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Southern Idaho Wind???
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14050

PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sailing from ABQ is about:
40 miles towards Santa Fe to Cochiti Lake, a nice lake with the gustiest and shiftiest winds imaginable (it's behind a high dam behind the mountains) except for strong and relatively steady east winds caused by suoercell thunderstorms east of the Rockies, a not uncommon summertime treat. You can usually cruise around Cochiti on 7.0s or bigger, with plenty of unforecast days of strong but very fleeting winds. I lived 20 minutes from it and sailed there only a few days a year, because the other three sailing lakes are FAR superior and gas was only a few dimes per gallon.

Those three lakes were each about 185 miles from my home north of ABQ (in Placitas), and were well worth the drive (used to be 2 hours until a new governor cracked down on spirited driving; now they're 2.5+ hours) for an afternoon of sailing IF the forecast was correct. Elephant Butte south on I-25, Conchas Lake out east north of I-40, and Morgan Lake near Farmington in thge NW corner of the state are all great spots as far as inland lakes go.

Conchas gets Chinook winds often in the spring that will blow your 5.0. 4.0. sometimes 3.2 off the water with waist-high swell often and chest-high on the big days. The one overhead day I caught there was a rare treat. We have the lake to ourselves when it's windy, and you can sail something there most summer afternoons, when the water skiiers curse the PM mid-teen breezes. Dry suit season starts in about March, certainly early April, and runs until near Christmas. It's a big lake with lots of room if there's enough wind to discourage the summertime power crowds. The reach at Conchas approaches a mile, with a few miles of right and left available.

The Butte is barefootable (> 45 degrees) through the winter maybe half the years, except on days the air temp is to low. It's a hot, calm, resort area jammed with drunken boaters all summer, but great before Memorial Day and after Labor Day. It's 2-3 X 20 miles, so there's plenty of room once away from the summertime shoreline party scene. I've even had good days there on 3-day holidays once the 5.2 wind cleared the lake of lice (PWCs). We used to have Monticello Bay, the windiest spot on the lake, to ourselves, but I suspect it's much more popular with boaters by now. The reach is 2 to 4 miles -- 20 in west winds, but the downwind shoreline is raw undeveloped desert owned by a lunatic (Ted Turner).

Morgan Lake is heated for your sailing pleasure. I sailed there barehanded and barefooted and in a simple wet suit in air temps of 30 degrees because the water runs from 90 degrees near the power plant to 70ish on the far side of the lake. If you get cold, it's your fault or you're rigging. I could never understand why guys would go ashore to freeze -- as in ice on their sails -- during extended lulls while I just lay in the middle of the lake actually napping until the wind alerts me again. Again, sail sizes run from infinite to 3.0. One local broke two plastic Tiga wave board in half there, but Ive never seen swell there bigger than four feet. The reach approaches a mile in the usual SW or NW winds, 2-3 miles in rarer S winds.

A bonus: NM winds often blow all day, so a 360-mile round trip can net 8-10 hours of sailing. And NM weather is among the best in the livable U.S. (I dont consider SoCal livable because there are just too damned many people there for me). The ONLY reason I left there was to move to the Gorge. Do NOT confuse ABQ with Phoenix or Dallas; they are on three different planets where weather is concerned.

Assuming unlimited free time and unlimited gas budget, one could sail a 7.0 a hundred days, a 6.0 80 days, a 5.0 50 days, a 4.0 25 days, a 3.2 15 days. Realize, of course, that
a) those figures are TOTAL WAGs,
b) they presume you drive your ass off in a dedicated WSing vehicle always loaded for bear,
c) you will get skunked often (I had no 7.0),
d) many of those days are one and the same,
e) summer winds depend on T-storms,
f) from any one open spot in NM -- especially ABQ -- one can see 2-4 MAJOR T-storms AT ONE TIME most summer afternoons, and
g) people sail em regularly.

There are other, lesser, lakes, and the Gorge is just 1,300 miles away. I drove there anywhere from one to six times per year for stays ranging from one week to four months.

