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.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Woo-hoo, new shoes!

The time of financial austerity is over ...

For the past few years, Pat and I have been operating on an austerity budget. Part of that program has meant that I haven't had much in the way of new clothes for a very long time -- we've been shopping at thrift stores for most clothes. But now, at long last, I have the first pair of actual new shoes that I have had in about five years. And they're magnificent: delightful little black numbers that fit my feet like gloves, but with just enough extra stretch that in really cold conditions I can wear a pair of wool socks underneath.

Especially over on Facebook, many friends, including old high-school classmates, have reveled in their shoes -- how many they have, the special virtues of each pair, the stylishness, the excitement of finding just the right pair. Now, I can join them.

Meanwhile, it's not just my feet but also my boat, Black Magic, that is enjoying the end of austerity. We came down to Elephant Butte Friday with the hope of sailing with Zorro as well as working on boats. As it turned out, it was too windy to sail. First, I helped Zorro with patching some cracks in Constellation's deck and re-rigging the outhaul, which had been fouling far too often. Then Pat joined Zorro and me at the mast-up storage lot where Black Magic is, and we replaced a lot of the rigging: backstay control, mainsheet, jib sheet, traveler (including some blocks and other hardware), jib tack, mast block shock cords, and tiller tamer. Zorro also mixed up some epoxy filler, which he used to patch up some gouges in the keel as well as some dents in the deck.

Saturday, we had hoped that at least in the morning, we could get in some sailing; the weather forecasts predicted a breezy morning and a windy afternoon. But it was blustery from the get-go, much too windy for sailing. Zorro did some work on Constellation while Pat and I paid a visit to our favorite used-book store in the universe, Black Cat Books in Truth or Consequences. Gerald has a rule of thumb that a used-book store is not a proper used-book store unless there is a cat on the premises. I think I agree. Pat and I ended up getting a wide range of books, including a German grammar book, a collection of essays about what it means to be human in a technological environment, and a James Patterson (plus one of his more trustworthy co-authors, Maxine Paetro) thriller.

After that, Pat and I stopped by the hardware store to look for bolts to use when replacing the old cam cleats on the boat. In stainless steel, the longest bolts the store had were two inches, so we bought only four, two flathead and two pan-head, with the idea that whichever fit best, we could come back and buy more, and if neither fit, we weren't out much money.

Then Pat and I returned to Black Magic, where Pat set about working on replacing the old cam cleats on the console with the new ones that we had ordered. The old cleats were ancient and decaying even when we first got the boat, but we had never had time or money to replace them all -- when one of them failed, we put a new one in, and we kept saying that we needed to get them all replaced. It took Pat 20 minutes to remove just one cleat. We discovered that flathead bolts were the best for the new cam cleats, but two inches was too short -- we needed three-inch bolts.

Meanwhile, Zorro had done some more work on Constellation but had learned that the Sunday weather forecast was for even more wind, far too much to go sailing, so he decided to put his boat away and head back to El Paso. He stopped by Black Magic before heading south, and he and Pat worked on the shrouds -- we're looking at replacing turnbuckles at the very least and possibly at replacing the shrouds completely. We made plans to do more boat restoration next weekend, including new bottom paint at least on the parts of the keel that got patched. In the meantime, we can get the three-inch bolts and a few other bits of hardware we need. Top of the agenda for next weekend is completely redoing the outhaul on Black Magic so we can depower more effectively in a gust. There have been a lot of those lately.

Zorro is super-eager about all of these repairs and refurbishments, because he really, really wants to see Black Magic racing next weekend. And I do have to admit, I'm excited about seeing my boat finally getting back into a condition where she can sail well. But I'm feeling ambiguous about actually racing. I'm not sure I want to support the RGSC's current leadership -- the current commodore who, when he was vice commodore, tried to call meetings of the board even though the club constitution doesn't give him that power, and on shorter notice than even those who have the power are permitted to do; Zorro's replacement as race committee chairman to whom I gave the blog nickname "Space Invader" because of his creepy behavior toward me even before I learned of the New Mexico court records about him and the many restraining orders women have taken out against him; the club management that failed to notify one of our favorite restaurant owners that the sailing club was planning to hold a skippers' meeting in the restaurant's back room and thereby royally pissed off the restaurant owner ... I don't know that I want to race and thereby seem to support the current club leadership.

I think I'd rather just go sailing. And wear my new shoes.

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Anonymous adriftatseas said...

Dinghy boots are the perfect shoes for Black Magic... :-D

Sun Mar 20, 04:39:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Tillerman said...

Wow. Sounds like the new club leadership is a little strange. There's probably not much you can do about the Space Invader other than keep your distance from him. But maybe the other issues you mention are more due to inexperience. It would be a shame not to race simply because they make careless mistakes like that.

Sun Mar 20, 06:58:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Baydog said...

You know, those black shoes will go with any outfit!

