By Barby MacGowan, Media Pro International

Ida Lews RaceThe 13th edition of the Ida Lewis Distance Race, hosted by Ida Lewis Yacht Club in Newport, RI, starts Friday, August 18, promising once again to deliver an exciting late-season topper to a busy summer of competitive racing on Narragansett Bay. Classes for IRC, PHRF, One Design, Multihull and Double-Handed ensure that everyone (with a qualifying boat of 28 feet or longer) has a place to fit in.

Competing in the Youth Challenge division with members of the Grimes and Moffet families on board, Paul Grimes’ J/35 Breakaway (Jamestown, RI) finished third in PHRF Spinnaker 2 in last year’s Ida Lewis Distance Race.  ©Cate Brown/

One needn’t have a highly trained, expert team to make a splash at The Ida, although there are plenty of these on the scratch sheet each year. This race is more about fun than fierce competition; youth teams, collegiate teams, and even low-key teams sailing Cruising Spinnaker are encouraged to compete, and there are special trophies for them to chase.

The Ida Lewis Distance Race organizers choose the course beforehand based on the weather and wind forecast. It can be anywhere between 104 and 177 nautical miles and always requires overnight sailing. The fleet starts on Friday at 1 pm just outside Newport Harbor and a gets a scenic eyeful as it passes by several iconic turning marks, including Castle Hill, Brenton Reef, Montauk Point, Martha’s Vineyard and Buzzards Bay Tower. Some of the faster boats can be home in the early morning hours of Saturday.

Gold sponsor for the 2017 Ida Lewis Distance Race is New England Boatworks. Silver sponsors are Bluewater TechnologiesHelly Hansen, and Newport Shipyard; Bronze sponsors are North SailsRig Pro Southern Spars, and Stella Artois. Contributing Sponsors are DYT Yacht TransportFlint Audio & VideoGoslings RumMac Designs, Toni Mills Graphic Design, and Triton Insurance. For more information, visit or contact Pat Kennedy at, and follow the race on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.