Sunday, November 30, 2008

Commodore's Cup; A Quiet Day for Sailing at Elephant Butte Lake, New Mexico

International Etchells Black Magic (USA 125)

Colgate 26

Kachina in front of Kettletop

Black Magic crew

Labels: , , , ,

Commodore's Cup 2008, Rio Grande Sailing Club sailing at Elephant Butte Lake

MC Scow and J/24

Boats on glassy water

Cultural Infidel on glassy water

Four boats on still waters

Labels: , , , ,

Yet more from the would-be Commodore's Cup Regatta, November 15, 2008, Elephant Butte Lake, New Mexico

MC Scow no. 609 glides along

Freedom 21 sloop Five Planks and S2 Cultural Infidel in front of Kettletop Mesa at Elephant Butte LAke in southern New Mexico

J/24 Oso and C&C Renovatio

Boats and pin buoy

Boats around pin

Boat panorama

Labels: , , , ,

Soling Sun Sailing at the Commodore's Cup, 2008, Elephant Butte Lake, New Mexico

Soling Sun with Rio Grande Sailing Club boats at the Commodore's Cup Regatta in November 2008.

Sun's crew

Sun, other boats, and Kettletop, November 15, 2008, Rio Grande Sailing Club

Boats in front of Kettletop Mesa at Elephant Butte Lake

Labels: , , , ,

Commodore's Cup 2008 -- Yet even more of A Quiet Sailing Day on the Water at Elephant Butte Lake, New Mexico

Etchells Black Magic and part of the fleet make a slow parade during our attempt to host the Commodore's Cup Regatta on November 15, 2008. Very light winds tempted and teased us for a while, but ultimately disappeared.

Impressionistic view of Colgate 26 and J/24 Kachina

View from the backstay

Renovatio and Kachina

Boat symmetry

Soling, Etchells, and 3 MC Scows in front of Kettletop Mesa.

Labels: , , , ,

Commodore's Cup -- More of A Quiet Sailing Day at the Lake, November 15, 2008, in southern New Mexico

Boat panorama on a quiet day as boats gather for the Rio Grande Sailing Club's Commodore's Cup.

Boats near start line and scenery at Elephant Butte Lake in southern New Mexico

Boats and ripples with scenery

MC Scow and J/24 ghosting along

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, November 29, 2008

White Thanksgiving near Heron Lake, New Mexico

utility trailer, Laser II, and two Sunfish in the snow

home profile

view down the drive and toward Heron Lake

Five O'clock Somewhere -- cabin in the snow of northern New Mexico on Friday, November 29, 2008.

clouds and snow

boats in the snow

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sailors' Rondy

The officers and crew of Team Black Magic
Have the Honour to Invite the following Guests
to the Sailors’ Dinner Party:

Ah, but whom should we invite and what should be the purpose of this floating feast? Should it be an assembly of the great and famous of today’s sailors? Or should it be a vernal Fiddler’s Green to reunite those mariners who have gone before?

If the latter, perhaps we should engrave upon our roster of invitees the first to sail those wine dark seas, Homer’s Odysseus. What really happened under Illium’s fabled walls and upon the storied seas thereafter?

If we wish for a further immersion in nautical origins, perhaps we could book Jason and his Argonauts. Or we could invite some simple fishermen from the Sea of Galilee to tell us what really happened two millennia ago.

Were we to set our starting line in less shrouded and distant times, perhaps we should invite Sir Francis Drake, who followed a successful cruising career with a high-level appointment as a club administrator. He also placed rather well in the Spanish Armada cannonball regatta, doing a quite brilliant job of luffing his competitors beyond their intended mark. Lord Nelson, vice admiral, did rather well in his contest with the French and Spanish fleets, and was rather an interesting character. Perhaps he could bring a few of his “band of brothers” to the affray.

We do not forget the great navigator-explorers of the past; they (DeGama, Columbus, Magellan, Cook, Vancouver, Hudson, etc.) are many and deserve their fame. And perhaps Mr. Harrison could bring along some of his excellent chronometers, for navigators owe him, if not exactly the world, at least much of the Longitude.

