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Festival of Sails 2023 - LEADERBOARD

95th Conanicut Yacht Club Around the Island Race - Recap

by CYC Around the Island Race 6 Sep 10:23 PDT September 4, 2022

"It looks like a perfect day," stated Moose McClintock's weather briefing to skippers ahead of the 95th Annual Conanicut Yacht Club Around the Island Race.

"At this time of year, as the water warms, there's less of a tendency of a strong thermal flow but with highs near 80 there will be a reinforcement of a southwest flow from an incoming, but weak, cold front."

McClintock's forecast was spot on. By the time the first classes of the 80 boats started off CYC at 11 am, the wind had filled nicely and the clouds parted to welcomed sunny skies. The breeze continued to build to 10-15 knots from the south-southwest making the course an 18-mile windward-leeward.

With a flooding tide into Narragansett Bay the entire race, sailors were challenged to choose which shores to hit, Newport or Jamestown, as they sailed south to round Beavertail then up the West Passage to the North End. Then once again, sailors had a choice of which side of Gould Island to pass before sailing under the Newport Pell Bridge to the finish.

"We could not have asked for better conditions," said Race Chair Peter Schott. "It was definitely the best we can remember in recent memory." Schott was new to the position this year and assembled a group of volunteers to take on the 95-year tradition with some modifications such as introducing YachtScoring as a registration and scoring system.

Rich Moody's R/P 66 Aurora was the first to cross the finish line in 2 hours and 14 minutes and ten seconds followed by Ron O'Hanley's Cookson 50, Privateer four minutes later. The O'Hanley crew corrected to first to take home the top prize, the Commodore Quinn Trophy, with a corrected time of 3 hours and nine minutes and thirty-eight seconds.

This was Privateer's first race of the year due to a lightning strike four days before the Newport Bermuda Race back in June that damaged the boat significantly. According to navigator Ed Cesare, "Our goal was to just go out to take it casually to feel comfortable on the boat again after the repairs and the crew accomplished that - which was a win in itself. To then walk away with the trophy, makes the day even more gratifying. Huge praise for boat captain Scotty Innis-Jones for getting the boat back in fighting shape."

The Around the Island Race though is not about just the victories, it is a celebration of summer and getting the most out of these last warm days.

One new team this year was Joe Lark's Olson 30 Sail for ALS. Lark, the 22-year-old owner, started the team after he lost his mom to ALS in March of 2021 right before he graduated from Salve Regina along with a friend who also was affected by the disease.

"We decided that we wanted to start the team to raise awareness about the disease and also have a fundraising campaign that is linked directly to the ALS Association," said Lark. "We are still getting to know the boat and hoping to do more with the team in the years to come." Learn more about his cause here.

The day ended with a beautiful night at Conanicut Yacht Club for awards where sailors regaled the stories from the race course and awards were presented.

Schott says "We are hoping in future years, we can attract competitors from outside Narragansett Bay. This race is always the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend, so we want to encourage our friends from Buzzards Bay or Long Island Sound to come and make a weekend of it."

More race information:

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