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Victors named in 17 classes at BI Race Week

Block Island Race Week wrapped up June 25 with south winds building to 18-20 knots by midday, putting plenty of muscle behind the races in all classes at the 21st biennial regatta.

Mark Ploch of New York City, skipper of M’s, the undefeated winner in the Beneteau 36.7 class, claimed his string of eight victories was relatively easy to complete by repeatedly pulling away from the fleet shortly after starting.

Ploch, a sailmaker known for his grand prix racing record, bought M’s as a family racing/cruising boat in the fall of 2004 and has won every regatta that he and his wife have entered with it since. For his performance, Ploch added the 2005 Beneteau 36.7 New England Championship title to his sailing accomplishments.

Winning the Farr 395 North American Championship title was Preben Ostberg and Bud Dailey’s Tsunami, with three victories in nine races.

In the final races, Coyote, owned by Bill Lemens, of West Redding, Conn., which finished second overall, lost a crew overboard in a jibe in the Farr 40 class. The last race member gave Steve Fred Howe’s Warpath of San Diego, Calif., the win.

“We made it hard for ourselves in the first race by being over-early,” said jib trimmer Dave Armitage of Newport, R.I., explaining that, despite the setback of having to restart well after the rest of the fleet had cleared the line, his team worked its way back up to third. Also vying for their New England Championships were the Beneteau 40.7 class with Dame Blanche owned by Odhmar Mueller von Blumencrom, of Great Falls, Va.,taking the win.

Challenge IV, owned by Jeffery Willis of Huntington Bay, N.Y., won the J/44 class and Sarah Beth won the J/120 class led by skipper Greg Manning of Warwick, R.I. The J/109s competed for their East Coast Championships with Charlie Milligan of Newport, R.I., winning on Phoebe’s Phling; and Tom Enright of Bristol, R.I., won the J/105 class on Pretty Sketchy.

Rounding out the competition were four classes of IRC boats and five classes of PHRF boats.

Titan XII, owned and skippered by Tom Hill of San Juan, P.R., crushed the IRC Super Zero class winning seven of 10 races and finishing no worse than second.

“Because we’re bigger, we can drive under and over the fleet pretty well,” added Hill. But it was not all about size and the inherent speed in having a 75-foot size advantage. “With a 5,000-square-foot spinnaker and only mile-and-a-half legs, we had to have exceptional crew work.”

In IRC Zero class, class favorite High Noon owned by Dennis Collins and Steve Benjamin of New York City suffered a devastating blow before the final day of racing. A starboard turnbuckle broke, sending the boat back to the dock and dashing all hopes of victory. Bandit, a Swan 45 owned by Andrew Fisher of Greenwich, Conn., won the class after posting finish positions of 1-2 on the final day and sealed the deal with seven points less than High Noon, which held on to a second overall.

Other IRC winners were Rum Funny, owned by Bud Suiter of La Jolla, Calif., in IRC class 1; and Lora Ann owned by Richard du Moulin of Larchmont, N.Y., in IRC class 2.

Remedy’s John Fries of Waterford, Conn., became a solid overall winner in PHRF class 2 when he won the final day’s first race and sat out the last. In PHRF class 3, Cooch, skippered by Wes Maxwell of Stonington, Conn., topped the fleet, while in PHRF classes 4 and 5, Chinook, skippered by Carrie Austin, Ridgewood, N.Y.; and Big Time, skippered by Michael Rajacich of Easton, Md., won respectively.

In PHRF non-spinnaker class, Kel Weber’s Rascal of Wilton, Conn., won with three victories in five races, posting only one point less than Xenophon skippered by Paul Pakos, of Sudbury, Mass.

Warpath won the Everett B. Morris Memorial Trophy for Best Overall Performance and Rum Funny won the Isbrandtsen Overall Perpetual Trophy for the second-best performance. Pretty Sketchy won the A. Justin Wasley Memorial Trophy for the overall winner of the one-design class with the largest number of entries.

Titan XII won the Island Sailing Club of Cowes Perpetual Trophy for the first overall IRC-rated boat in the Around the Island Race and also won a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner timepiece. Chinook won the Vintage Yacht Trophy for the yacht 15 years or older with the best performance of the week. www.blockislandraceweek.com