Saturday, July 31, 2010

Looking at a friend's boat

Port bow silhouette of Besame, an Ericson 35 sloop.

Stras gesturing as he tells a tale of boating life

Port aft view showing name and home port on transom

Port side, with Stras on board. Besame is an Ericson sloop that's spent her last few years on the hard in Placitas, New Mexico, under the shadow of the 10,000 foot high Sandia Peak. Perhaps Besame is lonely and pining for the ocean.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Gerald completes a healthy project

Gerald's emergency medical technician certificate, which he hopes to use as a credential in getting into a public lands management career.

Elephant Butte Lake mast-up site and lake view

View from the southwest to the northeast, showing the existing sailboat mast-up storage lot at Elephant Butte Lake. The proposed site for the new mast-up lot is in the foreground, to the south of the existing lot.

Zoom view showing a portion of the existing mast-up storage lot at Elephant Butte Lake. Boats are an International Etchells, C&C28, and Catalina 30; in the background at right is Kettletop Mesa, one of the lake's landmarks.

General view of the Elephant Butte shoreline near Marina del Sur and the site of the proposed mast-up storage lot.

Rock Canyon neighborhood

Two cabins bought recently by Texas Realty are being made available as lakeside vacation rentals in the Rock Canyon neighborhood near the Rock Canyon Marina at Elephant Butte Lake in southern New Mexico.

Stras's new power pole -- rumor has it that the install was accomplished with no power interruption.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

More Heron Lake Marina, July 24, 2010

At the end of the day, sailors gather under the pavilion for dinner and a bit of music at Heron Lake in northern New Mexico.

Two sloops at the northeast corner of C dock; Anerine (left) and Syzygy. Anerine is the flagship of Bruce Bowen's sailing classes.

Scratch the Cat(let)

File this!

On the inside, looking out

Fuzzy kitten; "Scratch" tagged and adopted Gerald last weekend.

Heron Lake Marina, July 24, 2010

Boats on Heron Lake's "C Dock" as seen from the bow of "Syzygy"

View from Syzygy toward the middle of the Heron Lake Marina in northern New Mexico during a rainy weekend

A dock at Heron Lake Marina

Misty Brazos cliffs east of the Heron Lake Marina

Movie time

Some while back, a stack of movies on DVD was part of what had been burglarized from our home. But, the bargain bin of the local supercenter store came to the rescue and now we have a stack of movies to watch. Last weekend, during the rain while we were up near Heron Lake, we watched three Clint Eastwood "spaghetti westerns". More movies to come...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wiley E. Coyote and I shudda turned left at the Albuquirky Airport

This morning I was driving by the Albuquerque "Sunport", taking Gerald to his EMT (emergency medical technician) class in a University of New Mexico-owned building just a few blocks from the airport. And what was that we saw off to the right?
Unfortunately, all I had was a simple cell-phone camera, taking pictures from a moving car.

Could it be? Is it who I thought it was?

Yep, Wiley E. Urban Coyote, waiting to intercept any roadrunners trying to hop on a Southwest flight! Sorry about picture quality but it's fun living in a city that sometimes doesn't act like a city.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Heron Lake Marina, July 17, 2010

Heron Lake Marina in northern New Mexico, showing A and B docks.

J/24 sloop seen through masts in marina

Telephoto view up the Narrows toward the main body of Heron Lake

Saturday was an odd-duck day at the Heron Lake Marina. Relatively few people showed up for the planned racing, so people just went sailing for fun. Ed, the New Mexico Sailing club's commodore, took a family out sailing for a new experience. At first, they had no wind and were doing a "bob and bake", but some strong puffs came in to make life exciting for a while.

Hanging out at the marina during part of the weekend was a nice break from digging a drainage ditch and other chores. And, even the drive to and from a hundred-dollar grocery shopping trip in Chama was powerfully scenic and relaxing.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Bluegrass Dinner at Shroyer Center in Laguna Vista

Saturday evening, July 17, 2010, at the Shroyer Center in Laguna Vista, near Heron Lake in the mountains of northern New Mexico. The bluegrass group from St. John's Methodist church in Albuquerque made their annual visit. For me, this was a nice break from my ditch-digging project to improve runoff drainage around our cabin.
Keep to the sunny side, keep to the sunny side, keep to the sunny side of life.

