2013 Ida Lewis Distance Race Proves Tricky Overnighter

Published on August 18th, 2013

Newport, R.I. (August 18, 2013) – Of 29 boats that started this year’s Ida Lewis Distance Race, only 13 managed to finish within the 30-hour time limit due to light winds and strong currents. Nevertheless, the popular overnighter, which started Friday afternoon (August 16) on Narragansett Bay, was a hit, taking the fleet on its two shortest courses: the 122 nautical mile Nomans course (for IRC, PHRF and PHRF Double-Handed classes) and the 103 nm Buzzards Tower course (for the PHRF Cruising Spinnaker class). On Saturday (August 17), the lucky 13—including each one of the three Youth Challenge teams and two Collegiate Challenge teams entered –had successfully completed the race, with Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s Andrews 70 SHINDIG taking line honors after crossing the line at 7:59 a.m.

“At the start, we had about 12 knots of breeze coming out of the bay,” said Massachusetts Maritime Academy cadet Tim Dexter (Manchester, Vermont) who helmed SHINDIG, “and we were beginning to work on all the boats, but as soon as we got to Block Island it began to lighten up and current became more of a factor. Our crew stayed really positive. Everyone’s head was in the race the entire time, and we pushed the boat as hard a we could.”

The team of 15 sailors was awarded the Lois J. Muessel Memorial Trophy for best elapsed time overall as well as the William E. Tuthill Trophy for winning the separately scored Collegiate Challenge over the University of Rhode Island’s Baltic 50 Crazy Horse. (To qualify for the Collegiate Challenge, more than 40% of the crew had not turned 26 prior to August 16.)

“I started racing big boats when I came to the Academy, and the biggest difference that I notice between offshore and dinghy racing is really the pace,” said Dexter, adding that he, along with a majority of the team, also raced SHINDIG to take line honors at this year’s 645-mile Marion Bermuda Race. “With distance racing, you get the chance to tune the boat and work on finding boat speed; you need to be able to make the boat go as fast as possible in a straight line.”

A little after 9:30 a.m., Kevin McNeil’s (Annapolis, Md.) Farr 40 Nightshift became the second boat to cross the finish line and was awarded the perpetual Lime Rock Trophy for best corrected time in PHRF. The Nightshift team also was one of eight boats hosting at least one junior sailor among its crew.

“We had a great turnout, with a total of 17 junior sailors participating in the Ida Lewis Distance Race overall,” said Regatta Chair Simon Davidson (Newport, R.I.), one of two adults onboard the Class 40 Icarus Racing, which served as Ida Lewis Yacht Club’s Youth Challenge entry. Davidson added that many of the junior sailors on Icarus Racing were also involved in the Ida Lewis Yacht Club’s Big Boat Program, which takes a class out every Tuesday in the summer to sail all different types of keelboats.

“It is all about getting more young sailors out on the water and participating, and the purpose of the Big Boat Program is to give them exposure to keelboats,” said Davidson. “Most of the kids in this program have done a lot of dinghy sailing in the past and progressed to keelboats, and the Ida Lewis Distance Race was the perfect way to put their new-found skills to the test in a racing setting. I can tell you that the four junior sailors on our boat did a stellar job. The light air turned out to be the perfect platform for learning offshore racing, because there is so much boat handling involved, and adjustments have to be made constantly to keep the boat moving.”

Winning the Youth Challenge (also separately scored) was the Farr 47 Oakcliff, whose team traveled from Oakcliff Sailing Center in Oyster Bay, N.Y. It was presented with the Arent H. Kits van Heyningen Trophy by Robert Kits van Heyningen, who also competed in the event aboard his IMX-45 Temptress.

“I really enjoyed myself,” said 16-year-old Catalina Feder (Oyster Bay, N.Y.), who managed the pit onboard Oakcliff and is no stranger to distance racing after competing with Oakcliff sailors in the 363-mile Marblehead to Halifax Race earlier this summer. “I personally enjoy offshore racing over other types of racing. You settle into a routine when you are all living on a boat together, and you are constantly pushing yourself to work hard to make the boat go fast; whereas, in a buoy race, though you work equally hard, at the end of the day you are done and can head into shore.”

