Aboard Mad Hatter at the start of the Rescue Regatta.

This year Fishing Bay Yacht Club joined up with Stingray Harbor Yacht Club and the Middlesex County Rescue Squad to do a fundraiser regatta in place of what had been FBYC’s Delta Dash race. This year the race would be a 10 mile triangle with a progressive start – ie the slow boats start first and the faster boats start last and first over the finish line wins. It was still broken down by class, but it was fun for a bit to race boat for boat and try to catch the boats ahead.

Sailing downwind with the faster boats just behind and yet to catch us.

I was sailing on Mad Hatter and the wind started out great – in the 10-12 knot range as everyone was gearing up to start. With the wind out of the north the first leg was pretty close hauled. We quickly passed a couple of the boats who started just ahead of us and after a little over 4 miles of sailing there were just a couple boats still ahead of us.

Mad Hatter being passed by Sting and Excitation. Photo by Paul Almany.

The second leg was mostly downwind and the wind started to ease a bit. We put up the symmetrical spinnaker and gybed toward shore hoping for more wind. All the while the fast boats were catching us. After 2 miles of sailing – Sting, Afterthought and Excitation had caught us and rounded just inside the mark. We did a sail change and switched directly from a symmetrical spinnaker to an asymmetrical spinnaker. That worked for a while, but when the wind got really light, that sail didn’t do much and other boats with symmetrical spinnakers started catching up to us. Eventually we went back to the symmetrical, but by then Sting, Excitation and Afterthought were gone and all we could do was hold off Shenanigan and Schiehallion. As we started to get back towards the Piankatank the wind picked up again. We would finish shortly before 3pm which was the time limit for racing. Only 6 boats would finish the race before the time limit expired.


This year I did double duty at the 84th Annual One Design Regatta as both a sailor and as the event chair. I hadn’t planned on doing both, but had a bout 2 months to pull the event together. We had a great team and the biggest surprises were a couple fleets we weren’t expecting, but they were great to have and we made it work and work well and we’ll have it even better for next year.

Melges 15 launching at the Fishing Bay Yacht Club Beach

By the time Saturday rolled around most of the hard work of hosting was done – thanks to Doug, Paul, Jess and a number of other volunteers who spent hours and days preparing for the event. I was able to join the ILCA fleet out on the course for some racing. But before I could do that – I had to get to the race course which had been set in Hills Bay ~3+ miles from the launch site very near Gwynn’s island. I missed our first start by 2 minutes. From there it was a matter of playing catch up in the first race and I would settle for a 7th.

In the second race I had a fantastic start with Noah just below me. We went upwind side by side before I eventually split off. I had a good beat and found myself first to the weather mark. Of course Scott would go right by me downwind and then I passed him again upwind and repeat on the downwind. Only on the final beat I would blow it and let Dave by me as well to leave me in 3rd.

The 3rd and 4th races were similar. I didn’t quite have the speed or tactics that Dave and Scott had. I was mixing it up with Natalie, Noah and Mike M putting up a 3 and a 4 and leaving me winning the tiebreaker for 3rd with Mike M.

Sunday stayed true to the forecast and we never really had enough wind to sail and so we called it around mid day and the results stood. Scott sailed a great regatta – he’s so fast down wind I just couldn’t keep up with him.

Jon, Dave, Scott along with PRO Jim at the awards ceremony.  Photo by Paul Almany.
Jon, Dave, Scott along with PRO Jim at the awards ceremony. Photo by Paul Almany.

All in all the regatta was a success. Certainly some things to improve upon for next year, but most everyone was pretty happy.


Ten ILCA joined 6 Flying Scots and 7 Melges 15 for an afternoon of sailing. The wind started out light in the 6-8 range and by the third race we had gusts into the mid teens.

In the first race didn’t start where I wanted to, but had a clear lane to tack out when I saw a shift and caught some nice wind before everyone else and had a nice lead for the first lap. On the second upwind, Noah was fast and I parked the boat in some waves right at the top mark while he sailed around me. Meanwhile Scott went around both of us and we finished that way.

ILCA Sailing down wind.