Heron Lake views, July 11 and 12, 2010

View of Heron Lake from the dam, looking north and east

Distant view of Heron Lake from a hillside south of Tierra Amarilla. Typically, this is our last view of the lake at the end of a weekend as we drive south toward Albuquerque.

Wee irony

Just thought I'd give you something to chew on:

Concert - To Raise Money for Animals in Need
Location: Shooters Steakhouse

Just sayin....
Isn't it a bit too late for the ones that wound up on the menu?
Besides, surely you don't think those animals can spend any money where they've gone.

Red meat in moderation isn't so bad for you.
It's the green meat you need to watch out for.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Turtling South Padre

A photo of a fellow blogger holding an "urban chicken" reminded me for some odd reason of a part of my past I may not have discussed on this blog.

Many years ago I was a "turtle boy".

That didn't mean, as some might expect from my sailing interests, that I was capsizing small sailboats. And, it didn't mean that we kept a bunch of turtles (though we had a turtle outside in a sort of corral or grotto for some years). And it certainly didn't mean that I was hunting or cooking turtles.

It all began as one of my little adventures as a beach-combing, beach-loving kid who had free range over a large chunk of South Padre onward. As a young child I'd experienced much of the power and awe of a hurricane, then became a collector and occasional vendor of seashells and probably the youngest member by far of the local shelling club.

Later, perhaps a year or so before getting a driver's license, I learned about people who were working to save endangered sea turtles. Part of their plan was to hatch eggs on the shores of South Padre Island, in a location that could be protected by US conservation laws. The idea here was that the endangered Kemp's Ridleys would use their innate navigational instincts to return to lay eggs in the place where they themselves had been hatched several years before, thus creating a sustainable sea turtle hatching ground.

Another part of the conservation effort was raising public awareness and support along with caring for and rehabilitating injured sea turtles. That's where Ila Loetscher, South Padre Island's "turtle lady", came in, turning her home and another property into a turtle rescue and exhibition center. Of course, Ila's home was well decorated with sea turtle memorabilia, with many dozens of turtle carvings, statuettes, and similar items. And, of course, none of these had been made from illegal sea turtle parts! I became one of her youngest volunteers and helped show the turtles to groups who came for open houses. I also had the adventure of trying to learn to drive a manual transmission from her when I was about 14, too!

In addition, I helped out and overnighted at the beach camps created to help protect the sea turtle nests and give the turtles a chance to hatch and reach the sea without being snatched up by land or aerial predators.

Sometimes I got a bit creative. Once, when helping set up a camp and after having turned 16 and gotten a vehicle, I happened upon a long, straight log. Tying one end to the hitch ball on my Blazer, I dragged the thirty-foot log to the camp area, dug a deep hole, attached a line, and used ropes to help raise a big flagpole for the campsite.

A unique privilege was arising just before dawn on the morning of a hatch and then seeing the small turtles work their way toward the Gulf of Mexico and the new dawn.

One turtle that was retained for rehabilitation and became an exhibit star was born on the Fourth of July and thus was named Yankee Doodle Dandy. It was interesting twist on the Bicentennial for some folks, to instead of watching parades be watching a tentative and age-old primitive procession of new life toward the great ocean beyond.

Much of the early history of sea turtle conservation and history can be found in the book, "So Excellent a Fishe". And, today, the work that Ila and many other pioneers performed is continued by a small organization known as Sea Turtle, Inc. Please check them out, and give them a visit if you're ever in that part of the world.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sailboat Racing Rules Discussion: "Bumper Boat Billy"

A discussion in Sailing Anarchy of bad behavior in sailing "beer can" races gave an example of terrible seamanship in the form of racers running into anchored or moored boats. Some discussion participants thought that the "Bumper Boat Billy" skippers couldn't be penalized for colliding with a boat that wasn't racing.

