The Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race Week will celebrate its 25th Anniversary with sporting style in the new year. Seven new championship events have been added to the biennial regatta’s schedule along with the introduction of new classes for Classics, Doublehanded boats and Gunboats. Scheduled from Sunday, June 23, through Friday, June 28, the event will host the IRC North American Championship; HPR (High Performance Rule) North American Championship; PHRF East Coast Championship; J/80 North American Championship; J/109 East Coast Championship; Swan 42 New England Championship; and Beneteau 36.7 Northeast Championship.
PHRF 1 Class Start at Storm Trysail Club’s Block Island Race Week 2011
'Block Island Race Week has been one of New England’s premier regattas for the past 50 years,' said On-Water Chairman Dick Neville (Annapolis, Md.), adding that the regatta is one of 'the few remaining full Race Weeks' left on the sailing calendar.
Competitors pass South East Light on Block Island while racing at Storm Trysail Club’s Block Island Race Week 2011
'In 1965, the inaugural regatta attracted more than 175 boats and 1200 sailors, and this year we hope to surpass that number.'
The five-day event welcomes teams in IRC, PHRF and one-design classes and consists of around-the-buoys racing and at least one day devoted to the famed 18.2 nautical mile Around-the-Island Race. Navigator-style courses will be sailed by the Classics, Doublehanded, Cruising and Gunboat classes.
'We fashioned Block Island Race Week after Cowes Week in Cowes England,' said 90-year-old Jakob Isbrandtsen (Norwalk, Conn.), who served as Commodore of Storm Trysail Club in 1965 and was instrumental (along with Everett B. Morris) in urging the club to establish race week that year. 'It’s eye-opening that it is still going strong after so many years.'
Another of Block Island Race Week’s original trail blazers, Peter Ross Sr. (Mystic, Conn.), competed in the very first Race Week. 'It was the thing to do back then,' said Ross, who has been sailing for over 80 years and competed from 1965-’71 in his Concordia Tynaje and from ’73-‘81 in his Ohlson 38 of the same name, which he still races with vigor today. 'The competition was wonderful, the racing was great and it was a fabulous way to spend a week. Everybody who was racing would rent a cottage and the kids would all have fun while the older guys went out to race.'
Archived photos from Block Island Race Week in the 1970s.
Archived photo from Block Island Race Week in the 1970s.
The event still attracts hundreds of sailors, both young and old, to the quaint island every other fourth week in June. They come, many with their families in tow, to enjoy a full vacation week of action packed sailing, fun and entertainment, all within the context of Block Island’s unique offerings and laid-back atmosphere.
Racing headquarters for the Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race Week 2013 will be located at The Oar Restaurant, while evening festivities and award ceremonies will be held next door in the event tent.
A 50% entry fee discount applies to entrants in Classics, Doublehanded, Cruising and Gunboats classes, which are scheduled for one race per day on Block Island Sound. For all other classes, a 10% discount applies for those meeting the early entry deadline of April 1, 2013. For more information, visit Block Island Race Week, where the NOR and links to entry are posted.