Here are my favorite photos from 2021:
Here are my favorite photos from 2021:
Our adventure with the Strange Bird Snipe came to and end 5 years to the day it started in 2016. The bird flew to North Carolina to be with a new owner and hopefully be sailing on Kerr Lake in 2022. Refurbishing the bird was a fun project over the years and Jess and I had some fun sailing it together at Fishing Bay Yacht Club. Hopefully the bird will see a little more use with a new owner!
Saturday was FBYC’s Closing Day Regatta – this is usually the traditional end of the season weekend with big boats sailing a pursuit race on Saturday followed by oysters. Then we sail ILCA on Sunday in our final race of the day. With a low pressure off the coast, there is forecast wind all weekend. We ultimately canceled the ILCA regatta for Sunday though it wasn’t enough to cancel the offshore race.
I was sailing with Mike Toms on his J105 Purple Wahoos. Aboard with us were a number of Mike’s friends from college and one other sailor we picked up on the dock. Being a pursuit race and being the 2nd fasted boat by rating, we had a late starting time and didn’t leave the dock until after the rest of the fleet. The race had already been postponed 30 minutes due to wanting to set a new course that would keep us a little more protected in the Piankatank. In the open water of the bay the wind was gusting over 30. Where we ended up sailing we had some gusts into the 20’s but was mostly in the mid to high teens for most of the race. The wind was out of the NNE.
We hit our starting time on a broad reach as we sailed south and then west up the Piankatank. We slowly caught up to boats ahead like GOIN and Morningtide. As we got to the turn around spot up the river the wind was predictably lighter and this is where we encountered most of the rest of the fleet. We eventually got around Mad Hatter and Sting.
As we approached Fishing Bay we slowed a bit to put a reef into the main sail knowing this was the last opportunity we’d have to do this before sailing into more wind and the last leg was going to be relatively upwind. I had done main for most of the race and swapped with Mike and drove the bit of the race after needing a break from all of the sheet adjustments on the main to keep the right heel and speed.
On the final beat we were in 4th with Shenanigan just ahead of us and Corryvrekan and Sting just behind us. We were slowly able to pick off Shenanigan, but Corryvreckan came from behind to finish ahead of us leaving us in 4th overall.
Given the wind and conditions it was great being on the water and we made the most of what we had. It was a fun way to end the season followed by an Oyster Roast at the club.
ECU Football kicked off the 2021 season playing Appalachian State in Bank of America Stadium and I made a quick trip to Charlotte to see the game and visit ECU friends. The direct flight from Richmond was easy, aside from still wearing a boot to protect my foot. We all met up outside the stadium to tailgate. Once inside the stadium we found our seats and just as the game was kicking off the TV cameras panned to our group. Our phones and the phones of those around us started blowing up with friends saying they saw us on TV and sharing screen shots.
That would wind up being the highlight of the game as ECU would go on to loose. It was great to see everyone again and go to a football game for the first time in almost 2 years. I spent the night at Preston’s house and flew home the next day.
Brant Beach Yacht Club would host the 2021 ILCA Masters Atlantic Coast Championship on what would be a rather windy August weekend. I started well in the first race, had a reasonable first leg in the middle to upper part of the 30 boat standard fleet. Downwind I got the flipsies and ended up towards the back of the fleet. The second race went much the same and after flipping too many times I called it a day and skipped the final race.
I intended to race on Sunday, but upon arrival at the club it was clear that I had re-aggravated a foot injury from the prior weekend. With some travel and other activities I have coming up the next month, I didn’t want to put any of that in jeopardy and packed up the boat and headed home early.
I was at Fishing Bay Yacht Club’s 82nd Annual One Design Regatta to help on RC and I was able to get some good pictures. Here are some of my favorites:
Friday night I served as the Principle Race Officer for FBYC’s start of the St. Mary’s Governor’s Cup Race to St. Mary’s. FBYC has hosted a leg for the past 5 or so years. We only had 4 boats sailing from our location while another 50+ boats were simultaneously starting from Annapolis and meeting in St. Mary’s.
Friday we had 2-4 knots of wind out of the NE with almost a knot of current from the south. We anchored facing south, with the current, even though the boats were sailing north. That elicited at least one confused question from a competitor over the radio, but also made for a nice breeze on the back and windward side of the committee boat.
We were ready to go with 15 minutes to spare and at 5 before 6 we started our sequence, had 5 minutes of excitement while we started the race and then we were done with our responsibilities. The competitors had to sail against the current to stay on the right side of the line and once the race started they went with the current and sailed their course north.
Almost as soon as the boats had started – several pods of dolphins surfaced all around us. We just sat there and watched while they surfaced and played. After a bit we had a wonderful ride in – 2 hours dock to dock.
Huge thanks to Rick, Bay and Ed along with a couple visitors for coming along and helping out.
Saturday saw beautiful weather – mostly sunny with winds starting around 12 and building to about 15-16 knots out of the south west
We had 14 boats with 9 ILCA 7 (Standard) and 4 ILCA 6 (Radial). We all started on the same line which made things more fun with more boats to race with around the course. Some of the Radial sailors were really fast and were nearby and beating many of the standards around the course. It kept things interesting at mark roundings.
FBYC’s junior coach for the summer, Francisco Renna, put on a clinic in the standard fleet. He was fast all the way around the course and nobody came close to him in all 5 races. Rob Whittemore sailed consistently fast and consistently in the right spot to stay just ahead of me and Luke Hayes who tied for 3rd place with the tiebreaker going to Luke.
All day I had great starts and focused on winning the boat. I held my lane ok, but wasn’t as fast as I could have been upwind. I chalk some of that to my thinking it was summer sailing and I didn’t need hiking boots. The bruises on my feet later in the day would say otherwise.
David Hinkle and the RC did a great job keeping the course square getting us started cleanly.
We had a bit of everything for FBYC’s 4th of July Long Distance race in the Strange Bird Snipe. This was the first time sailing the boat since fall of 2019 while we rebuilt the mast step in 2020. We were sailing with 10 other boats including Flying Scots, Thistle, San Juan 21, Weta and it was our first time sailing against another snipe.
The first leg started out in the Piankantank near Godfrey Bay and we headed east towards Gwynn’s island near 8. With the wind from the south east – we were almost upwind and we were one of the more southerly boats hoping to catch the puffs sooner.
As we got to that mark and headed North to our next mark, the wind went more south making this the only downwind of the course. Some of the spinnaker boats started to get ahead. We rounded and sailed back south to the Piankatank on a relatively close-hauled course and then tacked to sail back to the finish in Godfrey Bay. All in all, because of the way the wind shifted, there was a lot of upwind – this worked in our favor not having a spinnaker and we were able to finish 4th. This also favored the San Juan 21 who finished just ahead of us and corrected over everyone to win it.
We were able to complete the race, but when we got back to the dock we realized the blew out the block at the base of the mast, the same part we broke back in 2018, and this will require some repairs before our next outing.
Fishing Bay Yacht Club hosted the 2021 Commonwealth of Virginia Junior Championship Regatta. I went out to spectate on Sunday and got some photos of the ILCA 6 and 420 course.