Interestingly, I think a competitor or RC COULD protest “bad seamanship” by “Captain Bumper Boat” under either the preamble to Part 2 or Rule 69. Collision is collision, whether it’s with another competitor, a spectator, a moored boat, or a pier.

Here's the chain of logic:

Definiton Rule
Rule (a) The rules in this book, including the Definitions, Race Signals, Introduction, preambles and the rules of relevant appendices, but not titles;

Basic Principle
Competitors in the sport of sailing are governed by a body of rules that they are expected to follow and enforce.

Part 2 Preamble
When a boat sailing under these rules meets a vessel that is not, she shall comply with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (IRPCAS) or government right-of-way rules.

General prudential clauses from IRPCAS Part A….

(a) Nothing in these Rules shall exonerate any vessel, or the owner, master or crew thereof, from the consequences of any neglect … of any precaution which may be required by the ordinary practice of seamen, or by the special circumstances of the case
(b) In construing and complying with these Rules due regard shall be had to all dangers of navigation and collision and to any special circumstances, including the limitations of the vessels involved, which may make a departure from these Rules necessary to avoid immediate danger

Common sense would say that a marginal, low-speed, unintentional collision with an anchored boat isn’t a RRS 69 violation.

But what about someone who is grossly reckless and who t-bones at high speed and then sinks an anchored boat and then doesn’t stop to render aid or admit responsibility? Or what about someone who, during regattas and while racing, habitually gets into scrapes with anchored boats and repeatedly ignores the rights of Colregs boats and violates government navigation rules and repeatedly enters restricted areas?

To me, such a person is very clearly exhibiting bad sportsmanship, bad manners, and bringing the sport into disrepute.

What do you think?

Thursday, July 08, 2010

How to fix a sinking ship

Here's one more revised oldie published in honor of this blog's 50,000th visitor and upcoming fifth anniversary:

Tribal Wisdom of Ancient Mariners vs. Modern Helm Management Theory

The tribal wisdom of ancient mariners, passed on from generation to generation, says,
"If you can't plug the hole and your ship is headed for the bottom, abandon ship!"

However, in government, educational institutions, and corporations, more advanced strategies are often employed, such as:

1. Buy a bigger engine or install a turbo-charger and adjust the trim tab, and propeller pitch angle, spoon, and cup settings to improve sinking performance under power.

2. Send the sails to a sailmaker for re-cutting to optimize performance in the sinking environment.

3. Re-tension the vang, move the traveler up, re-set leech tension for mainsail twist, ease mast rake, adjust the cunningham, man the yardarms, splice the mainbrace, let the cat out of the bag, fraculate, and feather the spinnaker twanger to alter the center of effort on sinking sailing vessels.

4. Change helmspersons.

5. Appoint a blue-ribbon panel to evaluate the sinking ship.

6. Visit other countries to see how other cultures sink ships.

7. Re-define performance standards so that sinking ships can be included as fully contributing vessels in a healthy climate of inclusiveness and support for diversity.

8. Reclassify the sinking ship as flotation-impaired and therefore a member of a protected class.

9. Hire outside contractors to pilot the sinking ship.

10. Hire a marine surveyor to perform moisture meter readings on the sinking ship's hull.

11. Harness several sinking ships together to increase their aggregate performance and dynamically leverage their flotation characteristics.

12. Provide additional funding and/or training to increase the sinking ship's ability to float.

13. Commission a productivity study to determine whether lighter crew would decrease the ship's rate of sinking.

14. Alter compensation strategies for sinking ship crews to re-incentivize their flotation performance.

15. Make the hole in the ship more uniform so that water flows in more evenly and in a more easily measured and aesthetically pleasing manner.

