We had a bit of everything for FBYC’s 4th of July Long Distance race in the Strange Bird Snipe. This was the first time sailing the boat since fall of 2019 while we rebuilt the mast step in 2020. We were sailing with 10 other boats including Flying Scots, Thistle, San Juan 21, Weta and it was our first time sailing against another snipe.
The first leg started out in the Piankantank near Godfrey Bay and we headed east towards Gwynn’s island near 8. With the wind from the south east – we were almost upwind and we were one of the more southerly boats hoping to catch the puffs sooner.
As we got to that mark and headed North to our next mark, the wind went more south making this the only downwind of the course. Some of the spinnaker boats started to get ahead. We rounded and sailed back south to the Piankatank on a relatively close-hauled course and then tacked to sail back to the finish in Godfrey Bay. All in all, because of the way the wind shifted, there was a lot of upwind – this worked in our favor not having a spinnaker and we were able to finish 4th. This also favored the San Juan 21 who finished just ahead of us and corrected over everyone to win it.
We were able to complete the race, but when we got back to the dock we realized the blew out the block at the base of the mast, the same part we broke back in 2018, and this will require some repairs before our next outing.
This year on the Snipe we’ve had a goal all summer to: finish all of the races in a regatta, Jess driving, and not breaking anything. We finally had the perfect day to do it. ‘Jess Wind’ if you will that’s just enough to be challenging, but not so much that we’re overpowered. We had a 3-boat Portsmouth class sailing against Lee’s FrontRunner and Mike’s San Juan 21. The wind was 8-10 out of the North East and the RC set a course between areas A and B.
In the first race we had a good start and sailed well, but didn’t have the boat tuned as well as we could. We focused on reading the wind and keeping the boat moving and sailed a solid race finishing behind the other boats and taking a 3rd after the handicap was calculated.
For the second race we had the boat going a little better and made some good tactical decisions. We were the first boat to the first weather mark, but were overtaken by the Front Runner downwind and the San Juan was still able to correct over us.
In the 3rd race the wind was as far right as it had been all day – knowing it would go back left we banged the left corner while the rest of the fleet went right. Sure enough it came back and we had very solid lead at the first weather mark that we were able to hold the rest of the way around the course and got the bullet. Jess’s first as a driver.
In the 4th race we again had a good weather leg leading the other boats to the first weather mark, but didn’t have enough separation and still finished 2nd.
Jess sailed great. She’s learned a ton about the boat and being a driver and we’re both making the boat go better and improving our maneuvers. We wore out a few parts that need fixing, but nothing that was unexpected and nothing that prevented us from sailing.
For FBYC’s Long Distance Race Jess and I took out the snipe. After not being able to finish the Open House Regatta earlier this year, we were excited to hold everything together and have a respectable mid-fleet finish.
This year for Fishing Bay Yacht Club’s Open House Regatta – Jess and I finally got the Snipe out for this event. This was a progressive start race and we just barely made our start time. The wind started out good out of the west and we had more of it to work with as one of the first boats to start.
By the time we round Piankatank 8 we had passed the boats ahead of us and had a few shining moments in the lead before the big boats rolled us. We got through 80% of the course and were just off Stove Point when the wind shut off again. At the prospect of sitting out there for a while and missing the raft up – we dropped out and took a tow in.
The raft up was fun as ever and we got to cruise on Mad Hatter for ride back around afterward.
We got Jess’s snipe back in the water for the first time this year. We made some upgrades – mainly new halyards and halyard turning blocks in the mast.
We got to FBYC early for the One Design Spring Series #2 event – Jess towed the boat behind the jeep for the first time – and we got everything rigged and in the water. We were a little late to the start of racing and caught the 3rd race. We were in the Portsmouth class with two San Juan 21s.
We were about halfway up the first leg when the halyard that we had just installed broke – putting our jib in the water. We attempted to sail under main alone, but got stuck in irons and so far behind we gave up on that race. For the next race I drove under main alone around the short 2 lap windward leeward. We still managed to beat the San Juan 21s around the course, but one of them corrected on time to tie with us so we got a 1.5 for the one race we finished.
We started the Memorial Day Weekend by hosting a Young Adult Member cookout at FBYC. We had a great turnout of nearly 40 people and beautiful weather for a party that apparently went well into the night.
Jess and I spent Saturday morning putting the Snipe together for the first time since Labor Day of last year. We fixed a few things along the way including some trouble with the main halyard that kept jumping the sheave at the top of the mast. Eventually we made it onto the water and sailing pretty good in the 10-14 knots of wind. About 20 minutes into our sail we heard a pop, saw the jib come down a little bit and realized that we blew out a block at the bottom of the mast for the jib halyard. We sailed in and ended our hopes to sail the boat again tomorrow.
I made another trip to Dallas in May to visit Jess that started out with a few delays getting there. The plane I was scheduled to get on at LaGuardia had gotten hit by another plane on the way to the gate. It was fun watching the commentary on twitter and contributing to it. Fortunately, the damage was minor with no injuries and just an inconvenience for all of the passengers affected.
The first night in Dallas Jess and I joined Tim on his Flying Scot and we sailed down the lake near the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden where they were having their Thursday night concert series. We listened to a Michael Jackson tribute band while we relaxed on the water having drinks and eating dinner while we were surrounded by Stand Up Paddle boarders. I had never been to a raft up where the Flying Scot was the ‘big boat’
On Friday Jess and I went to Fort Worth and had the most Texas date ever – steak dinner followed by a rodeo followed by a honky tonk.
On Saturday I got to sail a snipe for the first time on a very light-air day at Corinthian Sailing Club. Lauren let me sail her boat while Andrew and Jess practiced their light-air boat-handling for Nationals later this summer.
Sunday we relaxed and I made the trip back to Richmond.