Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Thought Exercise for would-be Sailors

Try this mental exercise with a spouse, significant other, or potential sailing partner:

It's the middle of June and you're in a sixteen-foot open dinghy on a smallish lake with only a couple of small fishing boats sharing the lake. It's partly cloudy, a nice little breeze is blowing about 5 to 7 mph, temps are mid 70s, and the water is still pretty cool in the mid 60s. The breeze comes up quickly and becomes rather gusty before you can get sails down or get to shore and you both get dumped in the water and spend several minutes getting soaking wet before you get things more or less back under control with the main roughly reefed and the jib down.

Your spouse:
(a) calls the parks rangers to arrest you for reckless endangerment and is last heard debating whether to call the meanest divorce lawyer in the state or just get it over with and hire a pistolero from Juarez;

(b) tells you the boat is for sale, mutters about having to spend a few days shopping to replace ruined clothes and shoes, and gives you dark looks that tell you that the next few days are not going to be the least bit fun;

(c) says you're not sailing again until you've had lessons or hired a captain to teach you both;

(d) tells you to leave the helming to her from now on after telling you which mistakes you made that caused the capsize;

(e) giggles, whoops, and hollers and tells you to get the ^$*$&*! sails up before the wind dies down too much so she can show you some tricks and says she's buying a really fast, aggressive racing catamaran with trapeze hiking harnesses and a huge spinnaker so you can both get better workouts and work a faster learning curve.; or

(f) ___________________________________________

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Etchells sailboat work and launch, 2 August 2012 at Elephant Butte Lake

Two Etchells, side by side at the Rock Canyon Marina, Elephant Butte Lake State Park, New Mexico, USA. The Etchells in the background was in the water for the first time in a few years after "Zorro" in particular put in many hours of work to prepare it.

Most of the last day and a half of work was performed at the big mast-raising pole a few blocks from the marina. Temperatures were brutally hot; we wound up with exhaustion and headaches in spite of frequently downing water and sports drinks.

The lake had lost so much water that only the portion of the Rock Canyon boat ramp that had been extended during the severe drought in 2004 was in the water.

This Etchells sloop had been in the water for only a few minutes, for the first time in the water in at least three years.

After bringing the trailer back up the ramp, I walked over to the marina to get the first snapshot of three Etchells in slips. In the far background is Carol Anne's black-hulled USA 125. USA 38, in the foreground of the three Etchells, would soon be hauled out of the water preparatory to getting hull work done in El Paso.

Another look at two Etchells in the marina.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

"Mommy, look what followed us home. Can we keep it?" It looks as if we now have a real power boat in our lives -- a little Bayliner Contessa 2850 cabin cruiser for poking around on the lake when there's no wind or when we want A Boat For Sleeping On.

A couple of weeks ago, we drove to Pueblo, Colorado to visit Mike and Debra and their boat, Just Chillin'. We had fun during a first-time-ever visit to Pueblo Lake then, and also noticed when we got there that quite a few sailboats were out, as well of course, every sort of powered craft.
Bow view. Today we exchanged a bank check (and not a huge one; boats these days can still be extremely affordable) for the boat, trailer, and paperwork. We rendezvoused at a convenience store and fuel stop on the northeast side of Alamosa, chosen for its huge back lot with lots of room for trucking...and for a boat hand-off today. I also boarded the boat with the now-ex-owners to make a quick run-through of equipment and systems. Once we were hooked up, maneuvering required a bit of getting used to, especially when getting into position to fuel the truck.

Yes, we warned people that a boat was going down the highway. The route back from Alamosa, Colorado, was scenic, climbing over the ten-thousand-foot La Manga and Cumbres mountain passes. It was also quite quick despite towing a big load; apparently almost all the Labor Day weekend holiday makers had reached their destination. Earlier in the day, en route to Alamosa where we met the boat sellers for the hand-off, we been stuck in the mountains behind livestock hauling trucks that were loaded with flocks of sheep. It's the time of year when livestock are starting to be brought down from the high pastures.

Another (few) Block(s) in the Wall

This peaceful scene is an interlude in the Great New Wall project at the cabin -- an attempt at widening the level area in front of the cabin. Reinforced concrete footings are being poured to support what should eventually be a tall wall of large interlocking landscape blocks. Just yesterday (Friday), we picked up many more bags of concrete mix so we can do a couple more foundation segments.