Light breeze prevails at Block Island Race Week opener

Block Island, Rhode Island: The fog lifted overnight so the Race Committee sent the 158 crews for Block Island Race Week presented by Margaritaville out to their assigned race circles for North Sails Race Day to get some points on the scoreboard today.

Even though Tropical Depression Claudette is passing well to the south of the island, a few storm clouds began to form on the horizon soon after the races started and the swell from the storm forced the boats to battle 8-10 feet swells on the race courses throughout the day.

Finally commencing their regatta, after yesterday’s abandonment due to fog, the White and Blue fleets completed three races in light 5-10 knot breeze, and the Green Circle (Performance Cruising and Multihull) completed a 12 nautical mile distance race.

In the ORC Division, Hap Fauth’s Maxi 72 Belle Mente, Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s Botin 44 Interlodge, John Cooper’s Mills 43 Cool Breeze, and Ashley Maltempo’s and Bill Wiggins’ J/ 121 Wings top each of their classes for the day.

“Last year with Covid, we didn’t travel at all. We were 15 months without any racing, so we were ready, eager and raring to go today after yesterday,” said Robin Team, skipper of the J/122 Teamwork, who ended up third in the ORC D for the day.

“Three great races in light air and we are heavier boat, but we’ll take anything we can get to get across the starting line at this point.”

Thunder and lightning could be heard around 1300 to the south-west just as the boats started their second race but fortunately aside from some passing rain, they were able to keep racing throughout the day even through influential shifts and big waves.

The Green Fleet started off the east shoreline with a crowd of spectators taking in the sights. This is one of the biggest Block Island Race Week fleets in over 10 years. Whether it’s the pent-up energy post-COVID, or just the welcome atmosphere of the Island, the abundance of competition in all the varying conditions makes for great racing.

“We have 13 boats in our class all with very close ratings and tight competition,” said The Cat Came Back’s skipper, Mike Campbell. The boat is one of five Swan 42s in ORC C and had two top five finishes for the day. “Looking forward to the rest of the week and hopefully having breeze,” he concluded.

As the system passes through this evening, Storm Trysail Club’s Race Committee is hopeful for the return of sunny skies and sea breeze to continue to get off races.

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