This morning the wind was dead calm. It was so calm that the leaves on the aspen trees weren’t even moving. That’s an extremely unusual condition – the stems of the aspen leaves are jointed so flexibly that they will flutter in the least hint of a breeze, like about a quarter knot. We didn’t even think of trying to sail.
Around 11 a.m., the leaves began to flutter, just a little. By noon, there was more motion. By 1 p.m., there was a nice breeze, and we set sail. It’s a long way from the Frisco marina to the main body of Dillon Lake, and it took us a bit more than a half-hour to get there. The wind was switchy, but not nearly as much as Monday – even if the direction varied a lot, the speed remained reasonably consistent. We had periods of less wind and periods of more wind, and gusts, but we were never becalmed, and we were never knocked down.
There were scads of Snipes out on the lake for the national championships, and Pat got a couple of pictures of them before the camera batteries died and he realized he’d left two sets of freshly charged batteries on the kitchen counter. Those photos were taken at rather a distance, because we were to windward of the fleet and we didn’t want to cast a big wind shadow on the boats. My plan had been to circle around to leeward and then come closer for some better photos, until the camera batteries died. Oh, well. If we set off with fresh batteries tomorrow, maybe we can get some better pictures, worthy of sNIPEOUT
– a blog that features both Snipes and pretty pictures, and some humor as well.
However, we may have come a bit closer to meeting our own elusive aim of getting some photos of Black Magic under sail. At one point, while the race committee was resetting marks to attempt to cope with changing wind directions, the photographer for the Snipe regatta came close and snapped some pictures of us. He even asked whether our boat was an Etchells – now that the folks at Dillon are working on building a fleet, there’s more interest in the design.
All afternoon, I kept thinking, I wish Zorro were here. He would have loved the sailing conditions, and he would thoroughly enjoyed himself. Plus, if we had had more weight to put on the rail, we wouldn’t have had to depower so much in the gusts.
At one point during one of the stiffer gusts of wind, our outhaul track self-destructed, and after we got into our slip, we also discovered that we needed to remount the mainsheet cleat that we had installed Tuesday – Pat had put a shim in backwards. So after we were done sailing, I got a piece of rope and jerry-rigged an outhaul tie-down, and I unbolted the mainsheet cleat and got the shim turned around the right way.
When we were done with those bits of boat work, we realized we could still make it to happy hour at the bar adjacent to the Dillon Yacht Club, and so there we went. As we were sitting under the pavilion next to the bar, two things happened simultaneously: The Snipes began to come in from racing, and the sky let loose with pouring rain. It was interesting to watch as dozens of boats were getting loaded onto dollies and de-rigged in the pouring rain. Crews were running all over the place, frantically hauling these boats around. Normally, these guys get wet while sailing; today, they didn’t get totally soaked until after the racing was over.
When the downpour started, the table we were at, at the very center of the pavilion, was prime real estate, away from the splashing spray from the pouring rain. Since it was a big table, we let some other people join us, and we had some good conversation and fellowship. These folks were Dillon-area locals, but they had come here from other places, and they had interesting stories to tell.
Eventually, the rain let up, and we headed for the truck to return to the condo and the chicken that I’d put into the crock-pot earlier in the day.