Thursday, October 18, 2007

Desert Classic Regatta/Fall Series 1, 2007

Winds were good for the Desert Classic Regatta, but it was not a peaceful day, with a speedboat "poker run" being hosted at the lake on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2007. cut right through the sail regatta's start-finish line, passing close by sailboats at high speeds. The Rio Grande Sailng Club hosted the Desert Classic Regatta at Elephant Butte Lake as the first regular fall series regatta of the season.

For a short while, the race area was surrounded by roaring thunder and great waves as a group of speedboaters came through during their "poker run".
"Rags", a Rhodes 19 owned by "Captain Groovy", is out on a great day for sailing.

Constellation at the Desert Classic Regatta, Elephant Butte Lake

Constallation passes by Kettletop Mesa.

Constellation at the Desert Classic Regatta, Sept. 22-23, 2007

Constellation shows off her grace under spinnaker.

Governor's Cup Regatta, Rio Grande Sailing Club

Constellation passes the race committee signal boat, the J-22 "Scirocco's Song". Measured in minutes, the start line was very long indeed. A b fleet boat couldn't even start at her signal during the third race start.

U, the Etchells "Constellation",omes up from astern.

The Etchells USA 522, skippered by "Applelady", glides along. At right is the J-24 K

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Weather and Lake Conditions, Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The weather prediction for this weekend's work party at Heron Lake is good -- until Sunday, that is, when conditions take a chill pill

Friday: 64/30F high/low temp., 4% chance rain, winds from the WSW at 5-8 mph

Saturday: 66/32F high/low temp., 8% chance rain, winds from the SW at 8-18 mph

Sunday: 49/24F high/low temp, 25% chance rain, winds from the WNW at 10-18 mph

A look at weather history shows just how frustrating last Sunday's winds were at Elephant Butte Lake:

NOAA (Sierra Co. airport)
1:53 p.m. Calm
2:53 p.m. N 5 mph
3:53 p.m. N 16 mph, gusting to 30 mph
4:53 p.m. Calm

Elephant Butte Lake
17 OCT 2007 0900
4325.14 ft. elevation above benchmark, 331,143 acre feet
down –0.16’/1.9”/1668 a.f. in 24 hours
down –0.44’/5.3”/4,596 a.f. in 71 hours
flow out the dam is 962 cubic feet per second (938-971 cfs)
inflow at San Marcial is 78 cfs (61-78 cfs)

Heron Lake
17 OCT 2007 1000
7151.42 ft. elevation, 225,622 acre feet
down –0.01’/0.1”/44 a.f. in 24 hours
down –0.03’/0.4”/129 a.f. in 71 hours

Elephant Butte Lake Still Life, October 14, 2007

The J-24, "Kachina", and the committee signal boat, J-22 "Scirocco's Song", seem to float on a glassy sea during the second day of the Governor's Cup Regatta.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ghost Ranch Scenery near Abiquiu, New Mexico

The drive from Santa Fe to Heron Lake passes through some outstanding landscapes.

The red rock country around Ghost Ranch offers dramatic beauty, some good hiking trails, scenic vistas of mountains and Abiquiu Lake. The area has been popular with movie producers and has also been a productive site for archaeologists digging up dinosaur bones.

New Mexico Sailing Club work party at Heron Lake

View of the work barge from up on the marina point. A portion of the long truss can be seen in the background. Only a couple of Sunfish dinghies remained this late in the sailing season; most of the fleet was out of the water.

A and B docks with the Narrows visible beyond. In the center foreground is the work barge with the work party visible on board. At this point, the B south truss had been partially raised and placed on floats.

View from the northeast corner of the marina, with pavilion, work barge, and Willow Creek boat ramp in background.

Highlander, George, Typhoon, and Columbia work out their plans on the work barge.

Heron Lake Marina work party, Oct. 13, 2007

Typhoon, Highlander, and George work on floating the B south long truss.

The work barge has lots of equipment on board to help speed the job.

Highlander, Columbia, and George slide a float into position under a truss segment.

Typhoon and Highlander pilot the work barge back to the pavilion.

