Sunday, January 31, 2010

BYC Frostbite Cruise 2010

I had watched the weather reports all week in anticipation of getting some sunshine this weekend. It looked like it would be cool, but sunny with light winds. Bruce and I packed ourselves off to the boat on Saturday morning in light jackets.

It was so nice to be out on the boat for a weekend away. We had to put a jib up first, but that was the only chore. The winds were still blowing out of the North so I stayed behind the dodger and worked down below.

We were soon ready to join the parade of boats all heading towards Port Aransas. It was a fast and beautiful sail all the way with the current helping us along.

There was no formal race, but of course, if there are two boats on the water going in the same direction... its a race! Bruce had made the perfect choice of sail and we were catching up to boats all the way. Bruce was a happy guy!

I was chilly, but it's nice to see him enjoying himself so much. OK, so he looks like a thug in that get-up, but he was having a blast.

We had reservations in Port A on the "long dock". This was a treat for us. It was our first time back in the Port A Marina as transients after leaving there nearly a year ago. The "long dock" was the place to be. We took our place alongside the dock and I jumped off the boat to socialize while Bruce got the boat all tidied up. Then he grabbed a beverage and joined us. We met up with friends, Brenda and Mark, whom we haven't seen since last year... OK it was just a couple of months ago, but it sounds more dramatic that way.

After a lengthy vigil on the dock while we awaited the arrival of the last boats in the unofficial parade, we all gathered under the protection of the Port A Pavilion for an appetizer happy hour. We hadn't had lunch and I was starving. Although none of this stuff was on my diet, I found a few tidbits to gobble. We had dinner plans for 5pm so we didn't need to eat too much.

It was so nice to be back here in Port A... even if it was a bit nippy. It's always so peaceful and "marina-y". Even though it's close to home, it's like being somewhere else.

Everyone put up the snackers and we all walked over to Fins, a local eatery right around the end of the marina. Now I would not say that the food was good enough to come back again, but some like it and it's within walking distance from the docks, so I would imagine it's a "Frostbite Cruise" fixture. They were very nice and accommodating and let us take the place over and for that I give them high marks. Now, had it been the middle of summer when they were likely to have had other patrons, the story might have been much different.

I ordered a salad after all that junk food I had scarfed earlier. Bruce had no such restrictions on his diet... Now THAT'S a burger. I think he might have injured himself eating that thing.

We ate and laughed and had a good 'ole time out, even if Bruce did look thuggish in his hat. That's my classy man!

The club celebrated the ___th birthday of our Commodore, Harry. He's so cute and looked so pleased with all the hoopla. He's new at this "Commodore" stuff and seems a bit shy at times. I'm sure he'll warm into it. Anyway, the cake furnished by his lovely Linda was a big hit and a perfect finish to our dinner. We all made our way back to our boats. Some went by way of "Shorty's", a local pub, but we avoided the smoky barishness and hit the v-berth. We heard some come back in later but it was too late. We were burrowed in.

Sunday morning, we were up and disappoint- ment was the mood. It was damp, cold, and sunless! And it looked like it was going to stay that way. We all met up on Sea Flight for mimosas and Bloody Mary's courtesy of Mark and Brenda. It was the best way we could think of to wile away those cold dreary hours waiting for conditions to become more favorable for our departure.

More favorable conditions were not to be. We broke up at around 11 am and everyone went about the business of getting themselves ready for the sail home. We followed Sea Flight out into the Ship Channel where the current was against us the whole way.

The birds were even subdued in this cold drear.

We pointed our nose towards Corpus Christi and I settled in with my blinky and my down coat. The traffic in the channel kept things exciting. There were barges coming and going the whole way, causing the sailors to have to really stay on our toes.

I tried to entertain myself taking pictures, but even that wasn't enough to keep me up in the cockpit. I was soon frozen and when I could no longer feel my feet, I begged to be allowed to go below to thaw out. Bruce seemed unaffected by all this in his joy at being out on the boat. He kept saying things like "we would be thrilled to have weather like this in January back in Kansas". Now tell me why anyone would want to live in Kansas?

