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On Seamanship, Decision(s) to Withdraw

Block Island Race Week 2015

With large seas and big breeze, even the seasoned crews had their hands full. © Stephen R. Cloutier/Photogroup.us

There is a very good reason Block Island Race Week is called Storm Trysail Club BIRW. Today’s Around the Island Race gave the sailors a taste of hard weather with a fresh southerly in the low 20’s and Hooligan seeing over 28 knots true on her way to a first-to-finish in the counter clockwise course in just two hours and some few minutes.

At the other end of the fleet, the Pearson 33 Amber Waves Don and Jan Dwyer from Branford, CT, called it a day at the top mark. The Dwyer’s are sailing in the Navigator’s Class of the Blue Fleet with their two sons, several mates with varying levels of skill, two teenagers and a couple of complete rookies in their first BIRW - in fact their first ever regatta.

The Dwyer’s have been sailing for less than four years and have been completely infected by the sport. But, realizing their newness to the sailing world and with the wrappers only half off their racing experience, they had no qualms about pulling the pin. “We were doing great and having fun but we know the boat and ourselves and just did not want to be beating ourselves up all day,” Dwyer remarked about his decision to retire. “We had a reef in the main and the genoa rolled up about a third. The boat was going faster than ever, but we understand our limits."

Dwyer, who is a Pilot and owns a corporate jet fleet management company, says that safety considerations are always the top of the list in his thought processing in any situation. This kind of evaluation of situations is of course at the heart of the Club's approach to sailing. “We are here for the fun, the family and the fantastic atmosphere,” he says with a smile. “We are perfectly comfortable with the decision.” Racing continues on Wednesday with windward/leeward courses for Red and White fleets and Navigator’s courses for the cruising and DH classes within the Blue fleet.


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  • commented 2015-06-23 18:49:59 -0400
    Rough day “Around The Island” 28 knots is only for the VERY experienced!! Some used the word “Carnage” for today .
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