By Nick Bowen
The Twenty Hundred Club had their third race of the season on Saturday, July 25. The first of the club’s two destination races, the Cuttyhunk Race starts just south of Rose Island near the “G3” Gong, and takes the sailors about four nautical miles (nm) south to buoy “R2” at Brenton Reef. This mark is about two nm south of Castle Hill and there the boats turn east for a 19.5 nm run across Rhode Island Sound and finish at buoy Middle Ground “RGN” just north of Cuttyhunk Island. The total distance for the race is 23.5 nm.
The race was originally scheduled for Saturday, July 11. On Thursday before the race, a meeting of the race committee was held to review the weather reports that included a tropical low off the coast of North Carolina which possibly could transition to a tropical depression later in the day. They were predicting Newport gusts into the thirties and a very high sea state. On Friday morning the RC met and the gusts were down to 25 but the high sea state remained. In the spirit of the democratic process, we polled the twenty entrants and only three were willing to commit.
We made the difficult decision to postpone the race to July 25. Because COVID has pushed so many races to the back of the summer we had to step on another race. We set up a conflict with the Newport Yacht Club Solo-Twin overnight race. That race attracted 50 boats but the wind conditions were so horrific (low) that half the boats did not finish the race. For our rescheduled event there were eight boats that competed in two classes. There were three spinnaker boats and five cruising class boats.
The forecast for the day was southeast winds at 5-10 knots. High tide was at 12:20 PM, which meant the boats would have to fight an incoming tide all the way out to Brenton Reef. Shortly before the 10:30 AM start it looked like there would be less than five knots of wind. Fortuitously, just before the first start at the winds kicked up to 12-14 knots.
Nick Bowen’s e33 epiphany was the first boat to the turn at Brenton Reef around 12:45 PM. He was closely followed by E.C. Helme’s J/92S Spirit by about thirty seconds. Two hours later, Spirit would be the first spinnaker boat to cross the line at 2:40 PM and epiphany would be the first cruising class boat to finish at 3:21 PM.
The club was able to secure several moorings in Cuttyhunk’s inner harbor, so we were able to have suitable (and safe) rafting after the race. After some cooling off in the water and dinner, we had an awards ceremony at Twenty Hundred Hours (8:00 PM) at the Cuttyhunk town dock. To learn more about the Twenty Hundred Club, please visit twentyhundredclub.org. ■
Nick Bowen is the Commodore of the Twenty Hundred Club and races his Lyman-Morse e33 on Narragansett Bay. He can be reached at email@example.com.