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SAIL SCENE

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Club Commodore wins

60th Block Island Race

Over a 185-mile course, competitors in the Storm Trysail Club’s 60th Block Island Race experienced a wide range of conditions, from overpowering squalls to dull lulls.

Strong currents at The Gut and The Race, two choices for leaving Long Island Sound and entering the Atlantic Ocean, served up their usual tactical challenges, as crews on 68 boats raced from Stamford, Conn., to Block Island, R.I., and back during the Memorial Day weekend.

Storm Trysail Club’s commodore, Rich du Moulin of Larchmont, N.Y., won best overall in fleet and won the IRC Class 4 aboard his Express 37, Lora Ann, completing the course in 33 hours. Du Moulin, a champion of the IRC rating rule, which is still in its infancy in this country and made its New England distance-race debut at this Block Island Race, called the fleet “well balanced,” with two-thirds sailing IRC and one-third sailing PHRF.

“It was the biggest turnout in recent years — in part due to the IRC,” said du Moulin. “It’s noteworthy, too, that 12 boats sailed in a double-handed division. The IRC rule deals nicely with double-handed sailing, which is a popular and growing segment of the sport. The PHRF showing was still strong, which means there is opportunity for both rules to co-exist.”

H.L. Devore of Larchmont, owner and skipper of the J/44, Honahlee, won the IRC Class 3.

“I’ve done the race eight or nine times as a crew, but this was my first time as an owner,” Devore said. “After the start, an hour or two down the Sound, the southerly died and a storm came in with winds of 20-knots-plus from the north-northwest.”

The boat ended up just 9 minutes (on corrected time) behind the IRC class 1 winner, Ptarmigan, “which has a full-on racing campaign, so that made us feel good,” Devore said.

In IRC Class 1, Larry Dickie’s Ptarmigan of Old Greenwich, Conn., beat Richard Breeden’s Bright Star and Robert Towse’s Blue Yankee in the competitive class. In IRC Class 2, Andrew Fisher’s Swan 45, Bandit, from Greenwich, Conn., beat James Sykes’ Bombardino for the class win.

Other class winners included Edwin Gaynor of Fairfield, Conn., in IRC-8 on Mirelle. Winners in PHRF 5, 6, and 7, respectively, were John Levinson’s Tabasco from Southport, Conn.; Bill Mooney’s Taniwha of Cove Neck, N.Y.; and David Spence’s Synergy of Maplewood, N.J.

The Block Island Race is a qualifier for the Northern Ocean Racing Trophy (IRC) and the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF) as well as for the Caper, Sagola and Windigo trophies awarded by the Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound.

Rich du Moulin also won the new Tuna Trophy, named after Arthur Wullschleger, for the best IRC combined scores in the Block Island Race and Larchmont Yacht Club’s EDLU Race, at which he finished third in class and fourth overall in fleet.

Class and perpetual awards for the Block Island Race will be awarded on Nov. 11 at the Larchmont Yacht Club. www.blockislandraceweek.com

Swan Regatta

to debut in July

One of the certain highlights of Newport’s summer sailing season will be the debut of the Rolex Swan American Regatta. The event, organized by the New York Yacht Club, is scheduled for July 25 to 29.

More than 50 of the majestic Swan yachts, ranging from 35 to 80 feet, will gather at the Newport Shipyard, in downtown Newport, where a specially designed dockside Regatta Village will serve as the hub of activity for competitors. Social activities are planned at Harbour Court, the New York Yacht Club’s Newport clubhouse. A series of around-the-buoys and distance races is planned for competitors, with a Rolex timepiece awarded to the winning Swan owner.

The Swan yachts will be divided into four classes. Three of these, including the ever-popular cruising division, will race under the Nautor’s Swan Rating System, while the Swan 45 class will race as a one-design class. Races will take place daily on Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound. www.nautorswan.com; www.nyyc.org