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Block Island Race Week - 1500+ set sail in sprint around 'The Block'

by Barby MacGowan on 26 Jun 2013
2013 Block Island Race Week- Dave Curtis’ Rival won the top prize in the Around the Island Race www.photoboat.com
The 25th Anniversary Block Island Race Week, at the Storm Trysail Club, had more than 1500 sailors embark on an 18.2 nautical mile around the Island Race today, where 182 teams are competing in 19 classes.

And while the cliff-lined coast of 'The Block'-- a quaint island of just under 10 square miles inhabited by just over 900 year-round residents -- might have been a distraction by virtue of its pristine beauty, sailors kept their eyes on the grand prize: the Island Sailing Club of Cowes Perpetual Trophy along with a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner timepiece awarded to a single team determined by organizers to have turned in the top overall performance from among all boats with IRC or PHRF ratings.

The winner of that coveted dual-prize was Dave Curtis’ (Marlbehead, Mass.) Taylor 38 Rival, which won today in PHRF 4 Class and added that victory to two previous ones from yesterday to top the class overall. 'We knew we were doing well, but the race committee shortened the course for our class (as they did for five of the ten that started today),' said Curtis, world renown for his considerable accomplishments in one-design sailing. 'I’m surprised we got it (the trophy), but if I had known beforehand that they were taking the distance sailed and dividing it by corrected time, I might have had an idea.'

Curtis explained that his class started next to last, 45 minutes behind the first class in a building breeze, so it became a 'small boat race.' He added that not having to sail the last beat against the current from government mark '1BI' to the finish at New Harbor may have helped. 'After the start, we had a light spot at the first mark, but after that, my brother Jon and Jim Crane picked the current and the wind perfectly, and we never missed a thing.' (Curtis also had his wife Joanne and daughter Gretchen sailing with him.)

Taking second and third in the scoring for the overall trophy were Stealth, an Evelyn 26 skippered by Jay Greenfield (Noank, Conn.), which won in PHRF 5, and R80, skippered by Will Crump (Annapolis, Md.) to victory in the J/80 class


The fleet started off Charleston Beach on the west side of the island in a light southwesterly that saw many crews hanging out on the low side as they tacked up the shore, looking for current relief on a counterclockwise course. Once around to the south shore, the Naval Academy Sailing Squadron’s Corsair (skippered by Andy Beeler, Annapolis, Md.), had a handy lead on the fleet, since its class had started first and its hull’s waterline is the longest in this regatta. They would hold that lead to claim line honors two hours, 37 minutes and 48 seconds later.


The southeast side of the island showcased Block Island’s famous Mohegan Bluffs topped by the Southeast Light, which by monumental effort in 1993 was moved 300 feet back from its perch on the cliffs to save the 2000 ton structure from sliding into the ocean. But by the time the fleet had reached it, the wind had veered to the west so that the usual run down the eastern side of the island became a tight reach to North Light, another iconic landmark on the island. It was there that the course was shortened for the later classes, lest the sailors in them be stuck on the ocean while the fun ashore, including water jousting, volleyball and corn hole tossing, had begun.


Cool Things
Robin Aisher traveled all the way from England to present the Island Sailing Club of Cowes (ISCC) Perpetual Trophy for Block Island’s Around the Island Race. His connection is that he is Admiral of the ISCC (for life, he says, until he decides he wants to hand the responsibility off to another), and his father, Owen Aisher, was the one who initially deeded the trophy, a pewter tankard – complete with engravings of winners, outlines of the Isle of Wight and Block Island and crossed ISCC and Storm Trysail Club burgees -- to the Storm Trysail Club just before the inaugural Block Island Race Week in 1965.

The thought at the time of the trophy’s bequeathing was that the Around the Island Race at Block Island closely replicated the Isle of Wight’s Round the Island Race, which was inaugurated in 1935. According to Aisher, now that race is the fourth largest by participants of all sporting events in the UK (the first three being marathons), and it has grown to 22,000 sailors and 2000 boats. 'Our Isle of Wight race is only five miles away from a whole lot of yacht clubs on the mainland and five yacht clubs in Cowes that can feed it,' said Aisher, who sailed today’s and yesterday’s race on Black Watch, which, appropriately, competed in the very first Block Island Race Week. 'It’s a bit different from Block Island, which is 20 miles away from the yachting hub of Newport, but in the same way, it’s very much for everyone, like this is. Block Island Race Week is very special; I’m most impressed. It’s very friendly and the atmosphere is brilliant. And by the way, it’s warmer here.'

