By Ed Cesare, BIRW XXVIII Event Chair

Preparations are well underway for Storm Trysail’s Block Island Race Week 2019. With format developments both on and off the water, the 28th edition of this biennial event promises not only a high level of windward/leeward competition for those that seek it but an equally spirited but more relaxed experience for teams that want to both race hard and enjoy other aspects of the week.

Teams enjoyed unforgettable conditions at BIRW XXVII in 2017. ©

Bring the Family

Entries in the Performance Cruising Spinnaker Class are already at their 2017 levels with plenty of time to go before June. Exciting racing around government marks is expected for this group, with finishes early enough in the day that sailors can get back to the island to enjoy all it has to offer and have time with family. We hear that some of these crews are choosing to live aboard their boats for the week. Now, there’s a throwback to a simpler and, some would say, more fun era! Get those sweet rolls ready, Aldo!

IRC and ORC yachts on the Red Circle will experience “Solent Style” racing with one or two windward/leeward races followed by a race around drop and government marks. This tests different tactical and boat handling skills and reflects the racing at Cowes Week, the progenitor for Block Island Race Week. We expect a number of IRC boats from the UK at the event, so they should feel right at home.

A third on-the-water development is the “Plus One” division. Designed to simplify crew logistics for owners with busy schedules, Plus One promotes “right-sized” crews by allowing one crewmember per 10 feet of waterline of the yacht “plus one” more. We’ve found that jibes always go better offshore with one watch below, so don’t be surprised to see some crisp boat handling on this course, notwithstanding the need for fewer sandwiches and bunks (ashore or afloat).

Of course, one-design classes (such as the J/105s and J/88s who will hold championship regattas) and the PHRF fleet can expect Storm Trysail’s high level of race management where full-bore windward/leeward duals will unfold.

Did I mention multihulls? STC member Charles Goodrich, Executive Director of the Offshore Multihull Association, has put us on their calendar. A Gunboat and a Corsair are already signed up, and a variety of cats and tris are expected.

Shoreside Fun

Ashore, we are bringing back the lay-day. The specific day will float based on weather, but there will be one. The Young Member’s Committee, led by Eric Storck and Will Gammell, is planning a full slate of events in cooperation with sponsors Musto and North Sails. Look for more on this in the coming weeks but fun team competitions (to include the traditional tug-o-war) along with more relaxed activates (think Nikki Beach, for those that know 😉 will provide a well-deserved day of fun for all. Additionally, this year we’ll open the tent right after racing so crews can gather for socializing before heading back to their houses or boats for dinner.

The next couple of weeks are the heart of registration season, so visit and sign up now!

If you’d like information about housing or a mooring for the week, don’t hesitate to reach out to STC Executive Director Whitney Kneisley at If you have any questions about the event or I can help your team in any way, please email me at I look forward to seeing you on the island in June!

Ed Cesare is Vice Commodore of the Storm Trysail Club.