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New PHRF Perpetual Trophy for Ida Lewis Distance Race

by Barby MacGowan 17 May 05:07 PDT 16 August 2019
The Steve Benjamin's (Norwalk, Conn./Jamestown, R.I.) TP52 Spookie, winner of IRC Class at the 2018 Ida Lewis Distance Race. © Michele Almeida

The Ida Lewis Distance Race, scheduled for Friday, August 16, has added a second PHRF perpetual trophy, so that the two PHRF divisions that compete will each have their own declared overall winner (as opposed to a single overall PHRF winner as in the past). The late-summer sailing tradition, which starts and finishes off historic Ida Lewis Yacht Club, also awards an overall trophy in IRC and top-three trophies in PHRF (including Cruising Spinnaker), IRC, One Design, and Doublehanded classes as well as special trophies for top-finishing Youth and Collegiate teams.

"We think this will be a nice incentive for more PHRF boats to enter, especially the smaller ones sailed by families and friends," said Event Chair Pat Kennedy, explaining that often in the past, boats in the lower half of the handicap rating break didn't have much of a chance to out-perform the larger boats, some of them veteran Grand Prix racers, in the upper half. "Now that we have separate trophies, we also are able to send the two PHRF divisions on different courses, if we think that makes sense."

Interestingly, the Ida Lewis Distance Race is not one course but any of four, ranging from 112 to 169 nautical miles. The Race Committee looks at the weather forecast before each race to determine the courses that are most likely to get all teams back to the dock within 18-24 hours. The courses, which in each case send the fleet past Castle Hill on the way out of Narragansett Bay's East Passage to Block Island and Long Island Sounds, are "The Montauk", "The Block Island", "The Point Judith", and "The Buzzards Bay Tower". As the names imply, the courses incorporate some of the most iconic cruising grounds in New England.

Invitation to J Fest Teams

By design, the Ida Lewis Distance Race offers an offshore experience that is not too long, not too short and just challenging enough. With that in mind organizers have invited participants in the third annual New England J/Fest Regatta (August 9-11), which is sailing out of Sail Newport, to extend their stay for the following week in order to include the Ida Lewis Distance Race on their sailing schedules. (Signup deadline for the Ida Lewis Distance Race before entry fee penalties apply is July 15.)

The PHRF division is perfect for the J/30s, J/88s, J/105s, J/109s, and J/121s competing at J/Fest. (The Ida Lewis Distance race is for boats 28 feet and longer, so other J Boat classes at J/Fest would not qualify.)

J Boats are popular sailboats known for their quality design, construction and impressive performance over other boats of similar size. They have a strong following and very active class associations that include world champion sailors.

Junior Safety @ Sea Seminar June 2!

All Ida Lewis Distance Race Youth competitors must attend a Storm Trysail Foundation (STF) Junior Safety @ Sea seminar or the equivalent within 24 months of the start of the race. A local opportunity to fulfill this requirement will be on Sunday, June 2 when Sail Newport partners with STF and the Storm Trysail Club Newport Station to present the one-day 2019 Newport Junior Safety @ Sea seminar at Fort Adams State Park.

This amazing learning opportunity is inspired by safety programs for ocean racers but is carefully designed for a teen audience and stresses fun, hands-on practice, communication, teamwork, and the anticipation of trouble before it happens. Participants will leave with working knowledge of safety issues surrounding the operation of keel boats in the 30- to 45-foot range that are suitable for offshore sailing. The morning consists of dockside instruction while the afternoon is on the water, using the skills discussed in the morning. Instruction will be conducted by Storm Trysail Club members and other highly experienced offshore sailors.

Register here for the 2019 Newport Junior Safety At Sea Seminar or find more details through the Ida Lewis Distance Race website.

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