Sun Mar 20, 11:23:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

Actually, the current leadership is far from inexperienced. Most of them have been members of the club for decades, and the current commodore has been commodore a couple of times in the past. They're also planning to cheat the State Parks out of some of the fees we should be paying to hold regattas, and planning to ignore new safety rules the State Parks people imposed after Marty drowned last year. They managed to stir up neighborhood opposition to the point where the State Parks withdrew previously granted permission for a new mast-up storage lot close to the racing area -- after construction had already begun. And there's more, much more than I can go into here.

I think I'll go take a nap now.

Sun Mar 20, 12:05:00 PM MDT  
Blogger O Docker said...

These boots may be trendy, Carol Anne, but in an Etchells, wouldn't pumps be more practical?

Sun Mar 20, 06:09:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Tillerman said...

Whoa there Carol Anne.

Do you really want to be publishing stuff on the Internet like this about your club. "Cheat the State Parks"? "Stir up neighborhood opposition"? "Ignore safety rules"?

That's pretty serious allegations about your club. Why would you want to stay a member if that's how you feel? And why would the club want to keep you as a member when you are so publicly trashing their club?

I guess it's just further confirmation for my theory that yacht clubs are the problem not the solution when it comes to "saving sailing."

Sun Mar 20, 08:34:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

Tillerman, I just composed a detailed explanation of all of the points I made in my earlier post, and then Blogger lost it when I tried to post it. But the general gist is that all of what I mentioned above is supported in public records. I definitely DO want to quit the club. The reason we haven't quit the club is that Pat doesn't want to -- the bad decisions are being made by only a few people in club leadership, and he thinks quitting the club is a disservice to the vast majority of the members of the club.

I think the club leadership is making all sorts of wrong decisions, but when Pat and I express our objections, they fall on deaf ears.

Mon Mar 21, 12:00:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Tillerman said...

It's sad if things are so bad that you feel you need to leave the club. Are there any other sailing clubs nearby that you could move to?

Our whole discussion here has given me some food for thought about yacht clubs in general. What are they really for? Why do we join them? What benefits do they really offer us? What do we do if we don't like some things about our current club? Why do we leave them?

Might do a post on this whole topic over on my blog some day soon. But I'll keep away from any specifics about your club.

Mon Mar 21, 07:24:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Pat said...

A couple of clarifications and corrections might help.

In regard to the club, the state park permit finally did get submitted with the correct, complete fees. Although the race chair had proposed that several regatta weekends be aggregated into a single "event" to reduce the fees paid (and risk angering the state parks over a tiny amount of money), the club leaders finally had the treasurer submit the full fees.

As for not having the new safety language that the state parks folks wanted in the club's regatta permit, one reason that nothing new about safety had been mentioned in the skippers' meeting is that, as of the first spring series regatta, the club had not yet applied for a regatta permit from the state parks. The application was submitted to the local state park office shortly after the first spring regatta, though it's possible that the state will not have had time to review the application before the second spring regatta occurs.

I don't feel a need to leave the club and want to support it, but am taking a bit of a wait and see until we see how things shake out.

And I don't believe that most of the club leaders have any particularly bad intentions; it's mostly just that mistakes are being made without perhaps enough input being sought that could have avoided them. It may be that a couple of the "new" club leaders "didn't know what they didn't know" and therefore didn't ask questions or ask for help.

Part of the issue may have been accidental failure of communications; for about a month I was not getting club e-mails for whatever reason.

Wed Mar 23, 03:32:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Pat said...

Speaking of other sailing clubs: There are not many in this part of the world, but we have joined the Arizona Yacht Club. Don't be put off by the name "yacht club" because the AYC strongly supports dinghy sailing and has dinghies that can be "adopted" by members.

Wed Mar 23, 03:34:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Pat said...

Two can play the shoe game, linky:

Wed Mar 23, 03:36:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Pat said...

The calling of a board meeting wasn't a huge issue last summer because there was sort of a gentleman's agreement to assume that it was really the board that had called the meeting, as would have been its right. The timing wasn't really right, but part of the problem the club had been having was that the constitution and by-laws had gaps or places where club practice didn't match up with the way the by-laws were written.

Wed Mar 23, 03:41:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Tillerman said...

Thanks Pat. That makes sense. Having been in leadership positions in sailing clubs before, I know firsthand how valuable it is to seek that "input" from members and/or other officers when facing tricky decisions. Even then, it isn't possible to please all of the members all of the time!

Wed Mar 23, 09:01:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Pat said...

Unfortunately, there may also be times when it behooves a leader to check public court records before making an appointment. Sigh.

Wed Mar 23, 07:20:00 PM MDT  
Blogger bonnie said...

Hope everything works out for you however things work out.

Makes me appreciate the leadership at my own canoe club all the more. We have got some good people in charge.

Thu Mar 24, 08:21:00 AM MDT  

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