Joshua Slocum showed the way for generations of self-reliant small-boat sailors to come and wrote intelligently about his pioneering voyage. It is well that we honour him.

Along with Slocum we should invite all those artists and authors who sought to depict the seas and those who sail upon them with truth, conviction, and insight. John Masefeld, Henry Dana, Joseph Conrad, Herman Melville gave inspiration and insight; without them by what stars would we steer? And they are joined by pictorial artists, from Gericault to Winslow Homer, and by modern minstrels of whom but one of the more recent is Jimmy Buffet, adored by his Parrotheads and many others. Nor do we forget the other sort of artists upon whose canvases we have been more directly dependent; the great naval architects who advanced our sport deserve a nod.

Were our dinner party to focus on contemporary, living sailors, we still would face many choices. Should we invite great racers? If so, should we focus upon public celebrity and invite Jimmy Connor and Ted (formerly “the mouth of the south” but now a part-time neighbor for us New Mexico sailors). Why not? But we should also invite talented racers who are better known only among sailors, such as Vince Brun or Kenny Read or Anna Tunnicliffe. And we cannot forget pioneering women, such as Dawn Riley or Dame Ellen MacArthur. It would be fascinating to know what made Ellen so tough and resourceful and to know what drove her to sail solo about the globe and venture up a wildly whipping mast. Tania Aebi and her family might be available to relate some of the sea changes that led her around the globe solo, ashore to rear children, and back to sea now and then to lead cruises and conduct seminars.

Speaking of our racing friends, there are a few names that would not appear on our list. While some sailors think pirates romantic, too many of them were thugs and would not make congenial dinner guests. Similarly, we would not invite some of the more outrageously oversized egos from the modern racing world, such as Ernesto Bertarelli, whose ambition seems to be “The Grinch Who Stole the America’s Cup”. I would only that nautical billionaires, instead of serving only their egos, would instead dedicate themselves to serving and improving the sport by helping make it more available. And, yes, some privileged sailors have done much to serve the sport.

Yet perhaps we are not wholly focused upon those who sail for trophies, glory, or celebrity. What of those who have made a life of sailing the seven seas and the great oceans? Would we not learn something by visiting with the Pardeys and the Dashews and discussing their different styles afloat?

We should invite our own coaches and those who first introduced us to the water, who first took us out on a boat, who first told us tales of adventure afloat, who had the patience to teach us to become sailors. Chuck and Nancy Crane were one such couple in my childhood; they took me out on Chatauqua and told me stories of their travels and service in the Yucatan. Captain George Colley, Sr., was another captain for me, especially when I was working as a deckhand on his family’s fishing boats. Carol Anne, in her post, has mentioned more recent influences such as “Zorro”.

And what of all those often anonymous sailors who give themselves to the sport? The volunteers who make the regattas happen by serving as organizers, judges, race committee members, and myriad helpers deserve a seat at the table. The volunteers who teach children, adults, and special needs individuals to sail are surely jewels in our community.

Ah, but here I near the true purpose of our dinner party. It is not primarily to be a great Awards Banquet for the famous, or to be a Fiddler’s Green for the greats of times past. Instead, it will be a Sailor’s Rondy, though not under the aegis of the Impress Service or of a Captain seeking more crew for his next voyage. The Joining Bounty that we shall offer will not be golden guineas, but rather the simple pleasures of time on the water, of skills learnt, of communing with the many moods of wind and wave, of shore and sea. For our prime invitees are youth; we seek future sailors and some means to share our joy with future generations.

The great, living and those who have voyaged onward, serve to inspire and educate us, but without new crew there can be no more voyages. Invite the kids.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Night in New Mexico

As the US election night proceeds, I reflect on the fact that it may be some weeks before the most important results are known. In fact, ballots haven't even been printed and mailed because the Rio Grande Sailing Club is still looking for a willing and able vice commodore candidate.

Oh, as for that OTHER election -- it's been a strange election season, and the ever-increasing negative campaigning has been a huge turn-off. It was a challenge in some races to find candidates for whom I could vote and my ballot had a bit of a "snake wake" of choices made or unmade given what was available in our region from the two major parties.

