“Frostbite” might seem to be a bit of a misnomer this year considering recent weather patterns — although the extended forecast does offer a tip of the seasonal hat to the race.
But even if the frostbite tag doesn’t apply, that won’t mean the race will be any less enjoyable than it usually is.
“We’re serious racers out there, and there is a prize to be won,” said Robert Remme, a member of the Watauga Lake Sailing Club. “It’s a fun race, and it’s one of a kind.”
Held on New Year’s Day, the Frostbite Sailing Race is an annual event that the Watauga Lake Sailing Club uses to welcome the beginning of the new year.
This year, the race will begin at 1 p.m. Friday at the Lakeshore Marina on Watauga Lake. A skipper’s meeting will be held on the dock at noon, and the race usually lasts about two hours.
Temperatures have reached 75 degrees Fahrenheit in recent weeks, but an extended forecast retrieved from Accuweather on Sunday predicts that temperatures on New Years Day will fall somewhere between a 38-degree high and a 23-degree low.
Unless temperatures drop to absolutely unmanageable levels, the event usually features about 10 to 15 entrants, a number that is relatively consistent with the turnout the club sees at events held in warmer weather.
“Last year was really cold,” Remme said. “Sometimes the people who aren’t tough enough, they may have plans to race on that day but if it’s too cold the numbers definitely drop, but there’s a few diehards.”
The Frostbite Sailing Race is held before the Watauga Lake Sailing Club’s more competitive races. The club hosts several races throughout the year, including four races in the spring and another four races in the fall, but organizers also put together special regattas, which act as fun diversions from the competitive events.
Friday’s race can be viewed from multiple locations, including the deck of the Captain’s Table restaurant at 2340 U.S. Highwat 321 in Hampton or any other location along U.S. 321.
Robert Remme’s wife, Anita Remme, is the sailing club’s commodore and said the Frostbite Sailing Race also offers an appealing atmosphere for interested visitors who might have little experience with sailing.
“If they’re looking for something to do on New Years Day,” Anita said, “it’s a good thing for them to go and watch. It doesn’t cost anything, and it’s very scenic to see all the sailboats out there with all their sails up. ... It’s very picturesque.”