16. Put the helmspersons on a Swedish bikini watch schedule.

17. Remind passengers that the builder actually said that the ship was virtually unsinkable.

18. Jettison (get rid of) unnecessary weight, such as the life raft, bilge pump, buckets, etc.

19. Re-engineer "Best of Class" benchmark performance standards for sinking ships based on validated, criterion-referenced, statistically-normed data.

20. Place a bug screen over the hole in the ship to exclude annoying insects and small sea creatures from distracting the crew.

21. Declare, that, because the sinking ship no longer needs fuel, wharf or dock facilities, crew, or annual haul-out and maintenance, it is thus less costly, has minimal overhead, and therefore adds substantially more to the bottom line than do floating ships.

22. Hire motivational speakers to fire the sinking ship's crew with enthusiasm and a dynamic sense of purpose.

23. Hire alternative design consultants to re-arrange the deck furniture on board in accordance with feng shui principles to ensure harmony and good joss, karma, kemo sabe, and wa-sabi.

24. Rewrite the expected performance requirements for all ships to be compatible with the unique performance characteristics of sinking ships.

25. Provide additional incentives, rewards, and psychological support to improve the sinking ship and crew's self-esteem.

26. Send the sinking ship’s crew to time-management and continuous process quality improvement symposia and provide them with the appropriate work-flow management software and tools.

27. Provide the sinking ship and its crew with the support structure of a matrixed management structure with multiple reporting lines to ensure accountable performance.

28. Advise the captain and crew not to rock the boat.

29. Open all watertight doors so as to ensure a climate of acceptance and accessibility and to level off the ship as an “even playing field” for all.

30. Provide counseling for the crew to better understand and respect the sinking ship's feelings and cultural values.

31. Hire the crew of the sinking ship as consultants for total quality paradigm management ship sinking continuous process improvement.

32. Promote the captain and crew to marine safety supervisory positions with responsibilities to manage and optimize the sinking process for all ships.

33. Hire the captain and crew of the sinking ship to manage the political campaign of your least favorite elected official.

Rating Yacht Club Snootiness, Scale of 1 to 10

The Roquefort Yacht Club Snootiness Scale & Evolutionary Guide
(with apologies to Lord Beaufort and to be used for private amusement purposes only)

Revised version, posted in honor of the blog's 50,000th visitor and the blog's upcoming fifth anniversary

Not all yacht and sailing clubs are quite the same, and there’s always the chance that you might be embarrassed to visit a club that’s either unexpectedly stuffy or way too casual. So, here’s a handy-dandy rating system that’ll let you assign a rating number to a club and give your sailing friends an idea of what to expect when they visit the club:

0. Buddy & Sally, Luther, Cindy Lou, Mac, Fats Jonas, and Norma Jean, were kind of happy last Saturday night after they’d been out with the pontoon boat, Hobo Cat, Turbo-Bass Masterskicraft, and the Skidoos, and they thought it’d be way cool to tell their buddies that they’re the Schlitz/Pabst Blue Ribbon Dry Lakes Yacht Club. Cindy Lou’s thinking of drawing up one of those flag-things with a six-pack on it. No dues, no stinkin’ paperwork, but a club yell:
Stop Hangovers – Stay Smashed! Fridays are Belch Nights.

1. No rules, but a name, and some people here seem to know what they’re doing and put together a club barbecue and poker run here at the Cider Cove Cozy Cruisers.

2. No rules, no real estate, no clubhouse, but the Water Moccasin Sailors have a name, a club flag/burgee, and an e-mail list. We sort of ran six races last year and set up one of our college kids as a race chairman and he’s started telling us about some boat rules. Did you know that you’re not supposed to run over other boats? We also have a fishing/liar’s group and a water skiers group that you can run into. Man is this yawty stuff fancy.

3. A written constitution? Well sort of. Elected officers? Yeah, does anyone remember if it’s time for another election? A newsletter? Semi-organized regattas? Man, this sailing club sure is getting all formal and stuffy for us guys here in the Piddlehome Sound Yacht and Sailing Club. One of our members got certified as a sailing instructor last year and we’re going to try to teach sailing to kids next summer without drowning them.
(Parents, please don’t try to bribe us to shanghai or drown your kids.)

