After missing Saturday’s racing while helping Todd deliver the boat – day 2 at the Stingray Point Regatta would be the first race of 2023 for J99 Battle Rhythm. As we were heading out to the course we were seeing winds of 8-11 and we used it to practice some maneuvers with our short-handed 4-man crew of Todd, Len, Ron and myself.

The first race started on time – still in 8-10 knots and we had a fantastic start. Other boats in the A2 fleet had better first legs and we found ourselves deep in the fleet at the first mark. We picked up places as the race went on and as the wind continued to drop. By the last downwind leg to the finish it was pretty light. We had past most of the boats ahead of us except Afterthought and Voodoo 2 who were just ahead of us drifting to the finish. Just as we got close the RC abandoned the race with all 3 of us just a couple hundred yards from the finish. It was disappointing to come all of this way and race through all of that, but wasn’t going to be a fair race and was the right call. We definitely learned a lot, started to get the boat dialed in and worked on finding the sweet spot on the new spinnaker we were flying.

After some time postponed motoring around to make some wind and stay cool – the sea breeze eventually filled in out of the south. The RC reset the course and sent us racing again. We didn’t have quite as good of a start this time and had to tack out pretty early and get away. That wasn’t awful as it was the right way for current relief and it allowed us to go in clear air. As the breeze built we spent the race getting back in the grove and taking our time in the maneuvers to not mess anything up. Sometimes we were pulling away from other boats, and other times they were running up on us. We got a 4th in that one.

In the last race of the day – now in the late afternoon, we had another pretty good start. This time we did better to keep up with Afterthought and Voodoo and they were just ahead of us for most of the first lap. The wind had built to 9-11 and we had to adjust modes for the wind and adjust our maneuvers with only the 4 of us to raise and lower sails a little slower to keep things controlled. Voodoo 2 and Afterthought did get a bit more ahead of us, but we held off the boats behind and managed a 5th.

I had a great time sailing with Len, Todd and Ron and it was fun to show all of these other fully crewed boats what we could do short handed.

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Carrie trimming the spinnaker as we sail under the Norris Bridge.
Carrie trimming the spinnaker as we sail under the Norris Bridge.

Today we took Todd’s J99 Battle Rhythm from the boatyard in Irvington, where it had been undergoing some repairs, to Deltaville. We missed the first day of the Stingray Point Regatta – but now have the boat at Fishing Bay Yacht club and ready to race. The wind was light on the Rappahannock for the 8-10 mile trip and we were able to get some sailing in. Even with just 4 of us onboard we were able to put up a new spinnaker to try out. Later as the wind shifted we did some upwind sailing too and arrived in Deltaville mid-afternoon.

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We started the Labor Day Weekend with a distance race ahead of the Stingray Point Regatta at Fishing Bay Yacht Club. The boat I was to be sailing on wasn’t here on Friday so I jumped on a J120 called Bogey from Hampton Yacht Club with Steve, Daryl, Jim, Vicky, Amy, Tom, Rob, Mitchel and other Tom. This was my first time on a J120 which is almost like a 40′ version of a J105 and also has an asymmetrical spinnaker. My position was at the mast working with Tom on the bow and also providing some local knowledge as one of the only few who had sailed in this area before.

The wind was out of the NNE at 14 to 16 and we saw some periods of 8 while we were out there and some shiftiness. The race started in the mouth of the Piankatank River and we sailed about 4 miles to the south entrance of the Rappahannock River.

We had a great start right on the boat and we could just about lay the mark from there so we only spent a short time on starboard before tacking over for the long leg out. On the way out we crossed a current line where we could clearly see where the water from the Rappahannock met the water from the rest of the bay. We arrived at the mark just behind Nanuq with Excitation and Voodoo 2 just behind us.

Tradition, Nanuq and Voodoo 2
Tradition, Nanuq and Voodoo 2

The next leg took us straight upwind to another entrance mark of the Rappahannock River. To our surprise the cruising class was also using this mark as a leg of their course, only they were rounding in the opposite direction. We arrived at the mark at the exact same time as Running Tide and we were on Starboard so they made a wide rounding to avoid us. I can’t say I’ve ever been in that situation in a sailing race before and I’m not 100% sure how all of the rules might apply.

From there we went back to the mark we had just came from and then did another lap around both of them. We got to some spinnaker sailing and made up some ground on Voodoo on the first downwind, but ceded it upwind by being on the wrong side of the course.

The last two legs were reaches back towards Stove Point. Nanuq was first over the line and well ahead followed by Voodoo 2 just ahead of us. Excitation and Osprey were a bit behind us. We would go on to finish on corrected time 4th behind Osprey, Excitation and Voodoo 2 with Nanuq behind us.

I had a lot of fun and it was a great day of racing. Thanks Steve and the rest of the crew on Bogey for having me aboard!

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Sunday at the Stingray Point Regatta was even lighter than the day before. We thought we would be postponed out at the water to start the day, but there was around 4 knots and so we started.

Starting the 2nd lap of race 1.
Starting the 2nd lap of race 1.

With the course set towards the east, port tack took boats closer to Gwynn’s Island and any boat that went too far in that direction ended up becalmed over there. We were careful to pick the shifts and pressure often in the middle right of the course and later to the left when the current switched. We continued to work on our boat speed in light air and our crew maneuvers.

