The Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race Week 2013 will bring back fond memories of its makings when its 25th Anniversary edition gets underway in late June. The biennial event, scheduled from Sunday, June 23, through Friday, June 28, already has over 100 teams entered.
This year, we are hoping to exceed the 174 participants that we had in the 1965 Race Week,' said Event Chair Lee Reichart, adding that regatta organizers are boosting enthusiasm by offering complimentary entry for boats that competed in that very first Block Island Race Week. 'It’s great how many boats have entered with almost four months left to the first gun; last Race Week we had only 53 entries in late February, so this regatta is already looking very strong.'
The 2013 regatta will stay true to its decades-long heritage with the awarding of the Island Sailing Club of Cowes Perpetual Trophy for the winner of the Around the Island Race, traditionally held mid-week. The trophy, which sprang from the original intention that the event be fashioned after Cowes Week in England, was given in previous years to the IRC winner of the race. This year, it will be awarded, along with a Rolex timepiece, to the boat with the best relative overall performance from among all classes competing.
The five-day event, one of the last true full race weeks in America, welcomes teams in IRC, HPR, PHRF and one-design classes and consists of four days of around-the-buoys racing in addition to the one day devoted to the 18.2 nautical mile Around the Island Race.
PHRF 2 defending champion Brad Porter (Westbrook, Conn.) will be racing his newly acquired Evelyn 32-2 XLR8 for the first time at race week. 'We won our class in 2007, 2009 and 2011 and won the Around the Island race in 2007, but that was before PHRF competitors were eligible for the Island sailing Club of Cowes Perpetual Trophy and the coveted Rolex,' said Porter. 'I’ve been sailing with the same group of very talented sailors for the past 14 years and Block Island Race Week is the biggest event that we do as a team. All of us really love Block, It is a great place to race and spend time with the family.
The event is also serving as eight championships: the IRC North American Championship; HPR (High Performance Rule) North American Championship; US Sailing’s PHRF East Coast Championship; J/80 North American Championship; J/105 East Coast Championship; J/109 East Coast Championship; Swan 42 New England Championship; and Beneteau 36.7 Northeast Championship.
J/105 East Coast Championship
The most recent championship to be added to the Block Island Race Week line-up is the J/105 East Coast Championship, which already has eight boats entered, four of which raced in the 2011 event. The group includes Damian Emery’s (Shoreham, N.Y.) Eclipse, which won the J/105 class at Block Island Race Week in 2011 and is the defending East Coast Champion.
The Green Fleet
To encourage a wide variety of racing, event organizers have offered a 50 per cent discount for the Green Fleet, which will be racing on Navigator-style courses. The fleet includes Classics, Double Handers, Cruising, Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker classes and Gunboat catamarans and other multihulls.
'The Green Fleet races will definitely be fun; sailing around government marks will be an interesting change from the normal windward-leeward courses,' said Andy Burton (Newport, R.I.), who is best known for his performance in the Shields Class but will be sailing his recently purchased 40-foot C and C Peregrine in the PHRF Non-Spinnaker Class. 'This class is going to be competitive, and I’m very excited to get back to Block Island, since the last Race Week I did was in 1977. The 50 per cent discount is great, and if we get in earlier than the other fleets, it just means we will have a lot more play time on the island.'
And playing is a main component of this famed race week, which consistently attracts hundreds of sailors, both young and old, every other fourth week in June to the quaint island named after Dutch fur trader Adriaen Block. 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 10 percent early entry discount applies for all classes except in the Green Fleet and ends on March 31st. For more information, visit Block Island Race Week website, where the links to the NOR and entry are posted.
by Kirsten Ferguson
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4:01 AM Wed 6 Mar 2013GMT
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