The 70th edition of the Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race yielded winners in ten classes as well as a place in the record books for Jim and Kristy Hinze Clark’s new 100-foot Maxi Comanche.
Fifty eight boats started the 185 nautical mile race, from Stamford Yacht Club in Connecticut, down Long Island Sound, around Block Island, RI and back to Stamford, on Friday afternoon (22nd May), with Comanche finishing exactly one second after 2:50am the next morning, giving her an elapsed time of 11 hours 25 minutes and one second.
Ray Redniss, event chair commented on Comanche’s call, which came in at 12:24am on Saturday morning, “Each year I ask the fastest boat in the fleet to give me a call when they are abeam of New Haven on the return. This was the earliest one yet and a new record was established.”
Redniss said that to be precise, this year’s race was one mile shorter than that on which the 90-foot Rambler’s 2013 record of 13 hours 15 minutes and 55 seconds was set.
He continued, “After 15 years of being at the entrance to Stamford Harbour, the finish line was moved out to The Cows (Red Bell “32”) in order to allow enough water depth for Comanche to compete; with a draft of 22 feet, only a high tide would allow her to finish in the harbour.”
In 2013, Rambler completed the 186-mile course with an average time of four minutes and 17 seconds per mile. Comanche’s completion of the 185-mile course this year was with an average time of three minutes and 42 seconds per mile.
Ray explained, “Speed-wise, this translates to Comanche averaging 16.2 knots and Rambler averaging 14 knots.”
Comanche, which won her IRC 4 class, took home the Governor’s Race West Trophy for best elapsed time in the IRC Fleet; the William Tripp, Jr. Memorial Trophy for best corrected time in the IRC Fleet; and the self-explanatory Harvey Conover Memorial Overall Trophy.
Stan Honey, navigator of Comanche commented, “If I could have drawn the weather map, I think it is what I would have drawn.”
The favourable conditions included winds of 15 to 27 knots and outgoing/incoming tides at helpful times, especially at “The Race” and “Plum Gut,” two notoriously difficult passage choices for exiting and re-entering Long Island Sound.
For more information on the Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race, visit www.stormtrysail.org.