Ghosting downwind in race 2.
Ghosting downwind in race 2.

The second race ended up being shortened to 1 race. The wind went to just about nothing and luckily we had current pushing us down the course to the finish. There also was a good bit of power boat chop making it tough to keep the spinnaker full.

Despite the light outcome and not being a boat in a single race – it was still a fun event and we learned a lot more about the boat and how to make it go.

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The first day of buoy racing for the Stingray Point Regatta at Fishing Bay Yacht Club brought light air and a combined A1/A2 start consisting of 11 boats (5 with us in A1). This was the first time buoy racing for Battle Rhythm and there was a bit to be learned about making the boat go upwind. We also got a lot better at spinnaker work having a full crew and plenty of opportunities to put the sail up.

Excitation in the A2 fleet coming downwind.
Excitation in the A2 fleet coming downwind.

We had a very tough fleet with 3 of the boats being light sport boats that we seldom ever even saw on the race course except shortly after the start. We never even came close to correcting over them. Had we been sailing with most of the boats we normally sail with in the A2 fleet, we’d be closer to finishing mid-fleet.

Madelaine, Carrie, Dan, Len & Todd
Madelaine, Carrie, Dan, Len & Todd

Current at the mouth of the Piankatank definitely played a factor given how light the winds were. At one point they were so light during the second race that it was shortened to just one lap. By the 3rd race the wind started picking up, we had a good start and we even got to sit on the rail for a time.

Jon trimming spinnaker as we approach some crossing traffic.
Jon trimming spinnaker as we approach some crossing traffic.

Post racing there was a great party and band at the club and it was great catching up with folks from other boats and others who just came for the party.

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Labor Day Weekend started with the Stingray Point Regatta Stingray Light Distance Race. This was effectively a warm up for the 2 days of buoy racing on Saturday and Sunday. Only 1 other boat in our A1 fleet had arrived and was there to race and we were started with the A2 and B fleet.

GOIN', Excitation and Stardancer going upwind just after the start.
GOIN’, Excitation and Stardancer going upwind just after the start.

At the start the wind was pretty light. We worked our way upwind and out into the bay. There was some current around the mouth of the Rappahannock as we were sailing to weather heading North. Once we rounded the entrance to the Rappahannock we headed south again and were able to put up a spinnaker in the light air and catch up to the boats just ahead of us. It was a very tight reach and only because it was so light were we able to run the spinnaker almost like a code 0. GOIN’ was the only other boat with a spinnaker up and they were just ahead of us. As we approached – we couldn’t go above them or we couldn’t carry the chute. We couldn’t go below them because we wouldn’t lay the mark. Eventually that didn’t matter when a barge went by and messed up the wind for both of us requiring us to pull the chute to the deck and go upwind for less than a minute to fetch the mark.

Reaching under spinnaker until the barge messed up our wind.
Reaching under spinnaker until the barge messed up our wind.

Though our competition finished well ahead of us, it was a good day for only having 5 of us aboard the boat. Nice light day and we didn’t make any big mistakes and actually got to do some upwind sailing. More racing tomorrow and we’re going to get A LOT more light air practice.

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East Carolina Pirates vs App State Mountaineers stadium sign.

ECU Football kicked off the 2021 season playing Appalachian State in Bank of America Stadium and I made a quick trip to Charlotte to see the game and visit ECU friends. The direct flight from Richmond was easy, aside from still wearing a boot to protect my foot. We all met up outside the stadium to tailgate. Once inside the stadium we found our seats and just as the game was kicking off the TV cameras panned to our group. Our phones and the phones of those around us started blowing up with friends saying they saw us on TV and sharing screen shots.

Screen shot of our group on TV during the game.

That would wind up being the highlight of the game as ECU would go on to loose. It was great to see everyone again and go to a football game for the first time in almost 2 years. I spent the night at Preston’s house and flew home the next day.

Our group at the game inside the stadium.

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Day one of the Stingray Point Regatta was a breezy one. This was my first time taking sailing pictures with a new-to-me Nikon D300s and it’s great to have a camera again to take pictures with. We watched the finish of the first race and the start of the 2nd race and got some great shots.

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Saturday morning we helped Jess’ father put the power boat in the water. This would be the first weekend we truly got to use it without worrying about it taking on water. Jess and I took it out for a cruise to FBYC and then out to the racecourse at the mouth of the Piankatank to watch a start. Racing Pictures.

That evening we had a low country boil back at the river house for some neighbors and friends.

The rest of the weekend was spent helping around the house, paddle boarding, boat rides, crabbing and of course picking them afterward.

STINGRAY POINT PICTURES | PICTURES

We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day to kick off the 2018 ECU Football season. We found a shady and grassy spot in the Belk lot to spread out and hang out before the game.

As we were walking in we stopped to see our RV neighbors and found out the game was delayed. We would eventually go into the game, but just as we were getting to our seats, lightning delayed the game again.  We waited around for a few more hours before eventually pulling the plug and heading home when we realized a strong rain storm was headed our way.  Shortly after getting on the road ECU cancelled the game and decided to play it on Sunday.

We all headed back to Raleigh for the night, but instead of going to the game we stuck with our original plan for a round of golf. That ended up being one of the better rounds I’ve played shooting a 101 and it was a lot of fun. And ECU ended up loosing the game on Sunday.

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