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


Mr. Roberts in her new slip on Jackson Creek.
Mr. Roberts in her new slip on Jackson Creek.

Fishing Bay Yacht Club had a gorgeous day in April to open the season. After a flag raising 7 boats in 3 classes headed out for 10nm race out into the bay and back to shake out the cobwebs and get the season started. Sailing out on Mad Hatter we had 7-10 knots of wind out of the ESE. All of the boats were starting at the same time and even though Nanuq and Sting were technically in the PHRF-A class and we were in the PHRF-B/C class – we saw them as the boats to beat on corrected time.

We got into sequence and the race committee realized there was a mistake in the posted course so we postponed for a moment while they fixed it and went into sequence again. At the start we along with Nanuq, and Schiehallion were over early and all had to go back. This gave Sting a bit of a head start. The fleet could largely lay the first mark and the leg to the second mark was more upwind. We went right and inshore with Sting while Nanuq went left and out in to the bay. When we all came back together Sting was ahead and Nanuq just behind. By the time we got out into the bay the wind was much lighter and were were going just 3-4 knots. At that mark we turned and put up a chute and had a pretty straight shot past the mark we started with and then onto the finish. We wouldn’t have to gibe. Nanuq with the longer waterline and an asymmetrical sail was able to get ahead of us, but wouldn’t make up her time on correction. Wendas who was well behind us on the course would end up correcting over us by around a minute to win the B/C fleet.

I was pit and floater for the day, helping with tactics, monitoring the radio, trimming the guy and moving around to keep weight in the right spot. I also brought a couple cameras with me and got some footage aboard.


This weekend should have been Fishing Bay Yacht Club‘s Opening Day Race followed by a J/70 clinic on Sunday – but the weather conspired to have it cancelled.  With no sailing to do and only a Blessing of the Fleet and party to attend – it became a work weekend and thus the J/70 that was not yet rigged was packed and hauled to Richmond.

While at home it was easy to get a couple projects done:


Saturday was the maiden voyage for J/70 No Quarter #781 at Fishing Bay Yacht Club for the Opening Day Regatta.  After being launched and splashed with Coors Light the boat was rigged, sails raised and we headed out to join the 4 other J/70s and 26 total boats taking part in the Opening Day middle distance race finishing 4th among the J/70s.


The boat worked great – the crew performed admirably – one thing was clear – this skipper needs more time at the helm.  I’m looking forward to many more J/70 races!



Andrea Winner Photos

What a beautiful weekend to start the sailing season at Fishing Bay Yacht Club.  The first race of the season was a middle distance race of 12.8 nm from the mouth of the Piankatank out to the entrance to the Rappahannock River and back.  I was sailing on Wavelength, a C&C37, with Rob Whittet and Steve Utley.  We were among the 20+ other boats gathered in the 8-10 knot northerly breeze and mostly sunny skies.

We had a great start in the 5-boat PHRF-A fleet that consisted of a J/109 Double Eagle, J/105s Corryvreckan and Shamrock, and modified Quest 30 Chilcoot.  The first leg was a short upwind leg inside the mouth of the Piankatank.  We then sailed close-hauled out to the entrance to the Rappahannock followed by a spinnaker run down to the entrance of the Piankatank.  Up until this point we were hanging with everyone except Double Eagle who was starting to get away from us.  At the turning mark the J/70s and the C and non-spin fleets were also using this as a turning mark.

Most of the fleet who had asymmetrical spinnakers went low on their way back to the finish up the Piankatank.  They weren’t laying the mark, but making really good VMG.  With a symmetrical spinnaker, we elected to take the high route with the #1 up.   About halfway back we could see Double Eagle get significantly headed and then drop the spinnaker.  They had to beat back to the mark, while we just cracked off and came back down to the rumb line nice and fast and closed the gap.  We didn’t beat them over the line, but had enough to make up the difference and won the race on corrected time.  What a great way to start the season.

This season will be bittersweet for Wavelength and crew – this will likely be the last spring series for the boat.

Following racing the club held their blessing of the fleet and opening day party.  The food was great – as was the fun!

It was great to get back to sailboat racing this year at Opening Weekend at Fishing Bay Yacht Club.  On Saturday I sailed on Wavelength – a C&C 37 owned by Rob Whittet and Steve Utley.  The course was a middle distance race and the light air and chop was not kind to us.  Even without a great result it was a fun day on the water that ended up with a Opening Day dinner and party at the club.

4/13 FBYC Opening Day: Wavelength:

On Sunday we sailed the first day of the Spring Series.  After waiting around for wind, we had a sea breeze that built until just after the start of the 2nd race.  Both races were nice and long and while we still couldn’t touch the J/109’s, we still sailed well and had fun.

4/14 Opening DayJon Deutsch trimming the spinnaker as we go downwind.

Got the sailing season off to a great start on Saturday with the Opening Day Regatta at Fishing Bay Yacht Club sailing aboard the C&C37 Wavelength.  We did one 12.5 mile race out around the channel buoys to the entrance of the Rappahannock River and back.  We did some great sailing which included a spinnaker peel and managed to finish 2nd in some very close racing – only 36 seconds separated the top 4 boats on corrected time.  Results and Pictures.

FBYC Opening Day Flag Raising

This weekend was Opening Weekend at Fishing Bay Yacht Club. We had two beautiful days of racing with winds between 10-20 knots. Between sailing the past 3 weekends and the unseasonably warm weather we’ve had – it hardly seems like opening weekend for me. It’s not May yet, but it certainly feels like it.

This weekend and the last 2 weekends I have sailed aboard Wavelength, a C&C 37 with ~9 other crew. It’s been fun sailing the same boat for a while and really learning some of the finer points of sail trim and boat handling. Let the sailing season begin!