Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Sunny, Fast Conanicut Round Island

J/121 Crescent IV winning classJ/121 CRESCENT IV Takes 1st Class, 2nd Overall!
(Jamestown, RI)- Under sunny skies and a building sea breeze, one hundred yachts ranging from 80 to 22 feet sailed 18 miles around the small island of Conanicut nestled in the middle of Narragansett Bay on Sunday afternoon. One of the oldest races in North America, the race marks the end of the summer sailing season in the coastal region.

“Some sailors come out for the trophy or just bragging rights, while others are simply on a family picnic sail,” said Race Chair Alan Baines. “The best part about this race that there is something for everyone and it's truly a celebration of another summer coming to end.”

The triple-digit fleet represented 25% of all race boats registered on Narragansett Bay, making it one of the largest CYC Around the Island Races in recent history. Plagued by Hurricane forecasts the last two years, organizers- who have been planning since January- were very happy both the weather and competitors turned out for the event.

“We want to keep it fun above all else,” said Principal Race Officer Mark Grosby of Jamestown. “Fair racing, a scenic course, and a great party afterward are what keeps everyone coming back year after year.”

Separated into 11 divisions and staggering starts by 6 minutes, the slower boats started at 11:00 am on Sunday in 8 knots from the south. It was around Beavertail Lighthouse on the southern tip on Conanicut that the fleets began to converge as they set their spinnakers for a nine-mile downwind run along the western side of the island.

J/105 sailing Conanicut YC Round Island RaceThere were plenty of winners amongst the more than 800 sailors (for full results go to but the residents of Jamestown also received a special treat watching the spectacular race from the shore. Jane Miner commented on the Race’s Facebook Page: “Loved that I could use KATTACK [tracking website] to see when they would be coming by my house, and then the scratch sheet to know who was who when I saw them with my binoculars from my terrace! So glad the breeze came in, too!!”

In every division that included J/crews, they either won or placed on the podium- there was a LOT of silverware to give out!  Starting with PHRF B Class, Dennis Nixon’s J/29 LYNX took third.  In PHRF C Class of mostly J/22s and J/24s, taking 2nd was Cory Sertl’s J/22 LUCY, 4th was Kira Munger’s J/24 Youth Grant Boat, and 5th was Henry Lane’s J/24 FAST LANE.

Then, in PHRF D Class, 3rd was Dexter Hoag’s J/30 ALTAIR while a sistership placed 4th- Chris Tate’s J/30 BLITZ. The same happened in the PHRF E Class, with Sean & Susan Doyle’s J/105 KESTREL in 2nd with their sistership- Matt Schmitt’s J/105 HARDTACK- taking 3rd on the podium.

In PHRF F Class, a perennial winner had to settle for silver this time around- Paul Grimes’ J/353 BREAKAWAY.  5th place went to Dawson & Ben Hodgson’s J/100 GRIMACE.

The PHRF G Class consisted of just one-design J/109s.  Winning the internecine battle was Bill Kneller’s VENTO SOLARE, joined on the podium by Ted Herlihy’s GUT FEELING in 2nd and John Sahagian’s PICANTE in third.

Finally, the “big boat J class” was PHRF H Class.  Not surprisingly, it was a battle of the 40-plus footers, with a Japanese crew taking the class honors!  Winning was Akimitu Hirai’s brand new J/121 CRESCENT IV from Hayama Marina YC in Japan- not only 1st in class, but 2nd in fleet PHRF Overall by a mere 18 seconds!  Third was Greg Manning’s J/121 SARAH and fifth went to Jack Gregg’s J/122 TARAHUMARA. Sailing photo credits- Cate Brown   For more Conanicut Round Island Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.