Thursday, September 17, 2015

J/Crews Gather Silver in Round Island Races

J/109 Picante sailing round island race(Newport, RI)- As the summer sailing season slowly winds down in the northeastern USA, the grand finale for many sailors are the three (count’em 3!) “round island” races that take place all within a 40nm diameter circle of a three-state region- NY, RI & CT!  Perhaps the oldest of them is the Conanicut YC’s Round Island Race, a 20nm affair on Sunday afternoon that take crews around the picturesque Narragansett Bay.  The next oldest event is Fishers Island YC’s Round Island Race, another 17nm circumnavigation that took place on Saturday and is fraught with the tricky, strong tides flooding out of Fisher’s Island Sound to the north and Long Island Sound/ Block Island Sound to the south.  Then, the third event is Block Island YC’s Round Island Race that is also about 19nm and took place on Sunday, the very same, very popular race that hundreds of sailors look forward to during the infamous Storm Trysail Block Island Race Week earlier in June.

J/22s sailing round island raceCYC Round Island Report
The Conanicut YC hosted 96 boats for its 88th edition of the Around the Island Race, which took place Sunday, September 6, 2015. This annual event is one of the oldest on-going sailboat races on Narragansett Bay, featuring a complete circumnavigation of Conanicut Island (for competitors racing mono hull sailboats over 22 feet in length that are rated for PHRF-NB). The race is followed by a dinner celebration at the host club, which was attended by over 250 people this year.

“This event has once again brought the Narragansett Bay sailing community together for a competitive and fun day on the water,” said Organizing Chairman John Mayers, adding that the fleet was comprised of a variety of different boats and competitors of all ages from different clubs and communities around the area. “Every year, our greatest variable is the race day weather and this year it was absolutely perfect; with conditions not only providing great sailing, but also highlighting how beautiful our bay is, especially when it’s filled with a fleet of sailboats.”

J/22 sailing Newport round island raceIt was a gorgeous day for sailing and it was an especially rewarding for the J/Teams that, for the most part, are quite savvy “Round Island” Bay sailors.  Starting with the nine boat J/22 one-design class sailing in PHRF C, it was Mike Marshall’s BAD NEWS that won class and nearly won the whole race overall!  Instead, the good news for BAD NEWS was that they still got silverware, taking 3rd overall out of the 96 boats!  Second was world champion women sailor, Cory Sertl, sailing LUCY (she placed 6th overall!), 3rd was Matt Dunbar’s WHARF RAT, 4th was Bill Porter’s CONUNDRUM and 5th was Eric Senior’s GOOD NEWS.

For PHRF A, taking 2nd was the J/29 LYNX sailed by Dennis Nixon from Conanicut YC.  Finishing 3rd was the J/35c SUGAREE skippered by Jim Cornwall from Rhode Island YC and in 4th place was the J/24 TENACIOUS sailed by Bob Iriye from Newport YC (a hysterical footnote- this boat was bought from the legendary Tom Ehman- for Managing Director of US SAILING, current Golden Gate YC Vice Commodore and a long-time America’s Cup director for Oracle USA team).

The PHRF D class had to contend with several extremely fast, well-sailed J/24s that really do know their way around the Bay.  Not surprisingly, a World and North American Champion led the fleet home, with John Mollicone’s J/24 PIPE DREAM winning the class and also taking 5th overall in fleet!  Third was Henry Lane’s J/24 FAST LANE and 4th was Mike Hill’s J/24 OBSTREPOROUS.

J/35 Breakaway sailing round island raceAnother group loaded down with Bay veterans was PHRG G class that featured a range of 35 ft J designs.  Taking 2nd was Ted Herlihy’s J/109 GUT FEELING.  They were followed by Dawson Hodgson’s J/100 GRIMACE in 4th, John Sahagian’s J/109 PICANTE in 5th, Paul Grimes’ J/35 BREAKAWAY in 6th, Brooke Mastrorio’s J/109 URSA in 7th and Bill Kneller’s J/109 VENTO SOLARE in 8th.

Finally, in the “big boat” PHRF J Class, taking second place was Fred Van Liew & Dave Brodsky’s J/111 ODYSSEY and not too far back was Jack Gregg’s J/122 TARAHUMARA in 4th.   Sailing photo credits- Cate Brown   For more Conanicut YC Round Island Race sailing information