For FBYC’s One Design Spring Series #2 I was invited to sail on John Hubbard’s Melges 15. This was only the second time the fleet has raced at FBYC and is a new fleet at the club this year. By summer there should be at least a dozen boats at the club once deliveries are made.

We had a 4-boat fleet along with Mandalorian (Rob & Reed), Osprey (Paul & Josh) and Big Z (Mark, Georgia and Noah) and light winds out of the east. The course was set in Fishing Bay with the weather mark due west of the end of Stove Point point and the course to the west of that. John and I did some practice before the start. Working through tacks and putting the spinnaker up for some gibes. I was really impressed with the space on this boat and the simplicity of the systems and ease of which they are used. Having been on so many other boats of this size – it really stood out how simple this boat was. It was also very stable – one person walking onto the boat didn’t make it unstable, but two people hiking certainty mattered for weight placement. As a crew, even in light air, when I’d be sitting opposite the helm or siting in the middle of the boat, it still left me places to crouch or sit without being on top of something uncomfortable. The rigid boom vang mounted above the boom that pushes down also clears up a ton of space for the crew to sit forward without constantly ducking a vang line.

Boats duck behind at a Melges 15 start
Just after a start

In the first race, we were a few seconds late to the line and didn’t exactly pick a great line upwind. We rounded the first mark behind Osprey and Mandalorian. Downwind we sailed low and fast and closed the gap a bit. When we got to the leeward mark we were just close enough to have an inside overlap on both boats and rounded ahead to go upwind. On this leg we went right thinking we’d have more pressure and Mandalorian went left and got a better lift rounding well ahead of us. We again had great speed downwind and caught up to Mandalorian but ran out of runway finishing 1/2 a boat length behind them.

FBYC Melges 15 Race 1 finish just behind Mandalorian
Race 1 finish just behind Mandalorian

In the second race we were again a little late at the pin end of the line and tried to get right, but boats were there and we had to do a few tacks to clear ourselves. Mandalorian sailed a great race and was clear ahead followed by Osbrey. Downwind we were able to catch and pass Osprey, but couldn’t catch Mandalorian who rounded the leeward mark and started going going upwind. Fortunately for us and unfortunately for Mandalorian – it was only a 1 lap race and we were the first boat over the finish. Mandalorian corrected himself and finished behind Osprey.

Race 2 finish
Race 2 finish

In the 3rd race we had a great start at the boat. We worked our way up the middle of the course picking our way through the Flying Scot fleet coming downwind. We even started to improve our boat handling and roll tacking the boat. We were just behind Osprey and Big Z at the top mark. We were able to sail lower and put a gybe in taking us back toward the middle of the river and gybed back coming in on starboard and inside at the leeward making Big Z gybe away and round behind us. Upwind we played a loose cover and were able stay ahead to finish first.

Last leg of the 3rd race leading downwind.
Last leg of the 3rd race leading downwind.

In the 4th race we had another good start at the boat with the other two remaining boats (Osprey and Big Z) starting at the pin. We again played the shifts in the middle and were able to round the first mark in 1st with Osprey just behind us. Upwind we stayed close and we reached the mark first, but had some trouble with the set and Osprey sailed high and right around us. We tried to gybe for better air but Osprey ended up with more pressure and stayed well ahead leaving us with a 2nd.

It was really fun to get to try sailing a Melges 15. Huge thanks to John for having me aboard and thanks to Mike, Rick, Clark and Frank for RC today.

PICTURES | RESULTS

We got Jess’s snipe back in the water for the first time this year. We made some upgrades – mainly new halyards and halyard turning blocks in the mast.

We got to FBYC early for the One Design Spring Series #2 event – Jess towed the boat behind the jeep for the first time – and we got everything rigged and in the water. We were a little late to the start of racing and caught the 3rd race. We were in the Portsmouth class with two San Juan 21s.

We were about halfway up the first leg when the halyard that we had just installed broke – putting our jib in the water. We attempted to sail under main alone, but got stuck in irons and so far behind we gave up on that race. For the next race I drove under main alone around the short 2 lap windward leeward.  We still managed to beat the San Juan 21s around the course, but one of them corrected on time to tie with us so we got a 1.5 for the one race we finished.

RESULTS | PICTURES

We had 4 Front Runners among the dozen or so other boats for Fishing Bay Yacht Club‘s One Design Spring Series #3.  After cutting my teeth on the boat in yesterday’s Open House Regatta I was racing against my crew yesterday as they found their way around a Front Runner today.

5/25 FBYC Piankatank Regatta Spring Series 3

To start the day the wind was on the light side so most of the racers sat on shore and communicated with the race committee by radio until it looked like the wind was going to fill in.  From there the wind began to build gradually throughout the day and really made for some nice racing.

5/25 FBYC Piankatank Regatta Spring Series 3

Matt & A.L. Braun were once again stellar winning all 4 of our races.  Mark Stephens and I traded 2nd and 3rd place with me getting the better of him to take 2nd on the day.  My crew Jess Hardin learned quick and did a good job getting the chute up and down.  All in all a very successful day on the water.

Results | Photos Sharon Wake | Photos Tom Roberts