Hump day at Block Island Race Week

Published on June 23rd, 2021

New Shoreham, RI (June 23, 2021) – The sunshine was bright and the breeze was anticipated to be light for the halfway point of Block Island Race Week Presented by Margaritaville.

Racing today was briefly postponed to allow the Race Committees to set a new course as the cool 8-10 knot northwesterly breeze in the morning was shifted to the predominant seabreeze and continued to fill. Short courses were set to allow for the completion of the first race before the predicted drop in velocity across Rhode Island Sound which thankfully never came, allowing for a three races to be sailed.

With six total races for the ORC and One-Design classes, five for the PHRF classes, and three for the Performance Cruising and Multihull divisions, there has already been more racing than the last few editions at this halfway point.

“Using the MarkSetBots has drastically improved race management,” said On-Water Director, Dick Neville. “This technology allows us to move the marks quickly and efficiently. What would have been a longer postponement because volunteers had to haul and reset marks can now happen in minutes. Thus allowing us to get more races in. It is all quite impressive.”

Among the four J/Boat One-Design divisions, the top finishers for the day were the Coast Guard Academy in the J/44s, Rodrick Jabin’s Ramrod for the J/111s, William Zartler’s Deja Voodoo in the J/105s, and Jonathan Rechtschaffer’s Emoticon in the J/109s.

Block Island Race Week also serves as the J/109 class’s East Coast Championships and as the largest one-design class with 14 boats. The winner will also receive the A. Justin Wasley Memorial Trophy, a Storm Trysail Club perpetual award for the overall winner of the largest one-design class.

“The J/109 Class has been a part of Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race Week since the boats debuted more than 15 years ago. The consistent conditions on the water, and great land-side activities, give us the opportunity to showcase close one-design racing and Class camaraderie,” says John M. Greifzu, Jr., president of the J/109 class and owner of Growth Spurt.

As of the end of racing today, the podium finishers continue to swap spots and are all still within striking distance with Emoticon on top with 13 points, Gossip with 15 points, and Big Boat with 20 points.

Over in the PHRF fleet, William Clemens’ Bolt 37 Coyote won the day in the PHRF 1 but they tied for top spot overall with Naval Academy’s Farr 40, Zephyr. In PHRF 2, the Mudheads’ Melges 24 Dark Energy with Laura Grondin as skipper slid just ahead of Kevin McNeil’s Farr 30 Seabiscuit to take the win for the day and overall. McNeil is now tied for second with George Pawle’sTripp 33 Acturus.

In PHRF 3, Jack McGuire continued his dominance winning every race so far in his J/29 Dirty Harry. John Stork, Jr. with his family all racing aboard their J/80 Rumor and Steve Thurston’s J/29 Mighty Puffin are neck and neck with 12 and 13 points respectively.

As each class battles it out amongst each other, another race within the race is happening this week for the best scoring team. The Shelter Island Team Trophy is awarded to the 3-boat team with the best average points.

Last edition, it was awarded to a Storm Trysail Club team but this year it looks like those teams will need to keep an eye out because Annapolis Yacht Club and Imperial Poona Yacht Club are close behind. So it is still up in the air as this year has the greatest number of teams vying for the honor.

The forecast for tomorrow is starting to improve from earlier predictions of little to no wind so the Race Committee is confident that racing will continue for the penultimate day – Mount Gay Race Day. The 2021 scheduled extends from June 21 to 25.

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Source: Kate Wilson Somers

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