Please select your home edition
Edition
Cyclops 2022 May LEADERBOARD

Big blow in store tomorrow for Block Island Race Week

by Barby MacGowan on 22 Jun 2009
IRC class Start - Block Island Race Week Dan Nerney

All eyes are on the weather for tomorrow's start of the Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race Week presented by Rolex.

For its 23rd biennial running, the five-day event is hosting 153 boats and over 1500 sailors who will no doubt be donning their foulies for the expected 15-20 knots of breeze with gusts up to 40 and seas of four-six feet. The forecast prompted the Race Committee to move the around-the-island race up from its traditional mid-week schedule.

'We'll send the fleet clockwise around the island,' said On-the-Water Co-Chair Dick Neville (Annapolis, Md.) about the 18-mile course that typically enables crews to enjoy Block Island's stunning vistas - such as towering North Light and the 250-foot Mohegan Bluffs. 'With such a significant breeze due out of the Northeast, we think this will be easier on the boats and the crews.'

Though fairly foul weather may linger through mid-week, this hasn't dampened the spirits here for one of America's most popular Race Weeks - a tradition that since 1965 has transformed this quiet island paradise, with a population of less than 1,000 in winter, into a beehive of buzzing summer activity. Originally patterned after Cowes Week in the U.K., the event is considered a staple in the lives of New England sailors and attracts teams from farther afield as well.

Andrew Hall, the owner of the J/133 Jackknife is one from the latter group. The Englishman (from Southport, Lancs) has been coming to Race Week for 10 years and likes the looks of the list of 'runners and riders' (his term for scratch sheet) this year. 'I also like the island, and it's warmer here!' he says, adding that among his crew is an Irishman, a Welshman and an English woman, with the balance 'from around the area.' He added, 'We have a real mixture of crew, so I'm not sure how we'll do; we'll enjoy ourselves, though, that's all that matters!'

Jackknife is in one of four IRC classes (33 boats total) taking part in the 2009 US-IRC Gulf Stream Series. Forty PHRF boats are divided into five classes (one of those being 'Navigator' for non-spinnaker), while making up the balance are eight One-Design classes (Beneteau 36.7, NYYC Swan 42, Farr 40, J/122, J/44, Farr 30, J/109, and J/105).

Looking to win the J/122 North American championship being held here as part of Race Week is Doug Shaffer (Bayview, Texas) aboard Gambler. At the recent New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex, he finished second to Andrew Weiss's Christopher Dragon and counts that team as a main competitor along with Mike Bruno/Tom Boyle/Jim Callahan's (Irvington, N.Y.) Wings. Shaffer explained, 'By class rules, we're allowed one industry 'professional,' who can be the tactician, and we've got perhaps the best three tacticians in this class sailing on our three boats.' While Jay Lutz calls tactics for Gambler, Shaffer expects Stu Johnstone and Mark Ploch to do so, respectively, for Wings and Christopher Dragon. The event also is serving as the J/109 East Coast Championship.

The racing format for the week allows for three fleets -- Red, White and Blue - on three different race courses. All classes, with the exception of the Navigator's class in Blue fleet and weather permitting, will sail a minimum of two windward/leeward course races for four of the five race days. Scheduled for Navigator's class is one race per day around government and/or race committee marks.

Sailors will be gunning for 17 individual class trophies, with each of the fleets vying for a Rolex watch as the overall prize for top-performing yacht. A Rolex watch also goes to the top performing IRC boat in the around-the-island race.

Part of Race Week's charm - besides searching for crew houses on streets with no names, making the short rides between marinas by bicycle, and drinking famous mudslides at The Oar - is its own on-site daily newspaper presented by the Northeast's leading sailing publication Windcheck and nightly 'Big Top' tent parties sponsored by a huge line-up of supporting businesses and featuring T2p.tv coverage from the day's racing.

Compliments of Rolex, the T2P.tv coverage will be broadcast on-line each night by 9 p.m. on www.blockislandraceweek.com

Sea Sure 2021 - FLO - FOOTERNorth Sails 2021 Innovation - FOOTERMcConaghy 2022 - MC63p & MC75 FOOTER

Related Articles

505 Worlds at Crosshaven, Ireland day 3
Still no wind! Day 3 completed, and we still have only one race in the bag.... Ireland has a large ridge of no wind sitting stationary above it and it is wreaking havoc on the 505 fleet. For the second day in a row the planned racecourse offshore had zero wind.
Posted on 10 Aug
One year to go until 2023 Allianz Sailing Worlds
Making history by being the first to include Para World Sailing events On 10 August 2023, 1,400 of the world's best sailors will take to the waters of the port of Scheveningen in The Hague, The Netherlands, for two life-changing prizes.
Posted on 10 Aug
SSL Gold Cup - D4 - Australia versus Brazil
On day four of training in the 2022 SSL Gold Cup, Team AUS tussle with Team Brazil On day four of training in the 2022 SSL Gold Cup, Team AUS took to the water to tussle with Team Brazil.
Posted on 10 Aug
"Best-rigged vessels have a 2 finger forestay sag"
The rig tuning legacy of Uffa Fox, 50 years on from the great man's death From 18th - 21st of August the Royal London Yacht Club celebrates the life of Uffa Fox with the Uffa Fox 2022 Regatta.
Posted on 10 Aug
505 Worlds at Crosshaven, Ireland day 2
Racing was abandoned for the day There was a postponement onshore for the sailors and the committee spent the day sitting on the offshore race course. Ironically, the inshore course, planned for strong winds and big seas had fantastic sailing conditions.
Posted on 10 Aug
Mark Paterson - outstanding sailing talent dies
Mark Paterson came close to winning NZ's third Olympic gold medal at Montreal in 1976 Mark Paterson was a fierce competitor in everything he did but there was one fight he ultimately couldn't win. Paterson is being remembered after he died last week after a long battle with Huntington's Disease. He was 73.
Posted on 10 Aug
International 14 Worlds in Flensburg, Germany
The number of female helms and crews at the top was a real talking point Fifty-two International Fourteen from six nations attended the World Championships hosted in Flensburg, Germany. After a 12-month delay due to Covid, the Championships faced an additional challenge due to the global costs of containers.
Posted on 9 Aug
Road trip!
The Atlantic coast is home to some of the most famous sailing areas in the world After a few years of very localised living, travel is opening up, and as a family we've made our first proper road trip for a while, heading down the west coast of France for a camping holiday.
Posted on 9 Aug
Clipper Race's inspirational women return
Including record breaker first Korean woman to race across the North Atlantic A summer of success for women in sport continues with 65 non-professional female sailors returning to London last weekend after enduring everything Mother Nature served up during the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
Posted on 9 Aug
Global Swan family to meet at Rolex Swan Cup 2022
Porto Cervo again the venue for the highlight of the Swan racing season It's the Swan family celebration of the year, a gathering of the Nautor community, a passionate festival of sail - it is the highlight of the Mediterranean racing season, The Rolex Swan Cup.
Posted on 9 Aug