Adds Second ORC Class, Third “Bagheera” Class in PHRF Division, New Courses

The Ida Lewis Yacht Club has refined its modifications announced earlier this year for the 2023 edition of the Ida Lewis Distance Race presented by Bluenose Yacht Sales. Scheduled for Friday, August 18 through Saturday, August 19, the race will now host a second class in ORC Division to make ORC 1 and ORC 2, while a third class – named Bagheera – will be added to the existing Aloha and Coronet classes for monohulls sailing in the PHRF Division. (Doublehanded and Cruising Spinnaker classes also sail in PHRF Division and will each split into two classes if warranted.) Also new are five new course choices, with the longest being around 200 nautical miles in length, added to the previous four choices that ranged from 112 to 169 nautical miles.


David Greenstein’s new ride for the 2023 Ida Lewis Distance Race, the Mills 68 Space Monkey  Contributed photo


In its 18th year, the annual Ida Lewis Distance Race is one of New England’s most popular overnight offshore races, starting and finishing off Newport, RI.

“The original objective was for this to be a 24-hour race for everyone; however, with the previous four course choices, many of the bigger, faster boats were getting in at three or four on Saturday morning after an 11 a.m. start Friday,” said the Event’s Principal Race Officer Guy Sanchez. “By adding new classes in ORC and PHRF divisions, we tighten the rating bands for closer competition. At the same time, the courses – some of the new ones with extra reaching legs, which the sailors should like – can be individually assigned to each class based on the median boat speed in each class and the wind predictions for the day of the race. With that, we are restating our objective that this is a 24-hour overnight race. If we do our job right, everyone will be arriving home mid-morning Saturday.”

Several entries will be using The Ida as practice for the 635-nautical mile Newport Bermuda Race in 2024. They include the J/121 Celidh, which also is planning on sailing the 363-nautical-mile Marblehead to Halifax Race this July. “Compared to those, the Ida Lewis Distance Race will seem like a sprint…I hope!” said Celidh’s owner/driver Jim Coggeshall (Dartmouth, MA). “I have owned the boat for 18 months, and the 2022 Ida Lewis Race was our longest race to date. It’s a good opportunity to experience racing at night without the bigger commitment of time and funds of a true blue-water race.” Celidh sailed impressively here last year, saving time on all but one boat in her class until the last long leg home. “That’s when we went too far inshore instead of covering our competition, and the wind filled in from the south,” said Coggeshall, who sails the boat fully crewed in PHRF. “Live and learn.”

Like Celidh’s team, the crew aboard Valour are Corinthian sailors with aspirations of stepping up their game and doing more offshore races. “The boat, a Wiggers Peterson 37, is an old IOR warhorse that we currently are coaching back to life under PHRF,” said Valour’s owner/skipper Matthew Jorgensen (East Lyme, CT). “It’s a boat with all the strings, so it’s complicated to sail; we need to nail down our crew work.”

What drew Jorgensen to enter the Ida (for the first time) was the event’s history of attracting “amazing” sailors. “It’s a fleet I dream of being competitive in, and the race fills a gap between day races and longer (multiple day) offshore races. We’ll come to Newport and stay some days either side of it, so that it’s not just a box we’re checking off but also a destination we can’t wait to enjoy.”

In ORC, David Greenstein’s Mills 68 Space Monkey will be leading the charge as the regatta’s largest entry. One of the most successful Mini/Maxis of the past decade, she was previously known as Prospector and recently relaunched for a three-year initiative under her new name and with the same crew from Greenstein’s successful 2022 Wizard campaign. “This crew is the unique blend of professionals and amateurs that were responsible for Wizard’s podium finishes last year (including victory in the Ida Lewis Distance Race ORC division),” said Space Monkey’s Project Manager James Knight. “Space Monkey will participate in the Marblehead to Halifax Race, followed by the Ida and the Vineyard Race.”

For the Notice of Race and more information, visit or contact Race Chair Anselm Richards at ■