Monday, November 20, 2006

Commodore's Corner, New Mexico Sailing Club

The marina is quiet now that the last work party has prepared the marina for winter. The long trusses have been loosened and floated to the surface to minimize damage from spring grounding. With workers and boats departed, the lake belongs to anglers and waterfowl. The golds and reds of fall color season have come and gone in the high country, replaced by frosty mornings, and the local wildlife is preparing for winter.

With boats put away for the winter, the thoughts of many sailors turn to the holidays that are now fully upon us. As we rush to prepare for the holiday season, we can remember the sailing season that was and make time for the final New Mexico Sailing Club gathering of the year. Our party will be held Saturday evening, Dec., 9, from 6:00 p.m. onward, at the Coronado Grill in Bernalillo. Mark Paz, the manager and part-owner, is a sailor and friend of the club; he helped prepare our marina for the winter and is very kindly turning over the restaurant to the club for the evening.

New Mexico sailors navigate through interesting times and places and 2006 was no exception. We enjoyed the closest thing we've had to a "normal" year since the 2003 - 2005 drought thanks to the hard work of a loyal group of volunteers. Despite a subpar spring runoff, we were able to open the marina by late spring and enjoy a full season of sailing. We increased the number of boats in the marina, scheduled a couple of races, enjoyed dinners, potlucks, and an ice cream social, and enjoyed the beauty of Heron Lake in all its many moods and colors.

Many NMSC members enjoyed area activities in addition to sailing. Fishing, wildlife viewing, kayaking, and riding the Cumbres & Toltec scenic railroad are traditional pastimes. Some also participated in a new event when Heron Lake State Park hosted its first-ever Osprey Festival, which was a popular success. Your commodore also participated in a town hall meeting on behalf of the club, and attended the dedication of a new trail that extends from the visitor center eastward across the marina driveway. We also launched a Sunfish flotilla and brought some Boy Scouts to sail. And, even after the season's close, we continue to sail, either in reality or in our dreams. The fall sailboat racing season is just ending at Elephant Butte Lake with some of us still being fortunate enough to enjoy sailing year 'round. Other NMSC sailors have ventured to warmer ocean waters to fulfill their needs.

Along with the fun, we have shared sadness, especially with the death of long-time member Darold Rhodes and the stroke that has been such a blow to Bill Ross, who, however, is working very hard on his physical therapy and recovery.

The club made major investments in the marina's future by replacing A dock entirely. The new A dock is designed to withstand future groundings and also offers advantages such as corner platforms and longer slips. It is a beautiful facility for Heron Lake. We also purchased floats and knee braces to stiffen and rehabilitate B dock next spring and make it more like the new A dock. The work barge is motorized and furnished with an electric winch that adds lifting power and saves workers' backs. And, we made our insurance company happy by adding a section of handrail near the dockhouse.

We also see the need for continuing improvements. Many marina projects will be continuing in the new year. We've improved the trail down to the marina with lights, drainage, and gravel, but it's still "interesting" on a rainy night. If the lake rises sufficiently next spring, we should be able to re-install the long gangway and give marina users a safer, easier means of access. The dockhouse is listing and the floats under it will need replacement. We still want to widen and stabilize the connecting walkway. We need to improve our activities, be much more successful in re-establishing racing, re-establish sailing lessons. We need to continue to improve safety at the marina. We need to recruit more new members and volunteers, get more boats back in the marina, and get some of our old timers to realize that the lake is up and the water is fine. We need plans in place to continue club activities in case of future drought. And, the list does go on!

Please call, visit, or e-mail me or our club leaders with your suggestions, comments, or questions. The club cannot exist without your support. With your support, we will have many opportunities to become better sailors, introduce new sailors to our sport and joy, and enjoy the wonder and beauty of Heron Lake.

Snug lines,


Post a Comment

<< Home