I love the high desert SW, NOT including such weather hellholes as Phoenix, Las Vegas, etc. ABQ is a high-crime area, fueled by drugs and gangs going back to the days Castro emptied his worst prisoners over our head. I deliberately lived in a bedroom community 15 minutes north of ABQ to be closer to Cochiti, to be equidistant from those three major lakes, and to avoid ABQs crime, population, and urban evening heat. I also lived in Alamagordo, and liked it, but that was pre-WSing.

And, yes, NM has a very active WSing scene. Google the NMWA and contact them for updates to my information (I moved away in '99 after sailing NM for 16 years.)

Mike \m/
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fearnobeer



Joined: 30 Nov 2007
Posts: 78

PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isobars;
thanks for your response, it contained a lot of info I was looking for.
To sum it up it sounds like with enough gear and wet/dry suits NM is sailable from March thru December and Albuquerque has a high crime rate so find a home in a bedroom community far outside of town, which is what I was looking at anyway (Rio Rancho).

If you had to pick one lake in NM that has the most consistant wind which one would it be? Gas priceses being what they are these days I would want to live within 30 minutes of one and travel to the others on occasion.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14050

PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conchas and Elephant Butte would be a tossup for various reasons (Conchas has shorter season but more midsummer breeze, the Butte has longer season but summers are T-storm-only winds. Both roast in the summer. Cochiti is just a swirlygusty mess except for rare clean days with knee-high chopswell. But if you need a job or a town of any size to live in or near, there are none of either near Conchas or Elephant Butte UNLESS you can find a job at NM Tech in Soccoro between ABQ and Elephant Butte. Check it out at http://www.nmt.edu/ . There's always Farmington near Morgan Lake, but there's not much in the way of jobs -- or town -- in Farmington.

Something else to consider: each lake has its own wind personality. Morgan is on a high plateau west of the Continental Divide, Conchas is on the Chinook-blasted plains east of the Divide, and the Butte is in a broad valley south of the Rockies. I once drove to each lake and back home on three successive back-to-back-to-back days to get blown all day each day. I can always make more money, but a day of lost wind is lost forever. Of course, that was easy to say at 50 cents a gallon.

At least from Rio Rancho every lake worth squat is fairly equidistant, with emphasis on "distant". You gotta love driving to WS in NM ... just like the Gorge.

Yeah, Corpus is just 900 miles away, 13 hours years ago but probably a loooong day's drive now. But I gave up trying to find enough wind for a 7.5 there.

\m/
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fearnobeer



Joined: 30 Nov 2007
Posts: 78

PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conchiti sounds like it's not worth mentioning but Elephant and Conchas sound worth while. Which one offers long reaches on flat water?
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14050

PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ya gotta define "long" and "flat" and specify a sail size and wind direction. To me anything less than thigh-high is flat, so anything on a 7.0 is flat. "Long enough" is a half-mile for me, and any wind direction at any decent NM lake provides at least a half mile, up to several miles or even 20 miles (the Butte in common W winds). The prevailing beam reaches at Cochiti, Conchas, the Butte, and Morgan are about 0.8, 0.8, 2 to 3, and 1.0, with longer reaches at other angles. Even the very windy Monticello Bay off Elephant Butte offers a reach of about a mile, and its upwind/west end is as flat as a fogged mirror even in 40 knots of wind.

But you don't REALLY want flat water, do you? Heck, you can live at Cochiti and find all the flat water ya want as long as you don't care how often the wind direction changes by 90 degrees or more. Heck, buy or build a land sailor/skateboard and sail on any patch of flat ground in or near ABQ. After they bulldozed the desert to build Rio Rancho but before they built it, I landsailed on the bare sand. But as you get better, you'll want to put the "surf" into windsurfing and start USING the swell rather than just mashing it flat, at which point Cochiti will get ... well ... just "close", your last resort when an unexpected evening wind pops up -- not uncommon all summer (T-storm season) long.

\m/
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fearnobeer



Joined: 30 Nov 2007
Posts: 78

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 9:13 am    Post subject: Faster, Faster, Faster Reply with quote

To me it's all about the need for speed. Rig big, hike out, haul ass. Thanks for all the info! Smile
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