Friday, August 17, 2018

Ida Lewis Distance Race Preview

J/109 sailing Ida Lewis Race (Newport, RI)- Over fifty teams are counting down the day for the 14th annual Ida Lewis Distance Race which gets underway August 17th, Friday noon, between Fort Adams and Rose Island in Newport, RI. Prior to the gun, Ida Lewis Yacht Club’s Race Committee will decide (based on weather forecasts and sea conditions) which of four courses will be used in this 2018 edition of the yearly round-trip offshore adventure.

Ida Lewis Distance Race course map“The courses range from 112nm to 169nm and incorporate such iconic waypoints as Castle Hill, Brenton Reef, Block Island, Montauk Point, Martha’s Vineyard, and Buzzards Tower,” said Race Chairman Pat Kennedy. “They are chosen with the best intention of having the fleet finish within 18-24 hours.”

Twenty teams hail from Rhode Island along with out-of-town entries from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and as far away as Ohio, Florida, and Louisiana.  Eleven of the fifty-one teams (22% of the fleet) entered are J/Crews from across the Northeast. Four of the brand-new J/121 offshore speedsters are entered across the spectrum of handicap racing and double-handed classes.  In the IRC Class is Don Nicholson’s J/121 APOLLO, winner of the Gibbs Lighthouse Division in the Newport to Bermuda Race in 2018.  Then, in PHRF Spinnaker are two more sisterships- Chris Brito’s INCOGNITO and Greg Manning’s SARAH (their inaugural offshore race in the 121). Finally, in the PHRF Doublehanded Division is David Southwell’s ALCHEMY.

J/105 Young American sailing Ida Lewis raceOther J/Teams participating include seven teams in the PHRF Spinnaker Division; such as the famous J/105 YOUNG AMERICAN, sailed by the American YC’s Young American Youth Sailing Academy from Rye, New York- they are past winners of their class!  In addition, two J/109s will be on the starting line- Sam Goldblatt’s MARQUISSE II and Bill Kneller’s VENTO SOLARE from Newport.  Other J/teams include Greg Slamowitz’s J/111 MANITOU, Bob Manchester’s J/120 VAMOOSE, EC Helme’s J/92S SPIRIT, and Paul Grimes’ J/35 BREAKAWAY (another class winner).

Representing the Young American Sailing Academy of Rye, NY as a Youth Entry in the 27-boat PHRF division, will be the J/105 YOUNG AMERICAN, the team won its class in 2017. “We had a great time despite the fact it was really windy,” said Young American YCC’s coach Peter Becker. “The kids loved it and have sea stories to tell about surfing right through the lee of boats significantly larger than us.”

Portsmouth, RI’s Paul Grimes, who has sailed the event four times on his J/35 BREAKAWAY, hasn’t officially entered as a Collegiate Entry in PHRF division, but he’ll definitely be bringing along some local-area college sailing ringers, including his son Alden Grimes (Bowdoin College), Adrian van der Wal (Northeastern), Victoria Boatwright (Georgetown), and Collin Moffet (Princeton).

Newport’s Bill Kneller has skippered in the race every year since 2015 on his J/109 VENTO SOLARE, with friends who sail with him regularly in the Tuesday night Jamestown Yacht Club race series. “We haven’t made the podium, yet, but are getting better each year,” he said. “Last year we were one of twenty boats that endured the weather and finished the race!”

In the four-boat Doublehanded division, David Southwell (Chestnut Hill, MA) will be sailing the race for the first time in ALCHEMY, a J/121 that is new to him this year. His teammate (Stuart MacNeil) has never sailed a doublehanded race before and this will only be Southwell’s second time to do so. “I’m preparing for the Bermuda One-Two next year by doing shorthanded and solo races and deliveries. We’re really looking forward to this,” commented Southwell.  For more Ida Lewis Distance Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.