Friday, June 17, 2011

Rolex STC Block Island Week Preview

J/44s sailing at Block Island Race Week
(Block Island, RI)- For many summer starts in New England with the biennial summer-time classic, Storm Trysail's Rolex Block Island Race Week.  With wonderful sponsors like Mount Gay Rum and Rolex, it's hard not to like the fact that if you happen to win some races, you not only get some Mount Gay Rum to share with crew, family and friends, you could walk off with the ultimate prize of the week- a shiny new stainless steel Rolex Submariner watch.  135 competitors will be fighting for all that hardware.  Again, J's will be by far the largest brand represented at the Rolex BIRW with 41 boats sailing, about 1/3 of the fleet.

The premiere fleet will be the J/44 and J/122 classes racing together for both class and one-design honors.  Amongst the J/122s, past NA Champion Mike Bruno/ Tom Boyle/ Jim Callahan from American Yacht Club will be hoping to extend their winning streak.  And in the J/44s, there will be some tough going with class leaders like Jeff Willis on CHALLENGE IV, Jim Bishop sailing GOLD DIGGER and Bill Ketcham racing MAXINE scraping for every inch of space on the starting lines and mark roundings.  This will be a very interesting class to watch.

Sailing PHRF 1 will be a fleet of J/111s vying for both one-design and class honors for the first time in New England. Paul Strauch from Manhasset Bay YC will be sailing ANDIAMO, Sedgewick Ward from Shelter Island YC will be racing BRAVO, David and MaryEllen Tortorello from Cedar Point YC will be sailing PARTNERSHIP and Doug Curtiss from New Bedford YC will be steering the new WICKED 2.0.  Into this mix of sea wolves will be thrown a lone J/120, Peter Hein's VAREKAI.

J/109 sailboat- sailing Around Block Island RaceThe J/109s will be having one of their strongest fleets ever, having assembled fifteen boats for their J/109 North American Championships.  For this assemblage of talent, anything goes.  Nevertheless, counting amongst the leaders could be past champions like Bill Sweetser from Annapolis YC on RUSH, Rick Lyall from Cedar Point YC on STORM and Ted Herlihy from New Bedford YC sailing GUT FEELING.  Look for some strong sailing coming from teams like Don Fillipeli's CAMINOS from Devon YC and Paul Milo's VENTO SOLARE from Annapolis YC.

The J/105s continue to have a strong showing at Rolex BIRW, a popular destination event for this class.  Top contenders sure to factor into the podium equation will be past North American Champion Bruce Stone/ Julian Croxall's JOUSTER from St Francis YC, Nelson Wiederman's KIMA from Wickford YC, Damian Emery's ECLIPSE from Shoreham, NY and Andrew Kennedy's BAT IV from Annapolis YC.

This year five J/29s will be dueling it out for class honors in PHRF 3, including past champions MIGHTY PUFFIN sailed by Steve Thurston from Bristol, RI and HUSTLER sailed by the two gentlemen from City Island, NY, John and Tony Esposito. In PHRF 4 will be the lone J/80 RUMOUR sailed by that family of champion sailors, the Storcks from Huntington, NY.    For more Rolex Block Island Race Week sailing information