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Rambler dominates Block Island Race

George David’s 90-foot Reichel/Pugh-designed Rambler took line honors at the Storm Trysail Club’s 62nd Block Island Race.

“Nobody could touch him,” said Block Island Race chairman Ray Redniss.

By wide margins Rambler also secured both IRC fleet and Super Zero class victories on best corrected and elapsed times. The 186-nautical mile race, which began May 25, sent Rambler and 61 other IRC- and PHRF-rated boats off on a course from Stamford, Conn., down Long Island Sound, around Block Island, R.I., and back.

The conditions, which included 8- to 14-knot breezes at the start, favored the larger boats, which exited the Sound before adverse current kicked in and returned to their starting point before the wind lightened enough to turn the last mile of the race into a one-hour slog for some smaller boats.

“The big boats got ahead early and stretched their leads based on the current and the wind,” said David, of Hartford, Conn. “Reaching in 15 knots, Rambler can move along at about 18 to 19 knots, which we saw at times.”

David explained that Rambler — the former Shock Wave, built in 2002 — had just emerged from undergoing major modifications, including a deeper draft and added bowsprit.

“We got a whole new sail plan out of that,” said David, “so we were pretty powered up. I thought we got out of the blocks pretty well.”

Rambler finished the race in 18 hours, 57 minutes, 41 seconds — a marked improvement over last year’s best time by Running Tide of over 38 hours, yet short of Boomerang’s record in 2002 of just over 16 hours.

Teri and Pete Binkley of Branford, Conn., took their Quest 33 Wildeyes to the best corrected and elapsed times for the PHRF fleet, finishing nearly 23 hours behind Rambler. Best performance by a double-handed boat went to Kevin Grainger’s J/105 Gumption 3 of Rye, N.Y.

Winning the Harvey Conover Memorial Trophy for the best overall performance among all entrants at the regatta was Ron O’Hanley’s Farr 50 Privateer of Ipswich, Mass. The Flag Officers and Race Committee awarded the prize after Privateer won its IRC Zero class and posted the greatest margin of time over the second- and third-place yachts to win the Commodore’s Trophy.

Other trophy winners were Daniel Galyon’s X-Yacht 37 American Girl of Binghamton, N.Y., for best corrected time in IRC below 1.08 rating; Steve and Simon Frank’s Concordia 70 Gracie of Rowayton, Conn., for best performance by a vintage yacht; the New York Yacht Club for best team race performance; and Andrew Berdon’s J/109 Strider of Hartsdale, N.Y., for the best combined IRC scores in the Edlu and Block Island Races, awarded as The Tuna Trophy.

The Block Island Race is a qualifier for the Gulf Stream Series (IRC), the Northern Ocean Racing Trophy (IRC), the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF) and the Double Handed Ocean Racing Trophy (IRC). www.stormtrysail.org

Sun, fog frame NYYC annual regatta

New York Yacht Club’s 153rd Annual Regatta presented by Rolex saw 94 yachts compete on June 9 and 10, including 52 IRC Spinnaker and 3 IRC non-spinnaker entries. Along with one designs 12 meters and classic there were three PHRF entries racing off Newport.

The Around the Island Race — the June 8 preamble to the Annual Regatta — saw 65 of those yachts race, including 37 IRC and two IRC Non-Spinnaker boats. The yachts started in bright sunshine, but soon enough sailed into a full-on fog. The weather tone for that day and the next was thus set. But then there was a perfect Sunday to cap off racing.

In the annual regatta, IRC Class 1 was won by NYYC Rear Commodore Bob Towse’s and Farley Towse’s Blue Yankee, after being tied with George David’s 90-foot Rambler, the previous day. The latter yacht, skippered by Ken Read, is bound for the upcoming transatlantic Nordbank blue race. Yeoman XXXII, skippered by David Aisher, commodore of the RORC, won IRC 2. Blair Brown’s Sforzando — winner of the Herreshoff Medal in 2002 — was undefeated in IRC Class 3. Ragtime, steered by Jeff Johnstone, was likewise undefeated in IRC Class 4. These blue-fleet yachts, which sailed outside on Rhode Island Sound, managed three races.

Tsunami finished first among the eight NY42s — the ninth one-design class created by the New York Yacht Club since 1900 — with an unblemished record. She is owned by three friends from Maryland: Preben Ostberg, Bud Daily and John Aras.

Martin Jacobson’s Crescendo won IRC White Class 2. Kalevala II, Tapio Saavalainen, led IRC White Class 3 and Savasana, Brian Keane, won the J/105 class, which featured a fleet-high 16 yachts. These white-fleet yachts sailed four races, also in Rhode Island Sound.

In 12-Metre racing, USA, Ralph Isham, won in the Grand Prix division; Courageous, James Gubelmann, won the Moderns and Nefertiti, Jon Wullschleger, won for the Classics. Angelita, Jed Pearsall, won among the Classics.

