Heavy fog opens Block Island Race Week >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News
New Shoreham, RI (June 21, 2021) – “Somehow Mother Nature knows a regatta is starting. So the great weather you’ve been through is likely going to change,” said meteorologist Chris Bedford with a chuckle to kick off the North Sails weather information webinar last night ahead of Block Island Race Week presented by Margaritaville.
Its foreshadows unfortunately manifested themselves when the sailors and the race committee woke up this morning after a magnificent weekend and thick fog settled over the island and surrounding Rhode Island Sound.
After months of waiting to get back on the water after COVID, all 158 teams (a recent BlRW fleet record) were eager to leave, so the race committee sent the teams out for the Regatta Craft Mixers Round the Island Race – which is also historic to have the first day. Everyone was hoping for the sky to clear up in the southwest breeze.
“Looking at the weather report for the week, Monday seems to be the best wind to travel around the island, which is why we chose today,” said event chairman Ray Redniss in the morning. “The island tour is a big deal. At the time, we were doing several a week – which also seems to be the theme of this year’s event: “what’s new is what’s old”. We’re back where it all began at Champlin Marina, where Block Island Race Week first took place in 1965.
With a start on time, the green fleet of 52 boats consisting of the Performance Cruising divisions and multihull fleets had the chance to start and finish their 18 mile course counterclockwise. However, the rest of the competitors on the White and Blue circles suffered a postponement to 11:00 am due to the reduced visibility on their starting area caused by the fog.
Thus, while the ORC, One-Design and PHRF fleets remained in limbo, the Performance Cruisers and Multihulls flew over the island in southwesterly winds of 15 to 20 knots. In the Performance Cruising 1 division, Joe Brito’s J / 121 Incognito took top honors online at 13:40:37 and also won his class, Performance Cruising 1 with a corrected time of 0:02:59:01.
The J / Boats continued to dominate the Round the Island race in the Performance Cruising Pursuit classes with Skip Young’s J / 133 Dragonfly, G. John Krediet’s J / 97 Participant II and Rodney Johnstone’s new Day Sailer, Banjo. .
“We got off to a great start and then were able to continue,” said Ben Hall, who raced on the Incognito with Brito. “When we finally had a bit of fog clearing past the Southeast Lighthouse and we couldn’t see anyone, then we knew we were ahead.”
“Or we actually joked at one point that they could have canceled the race and missed the memo,” interjected fellow Incognito sailor Kyle Fast.
Despite the weather, smiles are still plentiful among sailors on and off the water. It’s obvious to anyone here on the island, the crews and volunteers are happy to support what they love.
“They are all good friends and we are having a great time and laughing a lot,” Brito said. “Mainly to see everyone here and how many J / Boats are here. It’s just awesome. There are 63 J / Boats competing and the Block Island Race Week.
Unfortunately, the fog never having lifted in the starting area of the white and blue racing circles, the race committee was forced to abandon the race for the day for these 105 boats at 1:30 p.m. The race committee race says he continues to monitor the weather and will always consider a race around the island for those who missed it today, as it is a highlight for many teams that make it to the ‘event.
“The objective is to have good races. A few months ago we weren’t even sure we could make it happen and now we’re back with tent socials and one of the biggest fleets we’ve ever had, ”said Redniss. “It’s amazing to be able to shake hands with everyone and we always look forward to a great week ahead of us.”
The Block Island Race Week presented by Margaritaville will continue tomorrow with North Sails Race Day. The 2021 program runs from June 21 to 25.
Source: Kate Wilson Somers