Monday, June 28, 2010

Santa Fe Scenery

Portal, Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, Saturday June 26, 2010. Visible are tourists and vendors. Within the building is a one of Santa Fe's museums. Previously, for some centuries, this was the capital of New Mexico.

Most often, we pass through Santa Fe without stopping while en route between Albuquerque and our cabin near Heron Lake. But, this day we had lunch with friends at The Shed restaurant just a block and a bit east of the Palace of the Governors. Prices were reasonable and my blue corn chicken enchiladas had just the right amount of chile verde to make life good.

View to the north of the Santa Fe Plaza during high summer. The Plaza is the focal point of Santa Fe's historic district.

Cathedral park with north side of cathedral visible through the trees. This site is just a block east of the Plaza.

View over the edge, distant Battleship Rock in the Jemez Mountains

From atop a dramatic cliff that soars several hundred feet above the valley below, Jemez mountains sightseeers can look down the Jemez River valley toward Battleship Rock, about four miles distant s the eagle flies but quite a bit farther by road.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Two months makes a big difference...Heron Marina in spring

On April 24, the Heron Lake Marina had only just opened for the season and few boats were in evidence. With an elevation well over 7100 feet, Heron's sailing is strictly seasonal. Shown above are A and B docks of the marina, with The Narrows in the background leading to the main body of the lake.

Detail of A dock. Now, two months later, the marina is mostly full, with several dozen boats occupying slips and mooring balls. Slip rentals are available to the general public. The marina is operated as a cooperative; slip owners take turns serving as "dockmasters".

Proposed Mast-Up Sailboat Storage Lot Location

The site now selected within Elephant Butte Lake State Park for the new mast-up sailboat storage lot is not far from the old site.

View to the north, with existing mast-up lot visible.

View to the east, showing Marina del Sur in near distance.

Another view to the north, from a bit closer to the existing mast-up lot.

Panoramic view to the northeast

A view to the nne

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Snapshots, Race to the Elephant, June 5, 2010

This Merit 22 wound up being the overall winner of the Race to the Elephant, Elephant Butte Lake, NM, June 5, 2010.

Cruisers look for the breeze at the start of the Race to the Elephant.

A Hobie cat and a Catalina 30 show some of the range of boats in this fleet.

Lots of cruisers sail south from Rock Canyon

Tir na nog is part of the fleet for the Race to the Elephant.

A crew figures out the mysteries of catamaran sailing.

The Catalina 30 Salud gradually gets way on at the start.

Cruising boats and a lone Hobie cat clear the line as everyone gets moving south.

The Frers 33 Blue Agave, left, Kettletop Mesa, center, and S2 34 Cultural Infidel, right, approach Rattlesnake Island.

Here a 27-foot Beneteau circles around the west side of the Elephant.

Light winds later in the day meant that only half the fleet was able to circle around the Elephant and finish. Of course, the winds picked up again during the dinner after the racing was done for the day!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sailing Survey Says Make Yacht Clubs Friendly to Kids

100 Yacht Clubs Share Best Practices, Gowrie Survey
should generate some discussion; it contains several pages of ideas for reversing the decline in numbers of people sailing, especially young people. Thoughts?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The true meaning of the NBA...

Some of my favorites are bolded:

