2011 Smith Point Race

Saturday I sailed in Fishing Bay Yacht Club’s Smith Point Race aboard the Farr 37 Excitation.  It was a 57 mile race out of the Piankatank River, east across the bay and then north near the mouth of the Potomac River and then back to the entrance to Jackson Creek.

It took about 13 hours to sail.  The first 2 1/2 hours were in little to no wind.  From the start most of the fleet continue on starboard towards the mouth of the Rappahannock before tacking towards our mark.  We spent our time in the light wind sailing on port along shore and out of the current.  We picked the layline pretty well from over 10 miles out and were first around the mark.  Being the furthest south and the first to catch the sea breeze certainly helped.

Aboard Excitation
Aboard Excitation

We led for a little while longer, but soon the faster J109, Afterthought, passed us heading downwind as we sailed North up the bay to Smith Point.  It was this leg where the sun set and the wind increased into the mid-teens.  After rounding  Smith Point around 11pm we slogged upwind for another 3 1/2 hours to the finish.

Afterthought passing us downwind as the sun set.

That was the longest offshore race I’ve ever sailed and doing most of the driving upwind was a good experience.  In the end we finished 2nd – only a minute and 43 seconds out of 1st place. We had a good crew, ate well, and we all enjoyed the trip.  Thanks Mayo Tabb for taking me along!


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