Carter County

Frostbite Sailboat Race

Frostbite Race

CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. - It wasn't quite the day weather-wise for a competition called the Frostbite Race in Carter County the first day of the year.

The Frostbite is a sailboat race on Watauga Lake, held on the first day of the year. Warm temperatures and light winds didn't bother the hardy racers who came out to compete this year.

The sailboat captains gather on the dock for a pre-competition meeting about this year's annual race around the lake. This is the 14th year for the race involving members of the Watauga Lake Sailing Club.

Things were a little different this year as far as the layout of the course. "This year the lake is down about four to five feet below where it is at winter pool. So rather than have them go out around the island, we'll have a flag marker. We'll race out to towards the flag marker, and come back to the starting point," Club Commodore Dennis Anthony said.

Sunny skies and light winds could be an advantage for some of the boats. All sizes and types of sailboats are in this years competition. "Our boat is a 24-footer. When we get about 10 to 12-[footers racing against us], we tend to be overpowered and we have to reduce so much sail," last year's winner Skip Greene says.

Regardless of the weather, the sight of a dozen sailboats on the water this first day of the year is a sight to see. They may seem as though they're just going around in circles at first, because none of the boats start the race at the same time. "We have a staggered start. Some of the faster boats like last years winner, he gets to start about 22 minutes after the first boat starts," Commodore Anthony said.

But for some of the racers and their crews, it's the catching up that makes the competition fierce. "We're used to that and it's a catch up game for us. We try to catch the other boats and we enjoy doing that," last year's winner said.

Competing or not, members of the club enjoy gathering and sailing on this first day of the year. Besides, there's no real prize for the winner -- just bragging rights till next year.

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