After being thwarted in 2020 and 2021, our friends at the Storm Trysail Club were finally able to run their May distance race in classic spring conditions. During the virtual weather briefing the night before the start, STC Commodore Ed Cesare said, “Welcome to the third annual 75th Block Island Race. Here’s hoping third time’s a charm.”
Seventy-seven boats started the race on Friday, May 27 off Stamford, CT, with most of the fleet opting for the 186nm Block Island Course, while two classes sailed the shorter 136nm Plum Island course. Divided among ORC and PHRF classes, the teams were treated to a strong southerly gradient making the racetrack a reach down Long Island Sound and around Block Island and back. Some teams reported isolated 50+ knot squalls complete with hail. By Saturday morning, most of the teams were making their way back into a foggy Sound in a light westerly beating to the finish line.
Ultimately, it was Wizard, Fred Detweiler & Bruce Aikens’ R/P 69 (Grosse Pointe Park, MI), who took line honors and the Governors Race West Trophy at 10:39 with a time of 19 hours, 14 minutes and 27 seconds (still 8 hours shy of the course record set in 2015 by the 100-foot Comanche.) It was a very slow beat to the finish in light air, with the last fifteen miles taking nearly four hours to complete and the faster boats all compressing.
Once the rest of the fleet finished and the ratings were applied, it was STC Rear Commodore Andrew Weiss’ new Italia 11.98 Christopher Dragon (Mamaroneck, NY) who took home the top ORC award, the William Tripp, Jr. Memorial Trophy for best corrected time.
In the PHRF fleet, Jackie & Bill Baxter’s J/111 Fireball (Stamford, CT) posted both the best elapsed and corrected times taking the Terrapin and Governors East Trophies, respectively.
Other special trophies presented at the awards ceremony at Stamford Yacht Club went to Groupe 5(Glen Cove, NY), a Figaro 2 sailed by Zach Doerr & Vad Shablinsky from NEKA Sailing for best ORC performance doublehanded; a tie for the Roddie Williams Team Race Trophy, Larchmont YC made up of In Theory, Phantom and Warrior Won and Pequot YC comprising Libertas, Madison and Tacktile. The George Lauder Trophy for best performance by a vintage boat was presented to June & Amanda Kendrick’s J/44 Palantir 5 (Huntington, NY).
“Thank you to all the teams, volunteers, and sponsors who made the Block Island Race this year a great success,” said event chair John Troy. “We wish all the teams taking on the Bermuda Race next month the best of luck and we will see you all back here next year.”
Sponsors of the 75th Block Island Race include The Real McCoy Rum, McMichael Yacht Yards & Brokers, Regatta Craft Mixers, Sea-Tactics, and Harbor Point Wines & Spirits. More information can be found at stormtrysail.org/blockislandrace. ■