Skip Greene’s new boat gives him 3rd straight victory

Published 9:27 am Monday, January 5, 2015

Photo by Bryce Phillips

On a colder-than-expected New Year’s Day, 13 sailboats hit the waters of Watauga Lake to embark on the 15th annual Frostbite Race held by the Watauga Lake Sailing Club.
A week before the race, the club was expecting temperatures up in the 50s, but on the day of the race, temperatures were actually down in the 30s.
The cold racers began the race at 2:10 p.m. and made their way around three markers before fighting back to the start/finish flag near Lakeshore Marina.
Throughout the competition, the wind alternated between dead calm to 18-knot gusts.
“I think everybody had a good time,” Commodore Dennis Anthony said. “The wind was good. It was a little dead down by the dam, but otherwise it came in pretty good.”
First to cross the finish line was captain Skip Greene, who has been a member of the club since 1978. This is Greene’s third consecutive win at the Frostbite Race, and this time around he was racing in a new boat.
“It was the first time we have had the boat out, really,” Greene said. “Brand new boat, and it ran real well, too. We had great wind. We had to change sails twice because of the wind conditions. We did real well.”
For most of the race, Greene trailed behind race captain Tony Cato’s boat. As the two vessels closed in on marker three, Greene’s boat “Silky” was able to overtake Cato’s.
“He was ahead of us originally,” Greene said. “We put our spinnaker (sail located at the front of the boat) up going down the lake and passed him before we got to the third mark down there. Going around a third mark like that, it is usually real intense, while trying to take the spinnaker down and put the other sails up. That is when all of your problems are going to happen. But, we did real well for the first time out.”
“Silky” had a crew of six guiding it through the water. Part of that crew was Greene’s wife, Patty.
“It makes a big difference when you have a good crew,” she said. “We sorta know what each other’s moves are going to be.”
With some boats being made for racing and others not, the club usually holds races in which start times are adjusted according to a boat’s rating. For the Frostbite, however, all boats started at the same time.
“We started all together, which was the first time we have done that,” Cato said. “It was neat seeing all 13 boats taking off at the same time.”
Cato’s vessel had a crew of five, which included newcomer Arron Bradley, who has just been in three races and took to sailboating just for the fun of it.
“It’s very fun,” he said. “It’s a very busy boat. There are a lot of contraptions to operate. You have to do it quickly, while not getting tangled up. So far, this is my third race, and I enjoyed it a lot. . . Quite thankful to be invited on board here for this New Year’s day race.”
After the race, all the racers and club members met up for a potluck dinner, where, despite just being in competition with one another, laughed and enjoyed each other’s company.

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