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North Sails Performance 2023 - LEADERBOARD

77th Annual STC Block Island Race set to sail in classic conditions

by Storm Trysail Club 22 May 16:03 PDT 24 May 2024
Block Island Race Week 2023 © Stephen R Cloutier

82 boats are gearing up for the 77th Annual Block Island Race, set to commence this Friday, (May 24) at 2 p.m. off Stamford, CT. Teams will embark on the challenging 186-nautical mile course, navigating through Long Island Sound, around Block Island, and back.

The weather forecast looks to be typical for this time of year. With a late sea breeze from the southwest and an outgoing tide predicted for the first afternoon, sailors will hope for the breeze to fill to get them going out before the tide turns and the breeze turns back to the north.

One of the standout competitors to watch is the Mills 68, Space Monkey. This Pro/Am team, led by David Greenstein, is coming off a string of victories, including line honors in the Fort Lauderdale Race and Nassau Race, and a first-to-finish in last season's Vineyard Race on a similar course. Sailing Master Jesse Fielding and navigator Jan Majer are banking on their local knowledge to secure a top spot on the ORC podium this time around.

However, they will have to contend with last weekend's EDLU Race at Larchmont Yacht Club and last year's Block Island Race winner and two-time Northern Ocean Racing Trophy (NORT) champion, Andrew Weiss, with his boat Christopher Dragon as they gear up for the Newport to Bermuda Race just a month away. 57 other teams also plan to take on the 53rd Thrash to the Onion Patch as well showcasing the Block Island Race's status as a crucial preparatory event for this iconic offshore challenge.

A mix of PHRF and ORC classes divides the fleet into 12 classes based on size and rating. Current weather and routing have many of the boats finishing in about 30 hours. Strategy of how to handle the tide and stay in the breeze will be key for the sailors.

The Block Island Race is a key qualifier for several prestigious season trophies, including the mentioned Northern Ocean Racing Trophy (NORT) and Double-Handed Ocean Racing Trophy (DHORT), which represent the pinnacle of competitive offshore racing under the Offshore Racing Congress' ORC International (ORCi) rating. It is also a qualifier for the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF), De Coursey Fales (PHRF), Sagola (PHRF), and Windigo (PHRF) Trophies, the du Moulin Cup for Double-Handed Racing, the Youth Challenge Cup awarded by the YRA-LIS, the STC Rugg Family Youth Offshore Challenge, and the "Tuna Trophy" for the best combined ORC scores in the EDLU (40%) and Block Island Race (60%).

Stay tuned for updates, results, and photos from the start of the race. Additionally, don't miss your chance to win a Raymarine Performance Sailing Package. All sailors on the crew list are automatically entered, but anyone can participate. The registration for the drawing closes at the start of the race on Friday at 2 p.m.

Good luck to all participants, and fair winds! See you at the awards at Stamford Yacht Club at Sunday at 1700 (May 26th).

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North Sails Performance 2023 - FOOTER