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Steppingstone for future offshore sailing

Published on August 15th, 2022

When the Ida Lewis Distance Race starts August 19, 41 teams split into classes for ORC, PHRF, PHRF Double Handed, and PHRF Cruising Spinnaker will take on one of four overnight round-trip courses that range in length from 112 to 169 nautical miles from Newport, RI.

The course will have been chosen in advance by the Ida Lewis Yacht Club Race Committee when it is clear what the wind and weather will be doing over the coming 18-24 hours.

“The Ida Lewis Distance Race is a fun overnight sprint where strategy and tactics are important,” said Sheila McCurdy (Middletown, RI), skipper of the McCurdy & Rhodes 38 Selkie, which will sail in PHRF and was designed and built by her father.

“Our crew is a combination of three very good offshore sailors and three sailors who want more experience on big boats. I love that offshore sailing is an opportunity to mix generations; our crew has an age range from one in her teens to one in her 60s.”

For Ida Lewis Yacht Club veteran James Phyfe (Cranston, R.I.), who has entered his J/44 Digger, this is the first year that he is participating in the race with this boat. “We were registered last year with many of the same crew and were headed down the Bay when it was cancelled,” said Phyfe, explaining that his crew is comprised mostly of family and juniors.

His niece, Brooke (15), is bringing five friends from her junior racing program at New Bedford Yacht Club. “I really enjoy sailing with these kids because they are very enthusiastic, and I’m hoping this is a steppingstone for some other future offshore sailing for them,” noted Phyfe.

Another team with youth on its side is Mudratz Racing’s Spitfire, a Corel 45 out of Stonington, CT which has officially registered as a Collegiate Challenge entry. “We have the same crew lined up that recently completed the Bermuda Race,” said Mudratz Offshore Coordinator Julia Cronin.

Two of the crew are 15-year-old high school students and two have just graduated from college where they were on the sailing team. Three more are current college students (UC Davis, St. Mary’s College, University of Rhode Island) and sail for their respective college teams as well.

“In our program, we don’t have a designated skipper; all the kids do all the jobs on board,” said Cronin. “We believe this is the best way for everyone to become well-rounded sailors.”

The Ida Lewis Distance Race begins off Fort Adams and ends just inside Newport Harbor where Ida Lewis volunteers can sight the finish line from their clubhouse on Lime Rock and greet each team on the water with a congratulatory bottle of Prosecco.


Source: Media Pro

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