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.
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.