winds built. The boat was getting really lively in the fresh conditions and we were having a great time bounding over the small waves .... until we jumped to the explosion of an almighty CRACK!! and ducked out the way as the mast shattered, breaking a few feet above the waterline and dumping the rig overboard. Recovering from our shock, we loosened halyards, disconnected rigging, retrieved sails, and secured the boom and remnant of mast before facing our next challenge.

With no radio and no one immediately available to help us, we were for the moment on our one. The two able-bodied crew members had but a short paddle to share and a goodly distance to cover if we were to make it back to port. Leaning over the bow while paddling (the best position we could find for controlling direction) was awkward. At least we were within a half mile of port, and the waters calmed as the sun lowered and we crept closer to shore. We were grateful to make it, tired, stiff, and sore, but still glad to have been out. After all, it still beat a good day in a lecture hall!

There were a couple of other boat rides, but nothing organized and not so much of an attempt at educating me as handing me a book. It would be many years before I discovered sailing books, magazines, courses, and clubs. There was also a regatta where the college sailors got to have a lunch of burgers at the Texas Corinthian Yacht Club. Eventually, several weeks later, the yacht club people began to wonder why they hadn't been paid. For reasons that completely escape me now, I was one of the folks who wound up making sure they got paid by delivering them what was owed. (Perhaps the college sailors originally thought they were getting a free meal?)

Later, in January, I volunteered to be part of the race committee during a collegiate "Frozen Butt" regatta in Galveston Bay. Sad to relate, the regatta really did live up to its name, at least by Texas standards. A Texas blue norther was roaring through, stirring up the bay waters into a stiff chop with a few whitecaps. Temps were down in the 50s, which for Gulf Coast sailors is downright cold, and the wind chill was nasty enough to induce painful aches in unprotected ears. Nonetheless, the races continued and I continued to hoist signal flags for the starts.... while wondering when our lunch would ever arrive as the afternoon sun retreated toward the horizon.

Eventually, a motorboat and skipper braved the chop to deliver the club's gourmet selections. What sort of fine hearty provisions would we get to restore our chilled, worn bodies? Had the regatta organizers dropped by the yacht club for some steaks or chowder or steaming gumbo? Well, not quite. Our lunch comprised cold, greasy, stale McDonald's burgers or some limp substance vaguely resembling such, cold congealed, glue-like french fries, and some Really Ice Cold Frozen Milkshakes in Cups Too Cold to Hold Onto.

For some reason or other, that season with the Rice Sailing Club was not fated to be the year I became a sailor. I wonder why! It would be many years, after giving up on my first try at college, marrying, moving to New Mexico, finishing my studies there, and watching our son become curious about the world, before our family would take the plunge and get our first boat.

It would be two decades before I sailed again on Galveston Bay, this time with my ten-year-old son on his first-ever sail.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The New Mexico Sailing Club no longer has dockmasters on duty and has closed the Heron Lake, NM, marina for the season. The VHF radio installation has been removed along with the barbecue grills. Life rings and fire extinguishers have been removed from the piers. A few other tasks will likely be completed this weekend. (By the way: some folks tried to burn charcoal in the gas grills, which made a big mess and corroded the burner shield/deflector bar inside each grill.)

As of last Sunday, about five boats remained in the marina and two of these were expected to be hauled out last Monday.

Heron Lake has risen a foot in the past month, to within three inches of this summer's high-water mark. Albuquerque is expected to take its water in November, but this fall's rains are good news for the marina.

Willow Creek Cove is not expected to dry out completely this winter and next spring. At the moment, the most likely scenario seems to be that the cove will get down to about five or six feet of depth, with the possibility of a slight grounding (hard for the B-C connecting pier) for most of the marina if the contractors take out all of the "2005" water before the lake receives some of next year's runoff. If we get lucky, the marina might not ground at all. Do your snow dances; most of us need the aerobic exercise.

If all goes well, the club may be able to open the marina sometime around mid-April or early May, and have a full season and a full schedule of activities. The "catch" is a list of unknowns:

--> The biggest unknown is this year's snow season and next spring's runoff. We'll have a sailing season as long as we get some water -- but the exact length of the season and whether or not the the following year-2007 season is assured depends upon just how much the lake gets.

--> Also significant is what the club decides to do about marina repairs or partial replacement, the condition of the marina next spring, and unfinished tasks that need to be done to make the marina stronger, safer, and more accessible.

--> Likely the most important need is your support for the club. Our ability to resume a full season of activities will mostly depend on how much support the club gets from members. As the snow piles up in the mountains (we surely hope!), talk up the NMSC and our beautiful lake to former members, friends, potential sailors, new folks in town, former or potential crew members and get them into the club and to our events. Also, we hope and expect to need a full complement of dockmasters next season, and since docksitting is so much more pleasant when you're not by yourself, we need to get more people on the club roster and at the marina.

Stay tuned for announcements about the resumption of regular club meetings during the off-season, our holiday party sometime around the weekend of December 10 or so. Also, look for a club ballot in the mail sometime later this fall and look in your e-mail for news about this winter's snowpack and club plans for the new year.

New Mexico Sailing Club Boat Census by Size

...something that might be useful for planning marina re-habilitation or replacement....

New Mexico Sailing Club Boat Census by Size

As of this spring/last winter, about 178 boats were owned by sailing club members/recently active members. Some were kept at home, in mast-up storage, or on the ocean. The marina has about 90 slips at present or 102 if fully restored, plus from four to forty mooring buoys if the lake is high enough. This year, with the very late start to the season, we only had about 40 boats in the marina, though in years past the club had a waiting list of people wanting slips.

No. of boats owned by club members as of last winter by size:
8 30-foot-plus:
3 28 to 29 foot
14 27 foot
25 26 foot
34 25 foot
16 24 foot
18 23 foot
29 22 foot
11 21 foot
2 20 foot
19 under 20 foot

(This is probably an understatement for the smallest boats since lots of folks don't bother to list their "number two" boats, dinghies, day sailors, kayaks, water-toy-like thingies, etc. Some of the larger boats that don't live at Heron may also have been omitted, such as is known to be the case for the Strasia's 32-foot Ranger and the Meltz's Freedom 32 and likely others.)

The mean and median are both at about 24 foot.