4. The Long Lake Sailing Society is a “paper club”, without a clubhouse, but is a member of local and regional sailing organizations, and has arranged with a local marina to sponsor events and offer hospitality to visitors. The club has officers, committees, newsletter, and even a web site, which is occasionally updated. Several of our members competed in the Gallo to Kielbasa cup race last year. One of our annual regattas is part of the regional tri-state sailing championship series. Y’all come on down!

5. The Brackish Bay Yacht Club was established in 1964, and thanks to the vision of its founders, has established a large one-room clubhouse facility at the Passamahoumie City Marina. Visitors are always welcome, and visitors who bring beer or wine are automatically part of the gang. The combo to the marina bathroom is available from club members; spray paint is available for graffiti removal or customization. If you don’t like the beer in our fridge, run down to the store to buy something better. The club is mostly social, but we do try to get out on the water sometimes. Many of our members have boats and none have sunk lately. Dues are kept affordable, and folks are always welcome to help repaint the back porch. Please, no water balloons in the clubhouse, but wet bikinis are very welcome.

6. The Leeward Ledge Sailing Club & Motor Squadron has a big name but a basic idea: We’re more fun and have better beer taps than the other guys. Although the club does not operate or own the slip facilities at the Leeward Ledge marina, our 44.7’ Guest Dock has space for visitors. Appropriate attire is suggested for the Commodore’s ball at the Ledge Lodge; no cut-offs or wet bathing suits. Upon arrival, check in with the volunteer bartender on duty. Grills are available and frozen steaks and “mystery meat” burgers can be bought from the bartender. Because race boats have limited head facilities, please don’t drink too much beer before participating as “rail meat” in our Washed Up Wednesday regattas.

7. The Monkey’s Fist Cliffs Yacht Club enjoys a spectacular view of the Monkey’s Fist from its modern clubhouse facilities. We have a full commercial kitchen, and host catered dinners as well as weekly cook-your-own wieners and buns. We offer Thursday evening beer can races, the Monkey’s Fist Mistresses ladies group, a bridge group, and a Monday Night Monkeys football gathering at our bar, the Monkey’s Poop Deck. The club administers the “C” dock facilities of the Monkey’s Fist Municipal Marina and offers space, if available, in vacant slips or at our 80 feet of guest dockage. Visitors from other clubs are welcome and are requested to show their home club I.D. card and fly their burgee. Please wear appropriate covering en route from the clubhouse to the pool, especially if you don’t look good in swim trunks or bikini.

8. The Oyster Bay Yacht Club maintains senior membership in area and national yachting associations. We are proud to sponsor the Levelland to Fandango double-hand-post-collegiate-junior-women-international-qualifier-biennial-multihull match regatta and have gladly supported future Olympians through our junior program with a full-time Junior Sailing Coordinator and part-time seasonal instructors. We also have a disability sailing program, which was initiated after some unfortunate accidents in a past Jim Beam/Old Crow Series. Visitors are welcome, but should note that parking is severely limited and at-your-own-risk during the Seagram Crown memorial regatta series. Opportunities are available to contribute to the Centennial Clubhouse Renovation Endowment.

9. The Mastery Point Yacht Club is currently considering applications from qualified prospects. Kindly note that applications are available only from Flag members and not from club staff. Candidates are welcome to a monthly Prospect Party to tour our excellent facilities, and meet with prospective Lead, Seconding, Thirding, and Assistant Thirding Sponsors. Facilities include five hundred slips and half slips, Olympic pool and masseusses, two and a half tennis courts, and our four-story clubhouse. The Klaus Brandauer garden is devoted to the memory of founding member, Vice Commodore, PT boat captain, Transpac sailor, acrobatic rated pilot, and mountain climber who tragically lost his life after slipping and falling on an artichoke heart at a pool party. (Our staff advocate-general obtained a substantial liability judgment from the host, a portion of which funded garden erection.) Our chef, Agosto Iglesias, is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a winner of culinary competitions. Our executive bartender has personally passed all the beverages served in the lounge. Initiation dues for flag memberships are graduated according to member age, reaching as little as a few thousand dollars, to encourage young executives to affiliate with Mastery Point.

