Sports

One's spirits get a lift when the Block Island NOR (Notice of Race) is published because that means that summer can't be too far away. Storm Trysail Club released the following information on their bi-annual event:

One of summer's most cherished regattas, the Storm Trysail Club's biennial Block Island Race Week presented by Rolex, is set for its 23rd running from June 21-26, 2009. The regatta, which traditionally features five days of racing in both handicap and one-design classes, will also serve as the inaugural North American championship for the J/122 class and the East Coast championship for the J/109 class. The Notice of Race and online registration are available on the official event site www.blockislandraceweek.com.

"Each year we strive to provide competitors with a world-class regatta," said Eric Kreuter, vice-commodore of the Storm Trysail Club and 2009 regatta chairman. "This year we expect to field over 180 boats competing in IRC, PHRF and one-design classes, including starts for the large J/105 class, J/80, Swan 42, J/120, Farr 30, Farr 40, Beneteau 36.7, and the J/44 classes. New this year will be a class start for Sport Boats. To help us better prepare for this year's event, we are asking potential competitors to give us an early indication of interest by beginning the online entry process as soon as possible. While they have until June 01, 2009 to complete the process and pay the entry fee, this early entry information will be very helpful to our planning."

Between now and June members of the Storm Trysail Club, as well as executive director Marcy Trenholm, will see to the thousands of details that go into producing one of sailing's best known racing weeks.

"It takes over 100 volunteers, both onshore and on the water, to achieve the high standard that racers have come to know at Block Island," said Trenholm. "Planning has already started, and our logistics team is preparing for what we believe will be the best regatta to date."

All told, over 180 boats and 1,500 sailors are expected to converge - as they have in odd-numbered years for over four decades - on the tiny land mass located approximately 12 miles southeast of Rhode Island. The cozy community of Block Island (only around 800 year-round residents), which can only be accessed by ferry, boat or plane, embraces the swell in population and the excitement of hosting a fun-filled week of impeccably managed competition on the water and famously friendly revelry ashore.

The racing format for the week allows for three fleets on three different race courses. Sailors will be gunning for individual class trophies, with fleets vying for Rolex watches as overall prizes for the top-performing yachts. A traditional around-the-island distance race (with an option of a second distance race) will be included.

For those with endorsed IRC ratings, the Storm Trysail Club's Block Island Race Week XXIII presented by Rolex is a qualifier for the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series (www.us-irc.org).

Block Island Race Week Headquarters will be located at the Oar Restaurant, in the Block Island Boat Basin on the shore of the Great Salt Pond, also known locally as New Harbor. It is there, under a giant event tent, that racing will be complemented by socializing each evening. And during the day, families of the racers will take full advantage of Block Island's island-getaway setting. There will be daily awards and the overall trophies for the week will be on Friday, June 26.

Compliments of Rolex, daily video shows of each day's racing will be produced by Annapolis-based T2Productions and broadcast on-line each night by 9 p.m. on www.t2p.tv. The videos also will be shown each day under the "Big Top" tent where all of Race Week's sponsors will have a presence. Sponsors are Rolex, Caithness Energy, Mt. Gay, Lewmar, Bitter End Yacht Club, Gill, Gowrie Barden & Brett, Hall Spars, Heineken, Sailing World magazine, Summit Yachts, UKHalsey Sailmakers and Vineyard Vines. For more information, visit www.blockislandraceweek.com.

You don't see something like this everyday. North Sails is offering a free North Sail Racer Hat to those who finished in the top three in any regatta in North America during 2008! Simply find your name on our online Victory List (please send us your name if we missed you) and register for your free North Sails Racer Hat (one hat per customer). Offer available in North America only and expires April 1, 2009. For more information, go to: http://na.northsails.com.

Recently a local Long Island sailing family was in the news. Many in our area know the Storck family as they have been in our areas for various regattas over the years. The interview with Kaity Storck brings to mind things to think about as we plan for our summer sailing, be it racing on Manhasset Bay in one-design fleets, preparing for Block Island Race Week, or preparing for any LI Sounds regatta.

The Storcks has been bringing their J/80 to Key West Race Week every year since 2003, winning their class in the last two events, and a top four finisher during six consecutive trips south. Kaity Storck provides Sailing World with a couple of nuggets about their program: "The one thing our team has always done really well, is that everyone focuses on doing their own job and just their job. I think that's a problem that a lot of boats have difficulty with, especially when you have a lot of really good sailors together. It's hard for everyone to focus on doing just their job. More often than not, it's not that you run into problems with people messing up their job, but people sort of overstepping boundaries. So everyone always does a really good job on our boat. But probably with the conditions being so shifty and up and down breeze wise, we were seeing easily 10 knot ranges and the really big shifts, I think John, my brother, who was driving the boat, probably gets the MVP for keeping the boat moving." Kaity continues about the family routines before racing: We definitely have an order of things to do when we get out to the racecourse. We're taking wind shots on the way out to the course just as soon as we were out there...before we even go out my dad tries to get the rig to where he thinks the breeze will be for the day. We're just out of the harbor, we're checking the wind, we check it again. We check it a lot, just to be in tune with what we think is happening."


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