On Sunday I got to sail for the first time in 2015 in the first race of the Greater Richmond Sailing Association Frostbite Series. I was sailing with Joe and his son Gabe who are new members at FBYC and were taking their new to them Flying Scot out for the very first time.
The weather started pretty miserably with rain showers. After a little over an hour after the expected start time, the rain let up and it turned into a nice clear light wind day.
It was great to be back in a Laser today for what will likely be my last day of Laser racing at Fishing Bay Yacht Club‘s Laser Frostbite regatta. The winds were light, but that didn’t stop us from getting 7 races in while the wind steadily shifted from West to North and then a little east as the day went on.
With 9 boats on very short lines I focused on just sailing well and not getting myself into a hole – wind-wise or situationally. We had great group of sailors out and everyone had a good game and so anyone had a chance to win races. After a few races Stephen Sparkman and myself started to make it a two boat race. In the end he had the better day and got me by a point. Clark Dennison, back in the Laser for the first time in a couple years finished up 3rd.
All in all it was a fun day sailing with Len, Keith, Brad, Luke, Mike W, Mike T, Stephen & Clark and was a perfect way to end the season – racing, drinking beer and sailing with my Laser buddies.
Fishing Bay Yacht Club‘s closing weekend started with a staggered start distance race for the offshore boats. I sailed on Wavelength for what might be our last race as the boat is now up for sale. The course took us up into Fishing Bay and then back out by the entrance to the Rappahannock River and then back to Stove Point near Jackson Creek. It was mostly a reaching race and some boats were really able to get away from us and put some distance between us and them. We finished mid-pack, had fun and made it a great way to end the season.
Racing was followed by a big oyster roast and pot luck and season awards.
Racing was moved into Fishing Bay and even before we got there, boats were already broaching on there way there. After 1 general recall the first race was started. The wind in the bay was blowing 25+ from the NNW so our course took us from Godfrey Bay, across the Piankatank River and around the windward mark on the western end of Fishing Bay.
Sailing upwind in that kind of wind was a real slog. While we had heard from plenty of others how to sail in those conditions, actually doing it was another story and it definitely took us some time to get into a groove with it. The teams that had clearly done it before easily pulled ahead in what was less about who was fast and more about who was upright especially when it came to the downwind.
Being new to this boat in this kind of wind, we took a conservative approach downwind and after watching plenty of boats wipe out, we only put the chute up when we felt the wind was going to hold and not be so gusty. That didn’t last and a few minutes after putting it up we were on our side. In the process of recovering it, one of the panels split and we quickly took it down and hauled it in, not to be used again. [Watch this whole sequence on the video below.]
After two races in those conditions the race committee abandoned further racing for the day, and ultimately for the weekend. The slog home around Stove Point grueling with 5-6 foot waves and 40 knot gusts. We sailed under main alone with waves sometimes crashing over the boat.
While we weren’t competitive in those conditions, we were happy to have had fun this weekend and learned a lot in the process. We’ll definitely be able to be a lot more competitive and comfortable with the conditions when they are up like that in the future. Thanks Steve Q for having me aboard and I enjoyed sailing with Jerry L and Tom F.
What wind we didn’t have yesterday we made up for today at the Fishing Bay Yacht ClubOne Design Closing Day Regatta. 6 boats ventured out into winds in the upper teens with puffs into the 20′s. While those aren’t horrendous conditions and in the right boat, that just when it becomes fun. But for anyone who’s tried to sail a Front Runner in wind – you know the boat becomes a lot to handle in those conditions and quickly becomes anything but fun.
Crewing today was Steve Q after I sailed on his J/70 in racing yesterday. To deal with the higher winds we left the jib partially rolled to make it a little more manageable. We started the race with the fleet and about halfway up the beat one of the Front Runners broke their tiller, rounded up and capsized. We retired for the day while the other Front Runner completed the course with 2 of the 3 Flying Scots. All of the boats were back on shore after that one race and eating a fantastic chili cooked by the Almany’s an hour later.