By Kate Somers, risingT


Light air and vexing currents challenged sailors in the 77th Block Island Race. © Rick Bannerot/


The 77th annual Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race took place the weekend of May 24 – 26, challenging sailors with light winds and testing their patience and strategy. Starting and finishing in Stamford, CT, the fleet of 76 boats embarked on the 186-nautical-mile journey around Block Island. Described by some as a race of “chutes and ladders,” with multiple restarts in light conditions, 52 boats successfully completed the race.

David Greenstein’s Mills 68 Space Monkey was the first to cross the finish line, completing the race in 27 hours and 11 minutes. However, the ultimate victory in the ORC class was claimed by Andrew Berdon’s TP52 Summer Storm, with a corrected time of 25 hours and 55 minutes.

Berdon, now on his third Summer Storm, praised his crew for their exceptional performance, recounting the significant logistical effort, led by project manager Alec Snyder, required to get the boat from Kiel, Germany to the starting line within a few short months. Once on the course, Berdon emphasized the importance of staying in touch with the larger boats and making strategic decisions. “The key factor was staying in touch with these bigger boats throughout the race,” he said. “None of them disappeared over the horizon.” A decisive move north to the Connecticut shore after re-entering Long Island Sound helped Summer Storm stay in the breeze while the wind died down for the rest of the ORC fleet, securing their overall win. “That’s just the nature of racing on Long Island Sound,” Berdon remarked.

In the PHRF fleet, Loki, a J/122 skippered by David Rosow, was both the first to finish and the class winner. Rosow credited their success to strategic positioning in Block Island Sound, staying south of the fleet on both the outbound and inbound legs. “We seemed to have slightly better breeze and were positioned well for the local current effects,” Rosow explained. Like Berdon, Rosow was new to his boat and expressed his delight with the outcome: “I was thrilled and surprised we produced such a successful result with so little time in the new boat.”

In the doublehanded fleet, John Feleciano and Zach Doerr in the Figaro 2 NEKA Sailing finished in the top spot for ORC, while Peter Becker and Adrien Blanc finished first in the J/105 Young American for PHRF.

The post-race party at Stamford Yacht Club was well attended, with great music and a vibrant atmosphere as the awards for the class winners were handed out. A special thanks goes to Raymarine for their generous giveaway of an electronics package, which went to doublehanded skipper Marc Berkowitz.

The Block Island Race is always a true test of strategy, resilience and determination. Sometimes you ride the elevator, and sometimes you fall down the ladder, but it’s a great race to shake out the cobwebs before summer.  ■