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, September 23, 2007

Desert Classic Regatta

First regatta of the fall series

The weather predictions for Saturday were really good for sailing, winds of 10 to 15 mph with gusts to 20. But that was definitely NOT the wind conditions that we actually had. We (Pat and I and our faithful middle/tactician Penzance) bobbed around on the lake in near dead calm conditions for nearly three hours, until finally there was enough of a puff of air to make sailboats go, sort of. Eventually, two races were completed.

One of the more “interesting” aspects of this regatta was that there was also a major powerboat event happening on the lake, a poker-run race that involved very-fast-moving loud-noise-making testosterone-invoking machines dashing across the lake from place to place. At one point while we were drifting around the race starting area waiting for wind, a veritable wall of massed horsepower came over us like a tsunami – with a low-flying helicopter in hot pursuit, presumably filming the whole thing. Since we weren’t racing yet, it wasn’t a serious problem, but we did have to secure loose objects, including crew sunbathing on deck, and once the thunder died down, I realized I had a splitting headache.

The headache got worse, and so by the time the racing actually did start, I turned the helm over to Pat. I just wasn’t up to concentrating on the helm, but I knew I could do jib trim just fine. Plus, Pat has been begging for more experience on the boat, and I also knew that spending some time at the helm would allow Pat to learn and understand some of the things he hasn’t understood before, such as how the helm behaves (or doesn’t) under particular conditions. I hope he learned enough that, once I’m back at the helm, he will no longer nag me to do what I’m already doing.

After mostly dead air Saturday during the day, Saturday night the winds finally arrived, and they are howling through gaps in the window frames of the motel we’re in. To save money, we’re in one of the cheaper places in town – it has recently been remodeled, but the remodeling consisted primarily of a fresh coat of paint, new window-unit air conditioners, and designation of about half the rooms as non-smoking, so the price of a room went up only a few dollars. BUT there’s a new amenity: wireless high-speed Internet.

Oh, yeah, the room also has a mini-fridge and a microwave (those were in place before the remodel), but those two appliances and the television share only two electric outlets among them, so we must unplug the television to use the microwave. Not that that’s a major hardship for us; the main reason we use the television is to get weather reports, and we can use the high-speed Internet for that.

Meanwhile, we’re hoping for good winds Sunday; after the racing is over, there’s a potential buyer for one of our surplus boats who wants to take it for a test sail.

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