A beautiful day at the lake
The weather forecast today was for good weather, so we arranged to meet Zorro at the lake. The idea was that we could do some work on the boat and then go sailing. As we were setting up the boat to get it ready to sail, we were pleasantly surprised when Ribbons, the new owner of the red Etchells Caliente arrived. He had originally planned just to do some work on his boat, so he was happy to accept Pat on board to help show him how an Etchells works, while Zorro and I set out on Constellation.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day, with a temperature in the vicinity of 60 degrees. The sun was shining, and the winds, while light, were not so light as to make for frustrating sailing – the peak was about 10 mph.
The two boats would normally be closely matched, but Caliente’s previous owner had left it in the water for months without cleaning the bottom, so Ribbons started out with something of a handicap in the form of a verdant salad garden on his hull and keel. And of course, since he is just learning how an Etchells works, he is on a learning curve. He is, however, an experienced sailor, so he should come up to speed quickly. Zorro was really happy about Ribbons’ enthusiasm – that he should come out to the lake even in the off season, to work on his boat and sail it, even with no expectation of finding someone else there to help him.
Zorro and I set sail first, and a short while later Ribbons and Pat came out to join us. We sailed around the northern part of the race course area for a while, and then we set off on a journey to the southern end. The lake is up now, and the race course from north to south is now more than two miles. We just enjoyed the feeling of being out on the water, flying along smoothly, nailing our tacks perfectly. Then, downwind, we got the spinnaker up, and we had some nice, smooth jibes. Behind us, Ribbons and Pat were looking good, too.
We had a total of about two and a half hours on the water; since Pat and I planned to travel north to Five O’Clock Somewhere, we headed back to the marina. Zorro had some work to do on his boat, and by this time, the winds had lightened considerably, so Ribbons took Caliente back out single-handed.
Overall, it was a fantastic time on the water. I got in some quality time sailing with Zorro, and he was thrilled that Ribbons is showing great enthusiasm for the Etchells. The next few days are predicted to be rotten weather, but maybe once or twice more we can have another such day by the end of the year. And even if we don’t get any more sailing in this year, it was a great note to end the year with.
We arrived back at the house in Albuquerque about the same time Gerald did. The original plan was that he had gone to Alamogordo to pick up a friend who was to spend the weekend up at Five O’Clock Somewhere. As it was, he ended up giving her a ride to Albuquerque to stay for a couple of nights with her dad; she and another friend might be able to come up Monday.
Gerald persuaded Pat that the vehicle we should take was the Gila Monster. It wasn’t exactly the most comfortable way for three adults, a cat, and a bunch of stuff to travel. However, it proved its worth on the last 50 yards of the journey on our driveway, a steep uphill slope of six-inch-deep snow that hadn’t been plowed or shoveled and that had a big snowbank at the bottom from the main road getting plowed. The Expedition wouldn’t even have made it more than a few feet, and we would have had to hike the rest of the way to the house – in regular shoes, because our boots were all inside the house.
That driveway wasn’t a problem for the Gila Monster; it barely noticed the snowbank at the bottom and charged right up the hill. We picked the right vehicle for the trip.