Slow sprint around Conanicut Island

Published on June 12th, 2015

Newport, RI (June 12, 2015) – If on Friday it looked unusually busy just off Newport Harbor, it was because 135 of the 167 boats signed up for the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex had gathered in Narragansett Bay’s East Passage, just south of Pell Bridge, to begin the 161-year-old regatta’s traditional sprint around Conanicut Island.

With the wind struggling to fill from the southwest, race officials prudently postponed the noon start for an hour before successfully sending off 14 classes in a northerly direction, under the bridge for a counter-clockwise circumnavigation.

It was shortened to finish off Beavertail Light in Jamestown, and the overall IRC awards at stake – the much coveted Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date timepiece given for best corrected time and a first-time Sentient Jet Trophy for best elapsed time – were won, respectively, by Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s (Bayhead, N.J.) Botin 44 Interlodge and Michael Dominguez’s (Newport, R.I.) Marstrom 32 catamaran Bronco.

“The first part of the day had a little bit more breeze,” said Dominguez. “We rounded the top of the island and may have been in third at that point, still close to two of the other Marstroms. Then down the backside, in a tacking battle with them, we made the decision to go through Dutch Harbor where we saw more pressure and current. It turned out to be a huge gain, and we came out pretty far ahead of the two other boats. Then everything kind of compressed as we got further down the backside of Jamestown, and it turned into a real tacking battle at the end.”

Tomorrow, the Marstroms will use America’s Cup style race courses, so they will have reaching starts, and the races will be relatively short. “We’ll be really concentrating on the maneuvers, which make a huge difference in this boat,” said Dominguez. “The speed and the quality of maneuvers either gain you boat lengths or cost you boat lengths.”

Interlodge is new for the Fragomens, who have sailed a TP52 of the same name successfully for many years; it was splashed only a week ago and christened last night at Newport Shipyard where many of the Annual Regattas are docked. “We thought we’d try something different, so we decided to develop an optimum boat for east coast regattas,” said Austin Fragomen. “It’s sportier and more agile than the 52 yet very powerful and fast downwind.”

Fragomen said he also wanted the right size of boat to race with others in the 40-foot range, as he thinks this is the growing group of boats on the east coast. He believes the two Carkeek 40s in his IRC 1 class here – Spookie and Decision, which finished second and third today behind Interlodge – will be his toughest competition throughout the weekend.

The “NYYC Red” team comprised of Paul Jeka’s Custom 41 After Midnight and Steve/Heidi Benjamin’s Carkeek 40 Spookie won the Rolex Trophy for best two-boat IRC team.

The event’s largest entrant, Rambler 88, was notably missing from the afternoon’s starting sequences, but it had sailed by a time or two, flexing its massive muscles even in the light breezes.

With a mast reaching 136 feet tall, the 88 footer cannot fit under the middle span of the Jamestown Bridge, which greets sailors midway through the Around-the-Island Race on the west side of Conanicut Island (Narragansett Bay’s West Passage); therefore, the Rambler 88 team’s day was spent practicing for the weekend’s racing, which features ‘round-the-buoys racing and some stadium-style courses for IRC and one-design classes as well as ‘round-government marks racing on “navigators’ courses” for PHRF classes.

“We are doing the Annual Regatta with Rambler 88 because it’s a new boat and particularly because this week we put new appendages on the boat, some side foils, which we are very keen to try,” said Rambler 88’s designer, naval architect Juan Kouyoumdjian, further explaining that the Rambler 88 team also is prepping for the Transatlantic Race 2015 starting off Newport later this summer. “So far, so good…I don’t think the wind will be enough to use the appendages this weekend, but every hour we can put on the boat is a good hour.”

Kouyoumdjian indicated he speaks for the entire team when he says the 161st New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex is very important. “It’s tradition, and the New York Yacht Club has been at the forefront of sailing for a very long time; everyone feels a sense of pride about participating.”


