Updating format to heighten interest

Published on February 5th, 2020

For the 2020 Block Island Race, the 75th edition of this point-to-point course will feature a bit of ‘nip and tuck’ to heighten interest in the diamond anniversary for this Long Island Sound occasion.

“Just like classic race boats sometimes need to be optimized for better performance, we really wanted to update the 75th running of this annual race to encourage maximum participation,” said Ray Redniss, Storm Trysail Club Rear Commodore and Event Co-Chair.

While the addition of YB Tracking will offer a view for navigators and race fans, a change for double-handed entries will have them starting and racing alongside their fully crewed classmates, just like the Fastnet Race, to give them an opportunity to compete for class silver as well as against each other for double-handed podium spots.

“Additionally, within the double-handed entries there will be a trophy for the top mixed-gender team,” noted Redniss. “This nods to the Olympic Offshore discipline slated for the 2024 Games.”

Perhaps most importantly, the race will feature combined ORC/IRC scoring in a similar methodology being used for the 2020 ORC/IRC World Championship in September. Under this system, each boat’s elapsed time will be corrected under ORC and IRC to produce the boat’s score.

The ORC/IRC Worlds, run by the New York Yacht Club in Newport, is a rare opportunity for US racer/cruisers to compete for an international titlein home waters. NYYC will also use this combined scoring in all of their events this summer.

To facilitate this system, complimentary ORC club certificates will be made available to boats that hold valid IRC or ORR certificates and which have not held a valid ORC certificate in the last five years.

“Class size dilution from race organizers offering too many rules has become a real problem,” reports STC Commodore AJ Evans. “We think that using combined scoring will lay the groundwork for STC – as one of the most influential clubs in the international sailing community, along with other important race organizers on the East Coast – to streamline VPP rule and class options for 2021.

“It might seem counter-intuitive to utilize two rules when competitors tell us they want only one, but it is our expectation by the end of 2020 that boat owners will be in a better position to see how their boats actually fare under one rule compared to the other and how each is used in practice by race committees.

“We also hope that our use of combined scoring will encourage more participation in the Block Island Race and NYYC events given the similarities in ratings and scoring.”

Another change has been the adoption of US SAILING Safety Equipment Requirements USSER ‘Coastal’ plus a raft as the safety standards for the Block Island Course. These are very close to those used in the past, but should help to standardize sets of regulations, particularly when boats are preparing for the Bermuda Race.

Event Co-Chair Doug Lynn encourages all entrants and prospective entrants to read the Notice of Race carefully for boats (NoR 1.4) and crews (NoR 15).

The Block Island Race is a qualifier for the Northern Ocean Racing Trophy, the Double Handed Ocean Racing Trophy, and the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF – For more details, consult the YRALIS Handbook or Stamford Yacht Club).

The Block Island Race is also a qualifier for the De Coursey Fales, Sagola & Windigo Trophies, the du Moulin Cup for Double Handed Racing and the Youth Challenge Cup awarded by the YRA-LIS, as well as the Storm Trysail Club “Tuna Trophy” for the best IRC combined scores in the EDLU (40%) and the Block Island Race (60%).

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