Of the largest boats, in the near future we might need to accommodate about 3 of the 28- to 30-footers, and 7 of the 27-footers.

Boats by length, (with some guesses)

30+ (8) Catalina 30, Catalina 30, Cape Dory 30, Ericson 30, Newport 30, Hunter 336, Lagoon 37, Westsail 32

28 - 29’ (3): Bayfield 29, Columbia 28, Lancer 28,

27’ (14): Cape Dory 27, Cal 27, Catalina 27, Catalina 27, Catalina 27, Catalina 27, Catalina 27, Catalina 27, Catalina 27, Catalina 27, Catalina 27, Catalina 27, O’Day 272, Stiletto 27 Cat,

26’ (25): Capri 26, Clipper Marine 26, Ericson 26, Ericson 26, Hunter 26, Hunter 26, Hunter 26/WB, Hunter 260, Laguna 26, MacGregor 26, MacGregor 26, MacGregor 26, MacGregor 26, MacGregor 26, MacGregor 26, MacGregor 26, MacGregor 26, MacGregor 26, MacGregor 26S, McGregor 26, McGregor 26, MacGregor 26, O Day 26, Ranger 26, Pearson 26,

25’ (34): American 25, Bayfield 25, Bayfield 25, Cal 25, Cal 25, Cal 25, Cal 25, Cal 25, 25, Catalina 25, Catalina 25, Catalina 25, Catalina 25, Catalina 25, Catalina 25, Catalina 25, Catalina 25, Catalina 25, Catalina 25, Catalina 25, Catalina 25, Catalina 25, Catalina 250K, Catalina25, Ericson 25, Ericson 25, Hunter 25.5, MacGregor 25, MacGregor 25, MacGregor 25, MacGregor 25, O’Day 25, Schooner Creek, Westerly 25, Westerly 252,

24’ (16): Blackwatch 24, Cal 24, Columbia 24, Compac 24, Hunter 240, Hunter 240, J24, J24, J24, J24, J24, J24, J24, J-24 , RL-24, Smokrcraft24 Pontoon sl,

23’ (18) Aquarius 23, Balboa 23, Beneteau 235, Beneteau F235, Columbia 23, Fun 23, Hunter 23, Hunter 23, Hunter 23.5, Hunter 23.5, Iona 23, Mirage 236, Montgomery 23, North American Spirit 23, O’Day 23, Ranger 23, Rob Roy 23, SalCommet 23,

22’ (29): Balboa 22, Buccanear, Cal 2-27, Cal 2-27, Catalina 22, Catalina 22, Catalina 22, Catalina 22, Catalina 22, Catalina 22, Catalina 22, Catalina 22, Catalina 22, Catalina 22, Catalina 22, Catalina 22, Catalina 22, Catalina 22, Catalina 22, Catalina 22, Catalina 22, MacGregor 22, MacGregor 22, MacGregor 22, MacGregor 22, , Merit 22, Venture 22, Spin Drift 22, Ranger,

21’ (11): Bass Pride 21, Clipper Marine 21, Freedom 21, Freedom 21, MacGregor 21, North American Spirit 21, San Juan 21, Santana 21, Smokercraft Santana ??, Suntracker 21 Pontoon, Venture 21,

20’ (2): Cal 20, Cal 20, Santana 20,

<+19’ (18): Capri 18, Capri 18, Catalina 14, Capri 14.2 , Compac 16, Douglass 19 , Drascombe 18, Laguna 18, Laguna 18, Montgomery 15, Potter 15, Potter 19, Potter 19, West Wight Potter 15, Sunfish, SunTracker 18, , Starwind 19, Starwind 19,

Big Boats by owner:
30-plus club (8 boats): Catalina 30 (Letterio), Catalina 30 (Horn), Cape Dory 30 (MacArthur, mooring), Ericson 30 (Grady), Newport 30 (Nelson – in Mexico), Hunter 336 (Eaton - boat in Maryland), Lagoon 37 (Callahan, boat in BVIs), Westsail 32 (Parkinson - boat maybe in Mexico?),

28 - 29’ (3 boats): Bayfield 29 (Cook – not active), Columbia 28 (Crowl), Lancer 28 (Andersen),

27’ (14 boats): Cape Dory 27 (Yost), Cal 27 (Krukar), Catalina 27 (Baudoin), Catalina 27 (J. Burns), Catalina 27 (Carlson), Catalina 27 (Linneman), Catalina 27 (Martin – sold), Catalina 27 (Pace), Catalina 27 (Partridge - couldn't get to lake this year), Catalina 27 (Pecherer), Catalina 27 (Sharp), Catalina 27 (Tallarico), O’Day 272 (Enloe), Stiletto 27 Cat (Perls, not active)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

First boats and heavy cross - South Padre Island

Back when I was about nine years old, I was seated at my regular stool in the Tradewinds Bar & Lounge, nursing a Coke while my dad visited with friends. A fifteen-foot wooden motorboat had inflicted itself upon us, the first boat in our family since my dad had suffered a massive heart attack back when I was a toddler. He and his buddies were trying to think of a name for the boat, but weren't having too much success; their latest proposal was "Peanut" (maybe named for the bar appetizers?).

"Good Grief!" I exclaimed... and then was more than a little embarrassed when that became the boat's name. We used that boat on and off the explore the Laguna Madre behind South Padre Island for the next couple of years and for my dad to stock the freezer at our beach trailer with speckled trout, redfish, and flounder. However, none of us in the family were mechanical whizzes or well-versed in the art and craft of boat maintenance, so Good Grief slowly decayed and came to grief, sinking in shallow water by the Palm Bay fishing pier.

The island then was reached via a swing barge bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway and then a mile-long causeway. The causeway was still a fresh memory to old-timers on the island, who could remember traveling by Colley's ferry to an almost-deserted South Padre Island consisting of little more than the Coast Guard station and some fishermen's shacks. Business expanded apace after the causeway's construction and the island became a popular vacation destination, but even then very few people lived year-round on the island. Not until I was a teen did the first tall condominiums begin to be built, prompting some wag to pin a picture of Miami Beach with the hand-printed legend "Padre Island 2000" to a wall at the Tradewinds.