I had to take the helm for a bit so that Bruce could adjust sails, then I went down below and bundled up for a nap. Next thing I knew, we were near the gap back at the Marina in good ol'e CC. It had been a great weekend and good to be out on the boat again, but I'm for no more "frostbite". C'mon SPRING!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

PINK!

Months ago, we discovered a leak under my bathtub. Long story short... by the time we discovered that the leak could be repaired simply and inexpensively... I had already ordered the parts to completely replace not only my own bathtub... but Bruce's as well. If you know me, you know that's how I operate. Poor Bruce had no chance.
So once all the parts arrived and were safely stacked in our garage, the contractor tore into it. He cut the molded shower walls and tub out taking the actual wall behind it as well. Then he plopped my new PINK cast iron bathtub down in it's place.
Now realize, this took several weeks to do, as I assume all contracting jobs do. Each day I would come and find nothing done, or something done. Next came the walls. They had to replace the walls that would be behind the new marble shower stall before the guys could even come out to measure for them.
The next problem was discovered when the marble guys came out. In order for the new tub's plumming holes to line up with the old ones, the tub had to be set out from the wall two inches. So, that's how the contractor did it. The marble guy said,"no..." It can't be that way. So the next thing was for the contractor to come back and build a faux wall (which, by the way... covered the border that I can not replace making it necessary for me to remove ALL of the border and start over!)
And so I did. I was uninspired about what color to paint, so I chose to use the same color as I used in my spare bedroom, which I love. I spend all of one Sunday painting and drying. It made me feel like I had been run over by a truck.
Thank goodness the room is small!
The marble was scheduled to come in the following Monday, and the stars must be alligned for me, because it DID! When I got home that Monday, the walls were in! The next day, the fixtures appeared! Now my dilema is that it could prove difficult to find towels and things to go in there that will bring these colors together. But it will be fun shopping!
Next... on to Bruce's bathroom. It will be a walk in shower and I can't wait to see it. Oh, and by the way, the only reason that I was allowed to have a PINK bathroom is that Bruce has a "manly" bathroom of his own.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Frostbite Weekend

Bruce and I had a lot of things to do this weekend, but the weather was fine and there was a pursuit race happening on the bay. It was the first in a series called the Frostbite. The day was warm for January, the winds were light and there was a chance of fog. Bruce and Steve went to the boat early to get things ready while I did some of the many errands I needed to get done.
I got to the boat just in time with the crew all there. It was a pleasant surprise to see Clay grinning at me from the cockpit. Long time no see...
We got the boat going and found only 3 other boats going out. It was a bit of a disappointment but it turned out to be such a nice sail even if the racing was less than competitive.
We got a poor start with the light winds on the nose. It isn't often we race in these conditions so it's difficult to judge the time to the start line. We tacked many times inside the breakwater before we even got to the gap. Poor Brett was being beaten up by the big 150 Genoa sail.
Once outside the gap we tried to head towards the only mark in this race, #2. The winds were so variable and light, we couldn't even begin to make way in the right direction. At this rate it could take us all day. There were two light race boats out in the lead early on and only one other cruiser back where we were. We just had to beat the Cape Dory, Kerry Ann.
Bruce put me on the wheel while he went to foredeck to get the spinnaker up. There was a bit of a snafu when the sail went up, but it was on sideways. This is not good for sails. Hard to trim that way. So to the sound of Steve predicting a "Blind Hog" nomination, Bruce and the boys took the sail down, re-ran the lines and hoisted it once again, this time the right way. We began to make way in the right direction leaving the CD in our wake. Jacquie had to remind Steve of his recent nomination for the Blind Hog award to get him to move on to more positive conversation. Poor Bruce... our crew just needs some practice in daylight... that's all.
We turned towards #2 and the wind came up a bit to help us along. It was beautiful sailing along behind that huge sail. I even got some swimsuit time while going downwind.
The remainder of the race was uneventful. We rounded the mark and dropped the chute. We took our time getting the Genoa trimmed out again while the two boats out in front neared the finish. The CD was safely behind us so we didn't have to knock ourselves out to secure our solid 3rd place. The sun came out, the winds held light but more steady. It was a fabulous sparkling January day with good friends doing what we love to do. I wonder what the poor people are doing today...
Once back in the slip, I made some yummie sandwiches while the guys put the boat back together. Jacquie took off to get her girl stuff done. She missed a great lunch. I love fixing food for such an appreciative crowd.
We sat around and talked for a while, then everyone went off to do their own thing. Bruce and I had a BYC dinner to attend. We changed and came right back to the marina just in time for happy hour.
I got volunteered to collect the dinner donations while the cooks served. It was a delicious dinner of pork tenderloin done perfectly with healthy fixin's. We had the usual great time talking sail with our friends. I'm still trying to get down all of the nuances of being Dinner Chairperson. Everybody has an opinion....
We didn't stay the night onboard Elan because of those chores we had put off to go play on Saturday that still needed doing on Sunday. The biggie was painting my bathroom in preparation for the marble walls to be installed.
It took most of the day but I love painting so it was OK. The picture doesn't do it justice and of course, there is the unpainted part where the marble wall will be... but it looks great! I am beginning to feel like I was run over by a truck with all the activity this weekend. I need to go back to work to rest!
This year's Frostbite Regatta was misnamed by far... It was a gift of a warm weekend of which we took full advantage. Spring is near... I can just feel it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Lucky Few

