Saturday, August 20, 2016

Ida Lewis Distance Race Preview

Brooke Mastrorio's J/109 URSA (Newport, RI)- The start of the Ida Lewis Distance Race begins at 12:30pm off Fort Adams State Park in Newport, R on Friday, August 19th. Over 40 boats in four divisions – IRC, PHRF Spinnaker, Double-Handed and Cruising Spinnaker – will jockey for best positions on the starting line just like in traditional around-the-buoys racing, but shortly thereafter, skippers, navigators and crew will have to shift to offshore mode as they sail past Castle Hill and into the distance on one of four courses, decided prior to the start based on conditions. The courses run in length between 107 and 169 miles and incorporate waypoints such as Buzzards Bay Tower, Point Judith, Block Island and Montauk, giving sailors an interesting and beautifully scenic experience in this overnight “sprint” that has become a popular late-summer racing tradition in New England.

Special trophies for Youth and Collegiate Challenges make the Ida Lewis Distance Race a unique opportunity for experienced distance racers to share their knowledge with novices.  One of those Youth Challenges, the J/35 BREAKAWAY, will have Paul Grimes (Portsmouth, R.I.) as team leader. To qualify for the Youth Challenge, more than 40% of the crew must have reached their 14th birthday but not turn 20 before August 15, 2016.

Ida Lewis Distance Race startThere will be nine J/Teams sailing the race.  Entered in IRC Class is the J/44 KENIA from Houston, TX, skippered by Chris Lewis from Lakewood YC on Galveston Bay.  In PHRF Spinnaker Class are Grimes’ Youth Challenge crew on the J/35 BREAKAWAY, plus Dwight McMillan’s J/109 AVIATO from Barrington YC, Greg Leonard’s J/120 HERON from Severn Sailing Association, Greg Slamowitz’s J/111 MANITOU, Brooke Mastrorio’s J/109 USA, EC Helme’s J/92S SPIRIT, Bob Manchester’s J/120 VAMOOSE and Bill Kneller’s J/109 VENTO SOLARE.

The Ida Lewis Distance Race was inaugurated in 2004 as a biennial event; however, by 2006, its impending popularity was clear, and it became an annual race that same year. Now in its 12th edition, the race is a qualifier for the Rhode Island Offshore Challenge, New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF); and Northern and Double-Handed Ocean Racing Trophies (IRC). Top Trophies are The Russell L. Hoyt Memorial Trophy for best elapsed time in IRC division; The Commodore’s Trophy for best-corrected time in IRC division; The Lois J. Muessel Memorial Trophy for best elapsed time in PHRF division; and The Lime Rock Trophy for best-corrected time in PHRF division.

For a third year in a row, the Ida Lewis Distance Race has been certified at the silver level for Sailors for the Sea’s Clean Regattas program. The certification system helps sailing events create and manage environmentally responsible events in an effort to educate and motivate boaters to reduce marine debris and preserve the waters upon which they sail.

Sponsors for the 2016 Ida Lewis Distance Race include Bluewater Technologies, City of Newport, Helly Hansen, New England Boatworks, Newport Shipyard, and Triton Insurance; Contributing Sponsors are DYT Yacht Transport, Flint Audio & Video, Goslings Rum, Mac Designs, North Sails, Rig Pro Southern Spars, Stella Artois, Toni Mills Graphic Design, and Z Blok.  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.  For more Ida Lewis Distance Race sailing information