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Big Turnout for Block Island Race

Posted Monday, May 19, 2008

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LARCHMONT, NY (May 19, 2008) – The Storm Trysail Club's 63rd Block Island Race, an annual distance race that serves as one of New England's first competition tune-ups for the summer season, starts Friday, May 23rd, at 5 p.m. and will host a fleet of more than 100 boats. The fastest boats are expected to finish by early- to mid-afternoon on Saturday after sprinting 185 nautical miles from a starting line just inside Stamford (Conn.) Harbor, down Long Island Sound, clockwise around Block Island (R.I.), and back to Stamford. "We always get a bigger fleet in even years before the Newport to Bermuda Race," said Chairman Ray Redniss, adding that 104 boats have signed up with three more days left for registration, "and in 2006, we wound up with 105." Redniss said it's also shaping up to be quite the interesting race, with Rambler, George David's 90-foot Reichel/Pugh design, returning to defend its title in the IRC Super-Zero class. Last year, nobody could touch him," said Redniss, explaining that by wide margins Rambler also took line honors, finishing in 18 hours, 57 minutes and 41 seconds, and secured the overall IRC fleet victory. When the conditions are favorable, the boats are always gunning to beat Boomerang's record in 2002 of just over 16 hours." Plenty of IRC Super-Zero boats will be hoping for the "right" conditions to smash records and prepare for the distance they will have to log in the Newport to Bermuda Race, including three Reichel/Pugh designs--Hap Fauth's (Minneapolis, Minn.) new 69-foot Belle Mente, Bob and Farley Towse's (Stamford, Conn.) 66-foot Blue Yankee, and John Brim's (New York, N.Y.) 55-foot Rima2; Roger Sturgeon's STP65 Rosebud/Team DYT; Trey Fitzgibbons' (Greenwich, Conn.) Meriten 65 Mischievous; LLwyd Ecclestone's (West Palm Beach, Fla.) Frers 81 Kodiak, and the USMMA's Judel/Vrolijk 66 Defiance. "Interesting also is the fact that a third of the fleet falls into the "classic" category for boats 15 years and older," said Redniss. Among those are John Melvin's (Riverside, Conn.) Concordia 39 Westray and Richard Breeden's (Charlottesville, Va.) recently re-fit 68-foot yawl (built in 1938) Black Watch, which will both sail in IRC. The fleet will also include at least 11 double-handed and 11 PHRF entries, and Redniss added that the preliminary scratch sheet (see has been revised to split out the J/120s and J/122s (both sprit boats with similar sailing characteristics) into their own class. Currently, the smallest boats entered are two Olson 30s: Benoit Ansart's (Old Greenwich, Conn.) double-handed entry Wave Dancer, and Thomas O'Connell's (Riverside, Conn.) PHRF entry Fin II. The majority of the smaller boats generally finish between midnight on Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday morning. The Block Island Race is part of the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series, the Northern Ocean Racing Trophy and the Double Handed Ocean Racing Trophy (both for IRC) and the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF). Specifically for Long Island Sound sailors, the Block Island Race is a qualifier for the Caper, Sagola and Windigo trophies awarded by the Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound and the “Tuna Trophy” for the best IRC combined scores in the Block Island Race (weighted 60%) and Larchmont Yacht Club’s EDLU Race (weighted 40%). Registration for the Block Island Race, open through Wednesday May 21, is on-line at For more information, contact Ray Redniss,, or the Storm Trysail Club office at 914-834-8857.
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