Wednesday, June 4, 2014

AYC Youth Sailors Win Block Island Race!

J/105 Young America team- winning Block Island RaceJ/105 YOUNG AMERICAN Win PHRF & Best Performance Awards!
(Stamford, CT)- The 69th Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race, which started on the Friday (May 23) of Memorial Day Weekend, attracted 69 boats.  While George David’s custom 90 footer- RAMBLER- won IRC on both handicap an elapsed with a fully professional crew, the polar opposite was true of the J/105 that won the hearts of everyone at the awards ceremony on Sunday.  That team was YOUNG AMERICAN, the J/105 that won PHRF 1 and represented American Yacht Club with its junior offshore team aboard. According to the team’s coordinator and adult crew member, Peter Becker, “the seven Young American juniors are part of the club’s junior big boat program, which sees 35 kids between the ages of 14 and 17 spending a huge amount of time on the water learning sailing and seamanship skills.”

“Beating out the Sound, we were under-powered, and there was a funny sea wave,” said Becker, “but they magically called a couple of shifts, got inside some big lifts and were in good company. The biggest problem was the big boats, which were in better wind and better current, while the smaller boats had the current turn on them. Coming back we were in foul current, which was not enjoyable at all.”

Finishing around 4 a.m. on Sunday, the Young American team thought they had done horribly but soon learned they were first in PHRF Class 1 and third overall. The team also won the Harvey Conover Memorial Overall Trophy, “awarded to the boat that has won her class and, in the judgment of the Flag Officers and Race Committee, had the best overall performance.”

Peter Becker’s son, Key Becker, who was one of three designated skippers onboard, summed up the experience by saying, “It was pretty light, but instead of getting frustrated, we held it together, worked as a team, shared our ideas and made it work.”

The largest brand in the IRC 1 Double-handed Division were the J’s with 5 of the 12 boats sailing. So dominating were their performance that they took 4 of the top 5 spots!  Leading the charge in 2nd overall was multiple Block Island Race and Bermuda Race One-Two winner, Jason Richter, on his famous J/35 PALADIN.  The “newbie” to the double-handed group was Mike Piper’s J/111 EAGLES DARE from Marblehead, MA, putting on a good show and taking 3rd overall in this incredibly competitive class.  Next up were the two J/120s, both proven offshore winners. Taking 4th was Hewitt Gaynor's MIRIELLE followed by Gardner Grant's ALIBI.

The two J teams sailing in the IRC 3 Division had a rough go of it in the 8 boat class.  In the end, the J/133 MATADOR sailed by Dale and Michael McIvor took 5th and the J/122 RED SKY skippered by John Pearson took 6th.

Finally, the J/44 One-Design Division had great sailing, as usual in this closely-spaced fleet.  Taking the gun was Phil Gutin’s BEAGLE, followed by Harry Devore’s team on HONAHLEE in 2nd and Len Sitar’s VAMP in third.   For more STC Block Island Race sailing information