By Max Hrenda
Nothing says New Year’s like champagne bottles popping, letting the kids stay up late to watch the ball drop, or giving your sweetheart a kiss.
For some folks, you can add chilling gusts of wind, line adjustments, and shouts of “Full sail!” to that list, too.
The Watauga Lake Sailing Club will host its annual New Year’s Day Frostbite Race across Watauga Lake on Tuesday. The race, which kicks off at 2 p.m., will celebrate its 13th year as sailors from near and far gather to break in the new year in their own nautical fashion.
WLSC Commodore Gayle McPherson said the race started as a way for sailors to get a head start on the new year’s sailing season.
“Usually our season wraps up around Nov. 1,” McPherson said. “The Frostbite Race is a way for us all to get together during a non-sailing time of year.”
Though the idea of an outdoor activity in January would deter some people from taking part, McPherson said that participation has not faltered in the face of foul weather.
“No matter what the weather conditions, we hold the race,” McPherson said. “It’s been held in blizzard conditions, and some years it’s been warm enough to do it in short sleeves.”
The threat of foul weather has not deterred sailors in the past, and McPherson said she did not expect that to change. In 2001, sailors spent their first race navigating through a blizzard. Last year, winds were strong enough to rip the mast from one of the boats.