Saturday was FBYC’s Closing Day Regatta – this is usually the traditional end of the season weekend with big boats sailing a pursuit race on Saturday followed by oysters. Then we sail ILCA on Sunday in our final race of the day. With a low pressure off the coast, there is forecast wind all weekend. We ultimately canceled the ILCA regatta for Sunday though it wasn’t enough to cancel the offshore race.
I was sailing with Mike Toms on his J105 Purple Wahoos. Aboard with us were a number of Mike’s friends from college and one other sailor we picked up on the dock. Being a pursuit race and being the 2nd fasted boat by rating, we had a late starting time and didn’t leave the dock until after the rest of the fleet. The race had already been postponed 30 minutes due to wanting to set a new course that would keep us a little more protected in the Piankatank. In the open water of the bay the wind was gusting over 30. Where we ended up sailing we had some gusts into the 20’s but was mostly in the mid to high teens for most of the race. The wind was out of the NNE.
We hit our starting time on a broad reach as we sailed south and then west up the Piankatank. We slowly caught up to boats ahead like GOIN and Morningtide. As we got to the turn around spot up the river the wind was predictably lighter and this is where we encountered most of the rest of the fleet. We eventually got around Mad Hatter and Sting.
As we approached Fishing Bay we slowed a bit to put a reef into the main sail knowing this was the last opportunity we’d have to do this before sailing into more wind and the last leg was going to be relatively upwind. I had done main for most of the race and swapped with Mike and drove the bit of the race after needing a break from all of the sheet adjustments on the main to keep the right heel and speed.
On the final beat we were in 4th with Shenanigan just ahead of us and Corryvrekan and Sting just behind us. We were slowly able to pick off Shenanigan, but Corryvreckan came from behind to finish ahead of us leaving us in 4th overall.
Given the wind and conditions it was great being on the water and we made the most of what we had. It was a fun way to end the season followed by an Oyster Roast at the club.
We had a gorgeous night aboard Mike’s new to him j105 Purple Wahoos to sail Fishing Bay Yacht Club’s Moonlight Race on June 15. Mike wasn’t able to sail so Clark, Scott, Jenny and I sailed the boat along with two kids. The race was set to start at 7:30 at night and the wind was forecast to pick up overnight and so the RC picked the shorter 14 mile course for all 6 boats sailing. We were in the PHRF-A class against J109 Afterthought. Purple Wahoos is a shoal draft wheel driven J105.
The RC got the race started about 15 minutes late. That was enough time for us to sail over to what would be the finishing mark and get a ping on it allowing us to find it later in the dark. The start was downwind- we approached at the pin and set the chute just after crossing the line. The rest of the legs would end up being somewhere between upwind and reaching. I trimmed jib, navigated, did pit and drove half of a leg.
We had a great race and managed to correct to 1st in our fleet and 2nd overall.
I’ve finally gotten my photos from Key West Race week posted. Many of them come from screen captures from the video cameras we were running. Hopefully in another week I’ll have the video completed. Some photos of the boat by the professional photographers are here and here.
With racing complete, I had one final day in Key West for sightseeing before my flight out at the end of the day. I visited the Hemmingway house and saw the 6-toed cats and the studio where he wrote most of his books. I also visited the Key West lighthouse and walked up it to see the views of the area. I made another stop to the shipwreck museum.
My trip to Key West wouldn’t have been complete without more problems with flights. All week the winds hadn’t been over 10 knots which didn’t make for great race conditions. But today there were high wind warnings and so the plane flying in to fly me out wasn’t able to land because of it. My flight was cancelled and Delta didn’t have another seat on a plane out of Key West until Monday. So they put bunches of us in cabs and drove us 190 miles to Miami where I was put up in 2-room king bed suite at Embassy Suites. My trip goes on another day…
Friday was the final day of racing and having had a day with only 1 race, the race committee bumped up the start time so that we could try and get in 3 races. Out on the race course the wind was light and out of the same direction as it was on Tuesday. In the light sloppy stuff we just didn’t have the horsepower to keep up with the fast boats. By the 3rd race there was weather on the horizon and we played the side we thought the wind would fill in to, but it didn’t come in time and we were hung out there. We ended up going 9-8-9 for the day putting us into 8th for the week.
