Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bluegrass Dinner at Shroyer Community Center

One of our Laguna Vista neighbors is a member of a bluegrass gospel group drawn from members of the First United Methodist Church in Albuquerque. Roger and Donna bring the group up every year to perform at the community center near our cabin in the mountain country of northern New Mexico.

This and other dinners and breakfasts give people in the neighborhood an opportunity to socialize and also serve to raise funds to maintain the community center.

The community center houses an office, garage, and storage for the volunteer fire department, along with a large meeting room, kitchen, community library, and exercise equipment.

The bluegrass group performed various gospel, bluegrass, and folk classics with some diversions that included the "Sloop Jon B", "Blowing in the Wind", and Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land".
I didn't get a picture of what occurred during "When the Saints Come Marching In." Some things that happen in Shroyer Center will just have to stay in Shroyer Center.

We have some coincidences with Roger and Donna, since they have also been sailors (something we've been known to do now and then). Also, Roger plays the big bull fiddle (upright string bass) in the bluegrass group, and our son, Gerald, played string bass as one of his instruments.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Crew wanted and boats wanted template draft

Maybe templates or checklists for both crew-wanted and crew-want-boat advertisements on boating sites would be useful. Here's a rough starting point for both:
Crew wanted:
To (itinerary/intermediary stops and durations)
Date(s) (flexible?)
Boat (type, size)

Crew sailing skills and experience required/desirable
Other crew characteristics required/desirable, work and behavior expectations (gender, age, health, passport/visas, training/credentials, languages, cooking, nonsmoking, nondrug, references needed, undesirable behaviors not wanted, etc.)

Trip expenses -- transportation to/from, expenses/pay underway, expenses/pay on shore and in ports

Description, sailing experience, credentials, any special health or other circumstances
References available from former crew or others who have sailed with skipper?
Available to meet or take short test sails? Boat available for inspection?

More about the boat
More description, age, recent maintenance performed, condition/recent servicing of major equipment (engine, sails, rig, steering, communications)
Safety equipment, (has vessel passed any form of inspection or to what extent is vessel equipped to a standard beyond national requirements?)

Skipper's philosophy for go/no-go weather decisions and routing
Other equipment, state of maintenance, comforts, life on the boat (lifestyle preferences about marine head, music, alcohol, watchkeeping, etc.) Recent photos available?

Crew available
Current location
Able and willing to travel how far to meet a boat?
Where interested in sailing?
Looking for a particular type of boat, length of voyage, personality of captain, etc.?

Age, health, special health/diet needs, vision/night vision, smoking/non, drug/non, swimming
Health considerations -- able to hoist and trim heavy sails, agility on foredeck and in and out of dinghy, able to reach mainsail and cover, etc.

Experience and skills
sailing skills, credentials, classes, coastal/inland, offshore, passport/visa status, other skills (cooking, maintenance, languages, first aid/medical, etc.)

Expectations for expenses or pay
Expectations for lifestyle on boat
References? Available to meet?
Available for short/test sails?

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

When the race committee doesn't do its job, you should
__ ram and sink the RC signal boat
__ request redress on behalf of all fleets for RC errors and omissions
__ volunteer to help train the RC
__ organize a group of like-minded racers to tell the organizing authority (club board and officers) that their RC is an embarrassment
(your choice/other/more ideas below)
__ fuhgeddaboutit, they’re only volunteers trying to do a hard job for no pay, you miserable ungrateful bozos
__ the RC help is obviously underpaid or corrupt, so find out how much of a tip your crew chief needs to leave them
__ shame on you lazy whiners for not volunteering for RC to see how hard it is
__ quietly find out the source of the problem and work with the club to fix it
__ cut off the grog ration for any RC members who fail to perform; make them walk the plank (after putting chum in the water) for repeated offenses, and issue the RC chair a cat o’ nine tails

Sailboat racing should be fun. It usually is when the racing is run well, but quality of experience can sink quickly if there are serious race committee problems.
Requesting redress against an under-performing race committee isn’t as straightforward as protesting a foul by another boat. To get redress, you have the burden of showing that the RC’s errors or omissions have hurt your score through no fault of your own. But that proof can be hard to come by if the RC has muddied the waters with poor decisions in running the races, or if the RC has failed to keep accurate time and records, or if the scoring process is secretive or riddled with mistakes.
To many rules questions, in addition to the racing rules of sailing answer, there may be a tactical answer (“luff up before the overtaking boat gets close to windward”) and sometimes a social or political answer. And, if the rules don’t have a very good mechanism for solving the problem, the answer may be outside the rules.
It may be possible to work with other racers, especially fleet captains and leaders who have a reason to want the races to be run well, to document the problems and work them up the chain. It may turn out that the problem was relatively isolated – green group of RC volunteers, personal emergency distracting the scorer, etc. Or, the problem in the RC could be part of other, bigger problems in a club.

The best answer may depend on WHY the RC is having problems. Perhaps:
The club running the races has few resources, is short on volunteers, is cut off from mainstream racing, doesn’t have a training program for RC volunteers, doesn’t have much focus on racing, or recently lost the services of people who knew what they were doing.
Or, the club does have good resources and knowledge, but the RC is lazy, run by “good old boys (and/or girls)”, has problems with favoritism and bad blood, or just can’t be bothered.
If the first group of problems – lack of resources, training, and commitment – applies, then volunteering and enlisting other volunteers to help is a good answer. Being gentle and appreciative of volunteers is appropriate, even if they are screwing up.
But if the problem is simply a bad attitude on the RC’s part, then education may not be enough. It may take intensive intervention with a club’s board, or some forcible counseling of the race committee chair, rabble raising among the club’s racers and members, or, unfortunately, leaving for a club that values running races competently, fairly, and safely.
The racing rules assume that a club or race organizer wants and intends to run races correctly. In the real world, besides occasional mistakes, there can be ongoing issues of bad attitude or lack of resources. The mechanisms for fixing these issues may be mostly outside the framework of the rules.
So what do you think?

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Rugged Views from the Apache Trail, Salt River Canyon

The drive along the dirt and gravel stretches of the Apache Trail through the Salt River Canyon was not for the faint of heart. Lesser, more delicate vehicles might seem to be rattling apart, and guardrails are far outnumbered by sheer cliffs. One-lane bridges add to the fun.
1911:" of the finest motor courses in the country, would feel the adventurous spirit with joy. The chance of dropping over a precipice would make it interesting." Near the end of the punishing dirt and gravel Apache Trail, we were able to enjoy a bit of hot-weather walking near a rest stop on top of "Fish Creek Hill".
"The Fish Creek Canyon Challenge" describes some of the challenge of building a road on a ten per cent grade up out of the Salt River Canyon on the old Apache Trail more than a hundred years ago.
Fish Creek Hill sign
"This part of the Trail, known as Fish Creek Hill, is famous for its steep, narrow, and winding descent."
Glimpse of the four peaks from Canyon Lake, Arizona. Roosevelt, Apache, Canyon, and Saguaro likes are linked along the Salt River.