May 24, 2023

Final Countdown for Block Island Race Week

With Block Island Race Week presented by Margaritaville less than a month away, Storm Trysail Club is ready to welcome 179 boats to the Great Salt Pond on June 18th for registration followed by five days of quality racing and fun camaraderie. With over 1,500 buttons sold for the six nights of tent parties, the 30th Race Week is expected to be one of the biggest in recent history. 

Teams assigned divisions

The Scratch Sheet has been posted to Yacht Scoring splitting boats into classes per their ratings and assigning fleets into three racing areas. While these are subject to change up until the first day of racing (North Sails Race Day), our Race Director, Dick Neville, is confident Block Island Race Week is shaping up well for fair and efficient racing to maximize the time on the water. 
“Class assignments is something we manage with great consideration,” says Neville. “We evaluate all the variables that create good competitive racing and apply those factors to create what we consider are fair matchups.”
The McMichaels White Circle will host 77 teams from the one design fleets ( J44s, J109s, J105s, J88s, and J80s) and higher-displacement ORC boats divided into two classes (ORC 2 and 3). On the Guardian Jet Blue Circle, the 12 lower-displacement ORC teams (ORC Open and ORC 1) will join the 37 PHRF boats split into 4 divisions. The GMT Composites Green Circle is for the 53 PHRF distance racing sailors sailing either under a Rule 26 or Pursuit style start including the two multihulls racing this year.

More competition planned for after racing

As sailors, competition is hard to stop when boats hit the dock so race organizers and sponsors have added some extra opportunities for participants to earn some prizes and bragging rights at Champlin’s Resort and Marina each evening during the social hours. 

It will all kick off with a boat decorating competition on Sunday night during the welcome party - think Jimmy Buffett Tailgate Party before a concert. To get everyone pumped up for fun racing and fun ashore, teams docked at Champlin’s are encouraged to dress up their team and boat. A panel of judges will circulate the docks at 5 pm to decide the winner for best style.

After racing on Monday (North Sails Race Day), back by popular demand is MarkSetBot Racing.  Competitors can take a hand at controlling the robotic race marks to see how fast they go! 

On Tuesday (Regatta Craft Mixers Race Day), New England Ropes and Cyclops Marine will bring back the annual Tug-O-War on the beach in front of Champlin's. This show of pure brute strength and some smack-talking has been pitting crews against each other since the 1960s at Race Week.

During the Gowrie Group Race Day party on Wednesday, RC boats (remote control, not race committee) will be on hand boats to give sailors a chance to show off another kind of tactical sailing skill. Crews are welcome to bring their own as well. 

Mount Gay Rum will be hosting a Cornhole tournament on Thursday during their tent party for pairs who show up to toss sandbags to win prizes and rum!

All events are first-come, first-served, and weather permitting starting at 5 pm nightly at the Race Headquarters prior to Daily Awards. Refer to the Race Schedule on the website for up-to-date details.

Planning a Block Island stay 

It is time to think ahead and book a bike or a dinner! The website now features a local directory page  The list includes local businesses like Aldo’s Bike and Moped who are giving discounts to Block Island Race Week participants and families and even will provide transportation from the docks downtown to rent a car, moped, or bike.

Included on the site are more detailed directories like a Boater’s Directory from the Committee for the Great Salt Pond and a Block Island Directory from Champlin’s Resort and Marina that includes babysitters and hiking recommendations.