The Thing, aka Pat's trimaran

Constructed of planks joining encased foam floats, the "trimaran" is actually a support for a gangway extension. A 32-foot gangway is to be placed on top of most of the float, jacked up onto supports, and linked to the swinging gangway shown at top left. This should extend the gangway system enough so that these gangways can be connected to the 64-long gangway that is now resting on the marina point. Of course, quite a bit of work still remains to be done, including preparation of a skidway or runway for the top of the long gangway, and hoisting of the long gangway into position. Behind the swinging gangway is the point at which the gangways will be aimed.

Willow Creek boat ramp in background. Planking partially completed on gangway extension.

Swinging gangway in center, long gangway visible in distant background on marina point.

South end of A dock and the Narrows in background.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Start of the Sunrise Regatta

And they're off... So begins the 2007 Sunrise Regatta at Elephant Butte Lake in southern New Mexico. This year, 10- and 25-mile races were offered. When the lake is full, a 50-mile race occurs, with the potential for racers to be out all night. However, this year's strong breeze meant that even the last remaining boat, a participant in the 25-mile non-spinnaker fleet, completed the course before full dark. The Sunrise Regatta is hosted and sponsored by the Rio Grande Sailing Club.

Cougar of the Lake, Imagine, and Kachina take off from the start.

"Cougar of the Lake", a Santana 20, has plenty of get up and go in a breeze.

"Imagine", a Columbia 26 with Mike and Becky.

Dream Catcher, a 30-foot Hunter that was not in the race, got a good look at all the racers.

Scirocco's Song, a J22, heads up the course with Jon, Allan, and Justin on board.

The J-24 Coyote climbs up on the left side of the first beat.

Sunrise First Beat, J24 Coyote

The J24 Coyote and crew head toward Rattlesnake Island and Turtleback Peak, in background.

More Sunrise Regatta 2007 pix, J24s Kachina and Oso

The J24 Kachina romps upwind, with Kettletop Mesa visible in the background.

The crew on Kachina makes the most of the breeze.

The J-24 Oso cracks on in good wind.

Elephant Butte lake level, Heron Lake level

Monday, October 15, 2007

Elephant Butte Lake, 1300 (1 pm MDT)
4,325.42 ' above benchmark
334,066 acre feet
down 0.16' (1.9 inches) and 1,673 acre feet in 24 hours
down 0.42 (5 inches) and 4,386 a.f. in 71 hours
Irrigation season should be ending soon but it hasn't yet.
Flow out the dam is 952 cubic feet per second (952-976 cfs in past 71 hours)
Inflow at the San Marcial Flo0odway is 66 cfs (66-139 cfs in past 71 hours)

Heron Lake, 1100 (11 am MDT)
7,151.44 ' elevation
225,707 acre feet
down -0.01' (1/8 inch) and 44 a.f. in 24 hours
down -0.04 (1/2 inch) and 170 a.f. in 71 hours
0 flow in Willow Creek

Scenery near Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu Lake

Northern edge of Abiquiu Lake with Cerro Pedernal in background.

Ghost Ranch scenery across from the northern end of Abiquiu Lake.

Governor's Cup regatta, October 14, Elephant Butte Lake

The Governor's Cup began Saturday, October 13, 2007, with lots of wind, limiting the boats that competed. We were at Heron Lake that day, working on the marina. Without crew, and with the heavy conditions that had been forecast, and with so much yet to be fixed on the boat, sailing in the regatta wasn't a good option for us. Saturday night late we came down to Butte. Sunday morning we launched Black Magic.

This day there wasn't much wind at all. We had a nice bit of breeze as we left the boat ramp near the Marina del Sur, but as we reached Rattlesnake Island the breeze faded away to nearly nothing, leaving us unable to make the first race until the first boats were nearly finished. We started, but then came back and took a "DNF" (did not finish) so as not to hold everyone else up. The one B fleet boat in that race, a Catalina 22, gave up on the extremely light winds and motored back to the start/finish line. We then participated, loosely speaking, in two more, loosely speaking, races, so to speak. Winds were very light and very variable. During the third race, the beat turned into a run (well, in slow motion) for a while. But, then, they say, that on average, the winds are perfect.

Our sailing was not the best and the boat still needs work. We managed to keep the boat moving and recover from some mistakes (I even recovered a topping lift that had decided to take a trip up the mast), but competitively we didn't do at all well.