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, July 30, 2007


The boat is in the water, it has been sailed, and we know what we need to fix

The first thing we did today was rig Black Magic to prepare to launch. The mast-raising pole at the Frisco marina is much better than the one that we used at Dillon last year, being constructed of the same materials as the city of Frisco uses for traffic-light support poles and struts, and with a horizontal boom sufficiently long that we could position the Etchells partners (the hole where the mast goes through the deck) directly below it. (We’ve been spoiled by the massive mast-raising poles in some of the New Mexico state parks, which were built by Dumbledore, a retired electrical lineman, using surplus materials donated by his former employer.)

While we were rigging the boat, we attracted a lot of attention; Black Magic always turns heads, especially in an area where there are people who are familiar with sailing and sailboats. One of the more interesting exchanges came when a somewhat older gentleman and a much older gentleman (I got the impression that they were father and son) were approaching the boat – from the bow, so they didn’t see the name on the transom. In a down-under accent, the much older gentleman said, “That looks like Black Magic!” It turns out that, many long years ago, he had sailed on a different Black Magic, one that won the One-Ton world championships for New Zealand. Unfortunately, at that moment, Pat and I were delicately working on lowering the mast onto its shoe atop the keel, so we couldn’t pursue a conversation. I hope those two are sticking around so they can watch the Dillon Open – the older guy was really touched that I had named my boat after a New Zealand winner.

By the time we were done putting the boat together, we were hungry and a bit headachy. We moved the boat away from the mast-raising pole and went to pick up lunch at a really good barbecue place that we had discovered in Frisco last year.

We launched the boat without too much difficulty. The ramp at Frisco is smoother than the one at Dillon, but not as steep, so the depth was borderline for our keel, but things mostly went smoothly.

I realized that I was getting a bit light-headed and not focusing well. It was probably the altitude – last year, before I came to Dillon, I had been living for three months at 7,000 feet altitude, so the 9,000-foot elevation of Dillon wasn’t much of a problem. This year, I hadn’t had that conditioning. But we did go out for a brief sail.

The winds were what one should expect at Dillon – seriously variable in both direction and speed. We didn’t stay out on the lake for all that long, as I was having altitude problems. But we did discover some things on the boat that we need to work on before the regatta weekend, such as a cam-cleat or two that we need to replace. And we need to work on shroud tensioning, since the wind changes at Dillon so frequently.

Fortunately, we’re going to go in to Denver Tuesday so Pat can talk with the Buccaneer people about the big Bucc regatta that we’re putting on at Heron over Labor Day Weekend. This means we can get to a major marine store to get parts, including possibly some paint to touch up some scratches and scrapes on the topsides – right now, Black Magic has an awesome silhouette, but up close, she’s not quite so pretty. We want to impress our competition in the regatta, especially our fellow Etchells Vegemite Sandwich.

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