The island had a relaxed atmosphere; residents joked about contracting "Padre Island Paralysis" and were more friendly, tolerant, and hospitable than folks would have been on the mainland. The county park that was our second home had a large section of "permanent" mobile homes with some full-time residents mixed among part-timers such as our family and a good mix of retirees, families, and others. Park residents were friendly, with people visiting each other for parties or card games or general gossip. The island was a place where I was free to roam and explore, to take chances, meet people on my own, and have the sort of independent, free-booting adventures that may be almost unknown to today's suburban youth.

This was about the time that boats became more a part of my life. We'd been a boatless family since my dad's heart attack when I was about three years old; encounters afloat were rare. I have a vague memory of perhaps being on a catamaran with my uncle and visiting a freighter in Port Brownsville with my parents, and a better memory of the time when we got word that a family friend, Otis Sullivan, and people with him had gotten stranded on a fishing boat. That was the first time I boarded a coast guard cutter and I got to be a very unofficial part of a rescue party. (No doubt the rules were more relaxed and flexible back then to allow me on board!)

Of course, other boats came and went in my young life. I had first become fascinated with watercraft after hanging around with an interesting older couple (growing up, it seemed that many of my friends were at least several times my age), Chuck and Nancy Crane, who like me enjoyed beachcombing for seashells and interesting odds and ends. They also traveled extensively into Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, spending several months each year on Isla Holbox with their island friends. Perhaps the first boat ride I ever remembered clearly was on their little aluminum skiff, "Chautauqua". I still remember the many stories they told of their forays into the Yucatan and would later enjoy exploring that part of the world.

Grief in our family was placed by a plastic-and-fiberglass Sears Gamefisher, a tweleve-foot, open boat, which, unfortunately, had exposed fiberglass strands that would break off and irritate my skin. I think my dad also got tired of the boat, because by the time I was in high school as a sophomore, we were looking for a replacement. Soon, we found a newspaper ad for a boat 150 miles away in Corpus Christi, Texas, were driving north to look at the boat, and getting a test ride in a small pond. There, the seventeen-or-so-foot center-console fiberglass boat achieved speeds of 35 or 40 mph, quite impressive compared to what we'd had before. So, we bought and named "Pez Vela" (sailfish), and that remained our family's boat until it was time for me to attend college and my dad again wanted something easier to handle and maintain.

About this time I sailed for the first time, sailing a couple of times on Jack & Kitty Locker's 35-foot sloop, "Traipsing", sailing out of the Sea Ranch Marina. Mostly I was just a passenger, though once I got to hold the boat into the wind while Jack wrestled with a stubborn genoa furler and got his eyeglasses knocked into the drink by the flogging sail; then I wound up having to handle the boat a bit longer than expected. I also supplemented my allowance by cleaning and taking care of a thirty-foot cabin cruiser occasionally for a Brownsville insurance broker, and, later, by working as a deckhand on the Colley family's bay fishing boats. Some folks we knew through St. Andrew's church were sailors, but I never happened to go out with them, so my life as a sailor remained in the distant future.

A Heavy Cross to Bear:

Around my thirteenth year or so, my mom and I started attending St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, in Port Isabel just several miles from where we spent most of our weekends and summers. I became an "acolyte", which was similar to being an alter boy (or nowadays alter girl or alter server) in Roman Catholic churches. The church was a small mission church near a resort area, so the number of worshippers in attendance at services was quite variable. Sometimes, especially for the major religious occasions, we might have a hundred or more people and would have an organized procession to initiate the services, but other times only a third that number, and often I was the only acolyte. If nothing else, the position reinforced my counting skills, as I became very skilled at counting or estimating the size of the congregation so the priest would know how much wine and host (wafers of unleavened bread) to consecrate. This was important, because if too much of the Holy elements had been consecrated, the priest and I would have to finish them off before the end of the communion service. Other acolyte jobs in this small church were perhaps a bit unusual, such as climbing a twentyfour-foot ladder to change light bulbs.

The Texas International Fishing Tournament, or "TIFT", was the biggest event of the year for area anglers. Boats of all sizes would converge upon South Padre and Port Isabel as seven hundred or so people would compete for trophies in a myriad of divisions. The fishing competition commenced immediately after the "Blessing of the Fleet", which was performed by a local cleric from the bow of a small Coast Guard cutter. Each year the duty was rotated among the ministers and priests of local churches.

Thus it came to be early one morning that I was holding a heavy brass cross upon its wooden staff, wearing red robes, and preparing to board a thirty-foot cutter the year it was St. Andrew's turn. Even in the early-morning calm of the harbor, maneuvering the cross to the open bow was a bit tricky. As the boat moved out into the area where the tournament fleet was assembled, keeping good footing became even more of a job; the cutter was maneuvering in and out and among the big fleet of perhaps a hundred boats. All sorts were present, from little twelve-foot fishing skiffs for fishing in the protected waters of the Laguna Madre to gleaming forty- to sixty- foot millionaire's yachts.

At last the ceremony of blessing was completed, and the cutter led the way into the choppier waters of Brazos Santiago Pass ("Arms of St. James") and now I really had to work on my balance to keep Cross and Self aboard. At least the chore was offset by the delight of seeing the early morning sun rising above the entrance to the Gulf, lighting sandy beaches and bringing the huge fleet of rumbling boats into focus.

Then things became a bit more interesting. With the open Gulf in sight, most of a hundred skippers decided, as one, to shove their throttles all the way forward. The channel rapidly became a boiling cauldron, with boat wakes crossing and criss-crossing each other in a confushed agitated mass, and our ride on the exposed bow of the cutter turning into something more like bareback bronco riding in the wildly confused chop and heave. Gyrating boat, swinging cross, flapping robes and all, I somehow managed to dance on the heaving deck and keep my footing. The experience was memorable, the views were magnificent, and getting back on solid land felt pretty darn good.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Windrider Rendezvous, Elephant Butte Lake, NM, continued

2091. Windriders abeam with mountains to the south. The Windrider Rendezvous was held out of the jet boat cove area near the middle of the western shore of Elephant Butte Lake in south-central New Mexico. The mild high desert climate allows for sailing almost year-round.

2093. Yellow Windrider heading toward Kettletop Mesa.

2094: Blue Windrider, stern view with Kettletop Mesa in background a few miles to the northeast.

