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.
Saturday brought beautiful weather for Fishing Bay Yacht Club’sOne Design Invitational Regatta. Sailing were Front Runners and San Juan 21s with another boat sailing Portsmouth handicap. I sailed a Front Runner and had Alan Williamson crewing with me on his first time sailing.
The wind started out light – which was perfect for us as we found our way around the boat and learned the routines of the maneuvers to get the sails up and down as we went around the course. Luckily the other boats had some new crew too so we all were getting up to speed at the same time. As a result the racing was close throughout.
We did 5 races with winds building from 5-11 and staying pretty consistently out of the east. Our race course as a windward-leeward 1/4 mi legs set just west of the end of Stove Point.
In the first 3 races we were up and down putting up a 3-1-3. I won the boat a couple times at the start, but never seemed to be able to live there with the other boats below us out-pointing us, so we had to tack out and make more tacks making it harder to catch up. In the races we did well in, I was closer to the pin and was able to foot and go fast and do less tacks. We also made sure to setup on the laylines early to give ourselves plenty of time to prepare for the roundings.
Going into the last race we were tied for 1st and it was a longer 3-lap race. We were close to Matt Lambert all the way around the course and more than once he tried to stick it to us and almost succeeded. But we were able to get through the turns quickly and use the favored positions to stay just ahead and win the race putting us in 1st overall and 2 points ahead of 2nd.
It was a lot of fun having Alan aboard and getting to show him sailing and racing and the level of athleticism and effort needed to do it well. He was a quick study and really helped get us around the course fast.
Thanks to Parker Garrett and the race committee for running the races today! We could have asked for a better day all the way around. And thanks Matt Braun for loaning me the boat to sail.
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.
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 Jessie Hardin learned quick and did a good job getting the chute up and down. All in all a very successful day on the water.