NBA Narmada Bachao Andolan (India)
NBA National Ballers Association
NBA Narrow-Beam Absorption
NBA Nasty Bitches All
NBA National Band Association
NBA National Bandmasters Association
NBA National Bank Association
NBA National Bankers Association
NBA National Bank of Azerbaijan
NBA National Bar Association
NBA National Barn Alliance
NBA National Bartenders Association
NBA Nationwide Beauty Academy
NBA National Beef Association
NBA National Beef Ambassador
NBA National Benefit Administrators
NBA National Benevolent Association
NBA National Bicycle Association
NBA National Bingo Association
NBA National Biodiversity Authority
NBA National Bison Association
NBA National Blood Association
NBA National Board of Accreditation
NBA National Board of Advisors
NBA National Board of Antiquities
NBA National Board of Aviation
NBA National Boating Association
NBA National Book Association
NBA National Book Award
NBA National Boxing Association
NBA National Bowling Association
NBA National Braille Association
NBA National Brassfoundry Association (UK)
NBA National Building Association
NBA National Bulldog Association
NBA National Burn Awareness
NBA National Business Agent
NBA National Business Association
NBA Natural Breast Alteration
NBA Navy Bureau of Aeronautics
NBA N-bromoacetamide
NBA n-butyl acrylate
NBA n-butyl alcohol
NBA Nebraska Beekeepers Association
NBA needs-based access
NBA Nepal Beekeepers Association
NBA net blog archive
NBA Net Book Agreement
NBA Network Behavior Analysis
NBA Neuromuscular Blocking Agent
NBA neuron-binding activity
NBA Neuter Before Adoption
NBA Nevada Bar Association
NBA Nevada Broadcasters Association
NBA Nevada Brothel Association
NBA Newcastle Brown Ale
NBA Niels Bohr Archive
NBA No Bebemos Agua
NBA No Bling Allowed
NBA No Boys Allowed
NBA Nominated Barring Authority
NBA non-binding announcement
NBa Non-Blocking Architecture
NBA Non-Parametric Boundary Analysis
NBA northern blot analysis
NBA Nude Beach Alliance
NBA Nottinghamshire Badminton Association
NBA Number of Bonded Atoms
NBA number of pigs born alive

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More Circumnavigator Thoughts

No doubt that many of us could point to specific preparations that would have increased Abby Sunderland's chances of success in her effort to complete a solo non-stop circumnavigation.

And I think at least some of these preparations should be part of a standard by which any prospective future voyages can be measured and tested.

And I think that if US Sailing and the International Sailing Federation want to have any credibility in this area, that they need to speak out. Otherwise, they risk being seen as even more marginal to most sailors.

The American Sailing Association is the only sailing organization that's been in the media in regard to Abby Sunderland, and I've not seen them or anyone talk about standards and preparation.

A while back I posted some thoughts about how young people (or anyone) might prepare for a circumnavigation and how that might affect their chances of success.

Is it maybe time that someone in a sailing organization show some leadership and propose some standards by which would-be young circumnavigators, their sponsors and supporters, the news media, and the public could judge the commitment and level or preparation of the next kid?

Because, with no leadership and no standards, there will be a next time. And one of these next times could end up even worse than Abby's trip.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sailor Abby Sunderland found alive and well -- Wild Eyes not quite so well

Photo from Australian Search and Rescue

Word is now that the crew of the Airbus sent to find distressed would-be circumnavigator Abby Sunderland have succeeded in finding her alive and well and made radio contact with her.

Wild Eyes, her Open 40 boat, was not so well off, having apparently dismasted.

The crew on the Quantas airplane made radio contact with her. Abby is reported to have a functioning heater and at least two weeks of food and is expected to be rescued by a fishing trawler in about a day and a half. (The rescue should be happening by roughly Saturday afternoon for those in North American time zones.)

A second fly-by is being arranged for the interim in which a French fishing trawler is traveling to Wild Eyes.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sailor in Distress

Recent news is that sixteen-year-old would-be circumnavigator Abby Sunderland has activated two out of three emergency beacons and is no longer in satellite phone contact with her support team on shore. French and Australian rescue services have been activated and two vessels are being diverted to her location in the south Indian Ocean.

Despite the recent success of fellow teen Jessica Watson's recent circumnavigation, many sailors have questioned the wisdom of sending young sailors out for records. The organization that keeps sailing speed records decided not to recognize any records by under-18 circumnavigators after Britain's Mike Perham completed his solo last year.

Some criticism has centered around the rush to get Abby's Open 40 "Wild Eyes" on the water, which left her with little time to get to know the boat or work out "bugs", and put her in hazardous Southern Ocean waters during that hemisphere's autumn and winter. Others have questioned the match of Abby to an aggressive racing machine.

