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Frostbite Sailboat Race had perfect wind

Becky Campbell • Jan 1, 2020 at 9:00 PM

With the winds whipping across Watauga Lake Wednesday, the wind chill felt like it was threatening frostbite for the 19th annual Frostbite Sailboat Race, but sailors and onlookers were in no danger with the temperature in the lower 40s.

“We had 12 boats today and about 50 people total sailing and on shore,” for the Watauga Lake Sailing Club race, said race captain James Little. “It was a great day for us with the weather. It’s been as cold as 18 degrees with snow.”

The 10 mph wind was also perfect for sailing, Little said. “For us it’s all about the wind.”

Two fleets took to the water. There were A-racers, which were described as stripped-down racing sail boats, and PC-cruisers, which have more comfort aspects to them.

“Some run better with the wind and others run better against the wind,” Little said. “When you’re running downwind you fell like you’re going slow, when you go upwind you find the boats can’t sail directly into the wind. You have to zig-zag,” at about a 45 degree angle into the wind.

A-racer winners:

• first place: Skip Greene

• second place: Billy Becker

• third place: Wayne Cato

PC-cruiser winners:

• first place: Carter Quillen

• second place: Bill Murdock

• Third place: Brandon Bragg

The race began at Lakeshore Marina, went past Watauga Point, around an island and back to the marina.

Bragg led the pack downwind and around the island, but the upwind section put him and several boats behind.

Little said the sailors are all competitive and do their best to win the race, but also like to kid around with each other as well.

“We spend a lot of time together ... it’s a close-knit group,” he said. 

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