The wind picked up a bit for the second race while also going left making the legs a little one sided. Knowing it was going left I tried to win the pin. I won it a little too much and had to unwrap the board from the anchor line and spin and restart. Once i was clear I went a little bit right to find a clear lane. I was 4th by the top mark but all of the boats ahead of me went to the wrong mark downwind that was well past our turning mark. I was first to round the correct mark and led the rest of the race.

Jon hitting the mark at the start.
Hitting the mark on the start.

3rd race I went to the left and just didn’t have the consistent pressure as those on the right. Rounded 3rd and mostly stayed there. Wind was up to about 15 at one point in the race and then eased off.

For the 4th and final race I was in 2nd right behind Scott at top mark. He started to inch away downwind until halfway down the leg he flipped and lost of bunch of places. I had the lead the rest of the race and Mike held off Scott at the finish – leaving me and Scott tied with the same points AND the exact same finishes – my 3-1-3-1 to his 1-3-1-3 and so I won the tiebreaker on account of finishing ahead of him in the last race.

It was really fun racing and great mixing it up with Scott, Noah, Mike, William and the rest of the fleet. Thanks Tom R for race committee.


Jon before the start.
Jon before the start.

16 boats and nice wind out of the SSW for FBYC’s One Design Long Distance Race. I was sailing the ILCA against 6 Melges 15s, 5 Flying Scots and a few other boats.

The race started in Fishing Bay and we sailed about a mile upwind to Piankatank 11. I had a good start at the boat with Phil just below me and held my lane for a bit. I thought I wanted to be able to tack out to the right to keep my air clear, but turned out to be much less wind over there and boats to the right got left behind a bit. By the time we got to 11, some of the Melges were 5 minutes ahead.

Course sailed for the 2023 FBYC Long Distance Race
Course sailed for the 2023 FBYC Long Distance Race

From 11 to the red 8 marker was a board reach and the Melges 15s put their asymmetrical spinnakers up and went like rocket ships. A few didn’t stay high enough and had to douse their chutes to fetch the mark, but they were all pretty much gone.

Mark and Georgia on the reach while other in the fleet sail to 11.
Mark and Georgia on the reach while other in the fleet sail to 11.

The next leg took us on another broad reach North towards the entrance of Jackson Creek and then back upwind to retrace the same course back.

I sailed well to stay ahead of a couple of the Flying Scots along with the other ILCA and after the handicaps were calculated finished 9th overall. This race is always fun to do with so many different boats on the same line and usually an interesting course around the Piankatank. In an ILCA, with the rating it has, I don’t stand a chance. We did use slightly different ratings this year using DPN-2 for all boats to better account for the wind ranges and based on the performance and the course we had, we do feel it did a better job balancing the higher performance boats.

Jon – Photo by Paul Almany

Congrats to Parker and Mike on their win!


John, Mary, Jon
John, Mary & Jon

We had a nice evening and 6 boats out for Friday evening sailing at FBYC. I jumped aboard John’s Flying Scot along with Mary while a couple Melges 15s and a ILCA and Opti were out.

The Canadian Wildfires made it quite hazy and there were storms looming to the west that never quite threatened. We had a pleasant sail in 8-12 knots and got to try out all of the sails despite a spinnaker pole that had a stuck jaw.


Jon trimming spinnaker in light wind while sailing downwind on Saturday.
Jon trimming spinnaker in light wind while sailing downwind on Saturday.

Saturday in Deltaville started overcast with winds in the 8-15 range out of the NNW as we were starting the first race out in the mouth of the Piankatank. We had a new sail on Excitation and worked on getting it dialed in during the first race. Downwind we sailed well to stay ahead of most of the boats that were faster, sailed a clean race and finished 1st on corrected time.

In the second race of the day, the wind eased off leaving us with 8-10 at the start. On the first beat we were going tack for tack with Nanuq until we got to the last .2 to the weather mark and they lee bowed us near the layline forcing us to tack to clear. By then they laid the mark and the wind died and then they were gone. The next 3 legs would see the wind go down to 2 and Nanuq would go on to finish 50 minutes ahead us us as we drifted around leaving us in 4th.