Nonetheless, now is not the time for second guessing or criticisms. It is the time to support Abby and the rescuers who are searching for her. I hope that Abby is rescued in good health and comes away from this voyage with newfound wisdom. I also hope that she will be able to serve as a spokesperson for caution, careful preparation, good seamanship, and thus be able to steer other would-be voyagers away from excess perils.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


A yacht, strictly speaking, is any boat that is used for pleasure.

True, the word yacht has connotations of luxury and grandeur.

But, it's the pure element of pleasure that makes a boat into a yacht.

I do understand that some of the newer features that some sailors nowadays think are "necessary" have been added to boats so as to improve safety or help make up for a lack of hard-to-get crew.

But what happens when boats become so complicated and on-board systems so fragile as to remove the pleasure from boating? Is it no longer yachting if boat ownership turns into indentured servitude?

What happens when boat owners become so psychologically addicted to various systems that even minor breakdowns keep boats in port? Can people learn to differentiate between systems needed for functioning and safety versus fluff?

Do Laser sailors (that is, the ones who enjoy being inverted into frigid water until their teeth chatter and lips turn blue) therefore enjoy more "yachting" than owners of large, elaborately cruising boats with delicate or poorly planned and installed systems?

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Freedom of the Seas

In the days of old, the sea was an untamed frontier. Sailors were a breed apart, a strange sort who fit in poorly ashore, but afloat faced perils and privations that would sink even the stoutest landlubbers. Nations exercised no effective sovereignty beyond the furthest range of shore-based cannons.

Offshore, chaos was more to be expected than law and order; the next ship to appear over the horizon might be crammed with enemy warriors or pirates.

Strange coastlines were no better, rimmed with unmarked hazards, lacking in navigation markers, and without lifesaving services to come to the rescue of shipwrecked mariners. Instead of aid, mariners in peril along the shore faced wreckers who would lure ships to their graves, and looters ready to strip and murder weakened survivors.

Only gradually did the world's navies and nations combine to bring some sort of rough justice to the seas, suppressing some of the worst excesses. Even so, some forms of piracy have persisted or reappeared, and the seas can become deadly savage in spite of modern advances in ship building, safety, and weather forecasting.

The sea remains wild in spite of all modern technology.

And, more so than most places in the modern, interlinked world, the sea remains a place of freedom. The phrase "the freedom of the seas" still has meaning.

The sea is still a place where the world-weary can escape from most of society's strictures. It still welcomes adventures. It still calls upon the sailor to be self sufficient and highly adaptable. It calls upon our inner poets and sometimes upon our reserves of inner courage.

Of course, this freedom has a cost, and like all forms of freedom, can fall under siege.

The cost is well known. Anyone who goes down to the sea in ships is at risk. Those who are foolish are at greater risk. The sea respects no persons but is particularly harsh to those who fail to respect it.

And human folly and criminality are in part responsible for continuing assaults on the freedom of the seas.

For every fool who flouts seamanship and common sense, government agencies are ready to write new rules and requirements, taking choice away from sailors. Those who use good judgment eventually pay for the folly of idiots.

For every nation or corporation that plunders common resources, the environment and the rest of humanity suffer. Species vanish and opportunities for future enjoyment and use disappear, too. Responsible anglers and users suffer, too. Rules may or may not catch up with the criminals, thieves, polluters, and vandals.

My particular concern is with those who sail boats for pleasure. Recreational sailors are relatively innocent of pollution, over-harvesting, and environmental abuse. In fact, sailing is a particularly "green" passion and generally light in its environmental footprint.

But, individual sailors are capable of great folly, recklessness, and self-endangering stupidity. And, this stupidity has certainly caught the attention of increasingly risk-averse societies in the developed world, whose members call for more safety and a reduction in needless death, injury, and loss on the water. And, the regulatory agencies and lawmakers have also become increasingly active.

