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A warm day for the annual Frostbite Sailboat Race

Brandon Paykamian • Jan 1, 2019 at 6:47 PM

HAMPTON — As predicted by the National Weather Service, the annual Frostbite Sailboat Race on New Year’s Day did not live up to its name.

The conditions for the race held at Watauga Lake have been everything from sunny 50-degree weather to a day of blowing snow in the past, but generally, the race has been held on colder days more typical for January. In contrast to what felt like a spring day on Tuesday, last year’s race was held during frigid temperatures of about 20 degrees.

At nearly 60 degrees with some light precipitation initially expected, this was one of the warmest days for the event since the race was first started 18 years ago, according to Commodore Dave Gurysh of the Watauga Lake Sailing Club.

“Yeah, if that is what the weather will be like, it means we will be sailing one of the warmest Frostbite races we have had,” he said ahead of Tuesday’s race.

Among this year’s favorites to win were Skip Greene, who captured his fifth-straight victory last year with his wife, Patty, and James Little. This year, he looked to take his sixth-straight win.

Local photographer and spectator Hugh Byrd was looking forward to watching the race on a warm day with ideal weather suited to his photography. Byrd said he has been coming to watch the race for the past few years now, often looking for different vantage points to watch and shoot the race from.

“I just think it’s an interesting subject matter,” he said, adding that Tuesday’s weather “has definitely been relatively warm for the first of the year.”

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