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.


Sunday was the distance race day for Fishing Bay Yacht Clubs Offshore Spring Invitational. We started in the mouth of the Piankatank just east of Stove Point with light winds 6-8 knots. We would have a downwind start with all of the fleets starting at the same time. We were a little late to the start, but this was a conservative approach to allow us to pick our spot and stay clear of the other boats.

Excitation sailing downwind on the first leg behind Corryvreckan and Nanuq.
Excitation sailing downwind on the first leg behind Corryvreckan and Nanuq.

Once we had our spinnaker up and were clear of other boats we made our way east into the bay. We thought we were going to a mark further out into the bay, but as we passed another mark along the way boats ahead started rounding it. We quickly realized our error in what we thought the course was and adjusted our course to follow the other boats without really loosing any distance. I mostly trimmed spinnaker and eventually started training Ryan to stand in for me. Late in the leg I drove while Mayo worked on navigating. We had to sail a really tight angle with the spinnaker up while the asymmetrical boats were barreling down on us from behind with pressure. We just didn’t want to have to drop to a head sail only to need the spinnaker right back up for the next leg.

Jon driving and Ryan trimming spinnaker as we approach the 2nd mark.
Jon driving and Ryan trimming spinnaker as we approach the 2nd mark.

As we reached the 2nd mark, we had a well executed gybe around it and headed north dead downwind to get to the 3rd mark. Many other boats mostly with asymmetrical spinnakers tried to play the angles and we just we went more downwind on the rhumb line for just under 2 miles. We ended up sailing inside of Nanuq and had a nice lead coming into the mark. When we got there we didn’t want to do an extra gybe so we executed a windward takedown which nobody on this boat had ever done before aside from me and Chris who had done it on other boats. We did it early in case it went badly and it went so well we were under powered sailing wing on wing for the final minute into the mark.

Heading upwind to the finish with the #1 still up.
Heading upwind to the finish with the #1 still up.

By the time we rounded the northern most mark the wind had gone down to 7-8 knots and we elected to go to the light #1. As we sailed upwind back to the finish we would find ourselves significantly overpowered with this sail up. About 2/3 of the way to the finish the soft shackle holding the jib sheet to the sail let go, so we came to a stop and quickly fixed that and got going again. Now with the wind in the upper teens and hitting 20 we really wanted to get a smaller sail up so we tried to do a sail change on a tack, but had problems using the second headsail track and ended up having to do a bare-headed sail change. These two maneuvers allowed Nanuq to sail right by us and we ended up finishing 2nd a little over 2 minutes behind them on corrected time.

All in all it was a great weekend of sailing. We sailed well, we got better at the roles we had, we tried some new moves and didn’t break anything that costs $$. This was a great tune up for Southern Bay Race Week coming up in two weeks.


Saturday was the first day of a two day Spring Invitational for Offshore boats at Fishing Bay Yacht Club. The format was to do buoy racing on Saturday and have a government mark distance race on Sunday. The weather was light but otherwise perfect for an early season day of racing aboard Excitation – Mayo’s Farr/Dickerson 37.

Race start aboard Excitation near Mr. Roberts.
Race start aboard Excitation near Mr. Roberts

1st race good start at the boat. Nanuq was over early and had to go back. We did a hitch to the right to put some space between the other boats and continued up the middle of the course. We were first around the mark, had a good set and stayed ahead of the fleet downwind. We had another good upwind and held off Nanuq and Corryvreckan (who both owed us time) to win the race on the course and on corrected time. I was the floater on board helping with navigation/tactics and trimming the spinnaker.

Spinnaker trimming
Spinnaker trimming

In the second race the wind built a little bit, but still within the range of the light #1 we were using. We were a little late at the start and as a result had to do a few more tacks after the start to either clear our air or avoid starboard tackers. At the top mark we rounded 4th behind Nanuq, Corryvreckan and Sting. Despite a problem with the lazy spinnaker sheet, we still had a pretty good set. Downwind we made up some ground on Nanuq and sailed deep and passed Corryvreckan and Sting. Upwind we favored the right side of the course out of the current and switched down to the ‘heavy’ #1 as the wind continued to build – now in the 8-10 knot range. We held our position and worked on narrowing the gap with Nanuq – but at the finish we wouldn’t be able to make up our time and finished 2nd.

Sailing downwind on Excitation.
Sailing downwind on Excitation.

By the 3rd race the wind picked up and we were seeing winds in the mid-teens. We made the decision to switch to the #3 and just as we went to raise it as the starting sequence was initiated – the sail partial came out of the track while it was being hoisted. It came out in such a way that we were either going to damage it, or we would have to disassemble part of the track to get it back. Given those choices and the fact that we were in the starting sequence – there was no way we were going to disassemble it without damaging it and make the start and so we decided to retire. Disappointing not to sail the 3rd race as we were in contention to win the day with a good result. We’ll be back for the distance race tomorrow.


This week I had planned on sailing on Excitation, but FBYC was in need of a PRO for the first Spring Series race day and it was a chance for me to jump in and volunteer. I’m super appreciative of all of the people who joined us, particularly those last minute.

