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2 June 2005, 02:28 pm
High Marks For IRC And Winner DU MOULIN
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Block Island Race 2005
Larchmont, New York, USA

Over a 185 mile course, competitors in the Storm Trysail Club's 60th Block Island Race, which started late in the afternoon on Friday 27 May, experienced a wide range of conditions, from squalls that overpowered to breathless times that becalmed.
Strong currents at The Gut and The Race, two choices for leaving (or entering) Long Island Sound and entering (or leaving) the Atlantic ocean, served up their usual tactical challenges, as crews on 68 boats went the round-trip distance from Stamford to Block Island, Rhode Island, USA. and back.

In the end, the Storm Trysail Club's own Commodore Rich DU MOULIN (USA) performed the best overall in fleet and won the IRC class 4 aboard his Express 37 Lora Ann, completing the course in 33 hours. DU MOULIN, a champion of the IRC rating rule, which is still in its infancy in this country and made its New England distance-race debut at this Block Island Race, called the fleet 'well balanced' with two-thirds of it sailing IRC and one-third sailing PHRF. 'It was the biggest turnout in recent years' said DU MOULIN, 'in part due to the IRC. It's noteworthy, too, that twelve boats sailed in a doublehanded division. The IRC rule deals nicely with doublehanded sailing, which is a popular and growing segment of the sport. The PHRF showing was still strong, which means there is opportunity for both rules to co-exist.'

As for the mental and physical challenges of the race, DU MOULIN commented, 'It was tough, pushing the boat for so long and changing gears all the time. It was hard work from the standpoint of tactics and for the crew with all the sail changes.'

DU MOULIN's victorious counterpart in IRC class 3, H.L. DEVORE (USA), owner and skipper of the J/44 Honahlee, said his was a 'pleasant' experience all-around. 'I've done the race eight or nine times as a crew, but this was my first time as an owner. After the start, an hour or two down the Sound, the southerly died and a storm came in with winds of 20 knots plus from the north-northwest. We sailed well and made the right sail choices. We ended up correcting out just nine minutes behind the IRC class 1 winner Ptarmigan, which has a full-on racing campaign, so that made us feel good.'

'I also have to say that the organizers, including Race Chairman Ray REDNISS, the IRC offices and US SAILING did a phenomenal job pulling together to make this work and dealing with what I suspect were expected last-minute issues. As owners, we just want to go sailing with a playing field that's level. The only real way to do that is for us all to sail the exact same boats, but we don't want to sail the same boats. I'm happy that IRC seems to allow the racer/cruiser boats that are a little older (Honahlee was built in 1992) to go out there and compete fairly.'

The Block Island Race is a qualifier for the Northern Ocean Racing Trophy (IRC) and the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF) as well as for the Caper, Sagola and Windigo trophies awarded by the Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound.

Rich DU MOULIN also won the new 'Tuna Trophy' named after Arthur WULLSCHLEGER for the best IRC combined scores in the Block Island Race (weighted 60%) and Larchmont Yacht Club's EDLU Race (weighted 40%), at which he finished third in class and fourth overall in fleet.

The Storm Trysail Club, reflecting in its name the sail that sailors must use when facing the most adverse of conditions, is one of the world's most respected sailing clubs, with its membership comprised strictly of skilled blue water and ocean racing sailors.

Barby MacGowan (As Amended BY ISAF). Image:© Event Media
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