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, April 08, 2007

Pickle Race 2007, part 2

The comedy of communication errors continues ...

As Zorro and I were headed up the channel toward the main body of the lake again, I decided to try to find out where Pat might be, so I called Dumbledore’s cell phone. “I was wondering where Pat might be.”

“Oh, he’s about fifty feet behind me, coming up to the courtesy dock at Rock Canyon.” (This is where the Rock Canyon Marina usually is, not its current location near the dam, where it has been temporarily relocated due to low lake levels. The result is that it is closer to the dam than the Damsite Marina, and now the northernmost marina on the lake is Marina del Sur.)

“Oh, so he got out on Syzygy?”


As I later found out, Small Fry’s injury wasn’t serious, so after he got checked out in the emergency room, Pat took him and his mother out on Syzygy for the tail-end of the Pickle Race. He was having such a good time that he was urging Pat to “Go faster! I want to catch up to Grandpa!”

Twenty minutes later, the wind seemed to be dying, and Zorro was debating whether to turn back to the marina, when Pat phoned us from Dumbledore’s phone. I told him that we would eventually get up to Rock Canyon to pick him up for more sailing – he could sail with us back to the marina, and Zorro could drop him off at Marina del Sur to pick up the truck and trailer, and then he could drive that to Rock Canyon to retrieve Syzygy. While waiting for us, he could get some food at the cookout so he wouldn’t go hungry.

As Zorro and I got out into the main body of the lake, the wind picked up again strongly from the south. On the way north, we saw some friends of Zorro out sailing: Car Guy, who has just bought a nice boat and is learning to sail it, and also Zorro’s friend Madam and her boyfriend, Bif. We sailed around their boat a couple of times so they could get pictures. Then we put up the spinnaker for the remainder of the trip to Rock Canyon.

When we picked up Pat, we discovered that he had been waiting at the courtesy dock for us and hadn’t joined in the cookout, and he was totally taken by surprise when Zorro told him to hop on board. He had thought we were going to join in the cookout, but at this point the wind was about 15 mph, and the sailing was too good for Zorro to quit.

I had been on jib trim all day, aside from a short spell when I was at the helm while Zorro ran the spinnaker, but Zorro kept me on jib trim for the beat south – both because it helps me as helmsperson to understand the rest of the crew’s duties, and also because Zorro said I was good at it, better than Pat or Tadpole, and there were some things I did better even than Twinkletoes. But about halfway down the lake, the winds were getting stiffer, and the jib fine tunes weren’t working properly, and so, after six hours on jib trim, Zorro had Pat spell me. I welcomed the rest.

When we got to the marina, we put Zorro’s boat away, and then we took the Mercedes to Marina del Sur, to drop Pat off at the truck and trailer, and we told him we’d meet him at Dumbledore and Mother Superior’s place. That’s where Zorro and I went, but Pat went right on by to the boat ramp to haul out Syzygy. The New Mexico Tech sailing club had come by and eaten up all of the cookout leftovers, but there were plenty of hard-boiled eggs around, so Mother Superior made egg-salad sandwiches for us, and we took some down to Pat so he wouldn’t starve. Pat wanted to get the boat de-rigged and put away immediately, so Zorro and I gave him his sandwiches and told him to meet us at the super-deluxe spa/hotel where his friends were staying.

Zorro had hurt his knee the previous week, and the day’s sailing had been hard on it, so going up the stairs to Madam’s suite was slow going. We found Madam in a bad mood because she couldn’t get her usual bottle of champagne sent up to the suite – the spa has a beer and wine license, which means it can serve alcohol only when food is also being served, and the restaurant was closed for Easter weekend. After about an hour, Madam was finally ready to go out to eat, but there was no sign of Pat. Since Madam and her friends were going to one restaurant, and most of the sailing folks were going to a different one, Zorro and I drove to the doublewide to leave a note for Pat while Madam and Bif went on ahead.

While on the way to join Madam and friends, I phoned the Damsite Restaurant, where most of the sailors were going, to find out whether anyone there would know where Pat was. Sure enough, he was there, and he had already ordered food, which surprised me, since Mother Superior, Zorro, and I had taken such pains to be sure he got the sandwiches. It turns out that Pat thought the sandwiches had been sitting around for hours and so he thought they were unsafe to eat, so he threw them out.

Zorro’s knee was really giving him pain, so he wanted to get back to El Paso rather than spending the night carousing with Madam or with the sailors. So he dropped me off at the Damsite and headed off.

At the dinner, the story was confirmed that the B Brothers, who already own the Damsite and Marina del Sur, are buying Rock Canyon Marina from Rodeo Mom. Brother A came to speak to the sailors and assured us that he values us and wants to help the club by providing courtesy slips and buoys. The current Damsite Marina will be moved to Rock Canyon, so we’ll again have facilities adjacent to the race course, and the current Rock Canyon marina will be relocated to the Damsite’s more sheltered cove. Brother A also said he’d be willing to help with club activities, including sponsoring regattas, and he said he would welcome suggestions for other activities he could help with.

Mother Superior mentioned that the club had a strong interest in starting youth programs, and Brother A thought that would be an excellent idea; he has 10 kids, and Brother N has six, so they heartily support youth activities. One of the concerns expressed at the recent sailing club meeting was whether there would be enough kids around to make a youth program successful; the B Brothers have answered that question!

to be continued ...

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