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6 May 2005, 04:44 pm
A New England Sailing Tradition
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Block Island Race Week
Block Island, USA

Since 1965 when it was first held, the Storm Trysail Club's biennial Block Island Race Week has been a staple in the lives of New England's most dedicated racing sailors. Now with 40 years of tradition behind it, the event, scheduled for its 21st running this year from June 19-24, has steadily grown into one with national appeal, consistently attracting over 200 entries and partnering with some of the sport's most committed sponsors, including presenting sponsor Rolex.
It is fair to say, in fact, that Block Island Race Week presented by Rolex is now one of the most popular sailing Race Weeks in America.

Block Island Race Week XXI competitors are once again anticipating impeccably-managed competition on the water and famously friendly revelry ashore. For the first time, racing will accommodate IRC-rated boats in addition to PHRF and One-Design. (Throughout 2005, the Storm Trysail Club, with several other prominent yacht clubs and sailing organizations, has taken a leading role in promoting and integrating IRC, a popular handicap rating method used worldwide, into the mainstream of sailing at major regattas in the US)

Four fleets will sail on four different courses, divided into Red, White, Blue and Green. The Red, White and Blue Fleets will race windward/leeward courses, sailing for class trophies and coveted Rolex watches given as prizes for the top performing yachts for the week on each course. For the Red, White & Blue fleets, a minimum of two races each day is planned for four of five race days (Monday through Friday, June 20-24). The Green Fleet will race around government marks and/or race committee marks, and one race a day is scheduled. One day will be reserved for the traditional Round the Island Race, with the exciting new addition of a Rolex watch as prize for the winning IRC entry.

Each day the harbor signals will be at 9 am, with a first warning signal at 10:30 am. This will allow the possibility of three races per day when the wind is steady.

Race Week Headquarters and the Race Week Tent 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 that racing will be complemented by unparalleled socializing each evening. And during the day, families of the racers will take full advantage of Block Island's island-getaway setting.

Storm Trysail Club Vice Commodore John FISHER (Darien, Conn.) is serving as Race Week's Chairman. The On-the-Water Chairman for 2005 is Storm Trysail Club Member David BRENNAN (Miami, Fla.), whose counterpart ashore will be Shore-Side Chairman Eric KREUTER (Riverside, Conn.). All have had extensive experience in running successful racing events and will be assisted by Principal Race Officers on each of the courses: Charley COOK from the Marblehead area, Wayne BRETSCH and Peter SARELAS from the Chesapeake Bay area and Ray REDNISS from Long Island Sound. The International Jury will be chaired by Florida's Arthur 'Tuna' WULLSCHLEGER, one of the founding fathers of Block Island Race Week.

'Again we have a remarkable group of people to run this event,' said Storm Trysail Club Commodore Rich Du MOULIN (Larchmont, NY), 'and with new and returning talent to the race course and the debut of IRC racing, we should have some outstanding competition.'

Coming to Block Island for his first time is Bud SUITER (La Jolla, Calif.), whose brand-new J/133 will most likely sail IRC. 'The IRC requires a physical on-site measurement and I'm trying to get it done in time. When I bought the boat, the IRC was incidental, but I'm going to find out about it just like everybody else.' Suiter will sail with eight-nine crew who 'have done Block Island Race Week collectively many times.'

'It's a new boat and new crew to me, and I'm very excited about it.' said Suiter, who mentioned that Bob EVELYN of Evelyn Yachts and Ben and Nan HALL of Hall Spars will sail with him. Evelyn has been a friend for 40 years, and the Halls Ben an Olympian and Nan a women's champion are both elite sailors,

For teams that haven't yet entered Block Island Race Week XXI, there is still time. Entry forms are available on the STC website via the link below. In the Storm Trysail Club tradition, it will be a great week of racing and fun.

Barby MacGowan (As Amended by ISAF), Image: Action from 2003 © Dan Nerney/Rolex
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