NBYA Junior Race Week always caps off the summer sailing season for Narragansett Bay. Historically this three day sailing event has unpredictable winds, this year saw some terrific steady breezes that turned into strong gusty conditions for the juniors. They launched from the south facing Compass Rose Beach in North Kingstown this year for some sun and wind before the start of the school season.
For Day One of racing I went out on the Opti circles, following both the Opti Green new racers and the Red White and Blue circle full of young seasoned sailors. The breeze filled nice and early for a warm summer day, at about 10-12 knots, and with the southerly wind direction it was relatively consistent throughout the afternoon.
The day started gray, cloudy and overcast, great for preventing unbearable temperatures, but then around noon the sun broke through the clouds. The light was a welcome relief photography-wise, helping to bring warmth and brightness to otherwise dull gray photos, but it was hot! Luckily a little rain moved in to cool everyone down, and after the light showers were done the sun was back out again for a wonderful afternoon of sailing. The breeze was a little stiffer later in the day but nothing these opti sailors couldn't handle!
The biggest issue was the sea swell. With the tide and the wind direction, the waves started to stack up and these little square boats don't exactly cut through the water well. Soon the sailors were burying their bows in the backsides of waves, capsizing and bailing every which way! I was very proud of these little kids, seeing lots of smiling faces and happy sailors despite the apparent carnage. The last race of the day was survival of the fittest as the driest boats were the only ones to cross the finish line.
See all the shots in the NBYA Race Week Gallery