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25 June 2005, 08:40 am
A Real Beauty
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Block Island Race Week 2005
Block Island, USA

The final day of Block Island Race Week presented by Rolex was 'a real beauty,' with south winds building to 18-20 knots by mid-day, putting plenty of muscle behind two races in all classes except the PHRF non-spinnaker class, which completed one scheduled race. The action-packed day was the perfect topper for four previous mostly-sunny days with challenging winds that made the 21st running of this biennial event another memorable one for more than 2000 sailors on 190 boats.
'For us, today was the best racing all week,' said Mark PLOCH (New York, N.Y.), skipper of M&M's, the undefeated winner in the Beneteau 36.7 class. 'It was the closest with Jubilee (Cal Huge, Summerville, S.C.) that we've had. They were right with us to the first mark, and we barely got ahead of her. When we fouled our spinnaker at the leeward mark, she caught up with us again.' Prior to today's two victories, Ploch claimed his string of eight victories was relatively easy to complete by repeatedly pulling away from the fleet shortly after starting. According to crewmember Rand MILTON (Bridgewater,N.J.), the stellar performance was to be expected. 'Collectively,' he said, 'there's got to be 200 years of experience on the boat!' Ploch, a sailmaker known for his grand prix racing record, bought M&M's as a family racing/cruising boat in the fall of 2004 and has won every regatta that he and his wife have entered with it since. For his performance here today, Ploch will add the 2005 Beneteau 36.7 New England Championship title to his list of sailing accomplishments.

Winning the Farr 395 North American Championship title here was Preben OSTBERG and Bud DAILEY'S (Edgewater, Maryland) Tsunami, with three victories in nine races. 'Everybody worked real hard,' said Dailey. 'Today we ended up with two seconds. In the first race, Coyote (Bill LEMENS, W. Redding, Conn.), which wound up second overall, lost a crew overboard in a jibe, so that helped us, because they were ahead at the time. The second race was pretty straightforward. We just kept our boat speed, made sure we didn't do anything stupid; not real conservative, but not crazy either.'

In the Farr 40 class, it came down to the wire in the last race before Warpath (Steve & Fred HOWE, San Diego, Calif.) prevailed to win. 'We made it hard for ourselves in the first race by being over early,' said jib trimmer Dave ARMITAGE (Newport, R.I.), explaining that, despite the setback of having to restart well after the rest of the fleet had cleared the line, his team worked its way back up to third. 'We had one point over Mean Machine (Peter de RIDDER, Monaco) going into the last race, and we won that one.' Warpath's tactician Ed ADAMS (Middletown, R.I.) added that the two boats did a couple of match-racing type circles at the start, and Mean Machine had them pinned for most of the beat before Warpath pulled ahead. The boat's spread in overall scoring over Mean Machine was a mere two points.

Other one-design classes competing were the Beneteau 40.7 (also vying for their New England Championships; winnerDame Blanche, Odhmar Mueller von BLUMENCROM, Great Falls, Va.), J/44 (winnerChallenge IV, Jeffery WILLIS, Huntington Bay, N.Y.), J/120 (winnerSarah BETH, Greg MANNING, Warwick, R.I.), J/109 (contesting their East Coast Championships; winnerPhoebe's Phling, Charlie MILLIGAN, Newport, R.I.), and J/105 (winner and defending overall championPretty Sketchy, Tom ENRIGHT, Bristol, R.I.)

Rounding it out were four classes of IRC boats and five classes of PHRF boats.

Titan XII, owned and skippered by Tom HILL (San Juan, PR) crushed IRC Super Zero class, for the event's largest boats, winning seven of ten races and finishing no worse than second. 'We would have had to do real bad to lose today,' said Hill, explaining that the boat consistently finished several minutes ahead of the fleet each day but had to give several minutes back due to the IRC rating rule. Despite that equalizer, Titan still was unstoppable. 'Because we're bigger, we can drive under and over the fleet pretty well,' added Hill. But it was not all about size and the inherent speed in having a 75-foot size advantage. 'With a 5,000 sq. ft. spinnaker and only mile-and-a-half legs, we had to have exceptional crew work.'

In IRC Zero class, class favorite High Noon (Dennis COLLINS/Steve BENJAMIN, New York, N.Y.) suffered a devastating blow before the start of racing today. A starboard turnbuckle broke, sending the boat back to the dock and dashing all hopes of victory. Bandit (Andrew FISHER, Greenwich, Conn.) won the class after posting finish positions of 1-2 today and sealed the deal with seven points less than High Noon, which, remarkably, held on to a second position overall.

Other IRC winners were Rum Funny (Bud SUITER, La Jolla, Calif.) in IRC class one and Lora Ann (Richard du MOULIN, Larchmont, N.Y.) in IRC class two. Lora Ann and Troubador (Mort WEINTRAUB, Larchmont, N.Y.) were tied for first going into today. Today's first race proved how equally matched they were when the two boats rounded the first weather mark within seconds of each other, with Troubador leading. The spinnaker takedown on the second leg, however, determined Lora Ann's prowess as she executed faultlessly and pulled ahead. For du Moulin, who is also the Storm Trysail Club's Commodore, the victory was especially sweet: 'We had four great days of conditions, only one mediocre day and a full set of races. What a way to end the race week!'

Yesterday's comfortable lead for Remedy's John FRIES (Waterford, Conn.) became a solid overall victory today in PHRF class 2 when he won today's first race and-because, mathematically, his score was untouchable-sat out the second race. In PHRF class 3 Cooch (Wes MAXWELL, Stonington, Conn.) topped the fleet, while in PHRF classes 4 and 5, Chinook (Carrie AUSTIN, Ridgewood, N.Y.) and Big Time (Michael Rajacich, Easton, Md.) won, respectively.

In PHRF non-spinnaker class, Rascal (Kel WEBER, Wilton, Conn.) won with three victories in five races, posting only one point less than Xenophon (Paul PAKOS, Sudbury, Mass.)

Trophy Winners

Everett B. Morris Memorial Trophy for Best Overall Performance: Warpath

Isbrandtsen Overall Perpetual Trophy for the second best performance: Rum Funny

A. Justin Wasley Memorial Trophy for the overall winner of the one-design class with the largest number of entries: Pretty Sketchy

Island Sailing Club of Cowes Perpetual Trophy for the first overall IRC rated boat in the Around the Island Race (also won a Rolex oyster Perpetual Submariner timepiece): Titan XII

Vintage Yacht Trophy for the yacht 15 years or older with the best performance of the week: Chinook

John Alden Reed Perpetual Trophy for the best performance by a Service Academy Yacht: Hellcat, USMMA

Governors Perpetual Trophy for the foreign yacht with the best performance of the week: Mean Machine

Shelter Island Team Trophy: 1. Mudheads (Showdown, Remedy, Cooch); 2. Storm Trysail Club Red (High Noon, Settler, Titan); 3. Storm Trysail Club Commodores (Lora Ann, Solution, Gold Digger)
Regatta News (As Amended by ISAF) Image: Doug Croker's (Easton, MD) Farr 40, CANVAS BACK, at the weather mark. © Dan Nerney/Rolex
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