10. The Isle Royale St. Magnificat Yacht Club is a senior member in good standing of the IYRU, SPCA, AAA, AARP, NAACP, PTA, AFL-CIO, TVA, WCTU, AA, W.C., AKC, ABC, CBS, Lloyd’s register, and the Robb Report. The IRSMYC welcomes visiting yachtsmen, with certain minor caveats and unavoidable limitations. Most regrettably, the club is experiencing a dearth of slips under eighty-five feet and so can only offer accommodation to vessels exceeding eighty feet l.o.a. Dormitories are available for professional (non-Corinthian) crew. Kindly advise as to whether you have more than twelve paid crew that require dormitory accommodations. Salaried crew are not permitted entry in the clubhouse, but are allowed in the staff swimming bath except for the hours from sunrise to eight p.m.

Blazer and necktie/cravat are sufficient attire for gentlemen for most daytime events (knee-length or longer dresses in the clubhouse for ladies; see couture requirements for a list of approved designers); however white tie is required for the Commodore’s Ball and select other events establish their respective dress regulations. Sauna, whirlpool, massage, escort, health club, and detox services are restricted to club members or guests accompanied by members. Baccarat minimum wager is fifty dollars. Guests are encouraged to place a small gratuity (recommended minimum of two thousand dollars) in the jar in the lounge in support of the current IRSMYC America’s Cup campaign.

New membership proposals are accepted by club invitation only, must be sponsored by thirteen Flag members, and are subject to veto. A genealogy statement may be required. If you’re the sort that really must ask, then you can’t afford the initiation fees.

Boating Safety Class Interest Survey

If enough people are interested, a free New Mexico Boating Basics safety class will be held in August. Topics for the class are boat knowledge, getting underway, safe operation, legal requirements, emergencies, and water sports. The course is taught to national standards. After passing the class, you’ll be sent a wallet card that is honored in just about every state in the country. In addition, you’ll receive a two-for-one camping voucher for state park non-reservation sites. Everyone who signs up to show interest will be entered in a prize drawing to be held this afternoon at the New Mexico Sailing Club reception at the marina.

If you can't make the Osprey Festival or marina open house on Saturday, leave a comment and we can get in touch to let you know how to sign up for the class.

Mini Quiz

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

2. An easy way to remember priorities for rescuing someone who falls into
the water is ___________ _____________ _______________ _________________

3. The main danger that occurs immediately upon immersion in cold water is

4. A wake from a boat under motor power is
(a) allowed anywhere outside of no-wake buoys except at no-wake lakes
(b) any breaking water anywhere around your boat
(c) big waves behind your boat with a rooster-tail of spray to cool off other boaters
(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

Boating Safety Students Sought

We're looking for a few wanna-be-safer boaters to sign up for a New Mexico Boating Basics safety class at Heron Lake.

The plan is to host the class during a Saturday in August at the Heron Lake Visitor Center. Details are to be worked out soon. I'll be at the Osprey Fest, where the New Mexico Sailing Club will have a booth, this Saturday, and the sailing club will have an open house later in the afternoon at the Heron Lake Marina.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Monday at the Marina; Heron Lake Views

Sloop At Last entering her slip after some quality time on Heron Lake. While the previously posted photos from Sunday give an idea of how busy Sunday was at Heron, these pictures maybe give an idea of how much quieter the holiday Monday was for those sailors remaining at the lake.

Programming Note: The posts from Sunday are labeled 1 through 10 but 9--10 and a few prior July posts don't show up because of so many recent posts that exceed the limit set for this page. To see them, go to the links of the "Programming Note" below.

At Last eases into her slip. Or do these shared docks get called half-slips?

Heron Lake Marina on Monday, July 5, showing A and B docks.

