Block Island Race Week
24 June 2019
the docks of the three marinas of New Harbor were alive with
activity on Sunday in anticipation of Storm Trysail Club's Block
Island Race Week. At Payne’s Dock, the professional crews with the
TP 52 programs Fox and Gladiator were sorting sails, tuning rigs and
testing equipment. Dozens of Midshipmen with the Naval Academy
varsity offshore sailing team were shuttling back-and-forth between
the trailer and their two Farr 40-footers.
There was similar work being done at the New Harbor Boat Basin and Champlin’s Marina as the 122 boats in 13 classes attended to last-minute details in advance of racing, which begins today on Block Island Sound. Many of those boats participated in a practice race put together Sunday by organizers with host Storm Trysail Club. It was a great day for a shakedown with southwesterly winds of 18-20 knots providing robust conditions.
Competitors can look forward to more of the same for most of the week with on-water chairman Dick Neville noting that early forecasts looking quite favorable. “We should have good breeze every day and no fog,” Neville said.
A lay day has been built into the 2019 edition of Block Island Race Week and Neville said Wednesday is the best current candidate based off advance weather models. Storm Trysail Club will choose the day that is predicted to have the lightest wind.
ORC 1 has attracted 12 entries with Interlodge IV among the pre-regatta favorites after claiming IRC 2 class in convincing fashion at last weekend’s New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta. Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s Botin 44 looks like a slightly smaller version of a TP52 and is crewed primarily by pros.
“We have an interesting array of designs in this class so a lot will depend on the type of wind conditions we get during the week,” Fragomen said. “There are some outstanding boats that are usually well-sailed so we should have some great competition.”
Another top contender in ORC 1 is Temptation-Oakcliff, a Ker 50 skippered by Arthur Santry that was victorious in IRC 2 two years ago here in Block Island. Collegiate competitors from Oakcliff Sailing Center will be racing the Ker 50 this week.
The Cat Came Back, a Swan 42 skippered by Lincoln Mossop, is also part of ORC 1 after winning ORC Club at Block Island Race Week XXVII.
Teamwork, the highly successful J/122 owned by Robin Team, is the boat to watch in the 8-entry ORC 2 class. Teamwork topped IRC 3 in Block Island Race Week 2017 and is coming off an impressive victory in IRC 4 at the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta.
ORC 2 includes four J/121 designs along with another J/122. While both boats are 40-footers, the J/121 boasts a water ballast system and is about a thousand pounds lighter than a J/122, Team said. “We’re looking forward to racing against those J/121s and seeing how we match up,” Team said. “We’re also excited about mixing it up with Orion, our sister ship that we’ve had great battles with before.”
There are three TP52s competing in IRC 1 with Karl Kwok’s Beau Geste having grabbed bragging rights last weekend by beating both Fox and Gladiator at the NYYC Annual. Gavin Brady runs the Beau Geste program and had the team clicking on all cylinders last weekend as the boat that was launched in 2018 won all five races.
“Beau Geste is very fast and has a great crew,” said Victor Wild, San Diego-based owner of Fox, which was runner-up at the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta. “We learned a little humility last weekend because we’re accustomed to winning. Beau Geste got the better of us that time, but we’re hoping to turn that around in this regatta.”