Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sailing in December at Elephant Butte Lake, Day 2

P Cat with mountain scenery to the NNE. After a long slog struggling with barely perceptible breezes, I was grateful for some more usable breeze, which ranged from 3 to 8 knots. Just as the breeze gradually rose from something like .1 knot to a few times more than that, a catamaran launched itself into the lake at Hot Springs/Jet Boat Cove and glided over the lake to join me. Paul, the skipper, noted that he'd decided to sail his nineteen-foot Pacific Cat out despite the initially calm lake, since he'd seen me plugging away. Fortunately, we got some passable wind and were able to get in some several tacks around some navigation buoys and then sail around with the thirty-four-foot S2, Cultural Infidel, when it joined us.

P Cat approaching

Nice view of Paul's P Cat.

P Cat approaching buoy; view to northwest

P Cat astern

View from the helm after I finally got a bit of usable breeze. Days like this taught me to feel subtle differences among the faint breezes. During part of the trip, incense sticks were lit to help me track faint, switch, unpredictable bits of breeze. Velocity headers, wild swings in direction, and sudden gaps in the light air were all part of Sunday's program.

GPS display showing 7 kph (4 knots) speed. Later, the speed increased, but as a solo sailor I became a bit busy.

I dropped the jib about a thousand feet before reaching the Marina del Sur breakwater -- and, of course, the breeze then dropped to about 1.5 knots! So, Carol Anne had plenty of time to wait for me at the courtesy dock. Later on, the breeze came back for a while to 6 to 8 knots, but by then Black Magic was on her trailer in the mast-up storage lot.

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