FBYC’s Closing day race features a pursuit start distance race taking us on a tour around the mouth of the Piankatank and towards Fishing Bay. I was sailing aboard Mike Toms’ J105 and as one of the faster boats of the fleet we were one of the last to start. Winds were 12-18 out of the NNE and there wouldn’t be too many spinnaker legs.

Mike drove the start and the first upwind leg. We were able to quickly get by a couple of the boats that started just ahead of us. The next leg took us on a close reach back into the Piankatank towards #7 until the wind shifted and we could turn downwind and set the spinnaker. I was driving this leg while Clark was on the main pumping in the waves and getting us surfing when we could. The next leg south to 8 allowed us to get the spinnaker up and we did 1 jibe while in VMG mode before dousing the spinnaker around 8 for another close reach up the Piankatank keeping Nanuq well behind us. We picked off a few more boats before getting ot the turning mark at #13 and coming back the way we came.

Jon on the helm as we sail under spinnaker
Jon on the helm as we sail under spinnaker

Clark drove back while I worked on keeping the main trimmed and Mike T and Mike S worked on the jib. We passed the remaining boats except the two that remained just ahead of us. The final leg to the finish was from 8 back to B, almost in line with Jackson Creek entrance for about 1.25nm north. Knowing the direction of how the current came into the river we elected to come around 8 and continue on port towards Gwynn’s island before tacking to Starboard to fetch the finish.

Clark driving as we head back out of the Piankatank
Clark driving as we head back out of the Piankatank

When we tacked onto starboard it quickly became clear that the other boats that went left were being swept south by the current, vs where we were it was taking us west which wasn’t as bad. We just focused on our upwind speed and keeping the boat on our feet and managed to grind it upwind just a minute or two ahead of Nanuq at the finish for the win.


Afterthought near Mr. Roberts just before the start.
Afterthought near Mr. Roberts just before the start.

After threats of rain all week for this evening and even an afternoon shower a few hours before race time we ended up with beautiful weather and windy conditions for FBYC’s 2022 Moonlight Race. I was sailing with Mike S, Hunter, Clark and Mike T aboard his J105 Moo Hoos. The course would send us out into the bay, north the the mouth of the Rappahannock and then back into the Piankatank near Stove Point. There would be 2 starts with us as one of the 6 boats in the PHRF fleet and 3 in the cruising fleet.

Just after the start with Mad Hatter to weather at the boat end of the line.
Just after the start with Mad Hatter to weather at the boat end of the line.

We had arguably the best start of the fleet with a couple boats boxed out at the boat, we hit the line right on time a boat length down from the boat end. Unfortunately, Afterthought, a J109 able to point much higher then our shoal draft 105, was below us and forced us to tack away and in doing so we had to quickly duck Mad Hatter. That didn’t end up being too bad of a move as we got a nice lift and 1/2 mile later when we converged on the weather mark we were just ahead of Mad Hatter and just behind Afterthought.

Afterthought changing head sails.
Afterthought changing head sails as we sailed by out of the Piankatank.

From there it was another mostly upwind starboard tack as we headed out of the Piankatank and into the bay. Afterthought was overpowered and went for a headsail change while we were able to slip by them. When we got to the next mark we could see the current was ripping up the bay so we elected to tack and go south to stay out of the current before heading east to the next mark. While that was generally a good move, we took it too far and vastly over stood allowing several boats to ‘cut the corner’ so to speak and round ahead of us. All of this upwind sailing was in winds in the upper teens. We had a class jib up and a full main and worked to feather the main and steer between the waves while keeping the boat flat. Sitting on the rail we got drenched a couple times when we hit some of the larger waves.

Sailing out of the Piankatank with Afterthought behind us.
Sailing out of the Piankatank with Afterthought behind us (for now).

By the time we hit the far mark the sunlight that remained was gone and it would be a reach for several miles up into the mouth of the Rappahannock. We could see ahead that none of the boats were flying a spinnaker – we thought pretty hard about it but the wind was just a little too far forward to flying it in the dark. We still made quite a bit of ground up and could see both Red Sky and Mad Hatter on the next upwind leg and were just about crossing tacks with them. By the time we passed Stingray Point Light and rounded the last mark back into the Piankatank we were just ahead of Red Sky and just behind Mad Hatter. We were able roll Mad Hatter and by the finish we were able to get our time on Afterthought, but not on most of the rest of the fleet.