B and C docks at the Heron Lake Marina, owned and operated by the New Mexico Sailing Club as a concessionaire of the New Mexico State Parks.

Capri 22 Stella Maris enjoys a brief sail after being launched for the first time in a while.

Programming notes; index to previous July posts

Programming Note: The posts from Sunday are labeled 1 through 10 but the last few don't show up because of so many recent posts. To view them, try the following links.

Long Race (7): Nenya after rounding wind warning island

Long Race (8): Kelpie rounds the wind warning island

Long Race (9): Back to the marina

After the long race (10), Mooring Ladybug under sail

Heron Lake Marina, July 3, 2010

View from the front porch

Youth Sailing at Cochiti Lake

Carol Anne’s place of work

Stone Beauty: Brazos Cliffs near Heron Lake, New Mexico

View of the Brazos Cliffs in scenic mountainous northern New Mexico. Horses graze in the foreground and the San Jose church can be seen in the middle distance in the village of Los Ojos.

Anglers, paddlers, and sailors in the Heron Lake area often find their eyes drawn to the splendid sight of the Brazos Cliffs.

During the spring snowmelt season, a short-lived seasonal waterfall may appear.

Though not shown in these views, which were taken a few miles east of the Heron Lake Marina, visitors can see snow-capped mountains of New Mexico and Colorado during much of the year, including peaks 30 or more miles distant.

Willow Creek and Water for Heron Lake

Looking upstream at Willow Creek from the Laguna Vista bridge while the creek is flowing at about 100 cubic feet per second. About a mile downstream of this point is the beginning of Heron Lake, and another mile downstream is Willow Creek Cove and the Heron Lake Marina, owned and operated by the New Mexico Sailing Club.

Downstream view of Willow Creek; after bending to the right away from the cliff in the background, Willow Creek makes some more bends and meanders as it flows into the Willow Creek or upper arm of Heron Lake and then through a narrow passage to Willow Creek Cove and the main Narrows.

Through a complicated series of treaties, regulations, and water compacts, various entities agreed to provide New Mexico's Rio Grande basin communities with water diverted from the western slope of the continental divide.

In a theoretically normal year, the so-called sustainable yield of 96,200 acre-feet of water would be diverted through a series of tunnels into Willow Creek, which lies to the west and south of Chama, New Mexico.

A minimum stream flow must be kept in the streams that are being diverted and in dry years little or no water may be diverted through the Azotea Tunnel into Willow Creek and then Heron Lake. The water contractors are still entitled to the 96,200 acre feet of water if it can be delivered, so in a dry year the lake can go down. In wet years, more water than the sustainable yield can come into Heron Lake and the excess can be retained. The maximum amount of water that can come into Heron Lake is restricted by the capacity of the tunnels, the duration of the snowmelt season, and certain limits within the Compact that established the San Juan-Chama Project.

Long Race (1): Start, July 4, 2010, at Heron Lake

Race start for the Sunday, Fourth of July Long Race at Heron Lake, New Mexico

Race start with Cal 25 Nenya in foreground, J/24 Coyote at left, and Catalina 22 Susea at right. Not shown is the Catalina 22 Kelpie.

Coyote and the Cal 2-24 John D. Morgan enter the Narrows.

Catalina 22 Susea at the start of the Fourth of July Long Race, New Mexico Sailing Club.

Long Race (2): After the start of the Fourth of July Long Race at Heron Lake

J/24 Coyote and Cal 2-24 Nenya a minute after their light-air start of the Fourth of July Long Race at Heron Lake in far northern New Mexico.

Catalina 22 Kelpie with Catalina 22 Susea's bow at left

Four bows on their way into the Narrows; from left, Susea, Kelpie, Nenya, and Coyote.

J/24 Coyote in the Narrows

A small flotilla participated in the race while other boats simply cruised and yet other crews relaxed back at the marina or explored the region on the Fourth of July. About 55 people attended the previous evening's potluck, whereas about 10 hearty crew members participated in the race.