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23 June 2005, 12:11 pm
Third Day Is No Charm
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Block Island Race Week 2005
Block Island, Rhode Island, USA

After a generous amount of sunshine and wind on Tuesday, the Weather Gods opted to play mischievous tricks yesterday on the more than 1,000 sailors competing at the Storm Trysail Club's Block Island Race Week presented by Rolex.
A little rain mixed with sun, plenty of dramatic windshifts, some waiting around. but in the end, the only rise it caused was the one to the challenge by the competitors and dozens of race committee personnel capable of staying one step ahead of the changing conditions.

'We started a race in a westerly,' said Paul MURPHY (USA), a crewman in the J/105 class aboard Dennis SEYNNAEVE's (USA) Mopelia, 'and the race committee smartly abandoned it. We then waited for a northerly to come in and started again.' In fact, four classes on the white circle had to abandon a race yesterday, but all six classes sailing there managed to complete a single race to be counted in what is now a five race score line for each of them.

'On the first leg, a lot of us were on the right side of the course when the wind shifted solidly to the left, and for those who were there, it took one tack on port to the weather mark,' said MURPHY, whose team ended up fifth in the race, with class leader and defending champion Pretty Sketchy finishing right behind. 'The really odd thing is there was a knot of adverse current, so eight boats hit the offset mark. On the second windward leg 45 minutes later, with the windward mark reset 40 degrees to the left, there was a knot of current with us, so you had to watch the current lines and what was happening on either side of them.'

Also on the white course was the J/109 class, competing for its East Coast Championships. 'Yes, the race committee kept very busy today,' said Storm skipper Rick LYALL (USA), who finished sixth yesterday to maintain his third overall position from Tuesday. 'We had one minute to go when the race committee abandoned our first start. There was less that two knots of breeze while we coasted, waiting for the weather to stabilize. It's great to try to get in races in these kinds of conditions, but it is difficult to be competitive in 30-40 degree shifts. It's a challenge, but it's all part of the game.'

The key yesterday for LYALL was that the two boats ahead of him in overall scoring did relatively poorly, so he lessened the scoring gap. 'We were too far right on the first upwind leg and were down somewhere between tenth and twelfth, but the right side paid off on the second weather leg, and we picked off three or four boats.'

Seemingly infallible in the blue circle's Beneteau 36.7 class is M&M's, which added two victories yesterday to her perfect four bullet record. According to Mark PLOCH, his closest competition is from Quokka and Jubilee, currently second and third in the overall standings. 'We always are close when we start out, but then we just seem to get a leg out on them, and they have to give up and try to protect second.' With the Beneteau 36.7 and the 40.7 classes competing for their New England Championships, M&M's is looking good.

Two races were held on the blue and the red circles, where five classes are sailing on each. A fourth green circle saw one race for its one class (PHRF Non-Spinnakers). The event also serves as the Farr 395 North American Championship. Racing continues tomorrow and concludes on Friday.

Event Media (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Contessa 35:© Dan Nerney/Rolex
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