Monday, August 07, 2006

Back from the Lake of the Mountain Sailor Kings

Batwoman's boat didn't exactly sweep the competition at the Dillon Open at "America's Highest Yacht Club", but for sure we had some fun, learned a lot, made friends, and earned lots of admirers for the beautiful black boat. We did better than we thought we had, and now there are a bunch of Coloradans who want an Etchells; one crew even made an attempt at pirating our ship, but our captain was too skilled at light-air maneuvers to let them board and plunder. Aargh, mateys, now we'll be prepared to return for our own rightful plunder!

The trip back wasn't especially easy. We had been on the water for several hours Sunday before racing was cancelled due to light-to-nonexistent winds. Although some boats were often becalmed, we were nontheless able to ease Black Magic around the course and among the boats, giving us lots of opportunities to show off the Etchells and answer questions from admirers. Prospects look good for eventually forming an Etchells fleet in Colorado. By the time we retrieved and de-rigged the boat and left the area, it was already 7:00 p.m. and raining steadily as we climbed up to Fremont Pass (11,300 some feet above sea level), drove through Leadville and Buena Vista, and into the dark and rainy night with the thirty-foot boat in tow.

A couple of bits of unwanted excitement happened when we had to get through a mud- and rockslide in Poncha Pass and when the screw finally shook loose from the old trailer jack and started hitting the road in Alamosa. (After the original, almost new jack had failed on the way up, Mark and the helpful marina folks at Dillon had cut off the bottom of the old jack so we could replace it with a clamp-on jack.) A fun moment was seeing "Dumbledore" and "Mother" show up with the J-24 Kachina while we were re-fueling Babe at the Loaf-n-Jug in Alamosa.

By the time we left the trailer and Black Magic near the mast-raising crane in her summer home at Heron Lake and then returned to our cabin, it was nearly one in the morning and we still had to unpack our Expedition. Whew! Even harder was getting out of bed this morning and driving a further 170 miles to Albuquerque and work.

Speaking of plunder, CA on her weblog (itsfiveoclocksomewhere) made a list of interesting trip "souvenirs". To that list can be added one home-made wheel chock, one heavy-dity trucker's chock, one miniature bottle of vodka, a crowbar, a screw tap, two-thirds of a case of beer, a regatta cap, Mont Gay t-shirt, and various other implements.

Although our family was away from New Mexico for more than a week, we kept pretty well in touch with local events. Big in the news, of all things, was flooding as powerful rains soaked the previously parched southwest. Zorro's basement in El Paso, Texas, flooded, and worse things happened to his neighbors, with part of a road washing away within a block of his home. The on-and-off rains of the past few weeks continue to improve the previously dire picture for area reservoirs. Although it's far too early to declare the drought defeated, desert sailors are delighted with the deluge.

Heron Lake, 7142.98 feet elevation 191,453 acre feet; down 2 inches and 657 acre feet in 72 hours.

El Vado, 56,251 a.f., up 181 a.f.
Abiquiu, 157,527 a.f., up 2,812 a.f.
Cochiti, 50,465 a.f., up 1,822 a.f.

Elephnat Butte Lake, 4312.98 feet elevation above benchmark, 217,972 a.f., up 5 inches and 12,770 a.f. in 72 hours. This is a far better level than had been predicted earlier in the year.


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