2007-11-29 / News

Frostbiters start sixth season

By John Horton

The frostbiters greeted and helped each other unload their Shellback dinghies from trucks and cars and launch them at the Conanicut Marina for the opening day of their sixth season of racing. Bill and May Munger provided for the use of the floats for the frostbiting winter sailing season.

Frostbiting, however, did not describe the day. The temperature was in the mid 40's with a steady 11-knot wind out of the

sixth season

north under cloudy skies.

With a north wind, the race committee decided to start the races right off the floats, literally, by using the eastern most float as one end of the starting line. Race Committee Chair Dick Allphin, assisted by John Quinn, commuted in his lobster boat the 'Nancy B', only about 200 feet to tie up to the Marina's outer float. They tied a red racing buoy on the float for one end of the line and picked a lobster pot about 100 feet to the east for the other end. And, with the luxury of the big float space, the resourceful Dick Allphin appeared with two folding lawn chairs and the committee comfortably settled in to blow whistles and run the races. The windward mark selected was a mooring ball about 300 yards to the north, right next to the only sailboat left in the mooring field.

Even though the races could be run from the float, a race committee boat is still needed in case a sailor needs assistance. For personal safety, the sailors wear life jackets plus their preference of either wet, dry, or splash suits and foul weather gear. The racers talk about their close calls of taking in more water than they can bail out themselves, so just in case, a "crashboat' is needed. It can happen to anyone.

For the first race starts of the season, nobody was even close to the line at the gun. They were probably rusty from lack of racing. After a few races. however, everybody got up to speed and there was a crowd on the start line and boats were overlapped at the windward mark and the finish line. After the opening day's success of getting in six races, the sailors tied their boats up on the floats and retired to the East Ferry Deli for coffee and polled who would be around for the Thanksgiving Weekend races.

John Horton won the day with four firsts, a second and a third. Final results for the 6 races: John Horton 9 points; Doc Clarke, 18; Henry Siegal, 19; Jack Hubbard, 21, and Joe Logan, 23 points.

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