By Ashley Rader
If you’re a New Year’s Day reveler looking for a non-traditional way to celebrate the holiday – or for a way to relax after a late night ringing in the new year – the annual New Year’s Day Frostbite Race may just float your boat.
The Watauga Lake Sailing Club has hosted the New Year’s Day race for 14 years. What started as an event to fill the gaps in the sailing slow season has become a tradition for club members and the spectators who come out to watch the race.
“Membership in the club has increased,” said WLSC Commodore Dennis Anthony. “The number of boats in the race has stayed the same, but there are more people involved in the crews and more people who watch the race.”
Anthony said the race would include close to 10 sailboats ranging in size from 26 feet to 34 feet in length. Each boat will have a crew of three or four people. Last year, the race included 11 boats and 30 to 40 participants.
The race begins at 1 p.m. at Lakeshore Marina with a staggered start depending on the handicap for the vessel. The race will proceed to the island where the boats will circle around a flag and return.
“The lake levels are down,” Anthony said. “We had originally planned to sail around the island. Instead, someone from the race committee will place a flag they will sail around.”
If wind and racing conditions allow the sailors to make good time on the first lap, Anthony said the racers will compete for two laps. However, if the progress is slower, the race will only have one lap.
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