Around-the-Island Race Results

CRF Classics NS (CRF – 9 Boats)
1. Silent Maid, Catboat 33, Peter Kellogg, Summit, NJ, USA, 1 (1)
2. Spartan, NY50, Charlie Ryan, Providence, RI, USA, 2 (2)
3. Angelita, 8 Metre, Skelsey / Croll, Greenwich, CT, USA, 3 (3)

CRF SoT NS (CRF – 2 Boats)
1. QUEST (SoT), 8 Metre, Diane Palm, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1 (1)
2. Wild Horses (SoT), W-Class W.76, Donald Tofias, Newport, RI, USA, 2 (2)

IRC 1 (IRC – 9 Boats)
1. Interlodge, Botin HPR 44, Austin and Gwen Fragomen, Newport, RI, USA, 1 (1)
2. SPOOKIE, Carkeek HP 40, Steve & Heidi Benjamin, Norwalk, CT, USA, 2 (2)
3. HOOLIGAN, IRC 52, Gunther Buerman, Highland Beach, FL, USA, 3 (3)

IRC 2 (IRC – 10 Boats)
1. DownTime, Summit 40, Ed Freitag / Molly Haley, Annapolis, MD, USA, 1 (1)
2. After Midnight, CTM 41, Paul Jeka , Atlantic Highlands, NJ, USA, 2 (2)
3. The Cat Came Back, Swan 42, Lincoln Mossop, Providence, RI, USA, 3 (3)

IRC 3 (IRC – 11 Boats)
1. Wings, J 122, Mike Bruno, Armonk, NY, USA, 1 (1)
2. Talisman, Farr 395, John Bailey, Darien, CT, USA, 2 (2)
3. Avalanche, Farr 395, Craig Albrecht, Sea Cliff, NY, USA, 3 (3)

IRC 4 (IRC – 10 Boats)
1. Leading Edge, J35, Tom Sutton, Houston, Texas, USA, 1 (1)
2. Mischief, Lyman-Morse 40, David Schwartz, Smithfield, RI, USA, 2 (2)
3. Carina, Custom 48, Rives Potts, Westbrook, CT, USA, 3 (3)

Swan 42 (One Design – 8 Boats)
1. Apparition, Swan 42, Colin Gordon, Guilford, CT, USA, 1 (1)
2. Hoss, Swan 42, Sail Team Seattle, Seattle, WA, USA, 2 (2)
3. Daring, Swan 42, John Hele, Newport, RI, USA, 3 (3)

J/111 (One Design – 11 Boats)
1. Wild Child, J/111, Kenn Fischburg, Norwich, CT, USA, 1 (1)
2. Wooton, J/111, William Smith, Chicago, IL, USA, 2 (2)
3. My Sharona, J/111, George Gamble, Pensacola, FL, USA, 3 (3)

C&C 30 OD (One Design – 9 Boats)
1. Themis, C&C 30, Walt Thirion , Annapolis , MD, USA, 1 (1)
2. Nyabinghi, C&C 30, Angus Davis, Bristol, RI, USA, 2 (2)
3. Just A Friend, C&C 30, Clayton Deutsch, Newport, RI, USA, 3 (3)

12 Metre (One Design – 9 Boats)
1. Victory 83, 12 Metre, Dennis Williams, Hobe Sound, FL, USA, 1 (1)
2. New Zealand, 12 Metre, Gunther Buerman Lexi Gahagan, Newport, RI, USA, 2 (2)
3. Courageous, 12Metre, Ralph Isham /Alexander Auersperg , Newport, RI, USA, 3 (3)

M32 (One Design – 4 Boats)
1. Bronco, M32, Michael Dominguez, Barrington, RI, USA, 1 (1)
2. Escape Velocity, Marstrom 32, Ron O’Hanley , Salem, MA, USA, 2 (2)
3. Convexity, M32, Donald Wilson, Chicago, IL, USA, 3 (3)

PHRF 1 (Spinnaker) (PHRF – 9 Boats)
1. Six Brothers, C-32, Chris Kramer, Rye, NY, USA, 1 (1)
2. Temptress, Taylor 41, John Gowell, East Greenwich, RI, USA, 2 (2)
3. Sunset Child, J 120, Marcus Cholerton-Brown, New York, NY, USA, 3 (3)

PHRF 2 (Spinnaker) (PHRF – 12 Boats)
1. Brigadoon X, Nimble 30 30, Robert Morton , Newport, Rhode Island, USA, 1 (1)
2. Grimace, J 100 33, Dawson Hodgson , Slocum, RI, USA, 2 (2)
3. Spirit, J 92S 30, EC Helme , Newport, RI, USA, 3 (3)

PHRF 3 (Non-Spinnaker) (PHRF – 6 Boats)
1. Crackerjack, Cambria 40, Alan Krulisch, Arlington, USA, 1 (1)
2. Flying Cloud 11, Swan 44 Mk 2 43.8, Gordon McNabb, Middletown, RI, USA, 2 (2)
3. Duck Soup, C&C 37 R/XL 39’6, Bill Clavin, Warwick, RI, USA, 3 (3)

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