In IRC non-spinnaker Swing, Marie Klok Crump, was first and Élan, John Hammel, won PHRF Class 4. These green-fleet yachts sailed four races on Narragansett Bay.

Earlier, in the Around the Island Race, which rounded Conanicut Island (Jamestown), Blue Yankee won IRC 1; Conspiracy, a NY42 steered by Richard Werdiger of the Cahoots syndicate, won IRC 2; Thin Ice, Stuart Hebb, IRC 3; Rush, Bill Sweetser, IRC 4; Courageous, 12 Metre; Bat IV, Andrew Kennedy, J/105; Amorita, Jed Pearsall, Classic; Jazz Fish, Paul Koch, IRC Non-spinnaker and Divided Sky Vincent McAteer, PHRF. 

The Rolex Cup was won by McAteer & III in Divided Sky sailing in PHRF and Mischief in IRC 4 sailed by David Schwartz, of Team NBYA. The Cup was presented by Rolex to the New York Yacht Club in 2004 in honor of its 150th Annual Regatta. It is a perpetual trophy awarded to the best two-boat team in the Annual Regatta’s Around the Island Race. Nine teams entered this time.

At the prize-giving for the Around the Island Race, a new trophy — the Commodores’ Challenge Cup — was presented by RORC Commodore David Aisher, skipper of Yeoman XXXII. It is open to past and present commodores of British or American yacht clubs. It will be sailed for under an internationally recognized rating rule (IRC at present).

In the interest of Corinthian sailing, the commodore must steer the boat, and more than 50 percent of the crew must be amateurs. The cup will have two venues: Cowes Week in England and the NYYC’s Annual Regatta. The holder can mount a defense at either venue. All challengers must dine out with the holder of the Cup to have their challenges accepted.

In 2007, IRC racing is offered from coast to coast. Current USA Events offering IRC are listed on the US-IRC Calendar,

www.us-irc.org/irc-events-usa.cfm .

Bay State boat wins European regatta

Jim Richardson of Boston won the Farr 40 division of the Rolex Capri Sailing Week, held off Italy May 15 to 19, with his boat Barking Mad.

Richardson and crew had been leading the seven-race series since the second of four racing days and won the series by a clear margin over both Italian skippers Massimo Stefano Leporati on Kismet and Massimo Mezzaroma on Nerone. The event was organized by the Yacht Club Capri and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and included classes for Farr 40s, Swan 45s, Mini Maxis and Comets.

A two-time Farr 40 World Champion (1998, 2004), Richardson said he was pleased with his victory.

“The week’s racing went terrific for us. We had come off of a couple of bad results back in the winter series in the United States, so to come here and do well was a bit of redemption,” he said. “After the first day we were in second, and then we got into the lead and we stayed there — so I think we sailed very well. We sailed conservatively and we didn’t take a lot of risks.”

At the closing prize-giving ceremony, the winners of each division were awarded with Rolex Trophies and a Rolex Submariner Timepiece. The Rolex Capri Sailing Week represents the first leg of the Farr 40 European circuit that will conclude at the Rolex Baltic Week in Neustadt/Germany before the top event of the class, the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in Copenhagen at the end of August. www.yccs.it/ita

New England race now an annual event

The Ida Lewis Yacht Club announced it has made its biennial distance race — which debuted in 2004 — into an annual affair.

The third Ida Lewis Distance Race begins and ends off Newport, R.I., and sets out at 3 p.m. Aug. 10. Covering 175 nautical miles, the race plies some of the most storied and beautiful sailing grounds in the world, challenging boats in classes for PHRF (spinnaker and non-spinnaker) and IRC, with the addition this year of a class for double-handed boats.

“It’s a great ‘in-between’ competition for boats that compete in major races off Newport and then head to Long Island Sound for late summer events,” said race chairman Dirk Johnson. “From a spectator start off Fort Adams in Narragansett Bay, the race continues past Castle Hill and Brenton Reef, then incorporates Block Island, Montauk Point, Martha’s Vineyard and Buzzards Tower into its course. It’s quite the challenge, with its multiple turning marks and tide and current negotiations.”

Last year 13 boats completed the competition, with the line-honors boat — the Reichel/Pugh 66 Stark Raving Mad, owned by California’s Jim Madden and sailing in IRC class — finishing in a little less than 23 hours.

A Notice of Race is available at www.ildistancerace.org .

Bucket Regatta returns to Newport

The Newport Bucket will take place July 20 to 22 to follow the tradition of the St. Bart’s Bucket earlier this year.

Even with the America’s Cup going on in Valencia and the Superyacht Regatta in Palma going on at nearly the same time, interest is high for the event, according to organizers, who predict a large turnout.

The International Yacht Restoration School is the venue for the Awards Presentation. Dockage for the Newport Bucket will be available at the Newport Shipyard. The announcement of regatta and preliminary schedule of events can be found at www.bucketregattas.com .