Friday, May 25, 2018

Storm Trysail Block Island Race Preview

J/121 debut in Block Island Race (Larchmont, NY)- If it's Memorial Day, that must mean its time for two all-time classic events in the northeast, the Storm Trysail Club’s annual Block Island Race and the Hyannis YC and Nantucket YC’s annual FIGAWI Bash!

Starting on May 25th, the STC BI Race begins in the afternoon on the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend – it is a 186nm race from Stamford, CT down Long Island Sound, around Block Island, RI and back to Stamford. A shorter, 125nm inside-the-Sound course to Plum Island for smaller/slower boats is offered as well.

For many racing yachts and crews, the race is an annual rite of passage. For Newport Bermuda Race years (such as this one), it’s a perfect tune-up opportunity for crews to work out the kinks in their watch systems, reacquaint themselves with night racing, shake-down the rigging and learn how best to trim new (or old!) sails.  Generally, most of the fleet finishes late Saturday night or the early hours of Sunday morning.  But, of course, that all depends on the wind, the currents, the weather and the crew.

The Block Island Race was first held in 1946 and it is a qualifier for the Northern Ocean Racing Trophy (IRC), the Double Handed Ocean Racing Trophy (IRC), the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF), and the Gulf Stream Series (IRC). The Block Island Race is also a qualifier for the Caper, Sagola, and Windigo trophies awarded by the YRA of Long Island Sound and the 'Tuna' Trophy for the best combined IRC scores in the Edlu (40%) and the Block Island Race (60%).

Last year, sixty-one boats finished the course which started in a light, but building breeze. Despite the “nattering nabobs of negativism”, regarding forecasted wind speed, the race turned into a fairly quick and quite pleasant event.

This year’s entry list is up quite dramatically, with eighty-five boats registered; seventeen of them are J/Crews (20% of the fleet).  Leading the charge in IRC 1 Doublehanded class is Gardner Grant’s well-traveled J/120 ALIBI from Westport, CT.

In the nine-boat PHRF 3 Class, vying for class supremacy will be a four J/crews, Fred Allardyce’s J/40 MISTY, Carl Olsson’s J/109 MORNING GLORY, and two J/105s- Hobie Ponting’s PRIVATEER and Frank Conway’s RAPTOR.

Three J/Crews will be gunning for the podium in PHRF 5 Class.  Two J/120s will duel (Brian Spears’ MADISON and Rick Oricchio’s ROCKET SCIENCE) with a J/124 (Bill Ingraham’s TENEBRAE from Larchmont YC.

IRC 3 Class has five J/teams participating in what appears to be a quite competitive ten-boat fleet.  Two every experienced J/44s (Chris Lewis’ KENIA and Len Sitar’s VAMP) will fight with two fast J/122s (David Cielusniak’s J-CURVE and Jack Gregg’s TARAHUMARA) and hope the lightning quick J/111 (John Donovan’s LIBERTAS) from Southport, CT doesn’t upset their larger brethren.

The first major race for Steve Levy’s brand new J/121 EAGLE will be in eight-boat IRC 4 Class.  They are up against a host of the top boats on Long Island Sound, including Dale & Mike McIvor’s J/133 MATADOR.

Finally, the lone wolf flying the J/flag in IRC 5 Class will be Brian Prinz’s J/125 SPECTRE from Branford YC in East Haven, CT.  For more Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.