Weekend update, Elephant Butte Lake before Lover's Day
Friday arrived with abundant winds at Elephant Butte Lake and the women's sailing coaches were worried that the next day would be too breezy and chilly. Carol Anne was one of the first to arrive and went sailing on one of the Etchells with Braxton for some mock racing, which went well until Larry took advantage of local conditions and did a "banana lift" on them. WMCIK and I came down right after his school ended, arriving by 5:00 so we could get our boat out of a storage lot and rig her for the weekend, then catch up with folks. Later that evening, Larry and Braxton returned to one of the Etchells for a lovely moonlight sail, returning in time for the spaghetti dinner at the Strasia's compound and boatyard.
Saturday dawned with breezes still going well during Dan's weather briefing, but by the time boats were in the water the breezes had moderated to quite gentle zephyrs indeed. One of the J-24's had some difficulties in launching, but it later turned out that part of the problem was a shallow underwater cable at the end of and perpendicular to the courtesy dock next to the ramp. On Saturday, WMCIK and I enjoyed photographing the boats.
On Sunday Gerald crewed with Braxton and Jo Ann on their J-24 Cranky Winch along with Jacob, Kari, Margaret, and Rich, and we tried to set up a mock race with them and Sue and Carol Anne and Maureen and Dan on another J-24. The wind, if it could be called that, was not cooperative; the lake surface was glassy other than for distant reflections of powerboat wakes, and it took the J's nine minutes to reach the starting line after the start was sounded. Are there knot meters that will measure a 20th of a knot?!? Still, it was a learning experience for the crews and skippers to handle the boats in extreme light conditions. The interesting part from the committee boat point of view was improvising a starting line pin buoy and committee boat flags from what I had or could beg from local marinas. At the tail end of Sunday I did a bit of shopping, buying a storm anchor to keep our boat in position (if serving as committee!) no matter what the conditions in future races.
Next weekend, we'll have a motel room next to a hot tub, so any sailors with sore muscles can come over to our place after the race to relax storm-battered muscles and joints. The regatta will be a mixed event and should be really interesting to watch; the largest (30- or so to 36-footers) three boats will be doing buoy racing and the regular fleet will do a distance race on Saturday and another one on Sunday. Yours truly will be committee boating and should have a grand view and maybe some good pictures of the proceedings.