2095. Yellow Windrider ghosting along, Elephant Butte Lake in southern New Mexico. When full, the Butte is New Mexico's largest lake, holding 2,000,000 acre feet with 40,000 surface acres for sailors to enjoy. The lake is beginning to recover from a several years of severe droughts, and has many square miles of surface area and many coves and bays and islands to explore. Elephant Butte Lake has a state park with three marinas, four boat ramps, mast-launching poles for large sailboats, and numerous services (boat repair, storage, motels, restaurants, stores) in the nearby communities of Elephant Butte and Truth or Consequences.

Windrider Rendezvous, Elephant Butte Lake, NM

2087. Four Windriders abeam. These were part of a larger group that were having a "Windrider Rendezvous" on the weekend of October 18 - 19, 2005. I saw the larger group out on Saturday morning, but by the time I was in the water, a squall line had hit with lots of rain -- so my camera stayed down belowdecks. Sunday was sunny and peaceful, another beautiful day in New Mexico, and that's when I saw this group of WRs gliding smoothly along.

2085: Four Windriders approaching.

2083. Two blue Windriders at Elephant Butte Lake in Southern New Mexico. Sunday, October 19, 2005.

Monday, October 17, 2005

MacGregor sailboat for sale (not mine)

Date: 16 Oct 2005, 07:55:07 PM

Dear fellow sailors:
Alas, I had hoped we could enjoy sailing into the sunset and really do love sailing, but ____ .... Regretfully we have decided to sell our 2001 MacGregor. It is in excellent condition with a VHF radio attached to a GPS, has the alcohol stove, sink, head and is fully equipped.

We have the 50 horse motor. The boat has not been used much - out maybe ten times.,
Not only is _____ _____ ____ can't enjoy the boat, but we also have little time to use it. If anyone is interested in buying the boat please call us at ____ or ____ (cell). [edited for Internet, but available from me]

Also, we have a time share in San Carlos Mexico, a 1 bedroom, reserved for the
week of Thanksgiving, November 18 through November 25 of this year. It sleeps 4
and is oceanview and right on the beach. It is at the Premiere Vacation ILX resort.
It has a full kitchen, less than five minutes from the marina, There are laundry
facilities and an on-site restaurant. Central air conditioning, hair dryer, iron and board, a
patio w/table and chairs, a safe, satellite TV, telephone, etc. If anyone is interested,
please give us a call at the numbers above.

We did so enjoy our time with all the sailing clubs, New Mexico Sailing Club,
Rio Grande Sailing Club and the BOC. I think we have never found such a fun group
to be with and we will surely miss those times.

Thanks for lots of fun and I do hope someone can benefit from our loss.
P_____ and A_______

diary-like stuff:
Last Wednesday: G. served as a "den chief" for the Webelos cub scout dens in our neighborhood. G./WMCIK was one of a few sophomores who took the PSAT (preliminary scholastic aptitude test).

Thursday: Turned in 504 folded luminaria bags at the Scout troop meeting along with G's popcorn orders (fund raising projects). G. only sold a limited amount of popcorn this year because his Scout shirt had disappeared at the last campout and he's supposed to be in uniform when selling; we bought a new scout shirt only a week before the order deadline for popcorn ended because we were hoping the shirt would turn up (and those things aren't cheap). By then, all the cute little cub scouts had pretty much stitched up the neighborhood market, so G. had the experience of about thirty folks telling him "no thanks" with only a few "yes" folks. Oh well, it's probably character building.

Friday: after work, took G. to Scout-o-rama site, swatted bugs and waited for the rest of the troop to arrive, then CA and I drove south to Truth or Consequences. First semester/nine weeks ended at HHS with exams on Thursday and Friday. For the first half/4-1/2 weeks of the term, G. had a B in English and A grades in physical education, health, and orchestra. In the next term G. will take driver's ed before school, then an independent/ gifted study project, English, Algebra I (the part he messed up on last year), and Orchestra.

Saturday: I motored our sailboat south in the rain and wind. Drove north to south valley to pick G. up from the Scout-o-rama but it had been ended a couple of hours early because of weather, so had to pick him up at home. G's troop erected a monkey bridge for the other scouts and the cubs to enjoy; there was also a brief visit by the air national guard (rescue helicopter) and a nature walk, but the first aid events had to be cancelled. Drove back to T or C and Elephant Butte, did a mini-raftup on Russ's 34-foot boat; back to motel in time for G. to do some cello practice.

Sunday: Returned Syzygy up the lake to Rock Canyon marina; gorgeous weather; took pictures of Windriders (small trimaran sailboats) having a rendezvous. Got G. to last hour of drying sand and filling bags with sand for luminarias for Scout fund-raiser, unloaded/de-junked car. Took troop first aid kit home so G. could restock it; found some twenty-year-old stuff in there and even a few older items. Took chainsaw and worked on cottonwood stump and roots -- dirt in the roots dulls the chain quickly, unfortunately. Dishes, laundry.

This morning: Took G. to H.H.S. extra early in the dark for him to start driver's ed during "zero hour" before school. Shortly thereafter, the main building basement, which unknown to all had been flooding all weekend, flooded to where the water was five feet deep and short-circuited the circuit breakers and electrical system. School was cancelled just as students were arriving. So much for tonight's parent group meeting at the school.

Got an e-mail from William G. in Antarctica at McMurdo Station (77 degrees south longitude, about 1200 miles from the south pole). He's been retired from the air force for many years but decided it would be fun to take a "summer job" down there!

G. will have a three-hour rehearsal for the Albuquerque Youth Orchestra tonight. They have some neat music for the next concert, including parts of Modest Moussorgski's "Pictures from an Exhibition" ("Great Gate of Kiev" and "The Gnome") and Aaron Copland's fast-moving "Hoedown" (perhaps better known as the advertisement theme for "Beef. It's what's for dinner.") from his "row-day-oh" (!) (Rodeo) suite.

Heron and Elephant Butte lakes have been up lately. Water is good.

Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half. — Gore Vidal

Friday, October 14, 2005

Rio Grande Sailing Club Cruise Poll

I haven't gotten around to importing the code to make an automated poll or survey, so here's one done the old-fashioned, simple way.

