Sunday, March 12, 2006

Frustrating Weekend

I'd passed on the predictions of bad weather for this past weekend at the lake starting the middle of last weekend. Even though some people don't like to hear bad tidings or might panic and not give the lake a try in hopes of changes for the better, I felt people had best know so that the club could plan for whatever might happen on the water or during the Spring Series / St. Patrick's day regatta.

Carol Anne got to the lake by noon Friday and, sure enough, the winds were howling. So, she and some other folks got a classroom session on sailing rules and knowledge (there would be a lot more "class" during the weekend. Friday late afternoon the winds were still rip-roaring when Gerald and I arrived and so I wound up visiting our boat (still not fixed so we wouldn't be able to take it out of the marina!) and running all over town to replace toiletries and all sorts of women's personal care hardware, feminine care products, powders, sprays, gels, lotions, lozenges, pills, oils, ointments, condiments, unguents, sauces, whatever. (A bunch of Carol Anne's stuff was buried under bags of sails in a truck in El Paso from the previous weekend's trip; the end of the trip was a bit chaotic and she'd overlooked some things after the 15-hour drive back to New Mexico.) Unfortunately, the truck's owners hadn't made it to the Butte as planned, which was also a big disappointment since we really looked forward to seeing them and had some stuff to get to them.

Saturday brought the skipper's meeting and a very reluctant decision to cancel the day's races and hope for better weather early Sunday morning, when some forecasts indicated winds would be more tolerable for a couple of hours or so. Saturday some of the gals went hot tubbing and watched videos. One crew at first thought about going out into the maelstrom of churning waters on a J-24 race boat at the marina but then wound up doing all sorts of boat fix-ups and repairs. (Probably Carol Anne wouldn't have gone out in that nasty mess even if she'd been invited, which of course she wasn't.) Saturday night's meeting and dinner were relatively well attended given the busted regatta, with 26 people. Cruising, racing, membership, and the mast-up lot were discussed and a decision was made to do some more work on the mast-up lot.

During the meeting, a tentative plan was made to attempt to get in a couple of races early in the morning, with boat launching starting around six in the morning to allow for an 8:00 am or sooner start. But, after the meeting, some of us got weather updates which showed that even the early morning would be pretty meeting, so that plan was scratched. Rich Strasia wasn't really looking forward to the idea of launching keelboats at 6 a.m. with some biting wind in near-freezing conditions; keelboats are a bit of a bother to launch even in good weather and the chances of the launch running into hang-ups or delays would have been high.

Sunday morning Carol Anne and I slept in late, then went to the internet to get the latest forecasts. We weren't surprised to see powerful winds still forecast, or later to hear about folks seeing surf pounding on the downwind beaches, but we got a pleasant surprise when we looked at the predictions for Monday -- moderate winds of 6 to 14 mph were forecast.

It figures -- I brought the weather predictions to the Strasia's place Sunday morning with all the weather services agreeing that Monday would be a wonderful, gorgeous, almost perfect day for sailing at Elephant Butte Lake. Not again! Aaaaarggh!!!! (We'd just experienced a recent weekend that was lousy for sailing but followed by a perfect sailing Monday that no one could enjoy.) Unfortunately, the Strasias had to leave Sunday afternoon for Placitas and our boat still wasn't fixed.

So, even though Carol Anne had all of Monday off and didn't have to be at work until Tuesday afternoon, she didn't have a place to stay, she didn't have a boat to sail on (her Etchells is in the boatyard for a couple more weeks and our MacGregor still wasn't fixed), and she didn't have anybody to sail with on Monday or Tuesday. Big hairy nasty awful !@%^!**^&!* bummer and so frustrating to have good winds almost within reach after we'd been sitting around all weekend getting our as**s (and other sensitive anatomy) blasted by the blowing grit.

Gerald even wanted to skip school so Carol Anne could have a sailing buddy. (This Monday is the day after the nine-week finals, so he didn't think much would be happening in school.) And, we could have dropped her off in some motel or other, but that still wouldn't have gotten Carol Anne on a boat.

What a letdown! Tantalizing and painful to have the good weather so close, but not be able to do anything about it - - sort of like having salt rubbed in a raw, bloody wound (and Carol Anne knows raw, bloody wounds!). Sigh.

I stayed around until almost dark at the Damsite and watched the winds go down to an almost decent level but there wasn't much I could do other than work on our boat some more and distribute some Foghorns at Del Sur, Damsite, and the state park visitor center. Mark Paz told me about the 40- to 50-mph gusts they'd gotten at the Damsite, which had ripped off a roof in the trailer park and knocked down some trees. Two good-sized houseboats had blown off their moorings (one of the mooring balls had shattered/exploded in the night!) and one of the houseboats had taken on water which was being pumped out. Mark and a couple of the other guys had had no sleep Saturday night during the stormy weather; they'd been constantly adjusting anchor winches and even so some of the giant marina anchors had dragged in the night!

And so, we had to retreat home, figurative tails between our legs and whipped, rather poorer (Carol Anne hadn't been told that the hot tub fee was _per person_ among the many many ways we enriched the local economy, probably far beyond what we could afford), without getting any of what we really came for - - sailing time. Another day, we hope, because this weekend was a real heartburn special. Yeah, at least I've vented a little but I'm still feeling pretty damn sour. Now get us on a boat. With sails drawing. Soon.


At 8:33 AM, March 13, 2006, Blogger Tillerman said...

Good luck for next weekend.


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