Some of the measures passed have been good and necessary. Stronger hull scantlings, electrical codes, lifesaving equipment requirements, and crew training can all be good things. Better navigation systems and search and rescue systems are certainly good things and welcomed by almost all sailors.

But, the laws are not always a good fit. And, for some sailors, the laws deprive them of cherished freedoms. For many sailors, the sea is an escape from the constraints of land and the strictures of society.

And so, the dilemma: Sailors want to be free. But, if they're left too free, society is abhorrent at the resulting loss and steps in to take away freedoms.

If we can train sailors to make good decisions and exercise good seamanship, we may be able to head off some of the most intrusive restrictions, many written by landsmen with limited understanding of ships and the sea.

If we fail to exercise good leadership and promote seamanship, then we know that more of our freedoms will be removed.

Education or regulation: What's your choice?

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Boating Safety Class June 19 at Heron Lake, NM

Here's the link ... please send to all sailing club members and friends who'd like to take a boating safety class in northern New Mexico:
Boating Safety Classes

Current Calendar of Boating Courses:

Chama/Espanola/Taos Area
Saturday, June 19, 2010 - Saturday, June 19, 2010 from 8:30 AM-5:30 PM
NM State Parks - NM Boating Safety Basics / No Fee Course
Heron Lake State Park POB 159 Los Ojos
Instructor:Pat Byrnes (505) 265-6741 Register
Boating Safety Basics 0 seats filled out of 30 seats available :
Starting At: Saturday, June 19, 2010 8:30 AM
Ending At: Saturday, June 19, 2010 5:30 PM
# of Hours: 8

Location Information:
The visitor center at Heron Lake State Park is near mile 6.1 on NM highway 95, west of Tierra Amarilla and Los Ojos, New Mexico. Camping is available at Heron and motel rooms and cabins are available at the Stone House Lodge to the west of Heron, at the Tierra Wools cabin in Los Ojos, and in the village of Chama. More local info is at

Instructor Information
Pat Byrnes
HC 75, Box 1006
Rutheron, NM 87551-9700

or via Heron Lake State Park
or via New Mexico Sailing Club

Direct link to registration form:
Class Registration for June 19 at Heron

Boating safety page:
Boating Safety Main Page

Course Description:

New Mexico 8-hr Boating Basics Classroom Course

This course is taught to the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) national standards that represent a bare minimum education for safe boating practice. This class is usually offered during an 8-hour, one-day session. Though not an on-the-water course, our instructors will provide practical examples and hands-on training on several key boating requirement areas.

Class materials are set for an 8th grade reading level or about 12 years of age. Signups by children 13 and under require a parent or responsible adult to on-line register to take the course as well before registering the child. Children 13 and under who come unattended may not register.

Each student must bring to the class a positive ID that identifies who you are. Students without a positive ID will not be admitted to the class.

Once you pass this formal class, you will receive both a certificate of completion and a card for you wallet. This recognition card is honored just about every state in the country. You only have to take the class once in your life (unless a judge reviewing a boating violation decides otherwise).

In addition, you will receive two free nights camping at a New Mexico State Park.
This pass is good for non-reservation sites only.

Course Topics include:
All about boats
Legal requirements
Navigation rules basic safety regulation
Navigation rules
Getting underway
Special topics

Chapter 1: Know Your Boat

Parts of a Boat
Boat Hulls
Vessel Length
Jet Drives
Personal Watercraft

Chapter 2: Before You Get Underway

Boat Capacity
"Float Plan"
Safe Fueling
PWC Fueling
PWC Fuel Selector Switch
Nautical Knots
Vessel and Engine Maintenance