It was a fun race followed by ice cream and rum. Thanks Mike for having me along and to Tom R, Blackwell, Randy and Brad for being our race committee.


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.


6/6 FBYC Moonlight Race aboard Double Eagle

Two regattas down this weekend and the 3rd (of 4) would be FBYC’s Moonlight Regatta sailing aboard Double Eagle.  It’s rare that I’m running the pointy end of the boat – but what better than to do it in the dark!  Sam, Mark, Mayo, Holly, Melissa, Mary Paige, Katie and Mark(2) all made a great team and made for a great night.

For the first time in my memory we were sent on the longer A course and we were able to correct over all of the other boats sailing that course.  The cloudy conditions and a moon that didn’t rise until we were back ashore didn’t make for great picture taking so these will have to suffice.

6/6 FBYC Moonlight Race aboard Double Eagle


Having not planned on being in Deltaville this weekend I was a late add to Wavelength for the Moonlight Regatta following my Laser sail in the afternoon.  The weather was perfect for a night race – comfortable temperatures, clear skies and 12-19 knots of wind out of the north east.

We got a pretty reasonable start and were 2nd around the top mark behind Double Eagle.  On the 2nd leg out to mark E, Double Eagle went pretty low and allowed us to slip by while the Tartan 40 Nereid just waterlined us in the chop and was half a length ahead of us to leeward at E.  For some strange reason Nereid went below the mark, we didn’t, but we couldn’t turn right to go to G because they were there.  Eventually it was sorted out and Nereid went back to re-round while we led the fleet to G only to be overrun by Double Eagle once they caught up.  Below is a photo of Nereid (right) going back to the mark, while  Double Eagle tracks us down.


From G to J was a close reach up into the Rappahannock River with the current coming right on our nose.  I drove about a mile and a half of the leg before we turned to go back to the Piankatank.   We put the chute up just before F and gybed around it.  We had a bit of a trouble with the jibe before we got settled to head for the finish.  About halfway down the leg to the finish our topping lift broke.  We took down the spinnaker and sailed bare-headed while we got the genoa sorted and hoisted.  We came so close to winning the A fleet… Double Eagle corrected to 34 seconds ahead of us leaving us in 2nd overall.

Below is the course.  The marks as sailed are labeled Moon Start-Moon-E-G-J-B(finish).  The dotted red line is the actual course we sailed.


Results | Photos

I started the day at Hampton Yacht Club where a team from Fishing Bay Yacht Club was invited to a scrimmage Team Racing Sonars.  We started with a quick recap/overview/planning in a classroom and then the team of 11 FBYC sailors were split into 3 boats for our team and Hampton took the other 3 boats.  We spent a couple hours doing drills and practicing team race maneuvers against the Hampton team.  The wind was in the low to mid teens which made boat handling a little more challenging, particularly for the FBYC sailors who hadn’t had a lot of time together nor a lot of time in Sonars.  But we still were able to put on a good showing and I think it was a very successful scrimmage for both teams.  A big thank you to Gary Bodie and Hampton Yacht Club for having us!

6/22 Hampton Team Race Scrimmage - Gary Bodie explaining the drills.

Immediately after getting off the water in Hampton, I got on the road to Deltaville to sail Fishing Bay Yacht Club‘s Moonlight Regatta on Wavelength.  The start was delayed 30 minutes while some weather approached the area, but never really came near us.  Out on the water we had beautiful sailing conditions with mostly clear skies and a steady 12-15 out of the south.  None of the overcast and occasional rain we had seen in Hampton earlier in the day.

We started at 8pm and sailed out of the Piankatank with the sun setting behind us just a short time later.  I grabbed this shot of Mad Hatter just behind us passing in front of the sunset. Just goes to show that the best pictures don’t necessarily come from the best camera, but from the camera you’ve got. This was a 2-take photo taken with the iphone.  Here’s an alternate version of it on Instagram.

6/22 FBYC Moonlight Race - Mad Hatter sailing through the sunset.

The race went pretty well and we had a good group aboard for sailing at night.  I was jib grinder for the first 3 legs, spin trimmer downwind, and drove the last 2 legs upwind.  We finished around 10:30. While we didn’t make the podium, the ice cream smothered in rum after racing was reward enough.

Results | More photos from today starting here.