PHRF-BC fleet start with Mad Hatter foreground.
PHRF-BC fleet start with Mad Hatter foreground.

We had 10 boats total and took the 2 fleets just south of the Stingray Point light to race into a SE breeze at 10-14 knots. After a short postponement to lengthen the line we got both fleets started on a 1.25nm course. By midway into the race the wind would ease a bit to 8-12 where it would stay for the rest of the day. Thankfully the wind didn’t change direction and enabled us to leave the course set or both races making it easy on us.

The start of the PHRF-A fleet aboard Mr. Roberts. Donna, Vera, Jon pictured.
The start of the PHRF-A fleet aboard Mr. Roberts. Donna, Vera, Jon pictured.

Cheeky Monkey had a fast sail in the first race. The Nanuq team was sailing like a well-oiled machine nailing their maneuvers on this early season race day. Excitation would put in a solid effort and Mad Hatter had a good day to win the PHRF-BC fleet.

Finish line with Vera, Jon, Carol, Cathy and Rick as Corryvreckan finishes.
Finish line with Vera, Jon, Carol, Cathy and Rick as Corryvreckan finishes.

A couple things I learned or were reinforced as a PRO – it was really critical to have a conversation with the two fleet leaders before we went out so we could talk about the length of course, sailing area, number of races and timing of the races. We also discussed some options should expected changes happen. This made it easy on us so we knew what to expect and was great for the racers as they got exactly what they wanted and knew why we did what we did.

Thanks again to Cathy, Donna, Vera, Carol, Rick, John K, Joe R and Wade for all of their help on RC making it a great day for the racers.


It took a while to get out on the J/70 for the first time this year and it was a great day for it at the Fishing Bay Yacht Club Offshore Spring Series #3.  Onboard today were Andrew, Evan and Nathan and there were 3 other J/70s in the fleet among the 20 other boats out racing.

No Quarter Aaron Sutten Photo

Saturday started light WNW around 6-8 and built to the 10-13 by the end of the 3rd race.  We had good boat speed up wind, played most of the shifts well and went 2-1-2.  On most of the downwinds Ron Thompson sailing Nostalgia put on a clinic and either pulled ahead if he was ahead or caught up if he was behind.  The next day we realized we had the spinnaker rigged wrong and wasn’t getting it to full hoist.

All in all a great first day back in the boat and excited to continue the season this spring.

Following racing we were hanging around the club as it rained and cleared and we were treated to a beautiful rainbow.


FBYC concluded the offshore spring series with gorgeous sailing conditions.  Sailing on J/70 No Quarter were Ray, Ron and John.  We had a good first race – picking the shifts well and going fast on the course set just east of Stove Point.  The wind started around 10-12 and died out to about 5 by the end of the race.  We finished 1st in the 5-boat J/70 fleet and even picked off some of the PHRF-A boats who started 5 minutes ahead of us.

By the time the second race rolled around the wind had piped up to 12-15.  We had a good start and worked on going fast and getting out ahead of the fleet.  At the top mark we were leading the fleet and we made the turn to go downwind.  When the crew exclaimed ‘mark!’ I though we had bumped it and started contemplating how to do a quick turn before we put the chute up.  When they said ‘MARK!’ again – I realized it must have still be close and sure enough it was hung on the keel and coming right along with us.

We stopped the boat and walked it around the bow as our competition took wide swings around us, likely thankful we just made the lay line a lot more reachable for them.  On my way back to the helm from the bow I missed my step around the companionway and fell all the way to the bottom of the cabin, hitting my right shin on the companionway edge as I fell.  No blood, but it was a pretty good hole and I could see to the bone.

Our day was over so we radioed in and quickly got back and put the boat up so that I could head back to Richmond to spend 2 hours in an ER getting xrays and 6 stitches.  Coincidentally, I sprained my ankle pretty badly this weekend last year.  I’m probably going to have to stay home next year.

5/24 ER visit

It had been a great day up until that point and we were learning a lot about making the boat go in the better breeze.  Thanks Ray for coming down for the day and showing us some of the tricks.

Results | Series Results

Name put on the boat.

This was the 3rd day of racing for No Quarter in FBYC’s Spring Series. There was a little wind – and a LOT of fog.

Ron & Katie

In the first race we had a good start – in fact it was too good and we were over early and had to dip and restart.  Inevitable was punched out and never looked back.  We closely trailed E.L.E. all the way around and settled for 3rd of the five J/70s.  This was Ron and Katie’s first time on a J/70 and they settled in pretty well learning the location of everything and the coordination.


E.L.E. going downwind with the other fleets ahead.

Unlike the first race where the fog lifted enough to see most of the course – the fog came in and got pretty dense just as we were starting the 2nd race.  Upwind we had a feel for where the mark would be and just stayed in the center of the course – keeping an eye on the bigger boats that had electronics and watching them ghost in and out of the fog bank.

