Diary and Heron Lake Adventures
Friday, May 23 -- Towed Etchells "Black Magic" to Heron Lake State Park in northern New Mexico. Despite ominous clouds and predictions of rain, the weather mostly held off and Gerald and I were able to rig and launch the boat. I sailed the boat to the marina, brought down the sails, and coasted into the slip, though switchy winds that went behind us made things tricky. We delivered some lumber and a large crate of solar lights to the marina. We noticed that the lake had risen substantially. Although it hardly counts, this was the 19th day I'd been sailing so far in 2008.
Saturday -- This morning we cleared out food that time had forgotten from the fridge) then went to the state park and the lake. We then got a late breakfast at the Stone House Lodge, where we were joined by Lisa and Mike. At the marina, we worked on setting up the solar lights (mostly Gerald) while I and some other folks re-built the trail, which had been submerged. I cut about 30 feet of trail and had help with the trail, especially with folks who brought rocks to keep it from becoming muddy. I also moved Rhino floats out of the way, set up picnic tables in the pavilion shelter, and did other marina stuff. I think we're now close to having 20 boats in the marina. (Black Magic was around the 17th boat in for the season. Although I didn't sail today, I got in some rowing, using the dinghies to get to tall t-bar posts that were about to go completely underwater, and remove them.
We then went to the spaghetti supper. One of our part-time neighbors is working on an interesting project; he's started working on building a round tower. He has a rock saw and special diamond-coated tools for polishing rock. The Shroyer Center newsletter that I produced seems to have gone over well. Gerald and I got some extra spaghetti to bring here (although the stove and oven don't work since we're without propane, we can heat items in the microwave or heat water with the electric kettle). And, I got some milk today at Henry's ($5.79 per gallon, which is another reason to miss the Chama Valley Supermarket) along with bread and tortillas.
We did get some sun today, and essentially no rain, and I had left the blinds up, so we got some decent solars. The cabin is several degrees warmer than yesterday, so things aren't too bad. Overall, it's more comfortable than camping in a tent, especially since the ground outside is still a bit muddy.Sunday -- Today was the day of various activities at the marina and sailing club, starting with a New Mexico Sailing Club meeting, the first we'd had in the past couple of months. Dockmaster duties, marina maintenance and improvements, racing, and social activities were covered. A new plan is being made for setting up the gangway. Discussion of the porta-potti was canned for now. After the meeting, Gerald and I did some more marina work. Gerald and I also had a good visit with one of the state park rangers, who has bought a couple of "Hobie Islands", which can be kayaks or trimarans.
In the early afternoon, I ran the start for the four cruising boats that were racing in our long race (which, with good winds, turned out not to be so long), then took a break, went over to Black Magic, which was the only A fleet (spinnaker/racing) boat entered and chased after the rest of the fleet. Winds were outrageously variable, light at times but gusty and switchy at others, which made single-handing really challenging and frustrating at times. Not being able to find the tiller extension and having a broken tiller tamer were also challenges. Coordinating tacks was work, especially in the Narrows, where tacks came in quick succession. Also a lot of work was keeping the boat balanced and moving, especially when winds would cycle between 5 and 25 knots. Because I was singlehanding, one hand had to be kept on the tiller almost all the time, leaving only the other hand for coordinating the backstay, outhaul, cunningham, traveler, jib luff, and other controls. Oh well -- it was a good learning experience. And, I was able to catch and pass a couple of boats that had started 26 minutes before me, so that was sort of fun.
I did try running the spinnaker, but the downwind sail turned into more of a reach, the winds were switching quite a bit and strong at times (10-25 mph), and trying to run back and forth between foredeck and helm on a boat without a tiller extension or tiller tamer proved to be rather much of a challenge. So, after several minutes, I gave up completely on the spinnaker notion and hauled the kite down, which restored some much-needed sanity to the whole downwind sailing process. Returning down the Narrows, I had to watch out for more wind switches in order to keep the gybes under control, but that was relatively easy to handle after surviving all the hassle with the chute earlier.
After finishing the race, I ran into a bit of mud (100 yards from visible land) but got helped off very quickly and used the tiller to scull very neatly into the dock in spite of a cross wind.
Then it was time for the New Mexico Sailing Club's potluck dinner; the club provided basic burgers and dogs and fixings, and members contributed a constellation of savory side dishes and desserts. I then worked on calculating race scores before we finally called it a day.
Heron Lake -- update
Inflow into Heron has slowed, but that may be a temporary effect of the cooler weather that's likely reduced the rate of snow melting in the high mountains.
Heron Sunday, 05/25/2008 1500
7,159.63’ elev., 262,121 a.f.,
past 24 hours: +0.23/2.8” +1,066 a.f.,
past 71 hours: +0.98’/12” +4,526 a.f.
[AZ 559 cfs, WC 509 cfs]]
EButte 05/25 1700
4,346.52’, 593,369 a.f.,
+0.14/1.7”, 1,987 a.f., +0.28’/3.4” 3,966 a.f.,
Heron 12/30 1800 7,144.51’ elev., 197,398 a.f., –0.27/3.2” –1,058 a.f., –0.79’/9.5” –3,110 a.f. [–6.79’, –27,713 a.f.]
Heron 11/23 0600 7,150.93’ elev., 223,542 a.f., 10/25 1100 7,151.30’ elev., 225,111 a.f.,