The winter has been uncom- monly cold for South Texas. So much for global warming... no sign of it here. It's been weeks since we went out on a Wednesday night race and we're really becoming excited about the year's boating events This week's weather report finally allowed for us to plan to go out! Let me just tell you... Bruce was a happy guy!

We had the ever faithful Steve and Jacquie aboard, and the new recruit, Brett. It was good to be out there even if the temperature dropped 10 degrees between my office and the boat.

The winds were light enough for me but the boat still moved along happily. Steve was relentless in his efforts to squeeze every tenth of a knot out of Elan. He had the crew working hard. I will admit that this picture proves much more determination and concentration than actually occurred... but it's a beauty!

The race allowed me few photo ops of the other racers. There were two courses. The spinaker fleet went much further afield than the working sails fleet. There were few boats on our course.

That just left me more time to take advantage of the sights... and what sights they were. I took this one on the way from #2 towards #10. I was actually supposed to be steering the boat, but with the light winds and the ever changing view... I couldn't resist.

We rounded the second mark and headed towards home. It struck us once again how lucky we few are and it made us feel really glad to be alive. There are so many people who never get the opportunity to experience this beauty. I never tire of it.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

2010 Annual MORF Party

This year's annual party for the MORF club was held in the warehouse owned by one of our officers. It was the perfect venue for the party as it allowed mingling room.

The warehouse was decorated with backlit sails hanging from the ceiling. It was very festive.

And what would any gathering of sailors be without the obligatory Tiki Bar? I think our board did a marvelous job of setting all of this up for us.

The evening was cold but the use of gas heaters made cozy pockets for gathering. The dinner was catered by Salinas Catering... mexican food. It was delicious and a crowd pleaser. Bruce and I sat with the BYC crowd this year. It's so much more fun now that we have a broader base of people with things in common.

Steve presented this year's slide show... not as an event, but as a running loop of photos projected on a screen continually during the party. This was also an improvement over past years. Many of the pictures were mine. I'm turning into the unofficial official photographer for the group. This night was no exception. I took lots of pics at the party.

There was an organized drinking game which appealed to young and old. They pitted crew against crew for a game of "flip cup". You had to drink the beer then flip the cup until it landed upside down. I think some of these people had done this before. Not being a beer drinker myself, I didn't participate, but I think it was just as much fun to watch and cheer!