After racing we had a few of our crew needing to catch a 5:30 flight so we got the boat completely packed on the water so that we could dock and dash. Tal and I were the only two left so we caught up with the crew from Solaris and went to the regatta party and dinner.
Today was a rough day on the water. It started out with an intense fog that limited visibility to only a couple hundred feet. We were postponed on shore for 30 minutes before finally being sent out. Initially the fog was lifting as we were heading out of the channel, but once out in open water it came in even thicker. We didn’t have a chart plotter onboard so we ended up using a plotter app on my iPhone using coordinates radioed by the race committee to find their position. One unlucky Melges 24 ended up several miles away on the Division 3 course.
The Race Committee postponed us on the water until the fog lifted and then got racing started. The wind was light in the 6-8 knot range and by the time we were actually racing it was rarely over 6. At least the water was pretty flat so we weren’t bobbing around.
I can’t say much else about the racing because I didn’t see any of it. To best position our crew weight while sailing upwind, Lud and I sat down below. Being out of the sun with a slight breeze was more comfortable than being on deck. If only we hadn’t tacked so much causing me to switch sides, I could have actually caught some zzz’s.
At the last minute before the mark rounding, Lud and I would spring onto deck and raise the spinnaker. We’d be on deck until it was doused and then we were back below. Results-wise it wasn’t the best day for us. We put up an 8 and a 13 in two races dropping us into 8th.
After racing we did some packing at the condo as many of our crew are hoping on a plane immediately after racing tomorrow. We hit up the regatta party, grabbed some sea food for dinner and called it a night.
Today was a light air day just on the verge of being sailable. We headed out to course not knowing if we were actually going to race or if we were just going to be sitting out there for a while. The wind was just strong enough that the Race Committee started us on time on a course with just 1-mile legs.
We won the start but ended up on the wrong side of the course when the first shift came down. We were mid-fleet around the first windward mark and caught a couple boats downwind. On the next upwind we held our own, but boats that banged the corners came out ahead. On the final downwind we had clear wind heading downwind and picked up a boat, but got sniped at the line by another boat putting us in 7th.
By that point the wind was dying and wouldn’t be enough to get another race in so the Race Committee called us off and we were back at shore by 1.
Most of us rested or did some sight-seeing for the rest of the afternoon. At 6 we headed over to the regatta party tent to see the awards. Unfortunately for me something I drank didn’t agree with me and I went from feeling fine to feeling like I was going to be pretty sick in just a matter of minutes. I booked it home and rested up for the rest of the night hoping to be back to normal tomorrow.
The second day of racing at Key West Race Week was a little warmer and had a little lighter wind than yesterday. We had a great start in the first race. Unfortunately, it was too great and the race committee called nearly half the fleet over early including boats that were above us and below us. We realized we were over immediately and were able to bail out and get restarted without loosing a lot of ground. With so many boats being called over meant many of the leaders were at the back of the pack right at the start.
The lighter wind we today than yesterday meant the racing was a lot more about being in the right spot. Our boat handling was a lot cleaner and we did a good job getting around the marks without getting into any drama with other boats. We managed a 6th in the first race.
The second race was light and lumpy which required much better technique going up wind to keep the boat moving. We were in the lead pack up the first beat, but fell off on the next two legs and ended up 6th when the race was shortened down to 3 laps from the 5 that were planned because of the dying wind.
After racing we packed up the boat and headed back to the Condo. Lud and I went for a bike tour of the western part of the island and rode by places like the Hemmingway House and the Southern Most Point. Later we all stopped by the regatta party to see the awards given. Following the party we went to the Rum Barrel restaurant and had a nice dinner with some live music.
Tim Wilkes posted some photos of Lucky Dog from the first day of racing here. Overall results from the first two days of racing are here.
Tomorrow’s forecast is for less wind than today. We were reminded numerous times while at the party to listen to the 8:30 and 9am announcements to find out if we will be postponed on shore. Tomorrow could be a good day to be a tourist.