Every once in a while we have a full week of great sailing. That is exactly what happened this past week for the many sailors who came from far and near to participate in the 21st running of Block Island Race Week, a biennial event run by the Storm Trysail Club. The island, termed one of the country's "Last Great Places" provided spectacular sailing for over 2,000 sailors and 190 boats from around the country. This event is one of the highlights of the racing season. To the delight of all, this year the weather gods were in a good mood. The sunny opening day brought atypical easterly winds that gradually clocked to the south, remaining in the 12-knot range for most of the day and picking up slightly in the late afternoon. The Round the Island Race, which took place on Tuesday, June 21, was "spectacular" and the "best ever;" one that will be talked about for "the next 25 years." A solid sea breeze built from 10-12 knots at the start to a high of 20 at the finish and the sunny, clear skies allowed the competitors to get a fabulous view of the island's bluffs and beaches, and awarded those on shore a fabulous view of the colorful fleet of 190 boats with over 1,000 sailors. Mid-week brought a little rain, dramatic wind shifts and a westerly on Wednesday that forced the race committee to abandon the first race, smartly waiting for a northerly to fill in; while Thursday was a little more of the same, with long waits between races waiting for the wind to make up her mind, which she did when she graced the waiting teams with a southerly. That southerly held for the next and last day of racing, with winds building to 18-20 knots by mid-day. It was a "real beauty" and the perfect ending for another expertly run, fun and challenging Block Island Race Week.
Manhasset Bay had good representation this year at Block Island. Rich du Moulin, on his Express 37, Lora Ann (Larchmont YC) came in fourth in his division for the week, and won his division in the Round the Island Race. They also captured third place in the Shelter Island Team Trophy, teaming up with Solution, John Thomson (Manhasset Bay YC) and Gold Digger, Jim Bishop (Jamestown, RI). Rich learned to sail at Knickerbocker YC and raced against and with many local sailors who still compete in our bay. His "Team AARP" included John Browning, Steve Moore, George Huntington, Elliot Oldak and Lee Reichart. Elliot, another product of the Knickerbocker YC junior sailing, lives now in Annapolis, MD and is an avid Star sailor. Lee Reichart lived in Port during his Miracle Grow days and now resides in Ohio, the new home of the company's headquarters. Both Steve Moore and John Browning, from Manhasset Bay YC raced against du Moulin in the MBYC junior sailing program "way back when." Rich is the current commodore of the Storm Trysail Club. According to Browning, "the week at Block Island was great. Friday was spectacular, everyone who I talked to said it was one of the great days of racing they were ever on ... lots of boats, lots of wind, just a spectacular day." Sandy Lindebaum (North Shore YC), on board his Beneteau 36.7, Promise Kept, also had a Manhasset Bay crew, drawn mainly from Knickerbocker YC. In addition to Sandy, who drove, his team included his wife Leslie, his son, David, Doug Greenfield and his daughter Leah Greenfield, Todd Ilberg, Tom Powers, Donna and daughter Danielle, Michael Silverman, Chip Behall, and Jon Helfat. David Lindenbaum made it to BIRW just in time as he flew home from a few days of racing in San Diego in the National One Design Championship for the Beneteau 36.7. Sandy's summary of the Round the Island Race goes something like this, "will be talked about for the next 25 years....As close to perfect as possible....Great breeze, screaming spinnaker runs, big boats passing little boats, little boats taking on the big guys... Racing under perfect skies....Great breeze.... Storm Trysail did a great job....Race Committee changed the upwind loge throughout the week to get as perfect a course as possible - they must have been as tired as the racers by the end of the day."
Other local sailors at BIRW include Solution, John Thomson (Manhasset Bay YC), who came in fourth in the Farr 40 division and second in the Round the Island Race. Tom Whidden, Essex, CT, of America's Cup fame, was the tactician on Solution. Avalanche, Al Albrecht (Port Washington YC) came in third in the Farr 395 division. Other boats from our area include Out of Reach II, Louis Nees (Port Washington YC), Andiamo, Paul Strauch (Manhasset Bay YC), and Arcturus, Claude Chazotte (Manhasset Bay YC). Another boat that has ties to our area is Rum Funny, owned by Bud Suitor, and driven by Ben Hall, with his wife Nan Hall, Liz Hall, their daughter and Bob Hal, a nephew from San Francisco. Nan Hall is the former Nan Lowlicht, daughter of Knickerbocker YC member Claire Lowlicht. Nan learned to sail at KYC and is still competing in major events with her husband. Nan and her family live in Rhode Island, where Hall Spars, the family business, is located. Rum Funny won their division for the week's racing and won their division in the Round the Island Race. For their efforts they were awarded the Isbrandtsen Overall Perpetual Trophy for the second best performance.
In many years past, returning to "everyday" life after a great week on Block Island poses a difficult transition. Not so this year. After racing in almost perfect weather from Monday to Friday, our racers returned to Manhasset Bay for another two great days of racing. This hardly ever happens, and our racers were most appreciative. Let's hope the rest of the summer provides more days like we had this past weekend. Knickerbocker YC was Race Committee for the weekend of June 25-26. Top boats on Saturday: Sonar Fleet, Race 1 (10 boats): 1. #421, Weekend Warrior, Dan Simon/Bill Simon, 2. #677, Serendipity, Allyn Salomon, and 3. #682, Puff, Ralf Steitz. Race 2 (9 boats): 1. #451, Ping, Sue Miller/John Browning, 2. Puff, and 3. Weekend Warrior. Race 3 8 boats): 1. Ping, 2. #396, Delight, Bob Kirtland and 3. Puff. Race 4 (7 boats): 1. Ping, 2. Puff, and 3. Delight. The MBO top boats on Saturday: Race 1 (4 boats) 1. #9, Miss B Haven, Grace Allen/Ralph Heinzerling, 2. #5, Escapade, Ned baker/Dick Moore, and 3. #11, Silver Fox, Curt Champlin/Clay Davenport. Race 2 (3 boats): 1. Miss B Haven, 2. Escapade, and 3. #23, 23 Skidoo, Tom Godfrey/Don Richardson. Sunday's top boats: Sonars (5 boats): Race 1: Delight, 2. Weekend Warrior, and 3. Puff. Race 2: 1. Ping, 2. Weekend Warrior, and 3. Puff. Race 3: 1. Ping, 2. Puff, and 3. Weekend Warrior. MBOs (6 boats): 1. #3, Olin Express, Bob Prokop/Jack Antinori, 2. Miss B Haven, and 3. Silver Fox. Three KOD's completed two races. Race 1: #15, Dybbuk, Roy Israel, 2. #8, Second Chance, Perry Lengton, and 3. #12 (name unavailable). Race 2: 1. Second Chance, 2. Dybbuk, and 3. #12.