This past Saturday morning (August 20), as the sun was barely peaking out from behind the horizon, the Ker 11.3 Oakcliff Racing, with its double-handed crew of Claudia Delahoy and Jeffrey MacFarlane (of Oyster Bay, N.Y.), began its entrance back into Newport Harbor after becoming the first boat to cross the finish line in the 2011 Ida Lewis Distance Race (ILDR): the only distance race that starts and finishes in Newport, Rhode Island.
Delahoy and MacFarlane, who had never sailed together before, mastered the variable wind conditions on the 104 nm Buzzards Tower course, making it back to Newport by 5:44 a.m. after starting on Friday off Forth Adams at 1:05 p.m., with the rest of the 35 boat fleet.
'We didn’t get any sleep the whole time,' said Delahoy, explaining that the winds were much more consistent than originally forecasted, especially for those who took the southern route around Block Island rather than the northern route, which had lighter breeze.
'We kept planning that if the wind died off we could take some breaks, but it didn’t and so we didn’t stop pushing. I think that is what got us the lead in the end.'
The strategy worked and Oakcliff Racing took home first in the PHRF Double-handed Class, correcting out a little under one hour ahead of Jason Richter’s (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) J/35 Paladin. Ron O’Hanley’s (Newport, R.I.) Cookson 50 Privateer finished first on corrected time in the IRC Class – consisting of eight boats sailing the Block Island Course (150 nm) – and finished the race in just over 19 hours, earning him the Ida Lewis Distance Race Commodore’s Trophy along with the perpetual Russell L. Hoyt Memorial Trophy for best elapsed time.
'We kept the boat going the whole time, and it wasn’t until we headed back into Newport that it started to get light,' said O’Hanley. 'We’ve had just about every finish position in this race – second, third, fourth, fifth – but this will be our first year winning our class.'
O’Hanley has sailed in every ILDR but one and found Stephan Frank’s (Darien, Conn.) 69’ custom sloop Gracie and Christopher Culver’s (New York, N.Y.) Swan 42 Blazer, which finished second and third respectively, to be the biggest competition throughout the race. Gracie followed Privateer less than an hour behind on corrected time, and 14-year-old Kate Nota (Narragansett, R.I.) took the helm as the boat crossed the finish line. 'This was my first offshore racing experience and definitely the highlight of my summer,' said Nota who was accompanied by 11 other youth sailors and four adults, which qualified the team for the Youth Challenge, where more than 40% of the crew must have reached their 14th birthday but not turn 20 prior to the race’s start.
The team not only took home second in the IRC Class but also was presented with the Arent H. Kits van Heyningen Trophy for their youth division performance. In the PHRF Class, the largest class in the fleet with 20 boats, Tristan Mouligne’s (Newport, R.I.) Quest 30 Samba took the top spot winning the Lime Rock Trophy, sailing the Nomans Course (122 nm) in just over 21 hours. 'After rounding Sakonnet Point we decided to go offshore to hopefully get some better breeze on our way over to New York and that worked out pretty well,' said Mouligne.
Besides the light lulls coming back into Newport for the finish, Samba experienced fairly steady breeze and was able to beat Bob Manchester’s (Barrington, R.I.) Aerodyne Wazimo and Robert Johnstone’s (Newport, R.I) J/111 Fleetwing, which finished second and third, respectively. 'My brother and I did the Bermuda One-Two Yacht Race in June on Samba and we won that as well,' said Mouligne. 'It was really great winning the two big offshore races of the summer.'
Steve Clark’s (Warren, R.I.) canting keel ketch Red Herring took home the perpetual Lois J. Muessel Memorial Trophy for best elapsed time in the PHRF Division, while Jeff Rabuffo’s (Middletown, Conn.) Swan 44 Xenophon won the PHRF Cruising Spinnaker Class.
Top five in each class:
Class 1 - IRC (IRC - 8 Boats)1. Privateer, Cookson 50, Ron O'Hanley, Newport, R.I. 2. Gracie (Youth), Custom sloop, Stephan Frank, Darien, Conn. 3. Blazer, Swan 42, Christopher Culver, New York, N.Y. 4. Catapult, J/122, Marc Glimcher, New York, N.Y. 5. White Rhino, Swan 56, Todd Stuart, Newport, R.I.
Class 2 - PHRF (PHRF - 20 Boats)1. Samba, Quest 30, Tristan Mouligne, Newport, R.I. 2. Wazimo, Aerodyne 37.66, Bob Manchester, Barrington, R.I. 3. Fleetwing, J 111, Robert Johnstone, Newport, R.I. 4. Mischief, Lyman-Morse 40, David Schwartz, Smithfield, R.I. 5. COCO, Swan 36, Ian Scott, Newport, R.I.
Class 3 - PHRF - Double-Handed (PHRF - 4 Boats)1. Oakcliff Racing, Ker 11.3, Jeffrey MacFarlane, Franklin Lakes, N.J. 2. Paladin, J 35, Jason Richter, Mt. Sinai, N.Y.3. Lark, Beneteau First 40.7, Edmund Flynn, Marlborough, Mass. 4. Wildeyes, Quest 33, Teri & Pete Binkley, Branford, Conn. Class 4 - PHRF - Cruising Spinnaker (PHRF - 3 Boats)1. Xenophon, Swan 44 MKII, Jeff Rabuffo , Middletown, Conn. 2. Vixen, S&S Swan 44, John Wayt, Jamestown, R.I. 3. Liberty Call, Hallberg Rassy 44, Matthew Pilon , Middletown, R.I.
Full results here The Ida Lewis Yacht Club introduced the Ida Lewis Distance Race in 2004 as the only round trip distance race to begin and end in Newport, R.I. Conceived as a biennial event, its next running was 2006, but by then the response from competitors was strong enough that it was clear the race should be held annually in the same popular 'late season' time slot of mid- to late August. A Youth Challenge, whereby teams comprised of more than 40% junior sailors qualify for a special trophy, was introduced in 2010 and has been a catalyst for other such youth divisions offered in offshore races. The event, which will enjoy its seventh edition in 2011, is a qualifier for the 2011 New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF); Northern and Double-Handed Ocean Racing Trophies (IRC); and the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series.
Starting Line sponsors for the 2011 Ida Lewis Distance Race were North Sails, New England Boatworks, City of Newport, and Doug Ferguson and Family. Contributing sponsors were Dockwise Yacht Transport, Flint Audio Video, Gosling’s Rum, Mac Designs, Narragansett Beer, Newport Shipyard, Newport Tent Company, Rig Pro Southern Spars, SailorsNightVisionCap.com and Sea Gear Uniforms and Zblok.