Also new this year, was a "White Elephant" gift exchange. I think some didn't get the memo about what that means... but many did. Bruce took a block that he wasn't using. A worthy boat offering. They gave out tickets to each person that brought a gift, then placed the matching ticket with the gifts.

Bruce "won" a print from a 1988 sailboat race. I had no idea what to do with that thing. Luckily, he talked the BYC into letting him put it up on the wall at the club. Whew! That was close. I guess if worse came to worse... we could put it back in next year's gift exchange.

Not all raffle tickets were found wanting. I have had the uncanny luck of winning a gift card to West Marine every year. This year was no different, other than in the fact that I won TWO cards this year! I have GOT to start playing the Lottery! All of this luck can not be left untapped.

There were many awards given out. Each winner got a framed picture of his boat. Our BYC fellows took home a good portion of the awards bestowed. Hey, we may be "cruisers" but we are not to be ignored!

One of the highlights of the night's honors, was the recognition of Steve and Jacquie for all of their hard work this year. They have done a great job in facilitating change in the club. The club has suffered a long slow waning in membership and general momentum. This year there have been some definate changes and a new wind is blowing. I have good feelings about the coming year with MORF all due to the efforts of Steve and Jacquie. Congrats!

Bruce and I had a great time this year... not the same ole ho hum party! Thanks to the board and all who worked to make 2009 a great year!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

BYC Officer's Installation Banquet 2010

I spent 4 hours on Saturday shopping for a dress with my friend Mimi. I must have tried on 30 dresses before I settled on the perfect one. I was so excited to go out all dressed up. It's not so often we get to put on our finery and step out. The occasion was the annual BYC Officer's Installation banquet.

It was held at the Bay Club on the Naval Base. We arrived just in time to meet friends for the mixer in the bar. Let me tell you, that bartender was not stingy with the rum!

We moved on to the banquet room where there was more mixing and chatting. I got to talk with some others who will be going with us on the upcoming "Hijack the Jack's Cruise" in 28 days. As you can imagine, we're all very excited about getting out of the cold for a few days.

Soon, dinner was served. It is the last to be had at the Bay Club. The times are hitting the Navy base in decreased bookings and they can no longer afford to maintain the staff. I don't know what this will do for future Navy Day Regattas...

After dinner, our departing Commo- dore, Walt, took the podium for a very long list of presen- tations. I think half the club's membership got some kind of award or honor. They recognized all of the outgoing officers and committee chairs. There was a near epic poem written and presented by one of our members chronicling the year's events. It was simply done but an amazing accomplishment.
This was the last hurrah of the outgoing committee chairs...

Walt swore in our new Commodore, Harry, who then took over the podium.

Harry swore in his new group of officers first. All very hard- working people who make our club a success!

Next on the agenda was recognition of the new Committee Chair people, including myself. I was asked late last year if I would be on the Dinner Committee, to which I agreed. Next thing I knew... I was somehow the Chairwoman. I don't have a clue what that means, but I guess I'll learn. I've got a great group of committee members to help me out.

After all of the presen- tations were done, we joined the Padre Island Yacht Club group next door. They had graciously extended an invitation to our club to attend their banquet, which included a very nice band. The didn't play ANY current music... only oldies and more swing, big band, old fart stuff. It was fabulous! We had such a great time dancing the night away.

Bruce and I stayed until the lights came on and the band packed it in. We didn't get home until midnight. Uncommon for us. It was a wonderful kickoff to our year and we're both very excited about the upcoming events.

Sunday morning was lazy with brunch with some club members at Water Street Seafood Company. They have a generous and delicious brunch buffet for $16.95. For another $10 I got a bottomless Mimosa. Yum! Of course we felt obliged to gorge ourselves. I was so hungry by the time 10 am came along, that I had the shakes. These were quickly replaced by the need to take a nap. We went to the boat and slept for a couple of hours then it was over to the club for our planning meeting.

We spent a couple of hours there mapping out our year. It's going to be a great one. We're so glad we have the luxury of spending our weekend frivolously.