Block Island Race Week XXV
Day Two
Place, Yacht Name, Type, Owner/Skipper, Hometown, Results, Total Points

HPR (HPR - 6 Boats)
1. Corsair, TP 52, Andy Beeler , Annapolis, Md., 2, 1, 1 (4)
2. Spookie, Carkeek 40, Steve & Heidi Benjamin , Norwalk, Conn., 1, 2, 4 (7)
3. Decision, Carkeek 40, Stephen Murray , New Orleans, La., 4, 3, 2, (9)

IRC 1 (IRC - 7 Boats)
1. Corsair, TP 52, Andy Beeler , Annapolis, Md., 4, 1, 1 (6)
2. Spookie, Carkeek 40, Steve & Heidi Benjamin, Norwalk, Conn., 1, 2, 4 (7)
3. Decision, Carkeek 40, Stephen Murray, New Orleans, La., 3, 4, 2 (9)

IRC 2 (IRC - 7 Boats)
1. DownTime, Summit 40, Ed Freitag/Molly Haley, Annapolis, Md.,1, 2, 1 (4)
2. Convictus Maximus, Farr 42, Donald Nicholson, Scotch Plains, N.J., 4, 1, 5 (10)
3. The Cat Came Back, Swan 42, Lincoln Mossop III , Bristol, R.I., 2, 6, 3 (11)

IRC 3 (IRC - 11 Boats)
1. Avalanche, Farr 395, Craig Albrecht, Port Washington, N.Y., 2, 1, 1 (4)
2. Orion, J 122, Paul Milo, Leesburg, Va., 7, 3, 2 (12)
3. Christopher Dragon VIII, J 130, Andrew & Linda Weiss, Mamaroneck, N.Y., 8, 2, 3 (13)

IRC 4 (IRC - 8 Boats)
1. Out of Reach III, X-35, Louis Nees, Lower Gwynedd, Penn., 2, 1.5, 2 (5.5)
2. Lora Ann, Express 37, Richard Du Moulin , Larchmont, N.Y., 3, 4, 1 (8)
3. Shamrock Sensation, Nelson Marek 40, Ralph DiMattia, Quincy, Mass., 1, 1.5, 6 (8.5)

Swan 42 (One Design - 11 Boats)
1. Bandit, Swan 42, Andrew & Melissa Fisher, Greenwich, Conn., 1, 4, 2 (7)
2. Apparition, Swan 42, Ken Colburn, Dover, Mass., 3, 3, 6 (12)
3. Daring, Swan 42 42.5, John Hele , Rye, N.Y.,2, 8, 3 (13)

J 44 (One Design - 8 Boats)
1. Challenge IV, J 44, Jeffrey W. Willis, Huntington, N.Y., 2, 3, 1 (6)
2. Gold Digger, J 44, James D. Bishop, Jamestown, R.I., 3, 1, 5 (9)
3. Maxine, J 44, William Ketcham, Greenwich, Conn., 4, 2, 3 (9)

J 111 (One Design - 5 Boats)
1. Wicked 2.0, J 111, Douglas Curtiss , South Dartmouth, Mass., 1, 1, 4 (6)
2. Andiamo, J 111, Paul Strauch , Manhasset, N.Y., 3, 2, 1 (6)
3. Partnership, J 111, David and Maryellen Tortorello, Bridgeport, Conn., 2, 5, 3 (10)

J 109 (One Design - 15 Boats)
1. Storm, J 109, Richard Lyall, Wilton, Conn., 6, 1, 1 (8)
2. Rush, J 109, Bill Sweetser, Annapolis, Md., 2, 4, 3 (9)
3. Skoot, J 109, Jim Vos, New Canaan, Conn., 1, 7, 4 (12)

