Picture perfect conditions and a 14 to 17-knot westerly seabreeze made for high-powered racing yesterday for the 203 boats competing in the Storm Trysail Club's Block Island Race Week presented by Rolex.
Offsetting a slow start to the early part of the week, On-the-Water Chairman Peter REGGIO and his race committees put the assembled sailors through their paces, staging three back-to-back races on all but one of the four race courses.
Some top positions were overturned, but the cream still remained on the top in most classes. Although called over early in one race and started behind in two others, Edgar CATO's 12-Meter Hissar is maintaining an unbroken string of bullets.
Bob TOWSE's Reichel/Pugh 66 Blue Yankee, driven by Olympic medallist Steve BENJAMIN, was also called over in one race but managed to dig back and complete a string of bullets for the day in IMS Class 1 to lead by seven points.
Marc EWING's Farr 40 Riot with a daily score of 2-1-3 was bested only by John THOMPSON's impressive 1-2-1 on Solution to take the runner-up position in the seven-boat Farr 40 class, a mere two points behind Riot.
An over early call one race drove Rich SHULMAN's IMX 45 Temptress far enough back to prevent her from earning a perfect scorecard in IMS Class 2. Behind Temptress, however, it's all to play for, as Paul LOWELL's N/M 43 Agincourt, Ira FUTTERMAN's R-Wave, and Blair BROWN's Taylor 45 Sforzando are all tied on 24 points.
It's close to being tied at the top in PHRF Class 1, with David LEUSCHEN's J/145 Rain Cloud having the best daily score of 1-5-3, a mere point ahead of Andrew FISHER's Swan 56 Vanish II. The two appeared to come alive in the breezier conditions against the two yachts previous dominating the class, Bert JABIN's Farr ILC 46 Ramrod and Ennio STAFFINI's Farr 49 Uarshek II.
The breeze also seemed to favour Bob SACHS and Waldek ZALESKI's IMX 40 Kiowa, which scored straight bullets in PHRF Class 2, taking a four-point lead from the Farr 36s Tazo, sailed by Clayton DEUTSCH, and Wayne COLAHAN and Tom MCMANUS' entry Boys are Back.
The fresher breeze made the racing closer than ever in the J/44 class, with no clear leader ready to claim an early victory. Jim BISHOP's Gold Digger maintains a slim one point lead over Bill KETCHAM's Maxine and Scott DINHOFER's Brown-Eyed Girl, and with only nine points separating every entry in the class.
The presenting sponsor for Block Island Race Week XX is Rolex Watch USA which will present Submariner timepieces to the skippers of the outstanding boats in the three biggest fleets. The three skippers will be those boats have displayed the outstanding performance in their fleet in the judgement of the race committee.
Full results are available on the regatta website.