Harken Derm

Plans Announced for THE Race Week

Published on September 27th, 2018

The Notice of Race for the Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race Week has just been issued, with the 28th edition to be held June 24-28, 2019.

The plan is for 4 days of racing, bringing back the popular lay day (if weather permits). The highlight of the regatta is the Around Block Island Race in which the entire fleet circumnavigates the beautiful resort island off the coast of RI.

Over 150 boats are anticipated for an expanded number of racing formats that seek to accommodate an even wider array of yachts – from world-class Grand Prix teams to families and friends racing their cruising boats.

“We will have the usual Windward/Leeward racing for the majority of the classes, but we will also include Pursuit and ‘Solent-Style’ racing formats,” said STC Rear Commodore and Event Chair Ed Cesare.

“Pursuit Racing assesses every boat’s handicap at the start of the race,” notes On-The-Water Director Dick Neville. “Each boat starts individually at different times and then they race boat-for-boat to the finish. This is a more family-friendly format for the casual racer that avoids the close-quarters maneuvering that occurs during traditional starts.

“We experimented with this format in 2017 and at the Ted Hood Regatta in Marblehead this year and last. In each instance we’ve enjoyed an increased number of participants and tremendous feedback. It certainly adds another dimension to this event.”

Ray Redniss, another veteran PRO, explains the concept of Solent-style racing (sometimes called ‘Navigator courses’), “It describes racing around government (permanent) buoys, as opposed to movable and inflatable marks. These courses typically include more points of sail than just beating and running.

“It should appeal to those crews who are looking for a very competitive format, but who seek something new. Of course what is old is new again as this is the format used at Cowes Week in the UK, on which the original Block Island Race Week was patterned.”

Multihull and Non-Spinnaker racing, and the ORC handicap system – which is catching on in many areas of the country – are also returning. As always, there will be tent parties, shore-side activities, and all the fine dining, watering holes, beaches, and sights that Block Island has to offer.

The biennial event was first held in 1965 after a number of Storm Trysail members participated in Cowes Week in England and were inspired to create an American version.

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