J 105 (One Design - 14 Boats)
1. Eclipse, J 105, Damian Emery, Shoreham, N.Y., 1, 1, 1 (3)
2. Distant Passion, J 105, James Macdonald, Smiths, Bermuda, 3, 4, 2 (9)
3. Shakedown, J 105, Jordan Mindich, Huntington Bay, N.Y., 8, 3, 5 (16)

J 29 (One Design - 6 Boats)
1. Hustler, J 29, John & Tony Esposito, Mohegan Lake, N.Y., 1, 1, 2 (4)
2. For Sail, J 29, Jim Mackevich, Edison, N.J., 4, 2, 1 (7)
3. Mighty Puffin, J 29, Steve Thurston, Bristol, R.I., 2, 3, 3 (8)

J 80 (One Design - 16 Boats)
1. R80, J 80, Will & Marie Crump/Thomas Klok , Annapolis, Md., 3, 4, 1 (8)
2. Knee Deep, J 80, Clarke McKinney, Solomons, Md., 1, 2, 10 (13)
3. Angry Chameleon, J 80, Thomas Bowen, Charleston, S.C., 4, 3, 6 (13)

PHRF 1 (PHRF - 13 Boats)
1. Celeritas, Melges 32, Malcolm Gefter, Newport, R.I., 1, 1, 1 (3)
2. Menace-Bliksem, Farr 30, Pieter Taselaar, Newport, R.I., 6, 3, 2 (11)
3. Seabiscuit, Farr 30, Kevin McNeil, Annapolis, Md., 5, 4, 3 (12)

PHRF 2 (PHRF - 9 Boats)
1. Bluto, Evelyn 32, Ben Hall / Bill Berges , Tiverton, R.I., 2, 1, 2 (5)
2. Afterglow, Express 37, Team Afterglow, Easton, Conn., 1, 6, 1 (8)
3. Seraphim, J 35, David Saurette , Tiverton, R.I., 3, 5, 3 (11)

PHRF 3 (PHRF - 11 Boats)
1. XLR8, Evelyn 32, Brad Porter, Westbrook, Conn., 4, 1, 1 (6)
2. Scorpion, Evelyn 32, Larry Hennessy , Middlefield, Conn., 2, 3, 5 (10)
3. Freightrain, Frers 36, Richard Hyde, Belmont, Mass., 1, 5, 6 (12)

Cruising Spinnaker (PHRF - 13 Boats)
1. Fidelio, S&S 39, Charles Townsend , Middletown, R.I., 1, 1 (2)
2. Orion, S2 10.3, Bryan Coon, Hicksville, N.Y., 3, 3 (6)
3. Heather, Jeanneau 379, Ted Reugg, Annapolis, Md. 4, 4 (8)

Double Handed (PHRF - 8 Boats)
1. Skye, Farr 395, James T. Anderson , Riverside, Conn., 1, 1 (2)
2. Fin II, Olson 30, Thomas O'Connell , Riverside, Conn., 3, 2 (5)
2. RockIt, Elliott 770, Lance Ryley , Boston, Mass., 2, 3 (5)

Cruising Non-Spinnaker (PHRF - 10 Boats)
1. Acadia, Cat Ketch 49, Burt Keenan , Hiltoh Head, S.C., 1, 1 (2)
3. Rascal, Ericson 39, Christopher Schneider, Centerport, N.Y., 3, 2 (5)
2. Testing Life, Tartan 46, Brian Mulhall , Boonton, N.J., 2, 5 (7)

PHRF 4 (PHRF - 6 Boats)
1. Rival, Taylor 38, David Curtis , Marblehead, Mass., 1, 1, 1 (3)
2. Cymothoe, Sabre 362, David Alldian, Brick, N.J., 2, 2, 5 (9)
3. Pachyderm, Frers 33, Edgar Smith, New Haven, Conn., 5, 3, 2 (10)

PHRF 5 (PHRF - 4 Boats)
1. Stealth, Evelyn 26, Jay Greenfield , Noank, Conn., 1, 2, 1 (4)
2. Air Express, San Juan 30, Chris Fesenmeyer , Norwalk, Conn., 2, 1, 2 (5)
3. Leonessa,
T Clewring AC72Bakewell-White Yacht DesignNaiad

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