Sunday, September 5, 2010

Around The World in 70 Centimeters

I spent a lazy evening after a hard day of fishing on San Francisco Bay. SturgeUrge and I returned to the Richmond Marina where we'd encountered the Finn Gold Club last week. Saturday was our last shot for the season to catch a King Salmon, and the forecast and the tides were in our favor.

I checked the local buoys online at 0700 and the data said Normal...the forecast, Normal. We're all systems GO.

I unpacked my digital camera from my tackle bag and the waterproof Pelican Case so I could capture a picture of the top of the boat ramp follies with a minimum of muss and fuss. Saturday was the final day of racing the Finn Class sailboats. The World Champion would be decided on San Francisco Bay Saturday afternoon.

To my dual delight and disappointment, there was no forest of Finn Dollies cluttering the ramp (and making a great photo op) We launched the boat, deployed the coffee and cheese danish, and motored out onto the Bay.

It was a glorious day on San Francisco Bay even though the Salmon didn't come out to play...or the Halibut. Still the wind was moderate, the tides favorable, and the overcast burned off around noon, revealing a glorious day. We couldn't see the Finns contesting the Gold Cup, but we were treated to a picturesque Club Race featuring forty or more 20-something foot long sloops sailing downwind with their colorful spinnakers full.

When we returned to the Marina, there was little sign of the Finns themselves. The Gold Cup World Champion had been decided about two hours before we returned to the ramp to recover the boat.

There was a new class of clutter jamming up the works now...all the Regatta Support Boats were pulling out of the water after spending the week afloat. Judges' and Referees' Boats, Tenders, all manor of Zodaics, Boston Whalers, RIB Inflatables, Antique Yachts and Yacht Club Flagships were tied up at the ramp's docks, sitting on trailers all over the tiny bit of unused parking at the top of the ramp, getting washed down, power washed, and secured for towing...all by men seemingly oblivious to everyone else around them.

SturgeUrge backed the tow rig down "our lane" of the ramp, and I floated the boat onto the trailer. As we were pulling the boat up the ramp on our way to the Washdown Station, Urge said: "Watch me run over a $1000 Finn Mast"..."Umm, I replied, that's probably a bag with five $1000 masts in it!"

The Mast Bag was laying across the lane between the ramp and the Washdown Station...the "Main Drag"! As we drove by the bag, the fellow washing his boat (not at the Washdown Station) kinda glared at us for driving so close to "his" mast bag...

We made quick work of unloading the boat, washing the rods and reels, the boat and the trailer, as we chatted up the guy doing the same in the other washdown lane. We flushed the outboard while we ran the carburetors out of fuel mix. When we were done, I strode back towards the ramp to change into my shorts in one of the dozen or so PortaPotties set up for the event. That's when I watched GlaringBoatWashing Guy pull away and out of the Marina...the Mast Bag was still laying there, obviously not his! Still begging to be run over...right in the middle of the whole show...

Once we got the boat parked in it's spot at the SturgeUrge Compound, we unloaded the tow rig and KirkVallus sauntered in, back from a reunion get together downtown. We had a Dark&Stormy Cocktail on the deck, and caught up for a half an hour.

Back at the Ancestral Digs, my Sister K was in town and was holding dinner until I arrived. We enjoyed gnocchi and converstion, and we all turned in early.

Sunday morning I woke up and brewed a pot of French Roast, and realized I hadn't blogged for Sunday publication. I looked around the internet for some "Wrap Up The Week" items.

I'd been wondering since I heard a radio news tease about the 7.1 Earthquake in New Zealand...did the quake cause any avalanches on New Zealand's Ski Slopes? New Zeasland Ski Reasorts have been on my radar since their season started this summer and I saw a news story of a lift tower failing under huge deposits of rime ice. I wrote about the event here.

So I looked at PlanetSki online (we PlanetWhatevers stick together) and yes...12 avalanches, no reported damage, and no injuries...the temblor occurred when most Kiwis were still in bed.

While reading the NZ Avalanche story, I saw another story citing  70cm of snowfall in the Alps. My handy online Unit Converter says: 70 centimeter = 27.559055118 inches, so for my American Readers...27 1/2 inches of snow fell in the Alps...more "Early Snow"

I'm seeing lots of "Early Snow" stories this summer...that's right, it's still summertime.

On the Atlantic Hurricane Front, there's a lot of Post-Earl hub-bub over the lack of "performance" by Hurricane Earl. Resort operators across the Eastern Seaboard's Hurricane Earl Watch & Warning Areas are pretty upset with the National Hurricane Center's forecasts, and they're plenty angry with the 24/7 Cable News Channels for hyping the hurricane to the degree that the Holiday Weekend Travel Bonanza was denied the tourism sector who, at worst suffered a few hours of heavy rain while their customers were scared off by the media's over the top hurricane hype.

Ongoing hurricane coverage is the ratings motherlode for the Cable News outfits during the otherwise slow Dog Days...hurricanes mean lot's of viewers checking in over and over again...with the Fifth Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the All-Time Summer CableNews Blockbuster at hand, there were plenty of high hopes for a repeat performance of the off that charts ratings bonanza.

I can feel their pain, High Sierra Ski Resorts often suffer at the hands of overzealous weather and news outlets over-hyping the weekend forecast. At My Mountain we stand to lose a quarter million dollars a day when Holiday Crowds avoid the mountains at the behest of an overheated forecast teased all week long heading into a holiday weekend. When the "difficult mountain travel for the Holiday" doesn't materialize, it costs us...big time. All things being equal, Ski Resorts tally all their profits on Holiday Weekends, and the Christmas Holidays...period, bottom line. To paraphrase the late Senator from Illinois, Everett Dirkson...a quarter million here, a quarter million there...pretty soon you're talking Real Money!

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