Where do you think next summer's long-range (out of state) trailer boat cruise should be for the Rio Grande Sailing Club and friends?

San Carlos/Guaymas, Sea of Cortez (some like it hot)

Lake Powell, Arizona

San Diego to Ensenada (estado del Baja California del Norte) and return

San Diego to Oceanside and return

San Diego to Catalina and return

San Diego to Catalina to Newport or San Pedro and return via trailer shuttle

San Pedro, CA to Catalina and back (via Newport) (806 miles, 12 hours)

San Pedro to Catalina to San Diego and return via trailer shuttle

Marina del Rey, CA to Santa Barbara Isle, then Catalina and return

Santa Barbara, CA to Santa Cruz Island and return (876 miles, 13 hours)

San Francisco Bay and the Delta (1070 miles, 16.5 hours)

Monterey Bay to San Francisco and trailer shuttle

Lake Tahoe

Puget Sound to San Juan Islands (1504 miles, 25.5 hours)

Puget Sound to Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Prince Rupert, BC, Canada, and Queen Charlotte Isles (2445 miles, 41 hours)

South Padre Island, TX (1113 miles, 18.5 hours)

Corpus Christi, TX

Clear Lake/Galveston Bay, TX (910 miles, 14.5 hours)

Lake Michigan (Door County/Green Bay/Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1424 miles, 21.5 hours)

Florida Keys (2219 miles, 36 hours, 4-day drive)

Florida to Bahamas

Chesapeake Bay (Annapolis or Harve du Grace)

Rhode Island (Long Island Sound, 2198 miles, 33.5 hours)


Maine to Nova Scotia, Canada (Bar Harbor, 2508 miles, 38 hours)

A bit more distant ...
Balearic Islands and Valencia, Spain -- America's Cup trip

Croatia/Adriatic Sea

Auckland, NZ

Friday, October 14, 2005

Comment settings have been changed to "anyone can post" with "word verification", so it'll be easier for folks to leave comments once they show that they're not spam machines.

Last weekend we were at Elephant Butte Lake in southern New Mexico to watch the first regatta, the Desert Classic, of the Rio Grande Sailing Club fall series. We took our boat down on Friday and rigged and launched it. After the skippers' meeting on Saturday, Gerald raced on "The Hunter", which did well, and I soloed our boat to watch the racers. Winds started out light but kicked in much stronger later; before things got too heavy I dumped the main and played with the genoa jib only. Tacking with jib only is an acquired skill. I also spent time keeping an eye out for a keelboat with a still somewhat green crew and a small sailing dinghy in case they might need any help.

This week has been relatively quiet; people in our area are recovering from the New Mexico State Fair and the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. I've been digging up and cutting the stump of our old cottonwood tree. (See "Cottonwood Chainsaw Carnage" in the archives near the very beginning of this blog.)

This weekend will be more complicated; the NMSU students cancelled their "learn to sail" visit to the lake but there will still be a raftup (potluck dinner, get-together, and social for sailors) and Mr. assistant senior patrol leader Gerald will be camping with his troop Friday night.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

a couple of thoughts (?) and a mini-rant in response to an e-mail about recruiting sailing club members...

New Mexico and west Texas have thousands of sailboats and owners who aren't in the club. Certainly we should recruit from them. Perhaps some boats are idle for lack of crew or difficulties faced by aging owners; this could be fixed if we had lots of young sailors around. Maybe others never figured out what to do with the durned thangs. Perhaps others were club members before and didn't feel welcomed or served by the club. Logistics and the price of gas may be issues for some; reviving the mast-up lot and improving other facilities and services may help. Other owners may not know much about the RGSC or what it can do for them. Publicity might help; not being afraid to keep trying new things could also help.

However, we shouldn't think so rudely of dinghy or multihull folks as a "splinter group"; I'm sure they outnumber us. (Would that make us the splinter group?) The name, however unintentionally said, seems to say that we think of them as second-class citizens or outsiders. For sure the smaller boats attract new sailors to the sport; they cost less to buy and maintain, are exciting, are less intimidating to start out on, give an intimate feel for wind and wave, and are a great way to learn.

Many great sailors learned on these boats; many great sailors and clubs give back to the sport by maintaining flotillas of dinghies to grow new sailors. Rather than us think of small/multihull boat folks as aliens or splinters, we might consider that we're not a complete sailing club if we don't (always keeping safety and practicality in mind, of course) provide a hospitable home for them. What do you think?

"splin'ter group, a small organization that becomes separated from or acts apart from a larger group or a number of other small groups, with which it would normally be united, because of disagreement over isolated matters, because of the lack of a personality, force, etc., capable of bringing about unification, or because of some practical consideration that requires an independent group of limited size." Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged Edition.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Rio Grande Sailing Club: ideas to promote sailing

Braxton ____ writes:
Rick ____ and I were discussing ideas on getting more sailors/boats to the lake. We thought maybe the club might allow the race committee to list several non-local boat ads (at no charge) in each issue. For example, when Larry sees a good buy on an Etchells, he could have the ad listed in the Foghorn. Rich would likely follow the J-Boats, and other members could follow deals on other boats. This might help locals find good out of town buys. It could help build club membership, and a local boat inventory.

Just a thought. Rick K. seems to think we'd have more Etchells sailors if there were more Etchells boats locally. The same seems true for catamarans. I don't know the deal on the other boats (J's, Catalina's, Hunter's, etc.)

It would seem a shame if Larry or Rich find great buys on out-of-town boats, but none of our members can benefit from this.

I think we should also have copies of the Foghorn placed in Sporting Goods Stores, Boat Shops, and the sports section of Wal-Mart, etc. Would it be expensive to print an extra 100-200 for this?

Hi Braxton,
Yep, the club could probably improve it's p.r. in several ways, including distributing more Foghorns and schedules; updating and expanding the web site; doing projects with the parks folks and other organizations; promoting and making a home for class, multihull, and dinghy racing; and working to encourage college, youth, and community sailing.

Once the web site is transitioned to Jo Ann and working fully, we could also put info about boats for sale there ... in perhaps more detail than the Foghorn would have room for.

