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New year sails in with annual Frostbite Race

Jessica Fuller • Jan 1, 2017 at 9:11 PM

HAMPTON — Cool temperatures, light winds and just a dash of rain met sailors at Watauga Lake Sunday afternoon as they plunged into the new year with the 17th annual Frostbite Sailing Race. 

Spectators and sailors alike agreed Sunday’s forecast offered some of the best weather the race has had in recent years. Just before 2 p.m., the boats began gathering for the beginning of what tends to be a pretty relaxing race. 

Ron and Jeanne Zucker stood down from the Captain’s Table Restaurant for a clear view of the boats trailing out into the lake. Zucker said he spent a few years sailing and tried his hand at several Frostbite Races in Connecticut. After hearing about Watauga Lake’s race, he decided to come out to watch and snap some photos. 

“The weather’s not bad, there’s a nice wind, the water is smooth,” Zucker said, looking out at the boats racing across the lake. “It’s a gray day, but it’s not bad for sailing.”

Even with good conditions, sailors finishing the race said lake levels were a little low this time around, but that didn’t stop about a dozen boats from gracing the waters for the race.

Wayne Catoe, who said he’s participated in the race for several years now, rode in his son’s boat that finished in second place this year. In years past, he and his family usually race against each other for a little friendly competition, but this year, he decided to kick back for this race and leave his sailboat in the dock.

“Even when we don’t do well, we do the best that we can, we don’t have to win every time,” Catoe said.

This year’s winner wasn’t a surprise for many, as no one is sure quite how many of these 17 races Skip Greene has claimed over the years. He has won four races in the past five years, and the race he didn’t win was because he was in Florida for a University of Tennessee football game.

Greene said he’s been sailing for about 40 years, and said a fast boat coupled with knowledge of the area helps him get ahead every year to claim first place in the race.

After the racing was done, members of the Watauga Lake Sailing Club gathered in their pavilion for fellowship and a potluck meal to cap off a day of friendly competition.

“It’s a lot of fun, I race with some good people,” Greene said.

 

Email Jessica Fuller at [email protected]. Follow Jessica on Twitter @fullerjf91. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jfullerJCP.

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