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High winds and rough seas challenge competitors

Mother Nature packed an extra punch for the 10th anniversary of the Ida Lewis Distance Race, with high winds (up to 25 knots) and rough seas challenging its record 47-boat fleet and forcing 12 to retire from racing.

Nevertheless, the popular overnighter, which started Friday, Aug. 15 at 12:30 p.m. off Fort Adams in Newport, R.I., delivered lots of fun summer memories for its IRC, PHRF, Doublehanded and Multihull competitors (all racing on the 150 nautical mile “Block Island” course), including Steve Benjamin’s Carkeek HP 40 Spookie, which won IRC and claimed line honors after crossing the finish line at 8:42 a.m. on Saturday.

“We enjoyed racing thoroughly,” said Benjamin whose team of eight was awarded the Russell L. Hoyt Memorial Trophy for best elapsed time and the Commodore’s Trophy for best corrected time (both in the IRC division). “The winds were more or less as predicted, fairly strong, but the seas were rougher than usual.”

Click here for the full report with photos.