The Foghorn did carry the announcement of the Etchells-fleet-in-formation a while back, along with a couple of past ads for Larry and Rich's boat work. We continue to let folks know about boats for sale by members. Maybe when we next update the club directory and handbook, we could also put in some fleet information and a list of boats sorted by type. Maybe folks like Larry and Rich and others could write articles about their boats, how they bought the boats, what they like or don't like about the boats/strengths and weaknesses, and what it would be like to race them as a class.

We already distribute a limited number of Foghorns beyond the membership. I mail a few copies of the 'horn or a shorter "Foghorn Limited" to some other sailing clubs, a couple of state parks folks, to potential members, and to a few of our former members. Occasionally I'll send 'horns out to local media, like the T or C newspapers, or to the chamber of commerce types. I also usually leave a few copies of the 'horn/'horn limited or schedule at Marina del Sur, Rock Canyon Marina, and Morgan Marine. Last Sunday I left a Foghorn and a few schedules at the E. Butte state park visitor center. In the past, when Jack's in Albuquerque used to sell sailboats, I would leave a couple of copies there. About once or twice a year I'll still leave a few copies at a couple of places in Albuquerque that sell boat supplies (American RV, Rocky Mountain RV, occasionally Taylor Marine).

All this has been done on a limited basis to keep costs down; it costs maybe close to $1.20 to print a copy and I've tried to keep the number of "freebies" down to about half as many or less as the paid circulation.

One possibility: making a bunch of less costly copies of the short teaser version, the "Foghorn Limited", for wider distribution. It would typically have one story, plus a few pretty pictures, contact information, schedule, and the membership form -- and on the front cover, the list of stories that appear in the complete Foghorn. I could bring you some this weekend.

Besides the places you mentioned, it would be nice to find some contacts at UTEP / NMSU / NMT / UNM to distribute our info. Other possibilities: seafood restaurants, swimming pools/rec centers, libraries, Cruces and El Paso media. I don't get to Cruces or El Paso often enough to know the best places and people to give club info.

There was a catamaran in the back of the Elephant Butte Inn behind the bar and restaurant. Wonder if it belonged to an employee or owner? Maybe there are a bunch of Hobie owners who don't fit into the standard Hobie fleet clique, along with other multihull and dinghy skippers who don't have a club home. There was a catamaran couple (Rick & Janis _____ ) in my neighborhood who asked about the club about a year ago, plus a guy who recently bought a cat and is looking for help and contacts.

Probably one way to focus is to announce and publicize a couple of special race days just for multihulls and dinghies, or at least to have special dinghy/multihull classes promoted for some races (not during the coldest months of the year!). One way to support this is to schedule a crash/safety boat for those regattas. Another might be for some club members to bring a bunch of dinghies/multihulls to those races. Maybe some of us could buy a bunch of dinghies/ daysailers for college students to use.


Rio Grande Sailing Club: NMSU College sailing lessons cancelled, for the moment:

I am sorry to inform you that the NMSU student trip will be cancelled due to lack of students. I greatly appreciate your time and effort in making this trip run. I feel more advance notice would have given us a better chance to market this to our students. I feel this could be a success in future and would like to attempt this again next fall. We are working hard to get student involvement and educate them about different sports. Again, I appreciate everyone's generosity and helpfulness in sharing this great sport.

Ben _____ Assistant Director Intramurals

Hi Ben,
Not having been in on the beginning of planning the watersports education trip, I may have misunderstood what sort of trip it was. My mis-impression was that it was a class group and that the students would come to the lake to work on water safety and watersports education as part of a regular class. From your note below, it sounds more like it was planned as an enrichment or optional fun activity, which wasn't necessarily limited to a particular class or section or a class. My impression was that you had a captive audience and we in the sailing club didn't know you would need to market to your students. Had we known, we could perhaps have helped you better.

Of course, I'll do my best to get word out to all the members of our club so that they don't show up at the lake and find no students waiting for them. No doubt the families and skippers who had built their weekend plans around this event will be disappointed not to be able to meet the NMSU students and make a contribution to sailing education and water safety.

Since this event seems to have been intended as more of an "enrichment" activity and apparently is not tied to any class curriculum or requirements, maybe you could take advantage of other means of promoting water safety in conjunction with the RGSC, State Parks, and other organizations. For example, we would hugely enjoy having an opportunity to help launch a sailing club on the NMSU campus. (New Mexico Tech is organizing a club.) Also, NMSU students would be very welcome to show up at our pre-race skippers' meetings to crew on boats. Another possibility might be bringing RGSC, State Parks, or Coast Guard Auxiliary folks as guest presenters at an outdoor recreation class, or of perhaps serving in a station or booth during a campus fair that features outdoor recreation opportunities. What do you think might work? Who are the best people at NMSU to contact and what are the best channels or organizations for this purpose?

We could work with the outdoor recreation and other NMSU groups in many ways, if you and other educators at NMSU have an interest and commitment to promote water safety and safe recreation and prevent watersports-related deaths and injuries. Given the tragedies on our lakes and waterways, and the too-often unacknowledged vulnerability of college-age youth to these tragedies, the need is real and we would be highly negligent if we did not try to promote water safety. Please let us in the RGSC know what you think would be the best means of getting word out and working with you on campus.
Pat _____

Pat thank you very much for your input. I do greatly appreciate working with you and all of the people that were willing to help out. I do feel this program is something that will be a part of my program (OutdoorAdventure Program).
Ben _____

New Mexico Sailing Club basic info

Here's a bit of info about the NMSC and Heron Lake:
New Mexico Sailing Club
PO Box 1995
Bernalillo, NM 87004

Membership: $25
Marina wait list fee: $20 (applicable toward first year's rent).
Treasurer: Roger Vinyard,
Membership: Rich Strasia
Commodore: Lisa Carlson

Activities: Sailing, cruising, informal get-togethers, holiday party. Monthly dinners and meetings during the off-season. Typically about five race weekends during the sailing season. The NMSC was first formed about 35 years ago at Navajo Lake but moved to Heron shortly after Heron first filled around 1972. Drought and sedimentation grounded and closed the marina from August 2003 until the 2005 season brought abundant water to improve lake conditions.

Marina: 90 slips (plus some mooring buoys when the lake is full enough). No electricity or water at slips. Covered floating picnic area with six picnic tables and two gas grills. Dockhouse with solar-powered VHF radio. Pumpout machine. Vault toilet on shore nearby.

