The 2017 edition of the FBYC One Design Long Distance Race started out with a pretty dismal forecast. I had planned to sail the Laser and without somewhere to store a beer cooler in such light wind I took Matt Braun’s offer to crew on a Front Runner with him. The race started in light air and slowly built as the afternoon went on. We had a 2nd row start and had some trouble getting to clear air up the first leg. On the second leg those who went closer to Stove Point were rewarded with breeze a little sooner.
We put our game faces for the 2nd half of the race and caught every shift and puff and clawed our way back to the top 3rd of the fleet. The race got a little interesting about halfway through when a barge came down the course just as boats were exiting the channel. Thankfully everyone had maneuverability and was out of the way by the time they came through. Thanks again Matt for a great day of sailing!
The forecast for the Open House Regatta at Fishing Bay Yacht Club improved as we got closer to Sunday and it ended up be great sailing conditions for the few mile progressive start distance race. This race featured boats from 14′ all the way up to 48′ and they were all handicapped against each other with the slow boats starting first and having a head start over the faster boats. The first boat over the finish line wins.
I sailed a Front Runner with Alan as crew and were among the 24 boats racing under mostly cloudy skies with the wind out of the ESE at 9-11. As one of the slower boats we were about the 5th group to start and there were 2 other Front Runners racing with us. The start was across the Piankatank River near Godfrey Bay and took us east and upwind towards the mouth of the Piankatank River. Sailing down the river we stuck to the North shore near Fishing Bay and Stove point to stay out of the current.
That ended up being the key to the race as we extended out a lead and were able to get far enough ahead of the faster boats that they weren’t able to catch up. It also helped us that 1/4 of the race was close reaching rhumb line sailing where putting up a spinnaker didn’t really help any. On the final leg to the finish the J/70 E.L.E. made a pretty good charge and we edged them out finishing less than 1/2 a minute ahead.
Big thanks to Matt for letting us borrow the boat and for Alan doing a great job crewing in his second race.
I got to take one of Jess’ college sailing friends Michelle out racing on a Front Runner for the Indian Summer Regatta. Once again we had a very competitive fleet of 4 boats. Michelle did great to learn the boat very quickly. In the first race we even had the spinnaker flying upside down (my fault). With that sorted we picked shifts well and stayed competitive.
The first of the one design fall series I borrowed a Front Runner and took my friend Patrick Conroy for his first sail on a Front Runner. Save one race we weren’t much of a match for the other very experienced Front Runner sailors, but we had fun and Patrick even got to drive the last race.
After racing we were joined by Jen and Patrick’s wife Lauren for dinner at Merroir.
We made the 2nd of the Summer Seabreeze regatta a rookie regatta in the Front Runner. Matt Braun and I both crewed for first time Front Runner skippers. The wind came up around 1:30 and we had a light 8 knot sea breeze to race in. 2 races and my skipper Parker Davis took two bullets. Nice work, Parker.
What wind we didn’t have yesterday we made up for today at the Fishing Bay Yacht ClubOne Design Closing Day Regatta. 6 boats ventured out into winds in the upper teens with puffs into the 20’s. While those aren’t horrendous conditions and in the right boat, that just when it becomes fun. But for anyone who’s tried to sail a Front Runner in wind – you know the boat becomes a lot to handle in those conditions and quickly becomes anything but fun.
Crewing today was Steve Q after I sailed on his J/70 in racing yesterday. To deal with the higher winds we left the jib partially rolled to make it a little more manageable. We started the race with the fleet and about halfway up the beat one of the Front Runners broke their tiller, rounded up and capsized. We retired for the day while the other Front Runner completed the course with 2 of the 3 Flying Scots. All of the boats were back on shore after that one race and eating a fantastic chili cooked by the Almany’s an hour later.
It turned out to be a great day of sailing despite the forecast that wasn’t calling for any wind at FBYC’s One Design Fall Series #3. Doug and Jordan Bendura jumped on the Front Runner with me to sail against the 2 other boats in our fleet today.
The day was a mix of learning the boat, trying to pick the shifts and sailing in more current than I’ve ever seen in that part of the Piankatank due to some unusually high tides. Mark and Melissa Stephens sailed well – their maneuvers were nice and crisp and they had great boat speed all the way around the course. We picked some shifts to keep up with them some of the time and we were also fending off Lee who was challenging us for 2nd place.
We wound up 2-2-2 in the first 3 races. For the 4th race Jordan drove and he did well – we won that race.
Saturday started out as a nice day for sailboat racing at Fishing Bay Yacht Club for the 2nd Sea Breeze regatta before storms chased us off the course. I sailed in a 3-boat Front Runner fleet with crew Anna Matchett against Mark Stephens/Matt Braun & Kevin Cross/Matt Lambert.
In the first race we had a great start and won the boat shutting the other two boats out and forcing them to start behind us. Up the first beat we had good speed and worked the shifts on the right side of the course.
We made a few crosses just ahead of the other two boats but lost out to Mark who snuck ahead of us right at the mark rounding. Downwind Mark played the middle while we went hard right. The 2nd upwind leg was a little flukier. We again played the middle right while Mark played the left and Kevin went up the left. At the top mark we were in 1st, Kevin came way back to round in 2nd just ahead of Mark. The final downwind was a drag race with us about 4 boat-lengths ahead of Mark and Kevin and in the end Mark edged Kevin out at the finish for 3 and some close racing.
Right at the end of the race Mark had a gear failure so it was just at two boat race for the 2nd race. We had a terrible start, were slow crossing the line and lost a lot of ground to Kevin. Halfway up the beat we heard on the radio that the course was being shortened so we did our best to play the shifts, but knew we were being sent in and a 2 was good enough to win the day.
Thanks Anna for coming sailing with me today. And thanks David Hinkle and the race committee for running races for us.
The ace Front Runner team of Matt and A.L. Braun were back for this regatta and swept all 4 races. The Garrett clan of Waddy and Parker sharing the helm with Caroline crewing just seemed to edge us out downwind to take 4 second places on the day. The racing was close and we didn’t make any major mistakes, we just couldn’t hang with the other two boats.
By the last race we had pretty much locked in 3rd place so I handed the tiller to Tommy who got to skipper his first race in a double-handed boat.
I recently got a new Fujifilm FinePix XP200 Waterproof Digital Camera and just gave it to my friends while we were racing. This is what they took and I’m pretty impressed with the camera and how it came out.