Block Island Race Week turns 30
Published on February 1st, 2023
The biennial Block Island Race Week has been known for it’s a fun-loving yet competitive atmosphere and, as Storm Trysail Club approaches its 30th Race Week and third supported by Margaritaville, there is no sign of things slowing down!
With over 160 boats registered, that’s double the entrants (81) at this time in 2021 while in 2019 there were 69 commitments. A strong factor for this early surge was the early bird discounted dockage offered by Race Headquarters partner, Champlin’s Resort and Marina, and the need to book island housing.
Looking at the current scratch sheet, the largest one-design fleet is looking to be the J/105s with 24 boats – another record for registrations in recent years. They will be joined by a comeback of J/44s, J/80s, and J/88s one-design classes and possibly new ones from the IC37 and Cape 31 fleets will make an appearance.
A stalwart of Race Week since the design’s launch in 2001 has been the J/109 fleet. They have picked their 12th appearance this year to be their North American Championship. Bill Kneller, owner of Vento Solare, stated that the reason the fleet picked BIRW was because the whole class “looks forward to a great venue, the impeccable race management, and the camaraderie ashore.”
Over on the handicapped racing circles, the Maxi 72 owned by Hap Fauth, Belle Mente, is planning on attending in the new ORC Open class – a class where there is no limit on the number of Group 3 sailors. New for 2023, in the ORC and PHRF classes, professional sailors are limited based on the length of the boat. (details on the Official Notice Board).
Twenty-eight ORC boats and 35 PHRF teams are signed up for some buoy racing. Once all boats are registered, the Race Committee, led once again by Dick Neville, will divide them into comparable smaller classes.
As has been the trend in recent years, the Performance Cruising division continues to be the fastest-growing fleet with 35 monohulls and 3 multihulls signed up. These sailors compete in just one distance race per day. Many of these teams also sleep onboard their boats – much like many sailors did in the early Block Island Race Weeks. Those teams will also be competing for the reincarnated Danforth Trophy for liveaboard sailors.
“Storm Trysail Club’s ultimate goal is to always maintain a reputation that sailors can rely on superb race management and celebratory camaraderie ashore. Each edition we face new challenges but we continue to work hard to stay in the vanguard of regattas not to miss,” says Storm Trysail Club’s new Commodore Ray Redniss.
“I look forward to seeing faces I have seen for 15 Race Weeks, but also shaking hands to welcome the sailors who will be here for the next 15.”