The Block Island Race is done and dusted. “Comanche” completed the course in 11 hours. “Comanche” was back in Newport before I made it back. For “Snow Lion” it was under 22 hours. The forecast was almost right, the timing of the transitions was not quite as predicted but the general forecast was right.
I have never exited Long Island Sound by 10 pm before; and back in the Sound by 5 am. Nature provided a most lovely starry evening with a stark orange crescent of a moon over New York City.
I don’t think I ever experienced a more accurate forecast for the race. All of the features arrived exactly at the predicted times. Even the “backdoor front” made an appearance. Speedboat set a new record for the course in the light and testing conditions.
Memorial day weekend is the traditional kickoff to summer in the United States. In New England we are always hopeful, as we are usually emerging from winter with cold and short days. This weekend is less than a month away from the longest day of the year. Above is the surface weather, significant because “Leopard of London” left New York saturday evening in an attempt to break the record across the atlantic. Given the weather we had for the Block Island Race, I am confused as to the logic of their departure. The low near Nova Scotia has been there awhile, It is the transit from New York to that low, I am wondering about. Time will tell. I drove to Indian Harbor Yacht Club to meet up with “Snow Lion” for the Block Island Race. After a postponement, we were off reaching to 1BI arriving at 1am, arriving at the Race about a half an hour too soon at around 7 am. We fought our way to the Connecticut shore,then reaching to the finish.
We were treating this race as a tune up for the Bermuda Race, in three weeks.
Sailing on “Laura-Ann” belonging to Rich duMoulin for Block Island Race Week, re-united me with many old friends and classmates. My first race week since 1967 when I raced with Halsey Herreshoff on “Alerion” built to his design.
The Island was overrun with sailors seeking Mount Gay Rum and wind. Conditions were varied and shifty which kept the race committee and competitors on their toes.
We ended the week in second place in class easily beaten by a sistership “Troubador”, only beating her in the first and last races of the week. I will keep a fond memory of this race week largely as a result of the warm welcome from Rich and his wife Ann.
With “Snow Lion” not racing this season, Rich DuMoulin invited me to sail aboard “Laura-Ann” his Express 37. One of the smallest boats I have ever sailed. . A very pleasant boat to sail, with tiller steering. The 2009 Block Island Race re-united me with Rich and Chris Reyling with whom I last sailed aboard “Charisma” during the 1972 trans-atlantic race to Spain.
The race started earlier than usual in a SW breeze. We got to the Race at About 10:30pm, the wind died, and we were sucked through backwards, a first. 1BI at 5:30 am; back through the Sluce in an easterly breeze, which held to the finish, for us about 5:30 pm saturday.
We were 1st in class and 2nd overall, losing to the new Titan 2.
This race, in stark contrast to the Bermuda race earlier in the year, has become a legend of sorts. 35 knots at the start; 53 boats entered, three boats finished in a race that saw the wind build to 60 plus knots. The wind direction was very steady out of the East, Making the course a windward-leeward race. We hit 26 knots with a storm jib and two reefs.
We finished second to Blue Yankee, our confidence in the boat having received an enormous boost after this thrashing.
the photo shows the crew stacked aft behind Jack Cummiskey, as we surf downwind.