Preparing for changes in attitudes

Published on June 22nd, 2020

While many races on the 2020 calendar have been canceled or are in doubt, the Storm Trysail Club is dangling better days ahead as they gear up for 2021 Block Island Race Week, with the 29th edition to be held June 21-25 in picturesque Block Island, Rhode Island.

“We anticipate over 125 boats with a wide array of designs,” reports Event Chair Ray Redniss. “The yachts typically range from world-class Grand Prix teams all the way to families and friends racing and staying on aboard their cruisers, and everything in between.

“Courses will include the usual Windward-Leeward racing for the majority of the classes, but we will also offer Pursuit and ‘Solent-Style’ racing formats. These formats were very popular the last go-around, and we had a significant number of first-time entrants reflecting well on the health of the event.”

Dick Neville, BIRW’s On Water Director, explains how pursuit racing assesses every boat’s handicap at the start of the race. “Each boat starts individually at different times and then they race boat-for-boat to the finish. This is a more family-friendly ‘beer-can’ format for the casual racer that avoids the close-quarters maneuvering that occurs during traditional starts.

“We plan to expand upon Solent-style racing (sometimes called ‘Navigator courses’) we debuted last year which mixes drop marks and permanent government buoys. By providing a variety of course options, we hope to continue to appeal to those crews who are looking for a very competitive format, but who do not wish to sail multiple races a day on shorter courses.

“It is a little less intense physically, but still exciting. All of these novel formats are aimed at re-emphasizing the fun of racing.”

Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race Week typically offers 4 days of racing and one flexible, weather dependent “lay-day”, the highlight of which is the Around Block Island Race with the entire fleet circumnavigating the beautiful island.

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. The Notice of Race will be posted this fall. For details, click here.

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