About 90% sailboats (mostly 22 to 26-foot keelboats with cabins), 10% pontoon boats. Slip rental fee of about $425 covers the entire season of up to about six months. Slip users are obligated to provide a "dockmaster" for a half week during the marina season. Dockmasters camp in their boats or on land adjacent to the marina during their half week and provide security for the marina, information to prospective members, slip rentals to overnight guests, and minor marina maintenance and upkeep.

Services: Full bath houses/park restrooms with hot water showers about 1 mile away. 1/2 mile to Park headquarters, 1 mile drive to boat ramp and mast-up storage lot with mast-raising crane. About 1.5 miles to convenience store/gas outside the park and 7 miles to cabin rentals and nearest restaurants (Tierra Amarilla or Stone House Lodge). Additional services, groceries, and lodging available in Chama (17 miles), Dulce (36 miles), Pagosa Springs (66 miles), or Española (74 miles).

Heron Lake: 6,000 surface acres and 400,000 acre feet when full. Fed via the Azotea Tunnel and Willow Creek, the lake receives inflow at Willow Creek Cove, the site of the NMSC marina and the Willow Creek boat ramp. Water then passes through a channel called "The Narrows" into the main body of the lake. Elevation 7186' at spillway (7153' current elevation with 230,000 acre feet). Heron Lake State Park administers the lake and its shoreline on behalf of the Bureau of Reclamation. The park borders the lake on the south, southeast, and west. Heron Lake is a no-wake lake; motors are restricted to trolling/slow speed and "Ranger Grizz" is delighted to enforce this regulation. This means that the lake is a peaceful oasis and escape from city life.

Other: Views of cliffs, mountains, forests, and wildlife. Southernmost point in U.S. where anglers regularly catch trophy cold-water fish such as lake trout and kokanee salmon. Water to fill the lake originates on the other, western side of the continental divide and arrives via three tunnels, the longest of which is around seven miles long. Nearby activities including riding the historic steam-powered Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, horseback rides, fishing, skiing, snowmobiling, sightseeing. Other local attractions include exhibits and classes at Tierra Wools, visits to the Parkview Fish Hatchery, and trips to the Jicarilla Apache reservation, Pagosa Springs (hot mineral baths), Taos, and the Great Sand Dunes National Monument.

Location: Northern Rio Arriba County about 15 miles south of the Colorado Border. North/northwest of Santa Fe, west of Tierra Amarilla, southwest of Chama. About 3 hours' driving time from Albuquerque.


From Albuquerque, I-25 N to exit 274B for 599 bypass around Santa Fe and proceed about 14 miles; then merge onto US 84/285 North through Pojoaque to Española, about 25 miles.

Upon entering Española (milepost 189), turn left (west) just past the Dan-dy Burger and cross the Rio Grande to remain on US 84/285, then turn right (north) and very shortly thereafter take a diagonal left (northwest) to remain on the highway.

Proceed north from Española to Abiquiu (milepost 212 by Bode's Store), Ghost Ranch (m.p. 225 turnoff, m.p. 227 Piedra Lumbre visitor center, m.p. 229 Echo Amphitheater), and Cebolla (milepost 242/243) past milepost 254 to just south of Tierra Amarilla. There scenic US 64 comes in from the direction of Taos and the highway numbering system changes; the next milepost just past the junction is 175 and the numbers now start to get smaller.

After passing through Tierra Amarilla, slow down; the turnoff to the lake is between mileposts 172 and 171. Turn left (west) on NM state highway 95 and drive west about 5.5 miles to Heron Lake State Park. Shortly after entering the park, turn right on a gravel road that leads about 1/3 mile to the marina.

(If you are towing a boat to the ramp or wish to stop at the Visitor Center, do not turn off to the marina; proceed past mile marker 6 to the Visitor Center or another third of a mile further to the turnoff for the boat ramp and the first set of park campgrounds.)


For thinking about planning board meetings for next year, how do you divide your time these days? Besides travel, are you now mostly at Laguna Vista or still living part- or most-time in Albuquerque?

Very rough "strawman" thinking so far is that, during the next year, the NMSC board/club meetings might wind up being about a third each in the greater Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Heron Lake/marina areas. This year there will still be the Holiday party and a wrap-up meeting; next year there would be meetings early in the year to do the budget and schedule, then meetings in the spring to check up on lake conditions/snowpack/marina work.

Activities, programs, regatta plans, publicity, training, recruiting/membership, safety, communications, marina improvements/restoration/plans, youth sailing, sailing classes, state park projects, water law/planning/administration, drought plans, and emergency plans could be topics of other meetings. Suggestions are wanted and needed!

Wild ideas about meeting places: maybe about 1/2 restaurant dinners and about 1/3 potlucks at the marina or homes and maybe a couple of non-food meetings. Maybe a few programs along with meetings... slides of someone's trip or a presentation by the Bureau of Reclamation/State Parks/Coast Guard Auxiliary or whoever or maybe some sort of safety demonstration or training. Or watch a sailing video.

Marina/Heron Lake: meetings under the shelter during the main summer sailing season. Perhaps meetings somewhere nearby indoors (Park Visitor Center or a home in Laguna Vista near the lake) in the April or September. Maybe have a joint meeting or coordinated meeting with the Friends of El Vado and Heron Lakes.

Santa Fe area: Maybe another meeting or few at Quail Run -- provided we're not imposing too much on Buzz ____ and their hospitality. Or some other restaurant, to be determined. Probably we'll be really glad to take up Lisa's offer to have a meeting two in her home in s.w. Santa Fe. And maybe we could consider having a meeting in either Española or Los Alamos. Or maybe there's a museum in Santa Fe that would be an interesting place to meet. Or maybe the big athletic/activity center.

Albuquerque: I don't know whether it's practical or not, but it might be fun to meet at someplace like the Rio Grande Aquarium. Or maybe the Natural History Museum, Albuquerque Museum, the Unser's car museum, or the new Balloon museum would have a place for us. Plus, of course, restaurants; there are several that the RGSC northern fleet has used for socials. And, we might be able to get the Strasias or some other couple to volunteer their home for a one-time meeting.

