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.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Dockmaster duty

No sailing, but docksitting has its rewards

From noon Wednesday through midnight Saturday, Tadpole and I served as dockmasters for the New Mexico Sailing Club marina at Heron Lake. (Pat had to work, and then over the weekend he went to Colorado to serve as a race officer at the Carter Lake Open regatta – if he hasn’t already done so, he should be putting details of that experience on his blog soon.) In order to keep costs down, the club doesn’t hire a dockmaster; instead, all members who have boats in the marina serve a half-week as dockmaster.

The dockmaster serves a couple of purposes. One is to keep an eye on the marina as an extra measure of security, with a radio to call the State Parks officers if there’s any trouble. In the event of severe weather, the dockmaster checks that all the boats remain securely tied up, and if one is damaged, the dockmaster can notify the owner. Also, dockmasters help sailors entering and leaving their slips, especially in high winds or if the sailors are inexperienced. The dockmaster also does miscellaneous maintenance and fix-up jobs on the marina; a “job jar” is maintained for that purpose.

One benefit of dockmaster duty is social – especially on a busy weekend, the dockmaster gets to meet a lot of people as they come to cook their meals on the gas grills in the pavilion, and impromptu pot-luck meals often happen. It’s fun swapping tales with other sailors: how they got into sailing, how they got their boats, adventures they’ve had on the water either here or elsewhere. Prospective new club members also often drop by, and it’s fun to be able to show them that, yes, there is sailing even in the desert and the mountains.

Since the previous weekend had been a holiday weekend, this past weekend was very quiet, with few sailors coming to the lake. That meant Tadpole and I got a lot of reading in (including SAT prep for Tad), and he did some work on one of the marina walkways, attaching pieces to make it wider and more stable.

One drawback of dockmaster duty is that somebody has to stay either at the marina or camped out on the point above the marina at all times; the dockmaster can’t go sailing. So for most of four days, we watched what would have been perfect sailing weather go mostly to waste – calm mornings, but 10 to 20 mph in the afternoons, sunshine, and almost no boats out enjoying it.

Friday night, Tadpole drove south to Albuquerque, where he was to take the SAT Saturday morning. Highlander arrived and adjusted the marina winches to adapt to the still-rising lake level, and then he and Ms. Highlander took their boat out for a sunset sail. When they returned, they shared some Glenfiddich that they had had on the boat (warm with a bit of a chocolate flavor), and then we went up to the camping area on the point, and they brought out some Glengarioch (less chocolate, more peat-smoke) and then the Laphroaig (lots of peat smoke). I also found out that Ms. Highlander plays her pipes regularly at the pub in Albuquerque that Penzance frequents (this is the place with a very short wine list, but long lists of beer and whiskey). Pat and I will have to go there sometime when she’s playing.

Tadpole returned Saturday evening, and then Sunday we packed up the camper and headed back to Albuquerque. Late Sunday night, Zorro called. He’d been sailing at Elephant Butte, but conditions were horrible (the actual words he used aren’t suitable for a family-rated blog). Winds were very light, and there were so many powerboaters out on the water that their wakes made trying to sail miserable. I told Zorro he should have been up at Heron, where there was a lot of perfect wind going to waste, and high-speed powerboats aren’t allowed.

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Blogger Carol Anne said...

Visitor update: Number 19K was someone at an unknown location in the Pacific time zone, using the IE 6.0 and searching on the usual topic.

Mon Jun 04, 04:03:00 PM MDT  

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