Chapter 3: Operating Your Boat—Safely

Casting Off
Navigation Rules—Traffic Laws of the Waterways
Encountering Other Vessels
Meeting Head-On
Paths That Cross
Sailing Vessel Encountering Sailing Vessel
Navigation Lights
Night Navigation
Sound Signals
U.S. Aids to Navigation System
Lateral Markers (channel markers)
Variations on the U.S. Aids To Navigation System
Non-Lateral Markers (regulatory buoys)
Buoy System on Waterway
Navigational Chart for Waterway
Dams, Locks, and Bridges
Changing Water Levels
Compasses and Charts
Operating a Personal Watercraft
Steering and Stopping a PWC
Courtesy on the Water
Environmental Considerations
Other PWC Considerations
Reboarding a Capsized PWC
Ignition Safety (Engine Shut-Off) Switches
Avoiding Propeller Strike Injuries

Chapter 4: The Legal Requirements of Boating

Certificate of Number and Decal
Titling and Registering Your Vessel
Hull Identification Number (HIN)
Who May Operate a Vessel
Unlawful Operation of a Vessel
Alcohol and Drugs
Obstructing Navigation
Homeland Security Restrictions
Life Jackets
Fire Extinguishers
Backfire Flame Arrestors
Ventilation System
Navigation Lights
Visual Distress Signals
Sound-Producing Devices -- bells, whistles, horns
Other Equipment & Regulations
Requirements Specific to PWCs
Towing Water Skiers
Waste, Oil and Trash Disposal in New Mexico and Federal Waters
Aquatic Nuisance Species (Quagga mussels)
Boating Accidents and Casualties—What the Law Requires You to Do
Required Equipment Checklist

Chapter 5: Boating Emergencies

Risk Management
Boating Stressors
Life Jackets
Boating Accidents
Capsizing, Swamping, or Falling Overboard
Cold Water Shock and Hypothermia
Carbon Monoxide
Responding to Other Serious Injuries
Avoiding Severe Weather
What to Do If Out in Severe Weather
Summoning Help

Chapter 6: Enjoying Water Sports With Your Boat

Operator Responsibilities
Responsibility to Your Passengers
Responsibility to Others You Allow to Operate Your Vessel
Responsibility to the Environment
Responsibility to Others Using the Waterways
Paddlesports—Canoes, Kayaks, and Rafts
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

Review questions:

Name three basic hull shapes: ________ __________ ______________ .

What is the length class of most boats at the Heron Lake Marina? ____

Name three things you should do while fueling your boat:
____________ _________________ ___________________ .

Does a sailboat without a motor and with l.o.a. over 10' and no more than 16' have to be registered and does this apply to windsurfers? ____ and ____

A white buoy with orange horizontal stripes around the top and bottom and an orange diamond indicates ______________ .

What are the five types of PFDs (life preservers) and how are they different?

An easy way to remember priorities for rescuing someone who has fallen into the water is ___________ _____________ _______________ _________________

A wake from a boat under motor power is
(a) big waves breaking behind your boat with a rooster-tail of spray that makes pretty colors in the sun and cools off the other boaters on the lake
(b) any breaking water anywhere around your boat
(c) allowed anywhere outside of no-wake buoys except at no-wake lakes
(d) allowed at least 100 yards from naval vessels and large ships in a restricted channel
(e) never allowed in a no-wake lake such as Heron Lake

How do you apply the rule of thumb "Red Right Returning" in New Mexico and other places? New Mexico: _____________ North America: _______________ IALA A countries: _________________

The primary danger that occurs immediately upon being immersed in cold water is

What four things should you do if your boat catches fire while underway?
____________ ________________ ___________________ _______________

Sailboats have the right of way and are the "stand on vessel" when they are
(a) overtaking
(b) racing
(c) on the same tack and to windward of other sailboats
(d) meeting head on with a powerboat
(e) converging from the left with a kayak coming from the right
(f) within 100 yards and in the wind shadow of a large navy ship
(g) crossing a vessel traffic separation lane perpendicularly under sail
(h) barging next to the committee boat at a race start

What are three river hazards that paddlers should avoid? _________ __________ _______________

You must be sure that your passengers understand _____ and _____.

When passing under power lines and bridges (and using a mast-raising pole and moving your rigged boat on land), sailboat operators need to be aware of the __________________ ______________ .