Other possibilities: libraries, movie theaters, athletic clubs, country clubs, boat repair shops/dealerships, parks, townhome/mobile home community clubhouses, seafood restaurants, a swimming pool (if they'd let us put kayaks or dinghies in the pool), Merry Roundhouse/State Parks offices, a college or university (to try to recruit college sailors/help them form a club), who knows?

Got an interesting idea for a meeting program or place? Suggest it. Let us know.

[John responded that weekend meetings in Albuquerque would be a problem, but in between Albuquerque and the lake on Friday evenings should work well. Meg said, "It was always nice when there was a program of some sort - maybe someone reporting on a sailing trip they took or some such adventure. Yes please."]

New Mexico Sailing Club Marina Renovation

From: Lisa ________
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 2005 07:33:23 -0600

I met with Roger _____ from Shore Master yesterday at the lake. He took measurements and will write up a proposal to replace A docks and the walkway between A, B, and C. He will also give us an estimate to replace the whole marina. His system does not have the underwater substructure that we currently have. It will easily take to dry conditions and float back up when the water comes in. The system is used in Minnesota so it should tolerant the freeze and thaw conditions that we experience as well. Once I get the prices, we can meet and decide which system we want to go with.Lisa


Ray _______ writes:

I couldn't make it, but I got an email that someone was going to be at the lake today on this subject. I've forwarded this to the other board members for their consideration.

All~ the comments below regarding escalation as a result of the ongoing petroleum situation is a valid concern. I'm seeing it in every aspect of my work. David~ have your suppliers given you any range that they're anticipating for escalation? 10%? 20% More?

Thoughts, anyone, about at least buying what we've been discussing it and storing it until we can get it in the water?

Ray ____, Project Manager


From: EZ Dock of Texas [______] Sent: Monday, October 10, 2005 12:38 PM To: Ray ____

Subject: EZ Dock Information


I just wanted to follow up and see if there has been any progress in getting a decision made on which direction you guys will be going on your dock. We had a chance to visit with one of the NM State Park rangers that is over your lake. He was familiar with what you guys are needing. After seeing our products, he felt that EZ Dock would work great for what you are needing to replace.

I realize that it is nearing the end of the season. However, in light of the recent increases in the price of petroleum, the loss of a polyethylene manufacturing plant in Port Arthur, TX, and the increase in the price of the natural gas needed to fire the ovens that the docks are manufactured in, we could be looking at significant increases when new prices come out on January 1st. There could be substantial savings to your sailing club if product is purchased under the 2005 pricing instead of waiting until next year. We would be willing to discuss an arrangement where the docks are purchased under the old pricing but delivery does not occur until after the first of the year.

If you are still in the decision-making process and need additional information or if there is anything else that we can do to assist you, please let us know. Thanks.

David ______ EZ Dock of Texas, L.P. _______


Ray, Thanks for the notice and yes we should do something.

Lisa should have some info from Roger _____ and his company tonight and soon thereafter to factor in, but we should definitely do something this season that will move us at least a little forward.

I would for sure support "buy it to try it"; buy enough EZ dock to replace a dozen or so slips (A dock southwest). That's pretty much what the board decided to do, anyway, if I remember right, contingent on "marina experts" (Ray and Gary) thinking that it was worth trying. We have the money, and the knowledge that we get from trying out a chunk of EZ dock would be well worth the $25,000 or $30,000 or some such cost.

If the "marina experts" think that we have enough confidence and information to do something more ambitious, such as replace all of A, then we'd want to round up the board really quickly to discuss it. Or, if we have proposals from Roger Squires' company to compare to the EZ dock, we should get moving on that and make a decision before it's too cold to do anything.

Whatever we wind up doing later for the whole marina, replacement of the slips we lost with the EZ dock system should help. And, being able to advertise that we have a full complement of slips for next year (via adding the EZ dock and reinforcing the old state parks slips) would also help the club.

Perhaps people would pay a little more to berth in a new slip, and the news that we're starting to renew the marina might attract some people back to the water. The EZ dock system looks pretty flexible, so it shouldn't be hard to experiment with different slip sizes and such.

With slips replaced, the gangway hooked up in the alternate location, and a decent runoff next year, the club could have a much improved 2006 season.

P.S. The recent rains in CO & NM have given us a smidge more "cushion" to try to keep the marina floating intact until next year's runoff. The lake has actually risen in the past few weeks.

If necessary, we can volunteer our lot in Laguna Vista as a place to store stuff -- if it doesn't mind being outdoors -- over the winter.


(Since this email, Lisa met with Roger ______, who will be writing up a proposal to replace A dock and the A-B-C walkway. Perhaps the board will be able to review the Shoremaster and EZDock proposals by the end of this month and make a decision.)

Friday, October 07, 2005

New Mexico lake conditions, Friday Oct. 7, 2005 (Rio Grande Basin)

Conditions at area lakes in the Rio Grande Basin:

Elephant Butte, elev. 4,325.58', 335,739 acre feet, down .26' and 2,713 a.f. in 72 hours, 1,020 c.f.s. discharge

Cochiti, elev. 5,339.43', 48,483 acre feet

Abiquiu, elev. 6,199.72', 110,869 acre feet

El Vado, elev. 6,874.26', 109,413 acre feet

Heron Lake, NM on Friday, October 7, was at elevation of 7152.28 feet with 229,292 acre feet in storage. Heron has held its own lately, rising moderately (three inches and about 1,000 acre feet) in the last week because of rainstorms in the region.

The lake is about 14 inches below this summer's highest elevation. (This year's peak was about 7153.41', 234,174 acre feet. 400,000 acre feet at about 7,184' is considered full, spillway would be at 7,186' and about 410,000 a.f.).
*1 cfs is about 2 acre-feet per day; 360 cfs yields about 5,000 acre feet in a week and close to a foot of rise in lake elevation.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Heron Lake, New Mexico Sailing Club, Sat. Oct. 1, 2005

Calm waters in one end of Heron Lake, Saturday, October 1, 2005. Winds were beginning to pick up at the other end of the lake, so sailors had some interesting choices.

Boat silhouetted against autumn sky, Heron Lake, New Mexico

Improvised gangway extension in progress, Heron Lake Marina, New Mexico Sailing Club.

Peninsula in front of the Narrows, Heron Lake, with Brazos Cliffs in background.