Carol Anne was slightly inconvenienced today due perhaps to small-scale dirty politics. Our precinct was voting in the eastern third of the local elementary school library; just ahead of Carol Anne were three young adults who may have been voting in their first presidential election. She said they looked like they'd stepped out of the cast of "The Matrix".

There was a snafu. A young woman had moved from Rio Rancho to our neighborhood earlier this year. Conveniently, a community organizer was available to re-register her, so she filled in a new voter registration form so she could vote in her new precinct.

But, her voter registration was never turned in and so she would have to drive 45 minutes back to her old precinct, and 45 minutes back, plus waiting and voting time. The organization that had taken her voter registration and then failed to turn it in to the county clerk's office? ACORN. The young woman's stated party affiliation? Republican. Hmmmm...... Of course, it could have been an oversight or incompetence instead of deliberate malicious criminal conduct, but something doesn't smell quite right here.

Oh yes, New Mexico is a state that has a candidate for statewide office who was just fined for campaign irregularities, but still has a very good chance of winning the election. We don't even have laws to exclude convicted felons or attorneys from office. And, also bad, at least a third of the seats in the state legislature are uncontested in this election.

Driving around the university neighborhood, I saw Obama signs in about twenty or thirty places, and a McCain signs in only one home. The solitary Republican of Lead Boulevard, who lives just a few yards from the "Center for Peace and Justice" and a graphics shop that sells "peace" and "Che Guevara" signs (Make Up Your Mind Which!), must feel rather besieged. There was even an Obama sign embedded in the asphalt of University Boulevard (in the actual pavement, not behind the curb), adjacent to a construction area, and Obama supporters waving signs at several intersections, with signs telling drivers to honk. Between the honking cars and the non-stop telephone robo-calls, this election's been a rackety one.

Cute snarky bumper sticket seen today:
Somewhere in Chicago,
A Community Is Missing Its Organizer

Such is life. Now where can we find a good vice commodore candidate, preferably one who doesn't make long dumb speeches or shoot wolves from hovering sailboats?


Saturday, November 01, 2008

New Mexico Sailing Club marina views at Heron Lake, November 2008

View of gangway, dockhouse, part of pavilion, A dock, Willow Creek Cove, and The Narrows on a gorgeous autumn afternoon, November 1, 2008

View of gangway and marina

West side of dockhouse

View to the south from slip C2, toward Willow Creek boat ramp

View from northwest corner of marina to the southeast

Labels: , ,

AMF Apollo sailing dinghy at New Mexico Sailing Club

Starboard quarter view of AMF Apollo 16 sailing dinghy under New Mexico Sailing Club pavillion. The Apollo is a 15' 9" centerboard dinghy equipped as a sloop for sailing with a jib and mainsail. Two to four persons can sail the Apollo, which was designed by Bruce Kirby, the designer of the Laser, as a racing sailboat. AMF was the same company that manufactured the Sunfish during the era of the Apollo.

The Apollo makes a good transition for sailors from simpler boats such as the Sunfish or Laser to more complex racing boats, since the Apollo is equipped with main and jib, plus traveler and other control lines that aren't found on simpler boats.

Starboard bow

Cockpit details

Bow details

Chama Valley Market

The Chama Valley Market, the only supermarket within 20 miles of Heron Lake, was crushed by heavy snow during February of 2008. Now it has been mostly re-built and is expected to re-open in December of 2008. It looks as though it will be a very nice store. Worker crews are now swarming within the building, working to install flooring, ceilings, electrical service, and store fixtures for the big re-opening, which is sure to mean a lot to Chama Valley residents. Although other local shops have responded by carrying some grocery items, residents still have to travel to Dulce, Pagosa Springs, or Espanola to do complete grocery shopping, racking up 30- to 120-mile round trips.

Low-profile marina anchors for the Heron Lake Marina

From the gangway, two 4200-lb. low-profile marina anchors are visible; a third sits just below the water level. These anchors can be used next year to improve anchoring of the marina and the New Mexico Sailing Club's ability to adjust the position of the marina.

From above, the low-profile anchor that slipped down the bank is now visible quite clearly. It should be easy to retrieve it in the spring, perhaps between April 1 and May 15.