Saturday, June 11, 2016

Wild & Wicked Block Island Race

J/105 sailing Block Island Race (Larchmont, NY)- This year’s Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race started Friday afternoon (May 27) and saw most of its eighty-two entries finishing Saturday evening and early Sunday morning. The 186nm race for IRC and PHRF boats is a Memorial Day weekend tradition that starts and finishes off Stamford, Conn., and takes a route around Block Island (rounding to starboard). This year’s 71st edition hosted ten classes, including an IRC and PHRF class each for double-handed crews, as well as a youth challenge competition.

“The conditions were volatile,” said one of the competitors, who explained that the wind went from quite light to an upper range of 20-25 knots, “and tough because of the variables, but we focused on where the next wind line was going to come from and made the right decisions. It was a thinking race from that perspective.  We encountered a squall between The Race and Block Island that was luckily more wind than rain.  Then, we ran into the heavy weather and torrential downpour on Block Island Sound. After rounding Block Island, it was our time to fly the spinnaker, and things were going pretty well until we got closer to the Gut. On the Long Island side, there was a ‘parking lot’ and we were drifting, waiting for more boats to join the party! Eventually, a breeze developed close to the shore and the race started again. We are super excited about our finish.”

According to another skipper, “I was waking up at 0300 hrs when a squall had hit and laid the boat on its side with its spinnaker up.  It was a real fire drill, a real mess for us!!”

Surviving the chaos and nearly pulling off a win in their class was Hewitt Gaynor’s J/120 MIREILLE from Fairfield, CT, taking the silver in the IRC 1 Doublehanded Class.

In the IRC 3 division with seven boats, taking a bronze was Len Sitar’s J/44 VAMP from Holmdel, NJ.  They also took home the Tuna Trophy for the best combined IRC scores in the Edlu (40%) and the Block Island Race (60%).  Lenny also had Rear Commodore A.J. Evans of Storm Trysail Club on board.

In the ten boat IRC 4 Class, Dale and Michael McIvor’s J/133 MATADOR from Southport, CT took home the silver for second place.  Finally, in the PHRF 4 Class with fourteen boats, Carl Olsson’s J/109 MORNING GLORY from New Rochelle, NY grabbed the gold for first overall in class.  For more Storm Trysail Block Island Race sailing information