4th of July

2020 July 4th FBYC Long Distance Race

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.


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2020 FBYC Moonlight Race Start

FBYC had a beautiful start to the Moonlight race. We got to go for an evening cruise and captured some stunning photos of the fleet. What a great way to start the July 4th weekend!


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2019 July 4th Weekend

We had a wonderful 4th of July weekend down on the Piankatank River. Highlights included boat rides, beach walks, fireworks, picking crabs, relaxing and helping around the river house.


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2018 July 4th on the James

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.


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2016 July 4th

Actually happened on the 2nd.  I joined Blake, Julia and other friends aboard Tradition for a cruise down to Edentide to watch fireworks.


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2015 July 4th FBYC Long Distance Race


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.


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2014 July 5 Fireworks

Some photos of shooting off Fireworks by the Piankatank on Saturday night.  All photos taken with a Nikon D7000 Fish eye 10.5mm lens F5 8-10 second exposures ISO 800.

More Pictures

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2014 July 4th

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.

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2013 July 4th Fireworks

Some photos of sparklers and Fireworks in Richmond’s Dogwood Dell.

spelling my name.

Tory and Matt making a heart

Fireworks at the Carillon



The Carillon with the smoke from the fireworks behind it.

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2013 July 4th FBYC One Design Long Distance Race

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.

Getting ready to go sail

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.

Braun family as the rest of the Front Runners overtake us while we dealt with spin problems.

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.

The fleet just ahead of us by the halfway point.

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.

Photos | Results

Photos above by Stephen Boling.

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