Of the 14 sailors onboard Oakcliff, 12 were from the Oakcliff Sailing Center’s Acorn (ages 15-18) and Sapling (18-27) Programs. (To qualify for the Youth Challenge, more than 40% of the crew had to have reached their 14th birthday but not turned 20 prior to August 16.)

“The Youth Challenge is a great thing for us, and it is one of our goals to do events like these and do them well, but it is also so much about the experience for these kids,” said Oakcliff Sailing Center’s Training Program Director Jay Kehoe, one of Oakcliff’s two adult crew members, adding that most of the juniors onboard had been training for four weeks prior to the Ida Lewis Distance Race and were able to sail the boat through the night with very little assistance. “Through our youth training program, we help them gather the tools they need to win. That is what they used for this event, and they did a great job.”

Presented with the Commodore’s Trophy for best corrected time in IRC was Christopher Culver’s (Weston, Conn.) Swan 42 Blazer. “The teamwork on the boat was exceptional, and I don’t think we left anything out on the race course,” said Culver. “We had terrific calls tactically, and the light-air sailing was absolutely outstanding on the boat. There is so much camaraderie around distance and offshore races, and it’s the ups and downs during one that make it so that you are never out of a race. No matter what the conditions are or where we are, there is always a lot of racing left and time to claw your way back.” Following Blazer in second place on corrected time was Andrew and Linda Weiss’ (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) Sydney 43 Christopher Dragon, which also received the Russell L. Hoyt Memorial Trophy for best elapsed time in this class.

In the Double-Handed class, sailing under PHRF, Edward Cesare’s (Norwalk, Conn.) Class 40 Pleiad Racing finished the race in just over 24 hours, earning the Double-Handed Trophy for best corrected time in the class.

The Ida Lewis Distance Race is a qualifier for the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF), the Northern and Double-Handed Ocean Racing Trophies (IRC), and the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series.

Starting Line sponsors for the 2013 Ida Lewis Distance Race were Bluewater Technologies, Inc., the City of Newport, New England Boatworks, Newport Shipyard, North Sails, and Marsh. Contributing sponsors were Dockwise Yacht Transport, Flint Audio Video, Mac Designs, Sea Gear Uniforms, Stella Artois, Gosling’s Bermuda Black Rum, Rig Pro Southern Spars and Z Blok.

Top-Five Results
Place, Yacht Name, Type, Skipper/Crew, Hometown, Results, Total Points

Class 1 – IRC (IRC – 7 Boats)
1. Blazer, Swan 42, Christopher Culver, Weston, Conn., 1
2. Christopher Dragon, Sydney 43, Andrew & Linda Weiss, Mamaroneck, N.Y., 2
3. Miracle, R/P 44, Michael Cashel, Hingham, Mass., 3
4. Catapult, Ker 40, Marc Glimcher, New York, N.Y., 4
5. Orion, J/122, Paul Milo, Leesburg, Va., 8/DNF

Class 2 – PHRF (PHRF – 15 Boats)
1. Nightshift, Farr 40, Kevin McNeil, Annapolis, Md., 1
2. White Rhino, Swan 56, Todd Stuart, Newport, R.I., 2
3. SHINDIG, Andrews 70, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Buzzards Bay, Mass., 3
4. Oakcliff YOUTH, Farr 47, Oakcliff Sailing, Oyster Bay, N.Y., 4
5. Crazy Horse C.C., Baltic 50, Kevin McLaughlin, Fairhaven, Mass., 5

Class 3 – PHRF Double-Handed (PHRF – 3 Boats)
1. Pleiad Racing, Class 40, Edward Cesare, Norwalk, Conn., 1
2. Oronoco, Sabre 426, Adrian Ravenscroft, Cohasset, Mass., 4/DNF
3. Ruse, Swan 44, William Marsh, Chatham, Mass., 4/DNF

Class 4 – PHRF Cruising Spinnaker (PHRF – 4 Boats)
URSA, J 109, Brooke Mastrorio, Lakeville, Mass., 5/DNF
Spirit, J 92S 30, EC Helme, Newport, R.I., 5/DNF
Shindig, P39-2 39, Kevin Flannery, Waban, Mass., 5/DNF
Haerlem, Swan 55/57, Hendrikus PLM Wisker, Round Hill, Va., 5/DNF

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