Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Arizona Rubber Dam Update

Some sailors who follow this blog or my FB page have heard the story of the Great Imploding Rubber Dam. Tempe Town Lake, which has a sailable area of about 800 feet by most of a mile, and perhaps 10-12 feet deep, is a small impoundment of the Salt River adjacent to Arizona State University and under the flight path for Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport. It is restricted generally to sailing dinghies and paddlecraft and the home to the Arizona State sailing team, which Gerald has the helm of this year.

Unfortunately, one of the inflatable rubber dams that hold the water (both upstream and downstream because of the flat valley) failed a few months ago and the lake became a mud bog overnight. The harsh Arizona climate and lack of water flowing over the dams seems to have contributed to premature failure. Replacement dams have been ordered and most of them have arrived; the powers that be expect the lake to be re-filled by the first of November. If the fourth dam does not arrive in the mail soon enough (and people don't blow hard enough to inflate it?), a coffer dam will be built in front of its place.

In the mean time, the ASU team has started practices at a small impoundment a few miles away in south Scottsdale, McKellips Lake, as well as at the much larger but more distant Lake Pleasant. Unfortunately, neither lake has facilities in place for getting handicapped sailors on boats. But, the team is also looking forward to sailing in San Diego (Mission Bay) in a few weeks.

Other good news is that the team has someone (with impressive sailing experience) interested in being a volunteer coach. And Gerald is looking for the team to get its own burgee or "battle flag".


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