New Youth Trophy for Storm Trysail Club's Block Island Race Week

NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. – The Storm Trysail Club plans to award a new Youth Trophy in honor of long-time club member, the late William Ziegler, III, at its 50th anniversary Block Island Race Week, June 21-26, 2015.

The GEM Trophy memorializes the ideals of Ziegler, an accomplished sailor who frequently raced his yachts named GEM at Block Island Race Week with youth sailors, some of whom were recruited off the dock on race day. The trophy will be presented to the best yacht with at least 70 percent of its crew, male or female, younger than 25 years of age.

The Storm Trysail Club encourages youth participation by allowing every yacht to carry at least one crew under the age of 14 who won’t be considered part of the crew’s maximum number or weight limit.

“The Storm Trysail Club wishes to thank Steve and Heidi Benjamin for sponsoring this award,” said Regatta Chairman Peter Rugg. “Many sailors who’ll be racing at Block Island Race Week sailed at least one as a youth. We’re happy that this trophy will help to continue the legacy that the Storm Trysail Club has in giving young sailors an opportunity to race the types of boats that they can sail for the rest of their lives.”

“Heidi’s dad had a positive impact on many young sailors and we’re happy to present this trophy in his honor,” said multi-class champion Steve Benjamin, who raced at Block Island with Heidi’s brothers Bill, Peter and Karl Ziegler.

The qualification details for the trophy will be outlined in an upcoming amendment to the Notice of Race, which can be found at the Block Island Race Week web site.

The entry list for Block Island Race Week includes more than 150 boats ranging in size from 6.5 meters (21 feet) to 65 feet. Racing is planned on three circles for one-design and rated classes (IRC, HPR and PHRF). Additional “navigator” classes for double-handed crews, wooden boats and cruising canvas entries will race around fixed marks.

The Around Block Island Race is a highlight of the week, a 20-nautical-mile sprint that challenges crews with swift tidal currents, rocky outcrops and windless holes while racing against the picture-perfect sand dunes and lush flora and fauna of the island. The winner takes home a Rolex timepiece and the Island Sailing Club of Cowes Tankard commemorating ties between Block Island Race Week and Cowes Week.

Registration is still open for this classic regatta that mixes fun and competition. More details can be found at Block Island Race Week, and registration at Yacht Scoring.

About Block Island Race Week

Founded in 1965, the Storm Trysail Club’s Block Island Race Week is one of the oldest race weeks in the U.S. The regatta is held in odd-numbered years on idyllic Block Island, about 13 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. Measuring less than 10 square miles in area, Block Island has been named one of “The Last Great Places” by the Nature Conservancy. The Storm Trysail Club wishes to thank its many supporters and partners, including sponsors Caithness Energy, Mount Gay Rum, North Sails, Vineyard Vines, Gill, Sailing World, WindCheck, Gowrie Group, New England Boatworks, Bainbridge, C&C Yachts, McMichael Yacht Brokers, New England Ropes, UK Sailmakers, Hall Spars, Heineken, and PhotoBoat.

About the Storm Trysail Club

The Storm Trysail Club is one of the world’s most respected sailing clubs. Established in 1938, its membership includes skilled blue water and ocean racing sailors, who have flown a storm trysail (a small triangular sail flown in very strong winds) or severely reduced canvas during an ocean voyage. The club is headquartered in Larchmont, N.Y., and has regional stations throughout the U.S. The club hosts Block Island Race Week in odd-numbered years, the annual Block Island Race and Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race and the biennial Miami to Montego Bay Race, and many other events. The Club’s affiliated 501(c)(3) organization, The Storm Trysail Foundation, holds annual junior safety-at-sea seminars and the Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta for college sailors using big boats. For more information, visit Storm Trysail Club.

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