May 14, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook

BLOCK ISLAND, R.I. (May 14, 2013) – If there were a playbook for awesome summer sailing competitions, the
Storm Trysail Club would surely have written it. As the club heads into its 25th presentation of Block Island
Race Week, no less than seven classes have coordinated major championships to be held in conjunction with
the event, and now over 180 teams have registered. The count, with room to grow before a June 1 deadline
for no-penalty entries, fulfills the club’s goal to exceed—for posterity’s sake—the 174 teams that competed
in the inaugural 1965 Race Week. And while there are plans for the biennial regatta, scheduled for June 23-
28, to celebrate the significance of its silver anniversary in 2013, organizers and competitors, some of whom
have seen generations of their families compete here, will revel most in the fact that Block Island Race Week
has matured over five decades into one of America’s most rewarding week-long regattas without growing
The 68′ classic yawl Black Watch last year at NYYC Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex.
The boat will be competing in the Classic division this year at Block Island Race Week. (Photo Credit Rolex/Daniel Forster).
“The buzz around this year’s Block Island Race Week is deafening,” said Event Chair Lee Reichart, adding that
in addition to the event’s silver anniversary, the Storm Trysail Club is celebrating its own diamond anniversary
(75th) this year. “The club prides itself on professionally managed ‘clean, fun racing’ at Block Island Race
Week. With four days of around-the-buoys racing and one day devoted to the 18.2 nautical mile Around the
Island Race, this is really one of the last true race weeks remaining. It’s fantastic that it has survived the times
in its original format from 50 years ago. I could write a book about its heritage, starting with the awarding of
the Island Sailing Club of Cowes Perpetual Trophy for the winner of the Around the Island Race.”
Reichart explained that the trophy, which sprang from the original intention that the event be fashioned after
Cowes Week in England, was given in previous years to the IRC winner of the race. This year, it will be
awarded by Robin Aisher, Admiral of Island Sailing Club of Cowes, along with a Rolex timepiece, to the class
winning boat with the fastest corrected time. “Anyone can theoretically buy a Rolex, but you have to have a
certain amount of skill and some good fortune thrown in to win one, especially with this particular Around
the Island Race.”
One entry connecting directly to Block Island Race Week’s storied past is Black Watch in the Classic division.
The 68’ classic yawl, built for the 1938 Newport-Bermuda Race, was bought in 1954 by Dr. George Brooks of
Larchmont, N.Y., who sailed her in the very first Race Week in 1965 and owned her for four more decades
after that. More amazing, however, is that the yacht had served in the “Hooligan Navy” in WWII when the
red glow from the fires of torpedoed merchant ships became an all too common sight on the East Coast. As
vessel “CG 68007,” Black Watch (then named Edlu II), was called upon by the U.S. Coast Guard, along with
other civilian sailboats, to patrol for German U boats. She was skippered at the time by none other than
Jakob Isbrandtsen, one of the co-founders of Block Island Race Week who will be a guest of honor at this
year’s event.
John Storck, Jr. and his J/80 Rumor team at Block Island Race Week in 2011,
where they took first place in the PHRF class (Photo Credit Rolex/Daniel Forster).
John Storck, Jr. (Huntington, N.Y.) and his J/80 Rumor team represent the generational approach to enjoying
Block Island Race Week, which doubles as a vacation getaway for many. He has sailed 24 Race Weeks,
starting as crew for his father, John Storck, Sr., and then using the event as a springboard to launch sons John,
Erik and Ian and daughter Kaity on to successful college sailing careers. Son John is the Co-Head Sailing Coach
for Dartmouth College having sailed four years at Hobart & William Smith Colleges where he was a 2007 ICSA
All American; Erik was four-time All-American and two-time finalist for College Sailor of the Year at
Dartmouth College before representing the USA in the London 2012 Olympic Regatta in the 49er skiff class;
younger brother Ian, now on the Dartmouth Sailing Team, also aspires to one day win an Olympic medal; and
Kaity was College Sailor of the Year and two time ICSA All-American at Tufts University. Kaity also was a
member of the 2011 All American Offshore Team which completed the 2011 Trans-Atlantic Race on
When Scuttlebutt named the Storcks “Sailing Family of the Year” in 2010, John Storck, Jr., said, “Colette (my
wife) and I are blessed with four offspring who truly love the sport as much or more than we do!” The Storcks
raced Jonrob, their 41-year-old Ericson 39, at Block Island Race Week until 2005 when they started racing
Rumor. For years, the family stayed on board Tonic, a Hatteras 50 owned by Storm Trysail Club member and
friend Charlie Terry, who sailed on Jonrob for many race weeks.
“We think of Block Island as one of our favorite places,” said John Storck. “It has given us many fond
memories, from our daughter’s first steps on Scotch Beach to Jonrob surviving Hurricane Bob. This year will
be very special, as we will have Kaity’s fiancée, Baker Potts, and Erik’s fiancée, Aly Whitehead racing with us.”
Storck, who won his PHRF class with Rumor at the last Block Island Race Week, is the contact for the J/80
class, which is holding its 2013 North Americans at the event this year and currently has the largest turnout,
with 17 teams entered.
In addition to the J/80 North Americans, Block Island Race Week also will serve as the IRC North American
Championship; PHRF, J109, J105 and J44 East Coast Championships; and Swan 42 New England
“There is something for everyone: IRC, HPR, PHRF and one-design racing as well as special Navigator-style
courses for Cruising (both spinnaker and non-spinnaker), Classic, Double Hand, and Multihull classes,” said
Reichart, emphasizing a 50% entry fee discount for these latter four classes. “In the end, the silver lining for
this regatta has as much to do with a steady course through the decades as it does with delivering what the
sailors want.”
Race headquarters will be located at The Oar Restaurant, while evening festivities and award ceremonies will
be held next door in the event tent. Sponsors are Rolex, Caithness Energy, Mount Gay Rum, Vineyard
Vines, Clarion Partners, Gill, Gowrie Group, UK Sailmakers, Hall Spars, Bainbridge International, Bitter End
Yacht Club, New England Ropes, Heineken, Sailing World, and WindCheck.
Sailing World will be publishing the official program while WindCheck will be publishing the Race Week News,
a great daily read with course reports, photos, scores, event news, people spotlights, anniversary tributes and
more. For those not on the island, Race Week News also will be available on-line, while nightly racing recaps
will appear on by 9 p.m. each evening.
The Notice of Race and entry form for the Storm Trysail Club’s 25th Block Island Race Week can be found at, and a roster of competitors is constantly updated at
About the Storm Trysail Club
The Storm Trysail Club, reflecting in its name the sail to which sailors must shorten when facing severe
adverse conditions, is one of the world’s most respected sailing clubs, with its membership of approximately
800 comprised strictly of skilled blue water and ocean racing sailors. Established in 1938, the club is
headquartered in Larchmont, N.Y., and operates through local stations across the U.S. It hosts Block Island
Race Week in odd-numbered years and holds various prestigious offshore racing events (among them the
annual Block Island Race, the annual Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race and the biennial Pineapple Cup
Montego Bay Race). The Club’s affiliated 501(c)(3) organization, The Storm Trysail Foundation, holds annual
junior safety-at-sea seminars and the Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta for college sailors using big boats. For
more information, visit