Excitation about to round the first mark of the distance race on Sunday.
Excitation about to round the first mark of the distance race on Sunday.

Sunday saw much better wind for a distance race. Heading out to the course we had 13-18 knots of wind and after a short upwind we went on a close hauled reach out into the bay. Next was an upwind followed by another close reach, followed by another upwind and finally a long close reach to the finish. The tight reaching angles didn’t favor us with symmetrical spinnakers. We put up a very flat, small spinnaker and it did well in the reaches, but on the final long leg to the finish as the wind went behind us and start to get light, it just wasn’t enough sail and we weren’t setup for anything other than a bare-headed change. In the end we finished 3rd. It was great to get more time with that sail setup as we prepare for a 120nm distance race down the bay next weekend. We also got some of the instruments better setup to give us the information we’ll need on the longer race.


We had a nice day and 8 boats for FBYC’s ILCA Spring Regatta. We were sailing alongside 5 Flying Scots and 5 Melges 15s. The wind was a little shifty, mostly out of the south at 5-10 with slightly overcast skies. In 4 races I would win 1 of them, the only one that wasn’t really a race and was just single shot to the windward mark and a broad reach back. In the other races I would have a good upwind first leg, a slow downwind and end up following 3 boats around the course for a 4-4-1-4 scoreline – good enough for 3rd overall. A well-sailed event by Reed and Scott.


Out to practice in Fishing Bay
Out to practice in Fishing Bay

With storms expect later in the day I headed out early at 9am for some practice time in the ILCA. Winds were 14-19 out of the south and I did a long upwind sail in the Piankatank. The wind was surprisingly steady until I got closer to the south shore. From there I did a long downwind toward the entrance to Jackson Creek and met up with the PHRF boats gathering for the start of the opening day race.

I hovered around for a bit and at 11 when their warning went off, I started off on their course to watch and see them off. I figured once they had passed by me I’d peel off for some more practice and head back up the river to Fishing Bay.

Nanuq just ahead approaching FBYC E (Piankatank 1P)
Nanuq just ahead approaching FBYC E (Piankatank 1P)

With a 5 minute head start I beat the first fleet to the short upwind mark. From there it was a 3nm to E which is 1P at the entrance of the Piankatank due east into the bay. On the long reach out there I was planing and just flying along. None of the boats were really getting any closer. After 40 minutes of sailing, only Nanuq – the 46′ boat that rates -18 PHRF had passed me and was only 2 minutes ahead at that mark. So much for a short sail into the bay. After turning downwind I eventually headed back into the Piankatank for the long sail home. I can only imagine what the crews on those boats were saying to each other on that leg as the tiny Laser ahead of them wasn’t really getting any bigger/closer.

sailed course around the Piankatank River and Chesapeake Bay


Thought we were going to postpone, but the wind filled just as we were set to head to the course. Day 2 started with 6-7 knots. I had a crappy 2nd row start, but got right as soon as I could and went fast. Was first to the windward mark. Had a terrible downwind and lost some boats, held on to around 8th.

By the second race the wind had picked up to around 10 or 11. Was 4th to the windward mark. Picked up a spot downwind and stayed there the rest of the way around the course for 3rd. Scott A first, James 2nd.

ILCA upwind in Fishing Bay off Stove Point.
Photo by John Hubbard

3rd race – had a great start at the boat and after going left a bit and then right- I was about 5th at the top mark. Lost about 5 boats downwind and so I worked to the left early on the long upwind and passed 4-5 boats on the upwind. I was right behind the lead pack rounding the top mark and finally seemed to figure out the wind and waves going downwind and went around that pack to first and finished that way. Was never able to repeat that speed downwind for the rest of the day.

4th race had a good start and stayed about top 4 or 5 all the way around the course and made a dumb move on the last upwind and fell a few boats to 8th.

Such a fun regatta – being the event chair went great and so many folks pitching in to help out and make it go. And it was fun being a competitor and sailing well and regularly being in the top 5 at some point in almost every race. It was unfortunate we had to reschedule to November and not everyone was able to come, but the weather made for far better sailing than we would have had if we had tried to sail around the storm.