Indian Harbor YC Rear Commodore George Yankowich will be racing his Hinckley Pilot 35 Bagheera in the club’s new Captain Islands Challenge. © Mary Alice Fisher/

Sailboat racing in Greenwich, CT has been very popular for many years. Competition is typically casual, particularly mid-week evening racing. As important as the racing is, for many, the social aspect is equally essential. Yacht clubs in Greenwich organize post-race gatherings so competitors can share stories of triumph and defeat.

Lately, however, sailboat races have been curtailed. With restrictions hopefully loosening, it’s appropriate to ask if competitive sailing can be done in a way that won’t jeopardize the community. Indian Harbor Yacht Club has responded by creating the Captain Islands Challenge. This event is unique in that instead of racing against other boats on the same course at the same time, competitors sail around a fixed course against the clock, akin to a time trial. All you need is a boat and a watch!

The series comprises three races starting in mid-June and ending in late September. Sailors choose their racing dates, subject to certain restrictions. Competitors can sail in the double-handed or fully crewed class, subject to any social distancing rules. Both classes are jib and main only, with spinnakers prohibited. With a fixed starting and finishing location, the course circumnavigates the Captain Islands (twice in one direction, once in the opposite direction). Crews record their times and report them to Indian Harbor YC, who adjusts times for each boat’s handicap and publishes the results. At the end of the season, each boat’s times are summed and the boats with the lowest handicap-adjusted times from each class are the winners. Sailors interested in the Captain Islands Challenge are encouraged to check for updates. For more information, email ■