J/105 class at the start of the second race at the 2007 Block Island Race Week, presented by Rolex. Photo credit: Rolex/Dan Nerney.
From June 17-22, the population of tiny Block Island will swell by over 2,000 sailors while marinas fill with an extra 200 plus boats when the Storm Trysail Club arrives to coordinate--for its 22nd time--Block Island Race Week XXII (BIRW) presented by Rolex. One of the most popular sailing weeks in America, the event has repeated itself here biennially since 1965, offering competitors impeccably managed competition on the water and famously friendly rivalry ashore.
The first day of BIRW, the wind came slowly and bearing gifts for those who could unlock its secrets. Some of the nearly 2,000 sailors on 183 boats waited two hours for a northeasterly to die and switch to a light seabreeze from the southwest. Two of three racing circles -- one designated "White" for one-design classes and the other "Blue" for PHRF handicap -- completed two races while the "Red" circle for IRC racing completed only one.
"It was worth the wait," said Jon Zier (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), a crew aboard Donald Nicholson's (Scotch Plains, N.J.) Farr 395 Drumbeat in IRC Class 3, "since otherwise we would have all been sitting on the low side trying to get around the course." Nevertheless, the 7-9 knot winds were tricky and Drumbeat performed some excellent crew work for a second-place finish behind another Farr 395 Avalanche, owned by Craig Albrecht, Port Washington YC. Six of the 395s are competing in this 10-boat IRC class and four of those took the top four spots. (A total of seven IRC classes are competing for class honors and a shot at the Rolex US-IRC National Championship title.)
On the blue PHRF course, the wind switched 180 degrees at the end of the first race, so that the finish was unexpectedly upwind rather than downwind. In the largest PHRF class(16 boats) and with only six seconds difference among all of the ratings, , John Storck on his J/80 Rumor, came in first for his division, followed by another boat from Huntington, Loki III, an S2 9.1,owned by Richard Correll, who came in third.
As is traditional at Block Island Race Week, the end of the day sports a party under a huge tent. The sponsors for Monday night's festivities were Heineken and Wind Check Magazine. Also, compliments of Rolex, is a daily video of the day's racing, produced nightly by T2Productions, out of Annapolis. For those who can't be on Block Island, readers can go to www.t2p.tv and by 9 p.m. nightly, can view the video that all the skippers and teams saw earlier under the tent. It's the next best thing to being there. Speaking of being there, by the time you are reading this, your columnist will be out on the waters of Block Island, camera at the ready. So stay tuned for more information in next weeks' column.
When BIRW was last raced in 2005, the event raised, in contributions and a raffle,in excess of $18,000 for three charities: Block Island Rescue Squad, Block Island Maritime Institute, and Block Island Community Playground. This year the raffle's grand prize again will be a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner timepiece with additional prizes supplied by Mt. Gay, Gill, Vineyard Vines, Heineken and other Block Island Race Week sponsors. "For more than 40 years, Storm Trysail members, guest skippers, crews, and families have descended upon Block Island and, essentially, taken it over for an entire week," said Storm Trysail Club Commodore John Fisher. "Block Island, like many summer destinations, recognizes the importance of tourism to its local economy and embraces the economic contributions of Block Island Race Week, Conversely, we recognize the importance of Block Island to our club's heritage and want to give something back."
North Shore YC held their annual day race earlier this month and the results have become available. In Division I (8 boats): 1. Forza, Frers F336, Tony Tertiropoulos, club affiliation not known, 2. Vision,J/105, Marc Epstein, NSYC, and 3. En Garde, J/105, Charlie Cannam, NSYC. Division II (9 boats): 1. Avalanche, Farr 395, Al Albrecht, PWYC, 2. Sans-Coulettes, Ben 40.7, Robert Johnston, Huguenot YC, and 3. Starship Enterprise, C&C 37/40+ K/C, Edd m. Schillay, City Island YC. Division II (4 boats): 1. Crossbow, Ben 36.7, Roy Halvorsen, Harlem YC, 2. Tenacious, Ben. 36.7, Julien Dougherty, Harlem YC, and 3. Whirlwind, Ben. 36.7, William Purdy, City Island YC. Avalanche won both the Non-Spinnaker and Best Doublehanded division. En Passant, Islander 30, Bob Ebenau, NSYC, won the "best performance by a NSYC member."
Thirsty Thursday results for June 14: Division I (4 boats, Course ZD, 4.42 nm): 1. Promise Kept, Sandy Lindenbaum. There was a three-way tie for second place between: Avalanche, Al Albrecht, Grace, Gene Gold, and Free-Fall, Bill McFaul. Division II results (3 boats, Course ZD, 4.42 nm): 1.Xcite, Yalcin Tarhan, 2. Vision, Marc Epstein. The third boat was a DNF (did not finish). Division III: (7 boats, Course ZM, 3.20 nm): 1. Tootsie, Ron Fink, 2. En Passant, Bob Ebenau, and 3. Second Wind, Anthony Viola.
North Shore YC was Race Committee for the weekend of June 16-17. On Saturday, there were six Sonars and five MBOs on the starting line, with three races for the Sonars and two for the MBOs. Top Sonar boats: All three races: 1. #396, Delight, Bob Kirtland, 2. #451, Ping, Sue Miller/John Browning, and 3. #573, Selhun, Bahar Gidwani. MBO finishes on Saturday: For both races: 1. #9, Miss B Haven, Grace Allen/Ralph Heinzerling, 2. #5, Escapade, Ned Baker/Dick Moore, and 3. #11, Silver Foxes, Jay Davenport/Curt Champlin. Results for Sunday, June 17: Three Sonar races, 7 boats: Race 1: 1. #421, Weekend Warrior, Dan Simon/Bill Simon/Einar Haukeland, 2. #396, Delight, and 3. #451, Ping. Race 2: 1. Weekend Warrior, 2. Ping, and 3. #487, Viento, Jonathan Siener. Race 3: 1. Delight, 2. #573, Selhun, and 3. Ping. The MBO fleet had two races, with 3 boats competing: Race 1: #17, Frolic, Bill Martin, 2. #5, Escapade, Ned Baker/Dick Moore, and 3. #9, Miss B Haven, Grace Allen/Ralph Heinzerling. Race 2: 1. Miss B Haven, 2. Escapade, and 3. Frolic. The KODs had one race on Sunday, with two boats on the starting line: 1. #8, Second Chance, Perry Lengton, and 2. #12, Sonic, Michael Aingorn/Peter Wermuth.