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.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Whole Lotta Catching Up

Man, it’s hard to keep up regular blog posts and also do this training thing!

Thanks to Pat’s updates on Desert Sea you at least have some idea of what I’ve been doing. That’s good, since for much of the weekends I’m not near Internet access, and I don’t even have time to compose blog entries that I could post when I do get access. And I also just end up so tired that it takes a day or two to recover.

This past weekend, like the previous one, started on Thursday night. But even before that, El Caballero needed some repairs. A solenoid in the traction control system had gone bad – critical, since there’s a lot of sand to drive on at the Butte and that traction control system is vital. Also, while we were at it, we had the mechanic look at the problems we’d been having with the air conditioner and with the car idling rough. Turns out there were packrat nests in the air conditioning ducts and in the air filter. There’s still more that needs fixing (there’s an oil leak in the valve cover gasket, and a refrigerant leak in the air conditioner compressor), but we’ve been spending so much money on boat stuff lately that those repairs will have to wait. (There’s a joke I’ve heard that maybe can be adapted to sailing: You know you’re a bass-fishing addict when … your $30,000 bass boat’s trailer needs new tires, but you can’t afford them right now, so you take the ones off the house.)

So with El Caballero back in running condition, after my classes ended Thursday night, Tadpole and I headed south. We put Jesus Christ Superstar on the tape player (what better for Holy Week), and then Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Teenagers aren’t supposed to appreciate their parents’ music, but Tadpole sure seems to like mine.

Friday, Cornhusker, Birdwatcher, and I got in some practice time on the water with Yoda. The winds were on the stiff side, and I ended up at center, with Birdwatcher at the helm – she has more experience, even if the racing part of it is from a long time ago. I really was feeling like a fraud at that point – who am I trying to kid that I could drive a sailboat in a major race? What the *%#& am I doing out there?

Saturday, the planned Pickle Race didn’t happen. The event is for kids from the New Mexico Boys and Girls Ranches, who, because of unstable home situations, don’t have anyplace to go to celebrate Easter. Unfortunately, there were communications breakdowns, so nobody at the ranches had made any plans to get the kids to the lake.

Still, that did give an opportunity for the Adams Cup sailors to practice. Dumbledore set up a mock starting line, and we ran very-short-course simulated races. The only member of my crew available was Cornhusker on foredeck, so I had Tadpole on trim and Mother as coach and tactician – none of her crew had showed up. The other boat had its full crew. The races we ran were roughly an Olympic H course – two full upwind/downwind circuits – but the distance between the marks was so short that on the downwind runs, about the time Cornhusker got the spinnaker pole set, it was time to douse the chute. Therefore, we were very busy. However, the very short course also meant that we got lots of practice at mark roundings as well as spinnaker sets and douses. And we also did quite well against the other boat; the only races that we lost were the first two when we didn’t understand the course.

During that practice, Pat came out solo on Black Magic; he had had some problems with the jib, so he was under mainsail alone. It was the good mainsail, the nearly-new one that came with the boat. Someone had given us a beat-up old sail to use for learning and practice, but that was up in Albuquerque. Toward the end of the practice session, the wind came up, and then it really began to blow fiercely – the weather station at the Dam Site registered steady winds of 30 with gusts to 45. Mother took over the helm of our boat, and under mainsail alone, with a whole lot of depowering (she has a huge lot of experience, so she knows what strings to pull, and the rest of us knew the vocabulary so we knew what strings she meant), we got into port. Pat ended up doing a whole lot of flogging; that nearly-new mainsail is now a beat-up mainsail with a ripped batten pocket. I’m going to have to give Pat a talking-to about how he treats MY boat. I’m sure Mother understands – the boat we were on was hers, and she’s certainly protective of it.

Sunday, we sailed with Mother’s family; she, Tadpole, Cornhusker and I had Mother’s sister, while Dumbledore took out her brother-in-law and nephews. Pat once again took out MY boat, and once again, he had problems, this time an equipment failure that resulted in the mainsail falling to the deck while the halyard stayed up at the top of the mast. Once Sis and her family were headed home, Mother, Cornhusker and I went back out on the lake, while Pat and Tadpole helped Dumbledore go up the mast of Black Magic to retrieve the halyard and fix the hardware.

Zorro also showed up Sunday. I was glad to see him; I’ve discovered that, even as extremely politically incorrect as he is, his energy gives my own energy level a boost. He does use offensive language, and I wish he would tone it down, but, *$&^, a woman shouldn’t try to make a man change who he is, even if they have an intimate relationship, so who the *&%$ am I to even think about changing Zorro’s habits, when there’s not even anything like an intimate relationship involved? I was disappointed that he chose to return to El Paso Sunday night, though.

He may also have been disappointed. A big part of the reason he left Sunday was that the weather forecast for Monday was for really nasty winds. As it turned out, the morning was fantastic, and Dumbledore took me and the other novice Adams Cup skipper out for practice on starts, mark roundings, and spinnaker handling. We both learned a whole lot. Had Zorro stayed, he could have had some great time on the water, and he could have at least pretended to be competition at mock starts or something. Or he could have gone off and done his own thing on the water, and we could have had the same practice we got, but Zorro could have had some of his own on-the-water time.

Monday afternoon, Tadpole and I headed home. After getting through the last portion of The Wall, he shuffled through my tapes and selected the Beatles. We played Revolver and Abbey Road, and then he chose to put on Sinatra.


Anonymous Adrift At Sea said...

Just remember, very few winning captains started out knowing everything they needed to... most probably started out terrified out of their minds that they didn't know what they were doing, but somehow, along the way, managed to pick it up.

Wed Apr 19, 05:23:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Tillerman said...

lol - he played Revolver on April 17? Tadpole has a sense of humor.

If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat,
If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.
‘Cos I’m the Taxman,
Yeah, I’m the Taxman.

Wed Apr 19, 07:30:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

Yep, that's the first track. We really cranked up the volume for that one.

Wed Apr 19, 03:17:00 PM MDT  

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