Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Oh, What a Weekend!

Even when things don’t go as planned, they can go right.

Yesterday was originally planned to be the Kris Kringle Regatta – match racing between pairs of closely matched sailboats. We were going to have two Etchells, two pairs of J/24s, two J22s, two Catalina 25s, two MacGregor 26s. But, in the face of weather predictions of high winds and other situations, very few boats turned up – one of the Etchells skippers just plain didn’t show up, two of the J/24 people had family emergencies, one of the MacGregor 26 skippers was carpooling with one of them, and both J/22s were no-shows. There was some thought of our MacGregor 26 replacing the other, but in heavy weather, Syzygy would have been absolutely no match for Mac Goddess – our sails are so severely blown out that we could beat a J/24 in light air, but in stiff winds, our leeward lifelines would have been in the water, while Mac Goddess has a full set of new sails.

So the decision was made to scrap the match racing, and instead we were just going to hold fun races. We on Syzygy would be committee, and the racing fleet tended toward bigger or more seaworthy boats – a Hunter 34, an S2 32, a Ranger 31, and two J/24s. But when we got out to the race course, conditions were too rough. Even trying to maintain position, we were getting hit by big enough waves that we were getting drenched. The lake was covered with whitecaps. Winds were steady over 30 knots, gusting to well over 40. Temperatures were in the 60s, but wind chill and cold water took their toll. Well, at least, I got the soot rinsed off my lucky Aussie hat!

So we bagged the races and found other things to do. WCMIK spent the afternoon helping the Hunter 34 skipper with boat repairs, dismantling and reassembling the traveler, and cleaning and maintaining some other hardware. This is the guy who, a couple of weeks ago, commented that he was going to lubricate some winches – this time, he asked WCMIK to replace a couple of cam cleats, and when the bolts provided proved to be insufficient, WCMIK asked, “Can I get a longer screw?”

Pat and I, meanwhile, returned to the motel, which is also a bath house, to clean up and relax. After a long soak in a private tub, getting rid of a week’s tension, we got dressed up for the sailing club Christmas party, another great sailing-related event, where a good time was had by all.

Today, the weather was much better for sailing – colder (in the 40s, maybe low 50s), but with a reasonably steady wind at about 15 knots. We had the Etchells Constellation, S2 Cultural Infidel, and two J/24s Kachina and DOB racing, with Syzygy as committee boat, and we got in three good races, all full upwind-downwind courses, with all boats finishing in under 45 minutes. I got more than 2000 words of background for the Wizards written, even without the laptop – I’d been planning on not writing anything this weekend and resting up from NaNo, but I had some inspiration overnight and sent WCMIK out Saturday morning to get me a yellow pad to scribble on. Total for this weekend: 2000 words of background for the Wizards, 500 words of Wizards themselves, and this blog post.

Addendum: The racing trophy went to Kachina, with its all-women crew. We hauled Syzygy out for the next couple of months, during which we plan to replace the depth sounder – an important piece of hardware for boats that sail in lakes whose water level can fluctuate greatly. We’ll also be doing some fiberglass repair, and we might put on a new coat of bottom paint as well. We headed home via the Socorro Springs Brewing Company, putting a cap on a fantastic weekend.


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