Friday, August 15, 2014

Ida Lewis Distance Race Preview

Ida Lewis Distance Race start off Newport, RIInnovative Course + Youth & College Challenges!
(Newport, RI)- A “virtual mark” adds an intriguing new twist to the 10th Annual Ida Lewis Distance Race (ILDR), which starts this Friday (August 15). Starting at 12:30 p.m. off Fort Adams in Newport, R.I., the popular overnighter takes its fleet of PHRF, IRC, One-Design, Doublehanded and Multihull boats on one of four courses – between 104nm and 177nm – that trace the New England coastline.  

“This is the first time that we have used the concept of a ‘virtual mark’ at the Ida Lewis Distance Race,” said ILDR Race Chairman Simon Davidson, adding that the mark is similar to a traditional mark, as defined in the rules of sailing, except rather than being a physical object, it’s a position defined by latitude and longitude coordinates.

“Originally, this concept was born out of necessity, due to the Coast Guard’s removal of various traditional marks that we’ve used in the past. However, making this change actually enhances the race committee's ability to set an optimal distance course. If this experience proves successful, we expect to see it used for a lot of other events.”

This year, the mark will be located at longitude 41:06.00 north and latitude 071:23.34 west.

“This seems to be an emerging trend,” said Ed Cesare (Norwalk, Conn.). “I know the RORC uses virtual marks and have been doing so for some time. Certainly the technology is there, so if it works for the race course, then let’s do it.”  The concept was also used extensively in the last Volvo Ocean Race to also create “safety zones” for pack ice or Roaring Forties depressions encircling the Antarctic.

Cesare has been racing in the Ida Lewis Distance Race since its inception in 2004. “I competed in this event on a variety of different boats, and what I love about it is that the organizers are constantly trying to modify the format to make it better for a variety of different teams. It also starts and finishes in Newport, making it a fun weekend for all members of the family.”

To that point, the Ida Lewis Distance Race welcomes the next generation of sailors to try offshore racing on for size with its Youth and Collegiate Challenges. To qualify for the Youth Challenge, more than 40% of the crew must have reached their 14th birthday but not turned 20 before August 15. To qualify for the Collegiate Challenge, more than 40% of the crew must not have reached the age of 26 before August 15. For both challenges, teams are encouraged to register under the burgee of a college sailing program or a US SAILING yacht club or community sailing program.

Quite a line-up of thirteen J/Teams are participating in the event (30.0% of 53 keelboats), including the new J/88 family speedster.  Indeed, the J/88 is being sailed by Rick Flieg with a youth crew on TEAM McMICHAELS YOUTH CHALLENGE in the PHRF Class of fifteen boats.  They are joined by the ODYSSEY YOUTH CHALLENGE, Fred Van Liew’s J/111 from New York YC; SECONDHAND LIONS YOUTH CHALLENGE, Bob Kits van Heyningen’s J/120; Bob Manchester’s J/120 VAMOOSE, Chris Saxton’s J/145 VORTICES from Bayview YC in Detroit, Michigan; and Paul Grimes’ J/35 BREAKAWAY from Conanicut YC.

In IRC Class, the J/122 ORION, fresh from their successful performance in the Bermuda Race, will be led by Paul Milo and crew from Leesburg, VA and other Chesapeake Bay sailors.

The PHRF Double-handed Class will have Mike Piper’s J/111 EAGLES DARE from Eastern YC in Marblehead, MA sailing against three fast Class 40s.  During the Bermuda Race, Mike also sailed double-handed against some of these teams and managed to beat some of them boat-for-boat!

Finally, in the PHRF Cruising Spinnaker class, five other J/Teams are sailing; including Brooke Mastrorio’s J/109 URSA, Brendan Kelley’s J/133 EXILE, Chris Oliver’s J/40 COVENANT, Bob Anderson’s J/46 ARIEL and EC Helme’s J/92s SPIRIT. 

Video and Photo Contests
The Ripple Effect Short Video Contest has been introduced to attract and engage the youth sailors (between 14 and 20 years of age) competing in the Ida Lewis Distance Race. The contest was originally developed by Joe Cooper and Manuka SEM for the Atlantic Cup this past May. Participants (working either individually or as a team) are asked to answer the question “What do you like most about offshore/ overnight sailing?” through a video essay or documentary no longer than five minutes in length.

The Ida Lewis Distance Race Photo Challenge invites all sailors competing in this summer’s event to submit photos to the event Facebook Page (with hashtag #ILDR) that capture their experience at the race. Prizes for both contests will be announced at a later date.  To download contest guidelines and registration form, visit    For more Ida Lewis Distance Race sailing information.