With a new high-profile event on its 2004 sailing schedule, Newport, Rhode Island will be one of the busiest ports of call for sailboat racing this summer.
On August 19, the city's Ida Lewis Yacht Club will host its inaugural distance race for single-hulled boats of 29 feet or more.
Two courses, one covering 242 nautical miles and another covering 160 nautical miles will be offered for IMS Racing and IMS Cruiser/Racer Divisons as well as PHRF Spinnaker and PHRF Non-Spinnaker Divisions.
"The Ida Lewis Distance Race is something that has just been waiting to happen,"
said Race Chairman and Ida Lewis club member Simon DAVIDSON, a professional yacht captain who runs the 81' Reichel-Pugh designed Carerra. "It is the perfect filler between major races scheduled for Newport and Long Island, and interest has been keen."
Davidson explained that the Ida Lewis Distance Race has been included as one of the qualifying events for the New England Lighthouse Series (NELS) and Northern Ocean Racing Trophy (NORT), which are administered annually by the Stamford (Conn.) Yacht Club. "The NELS and NORT include such prestigious events as the Newport to Bermuda Race, the Pineapple Cup Montego Bay (Ft Lauderdale to Jamaica) and the Hemingway Ocean Race (Miami to Baltimore),"
said Davidson, "so it's tremendous that the Ida Lewis Distance Race is on the same 2004 schedule as these."
All social activities surrounding the event will be held at Ida Lewis Yacht Club, the lighthouse on Lime Rock where its infamous female namesake--a lighthouse keeper there from the mid-1800s to early 1900s--saved at least as many lives as are stars on the club's burgee (18).
A Preliminary Notice of Race is available through the Ida Lewis Yacht Club, P.O. Box 479, Newport, RI 02840, 401-846-1969, or at http://www.ilyc.org
. The Notice of Race and Entry Form are scheduled to go online in January.