Harken Derm

Serving the less serious sailors

Published on May 13th, 2019

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
There is a lot of variety in our sport, but when it comes to signature events with a focus on competition, the template has evolved to heighten the challenge.

Windward-leeward courses replaced the variety once offered on course charts and the number of races increased. Race weeks became race weekends, eliminating any lay days from the schedule.

The result has been some very serious racing, with greater skill needed to compete, and fewer people willing to do it. Our sport has shrunk because of the cost and commitment needed to participate.

So in the interest of increasing participation, there are examples of change occurring that seek to turn the volume down on seriousness in hopes of stemming the attrition and bringing back some of the disenfranchised.

A prominent example is the Storm Trysail Club’s biennial Block Island Race Week (June 23-28) that will this year notably include – drum-roll, please – a lay day.

Not everyone is thrilled with the idea, as serious racers like to race, but that’s always been the case, and lately they’ve been the only ones being served. The STC’s mission is to connect again with the less serious. Here’s a recent update from the STC:


The Storm Trysail Club listened to past Block Island Race Week competitors, and there was an overwhelming call for finding a greater balance between the racing and the leisure on Block Island.

We know five days of racing can be draining for many sailors, so we have brought back the lay day from early Race Weeks. These rest days were seen as a highlight of the event for families, friends, and competitors to enjoy all the beauty Block Island has to offer.

Which of the five days that will be the lay day will be chosen based on the weather forecast the week of the event. Commonly, one day is less than ideal for sailing; therefore, the Race Committee will make the decision appropriately, and we will inform competitors as soon as possible.

Furthermore, we know that everybody relaxes a little bit differently, so whether you are looking to hang out on the beaches, go for a bike ride, or even a run, we are offering a mix of activities during the lay day to give our sailors some fun and satisfy that common thirst for competition.

Thanks to the Young Members Committee of Storm Trysail Club and our sponsors North Sails and Musto, we are hosting the first “Storm Try-athlon” consisting of a 5K, a Tug-of-War, and a Trivia Contest to test both the physical and mental abilities of teams of sailors off the water.

Details: https://www.blockislandraceweek.com/

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