This year Jess and I sailed lasers in the FBYC One Design Division Long Distance Race. All of the smaller boats <24′ waterline sail using the Portsmouth handicap system in a race that covers a total of 7-8 miles in the Piankatank River.
We had a variety of boats in the fleet from Lasers, Radials, Flying Scots, a Weta and a few J70’s. The 70s would be fast and the off-angle sailing under asymmetrical spinnakers would really give them a chance to pull away.
The start set the boats off on port tack eastward down the river. The rest of the fleet all came barging in on port tack at the pin and I did a starboard dip line start and forced all of them to give me room and Nostalgia had to circle around and restart. The J70 Billy Buff started just behind me and I was able to pinch them off and slow them down before they eventually went under and around me.
The wind held at a steady 9-11 knots out of the north east. The course took us towards Gywnn’s island, around #8 and then towards the entrance to Jackson creek. It then doubled back and then went ~3 miles west up the river and then back to Godfrey Bay.
I kept up best I could with the Flying Scots and stayed ahead of the Weta while the J/70’s sailed pretty far into the distance.
Following racing as we were packing up the boat the scorer walked by and let me know that after the handicaps were computed, I tied for 3rd with Billy Buff and we both beat Nostalgia by 2 seconds. Just goes to show that starting on starboard made a difference between 3rd and 5th.
On this Wednesday 4th of July Jess and I joined my family including my sister and her husband for Fireworks on the upper James River west of Richmond from the boat. It was a nice night for anchoring under the stars and watching a great fireworks show.
We had a beautiful day for racing in the July 4th Long Distance Race at Fishing Bay Yacht Club. 28 boats ranging from J/70 to S2 7.9 to Flying Scot to Front Runner to Laser to 420 were on the starting line for a Portsmouth Handicap race of about 8 miles. Being short of crew I took the Laser and did my best not to fall too far behind the fleet especially as one of the smaller boats. I could do pretty well on the upwind and downwind legs, but on the reaches – the boats with 2 sails and especially those with asymmetrical spinnakers would just walk away. In the end it was a respectable 13th – just above mid-table.
Following racing there were over 200 people for a cookout followed by a little rain followed by fireworks well into the night.
Hurricane Arthur spoiled our plans to do the Annual Long Distance Race at Fishing Bay Yacht Club. I was going to be sailing a Front Runner but the storm rolled through in the morning hours and so the racing was cancelled. The Hurricane was well east of us and all we got was some rain and wind for a few hours. We never saw winds much above 40.
Once the rain subsided much of the rest of the day was spent hanging out and doing a little bit a boat work. By the afternoon the sun was out and it was a beautiful day albeit still a little windy. We went for a boat ride, enjoyed the 4th of July party and band at the club and then went out for another boat ride to watch fireworks 360-degrees all around.
Thursday was July 4th and Fishing Bay Yacht Club‘s annual one design long distance race. I was able to borrow a Front Runner and a co-worker of mine – Stephen Boling came out to crew. Stephen had never been on a sailboat before. We headed out, got to practice each maneuver once and then the race started.
The race started right of the FBYC dock and the first leg took us south out of Fishing Bay 3/5 of the way across the river to the far side of the channel. We had perfect start, right at the boat, right at the gun and were able to pin some of the other boats to the left side of the course for a bit. Upwind we picked a nice lane of wind right up the middle of the bay and found ourselves 1st at the windward mark.
We set the chute on the 2nd leg which took us due east on a race about a mile to another channel marker. What we didn’t realize when we first set the chute was that it was very twisted at the top. After a few boats started to pass us, we had to take it up and down a few times to get the twist out. By the time we close-reached down to the 1/2 way mark, we were easily 300 yards behind the lead pack of 5 boats.
Sailing the next two upwind legs we had good speed and I picked good angles and we actually passed 3 of the boats. By the finish we were within 20 yards of the 2nd boat over the line. If only we had another 3 miles, we could have contended for the lead. Unfortunately, all 3 of the top boats owed the Flying Scot, sailed by John & Sharon Wake, time and they corrected over us, putting us in 4th overall.
I want to thank the Front Runner fleet for letting me borrow a boat and Stephen Boling for coming out to crew.