Alt 11620 2 BIRW09dn 07801

There is no doubt about it, the 74th Annual Block Island Race is less than 10 weeks away!

Entry for this year’s event has been open since February and communications to last year’s participants have fostered a dozen entries. Since posting, the NoR has been amended to add the Youth Offshore Challenge to the list for which the Block Island Race is a qualifier, along with the Riverside Yacht Club Stratford Shoal Race, the Around Long Island Regatta, the Race around Shelter Island, the 12th Mudnite Madness Overnight, and the Ida Lewis Distance Race.

Having been the chair of the Block Island Race for over 20 years, I have had the pleasure of talking to many competitors, both stalwarts and newbies, as well as sailors that have yet to compete in this early season, shake the cobwebs out, race. One of the most consistent questions asked is “What do I have to do to get my boat set up for this race?” The simple answer is to direct them to the YRA Safety Recommendations, the US Sailing Safety Equipment Regulations, and the World Sailing Offshore Special Regulations, reminding them that the set-up of the boat is only part of the program. The other part is getting the crew “set up” for it.

Last year we emphasized the Safety-at-Sea (SAS) requirements that 30% of all aboard, but not fewer than 2, have attended a hands-on seminar within the last 5 years. That requirement echoes the Safety Equipment Requirement (SER) 4.2.3. We also recommended that the remainder of the crew complete the US Sailing SAS online course and stated that it was intended that the online course recommendation become a requirement for this year’s event. The hands-on requirement has not changed, however in the interests of accounting for last minute crew changes (never happens, right?) the “remainder of the crew” requirement has been amended to 75%, a number which is in harmony with SER requirement 4.2. We urge those that claim they have been sailing “all their lives” and know what to do, to take the time to read the report on the findings of the IMEDI incident in last year’s Chicago-Mac Race wherein a seasoned sailor on a TP52 slid under the lifelines in rough seas, his auto-inflate harness failed, and he could not be retrieved. See also Rich du Moulins "Safety at Sea Thoughts which follows.

On a happier note, this being the lead-up to a milestone event, we are considering offering Block Island Race merchandise as on-line only for this year, to be followed-up for next year’s 75th with both on-line and on-site availability and an expanded awards event. Watch for communiques and opportunities!

Meanwhile, please read the NoR carefully as significant changes have been made to improve safety standards for boats (NoR 1.4) and crews (NoR 15). With more than 60 days to go, it is easy for all to comply with a requirement which may well save a life! The links in the NoR and stormtrysail.org/safety-at-sea, as well as that of USSailing, offer many options for you and your crew wherever they may be.

The Block Island Race is a qualifier for the Northern Ocean Racing Trophy, the Double Handed Ocean Racing Trophy, and the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF.) For more details, consult the YRALIS Handbook or stamfordyc.com. The Block Island Race is also a qualifier for the De Coursey Fales, Sagola & Windigo Trophies, the duMoulin Cup for Double Handed Racing, the Youth Challenge Cup awarded by the YRA-LIS, the Rugg Family Tri-state Offshore Youth Challenge, as well as the Storm Trysail Club “Tuna Trophy” for the best IRC combined scores in the EDLU (40%) and the Block Island Race (60%).

For regatta and entry information, go to https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=6203

Ray Redniss
Rear Commodore
Block Island Race PRO