Sunday, September 6, 2020

Round the Island Race- Jamestown Preview

J/109 sailing Round Jamestown Island Race
(Jamestown, Rhode Island)- In a summer of social distancing, getting out on the water has been a release for many local sailors. Conanicut Yacht Club's Annual Around-the-Island Race on September 6th aims to continue to be that respite. The 93rd edition, held annually on the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend, may look a little different this year but will still be a celebration of the New England summer sailing season winding down.

Typically attracting around one hundred boats, competitors start at 11 am in separated divisions then circumnavigate the 18.0 mile course around Conanicut Island. Usually, this is followed by the popular post-race party and awards ceremony at the club. However, the pandemic rules haven’t allowed us to do that part of the day’s activities.

"We are proud and grateful for how flexible and patient the sailing community has been this summer," says race chairman, Alan Baines. "We delayed opening registration until we knew more about how we could operate safely for everyone and of course, decided to not host a post-racing party. However, as regulations are always changing, we do ask for your continued cooperation. So please keep an eye out for any late special instructions or changes over the coming weeks."

Despite the cancellations or modifications of other local regattas, many race boats have still been sailing as much as possible. They have adapted to the "new normal" by following the safety recommendations from the State of Rhode Island by limiting crew or just sailing with family. Face masks or buffs have become a part of the sailors' gear bag as much as the lifejacket, hat, and sunglasses.

Many J/Crews are participating in what is generally the most popular long-distance race sailed on Narragansett Bay every summer. The Sunday marine weather forecast is looking pretty epic, sunny and in the 70's F, S-SW winds 10-15 kts most of the day and with a high tide at 11:08 AM the Bay will be ebbing all day long. As a result, the fleet will be pushed upwind at a 1-2 kts clip...making it a very fast race on a handicap basis for the smaller boats.

Participating in the seven-boat PHRF C Class- Non-Spinnaker- is Owen Harren's J/44 SINGULARLY. In the nine-boat PHRF D Class are Noah Simmons's J/22 QUINN and a duet of J/24s (John Stokes's FRAMBOSE & Mike Hill's OBSTREPOROUS).  In the nine-boat PHRF E Class is Colin Miller's J/27 SPLASH TANGO and a trio of J/30s (Chris Tate's BLITZ, Dexter Hoag's ALTAIR, & Dan Borsutky's FLYING HIGH).

One of the largest classes in the race is the thirteen-boat PHRF F Class. Leading the charge should be EC Helme's talented local knowledge team on his J/92S SPIRIT. They will be pressed hard by Sam Sylvester's J/29 MEDDLER, a trio of J/70s (Gordon Fletcher's GIJIMA, Hannah Swett's SPARKLE, & Stu Johnstone's J-HAWK), and a duo of J/80s (Conor O'Neil's THE PARTY TREE & Eric Bell's PHANTOM).

The thirteen-boat PHRF G Class has a well-known trio of winning J/109s flying around the race track; including Bill Kneller's VENTO SOLARE, Tom Sutton's LEADING EDGE, and Bo Eaves’ FREEDOM. They will be chased hard by FJ Ritt's J/35 SHAMROCK.  For more Conanicut YC Around the Island Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.