Ghosting in an out of the fog

We were lucky to find the top mark pretty easily.  We weren’t so lucky in finding the leeward mark.  We ended up missing it by 3/4 mile to the east and ended up sailing almost a mile past it before the RC finally radioed a location for us to beat back to.  By the time we found the leeward mark – the J/70 that had stayed on the course was just about finishing and were racing one other boat right next to us.  The other two retired.  We persevered thanks to having chart plotting software on my iPhone.  Even with the fog it was still pretty good sailing conditions and definitely made it more fun by adding a navigational element to a 1.25nm buoy race.


Saturday was the final day for the offshore spring series at Fishing Bay Yacht Club.  With winds out of the north west at 8-10 it was expected to go west and die off.  We didn’t end up with that – it built and went east!

5/17 FBYC Offshore Spring Series #4Spin take down

On Wavelength we were a little late  at the start of the first race, but we tacked out and were able to get some clear air.  We were sailing a 3-lap .75 mile course.  Not exactly our favorite to be doing so many turns.  Luckily we sailing 10-up and had plenty of help to pack the chute just in time to need it for another downwind.

This being the 5 race day for us this year – we really had some of the crew-work down well.  We were executing maneuvers with less notice and doing them faster with less loss of speed during them.  And even when we did make some mistakes like dropping the sheet-guy over the bow on the take down and catching it around the keel – we recognized it and recovered immediately with little fuss.


In the 2nd race we had a great start and for the first lap we actually held our own with the faster Double Eagle and Voodoo 2.  Eventually they stretched their legs and started pulling away from us.

In both races we were 3rd over the line and 2-3 minutes out of 2nd on corrected time.  We knew we just need to finished today’s races to finish 2nd overall in the spring series.  Another successful day to conclude a successful series!

Results | Series Results

It was another beautiful day for racing at Fishing Bay Yacht Club for the 3rd day of the Offshore Spring Series.  I was again on Wavelength for the 3 races on a mostly sunny day with temps in the high 70’s and wind that varied from 19-8.

5/10 FBYC Offshore Spring Series #2

The first race had the most wind and we started out with the No2 and a reef in the main.  We did well at the start by staying away from the faster boats that outpoint us and we were able to make progress upwind albeit a little under powered.   On a tack halfway up the beet we shook the reef out.  The rest of the way around the course went well, but we couldn’t catch the 3 boats ahead of us and settled for a 4th.


In the 2nd race we lined up next to Voodoo 2 and had to take their bad air off the starting line for a while until we could clear the B boats and tack out.  We kept up on the upwind leg, but it was the downwind legs where we shined and made up time on each leg.  By the 2nd upwind leg the wind had dipped even more and we put up the #1.  We barely missed 2nd place by 15 seconds.


The 3rd race didn’t start so well for us.  We were over early and had to park it and let the fleet sail by so we could turn around and restart.  Starting so far behind everyone made us get creative on the first beat and we banged the right corner (photo above) while most of the rest of the fleet went left which had been working all day.  Sure enough the wind went right and we caught right back up to the fleet.  Unfortunately, we would get stuck with the bottom 2 boats trying to cover each other for a position and ended up as collateral damage never being able to break free and chase the boats ahead of us and we settled for 4th.

5/10 FBYC Offshore Spring Series #2

We’re currently in 2nd place for the series and we got one more race day left next Saturday.  With a good result we should be able to hang onto 2nd.

Jon’s Pictures | Andrea Zilinski Winner PhotosResults

Following racing a storm rolled through throwing a 420 into one of the RIBs onshore and bashing Mad Hatter at the dock.  I’ve seen some storms roll through and I’ve been at the club for some pretty serious tropical and nor’easters, but I’ve never seen a storm come up so quickly and with such intensity.  Thankfully everyone was ashore and safe.

Today turned out to be an absolutely beautiful day for racing.  With 22 boats in 4 classes we had great racing aboard Wavelength in the 5-boat PHRF-A fleet in the 2nd of the Spring Series at Fishing Bay Yacht Club.


The wind started around 16-19 and was in the lower end of that range for the first race with mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the 60’s.  The wind started from the North East and by the end of the day had gone a few degrees further east. The first race was a single windward-leward 1.25nm.  We had a great start and just worked our way up the left side.  With the general trend of the wind going right – there were still nice lifts on the left and more importantly some relief from the currant.  We did well to stay with the fleet, be efficient around the course and not make any mistakes.  Being the slowest boat in the fleet handicap-wise we were 2nd at the finish and less than a minute behind Double Eagle on corrected time and took 2nd place.

The second race was 2 laps and went similarly to the first race.  We had good speed, went the right way and didn’t make any mistakes.  Again we were the 2nd A boat over the line and corrected to 2nd.


For the 3rd race, another 2 lap race, we started well, rounded the top mark in 3rd and had good speed downwind.  We rounded right behind Nanuq and while everyone else went back to the left that had worked so well all day, we ended up going right.  That paid off when we got a 20-degree righty and found ourselves on the layline and rounding a short distance behind Double Eagle.  Our downwind went well and we held on to correct out 15 seconds ahead of Double Eagle winning the last race of the day and solidifying 2nd place overall.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather and it is so great to out racing again this spring!