Chairman Simon Davidson: “Opportunity is Unique for Trying Offshore Racing”
NEWPORT, RI (February 4, 2013) — The ninth edition of the Ida Lewis Distance Race challenges sailors of all ages and experience levels to try offshore racing by competing in the popular overnighter that starts and finishes at Ida Lewis Yacht Club in Newport, R.I. Scheduled for a 1 p.m. start on Friday, August 16, 2013, the race is open to IRC, PHRF, One Design, Double-Handed and Multihull boats and features four coastal courses–between 104nm and 177nm—that incorporate such scenic waypoints as Castle Hill, Brenton Reef, Block Island, Montauk Point, Martha’s Vineyard and Buzzards Bay.
Bringing a fresh perspective to the August tradition is newly appointed Race Chairman Simon Davidson (Newport, R.I.) who co-founded the inaugural event in 2004.
“We started with the intention of having a biennial event,” said Davidson, “but by our second running in 2006 it was clear that we had the enthusiasm from grand prix racers as well as double-handed and cruising sailors to make this event happen annually. It now is an August tradition, perfectly timed for the end of summer when activity on Narragansett Bay has quieted down somewhat.”
Davidson added that his committee’s goals this year are to expand the race’s reach to surrounding areas and “encourage more sailors to try offshore racing in some of the most beautiful and storied cruising grounds in the country, if not the world.” To that end, the event’s Youth Challenge, added in 2010, will be more heavily promoted to New England area yacht clubs, and an emphasis will be given to the Collegiate Challenge that was inaugurated last year at the 2012 event.
“There are sailors who have sat on a couch to eagerly watch the Volvo Ocean Race, but they’ve rarely, if ever, had the chance to actually compete in a distance race,” said Davidson. “With the Ida Lewis Distance Race, the opportunity is unique for trying offshore racing. It’s a medium-distance offshore commitment that requires a minimal amount of logistics, since the race is not point-to-point but rather begins and ends in the same place. It’s the chance for an owner to take his or her around-the-buoys crew on a new adventure or to integrate youth or college sailors into the team for a different kind of rewarding experience. Then, of course, for veteran big-boat crews, the race is ideal for practice and training before they move on to other distance races around the world. Rambler, Bella Mente and Decision are just a few of the high-profile teams that have competed here in the past.”
The race is also a qualifier for the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF); the Northern and Double-Handed Ocean Racing Trophies (IRC); and the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series.
The Youth Challenge
To qualify for the Youth Challenge, more than 40% of the crew must have reached their 14th birthday but not turn 20 prior to August 16, 2013. Teams may have junior crew members outside of those parameters; however, they will not count towards the youth component. Teams are encouraged to register under the burgee of a US SAILING yacht club or community sailing program.
All youth sailors will be required to attend a brief informational meeting the evening before the race (participants of all ages welcome) and will be strongly encouraged to attend the Storm Trysail Junior Safety at Sea Seminar, which will be held in Newport, R.I. in August.
The Collegiate Challenge
For the second year, the Ida Lewis Distance Race is incorporating a Collegiate Challenge for the William Tuthill Trophy. The Trophy honors Tuthill, an avid sailor and member of the SUNY Maritime College, class of 1973, who met with accidental death at sea on the school’s summer cruise in 1972. SUNY Maritime College reinstated the trophy, which was last presented in 1978 to the winner of the Eastern Inter-Collegiate Overnight Race, at the Ida Lewis Distance Race 2012, where Massachusetts Maritime Academy (on Crazy Horse) beat out SUNY (on American Girl) to win.
To qualify for the Collegiate Challenge, more than 40% of the crew must not have reached the age of 26 by August 16, 2013. Teams are encouraged to register under the burgee of a college sailing program, a US SAILING yacht club or community sailing program.
Ideal sailing conditions, perfect starts and a 16-18 knot southwesterly breeze allowed the 26 boats competing in the 2012 Ida Lewis Distance Race (ILDR) to power up on Friday, August 17, and provide a great show for the spectators who turned out to see them off on their offshore adventure. The IRC, PHRF and PHRF Doublehanded fleets were sent on the 122 nautical mile Nomans course, while the two boats racing in the PHRF Cruising Spinnaker class took on the 103 nautical mile Buzzards Tower course.
Weather conditions led to a prediction that the leaders in IRC would be at the finish line off the historic Ida Lewis Yacht Club sometime after sunrise on Saturday morning, where they would receive the traditional champagne welcome. That prophecy came true for the Ker 40 Catapult owned by Marc Glimcher (New York, N.Y.), which had passed the first mark of the course with about a minute lead on the rest of the IRC fleet and held on to take line honors just before 6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.
“This race was fantastic,” said Geoff Ewenson (Annapolis, Md.) who was the navigator on Catapult. “They made a very good decision in shortening the course to a 122 miler. It really allowed all of the IRC boats to race reasonably tightly and there was everything to the race without the extra 25 or 30 or 40 miles. In the end everybody on our team, and I’m sure on the 42s, felt like it was the perfect length race. We got all the conditions, all the angles, we had a bit of everything and we didn’t feel that the race drug on at all. For us it ended at the right time.“
Ewenson sailed the inaugural Ida Lewis Distance Race in 2004 and recalled that they finished that race in the wee hours of Sunday morning with the race taking what seemed like forever. This year after finishing the race in under 17 hours he explained that the challenge was whether to get into a watch system or tough it out and sail everybody up. “We realized there would be short bits during the race when it wouldn’t be stability conditions and so we had to steal little naps then. The most anybody slept on our boat was probably an hour.”
For their efforts, Catapult collected the Ida Lewis Distance Race Commodore’s Trophy for the IRC class win, along with the perpetual Russell L. Hoyt Memorial Trophy for best elapsed time. For Ewenson, winning the Hoyt award had special meaning.
“When I was 10 years old I sailed home from Bermuda on Russell Hoyt’s boat Destination. I grew up in Newport and knew Russell and I considered him to be a friend even though he was quite a bit older than me. It really is quite nice to be able to be on the boat that comes back and wins the trophy that’s named after him.”
The 56’ Swan White Rhino captured the glory in the 14-strong PHRF class. Owner Todd Stuart (Key West, Fla.) almost pulled out of the race when he thought he wouldn’t have enough crew. It all came together with a number of his regular crew, including sailors he has twice done the Bermuda Race with, forming the core of this race’s team. “We had a great race; it was a lot of fun,” said Stuart after collecting the Lime Rock Trophy for the class win. “We started out fast and the wind held up for us and when it’s windy our boat’s pretty quick, and I think we got lucky. When we turned around, I think the winds were changing behind us a little bit. I think some of the slower boats that could have caught us on corrected time, if the winds had held up, I think the door just closed on them. For a brief period we were down to about four knots of breeze during the thunderstorms; we barely got wet and then the winds came back to being favorable for us. We made good time the whole way. We made a decision to leave Block Island to starboard and I think that was the right choice because a boat that was pretty much neck-and-neck with us left it to port and when we both got on the back side we had definitely gained a couple miles on them.”
Stuart raced the 2011 ILDR in the IRC class, and because he expected to have fewer crew kept White Rhino in PHRF for this year’s race. “This was perfect as we had a bunch of new people on the boat so we thought we’d play it safe and make the boat a little less dramatic. Until the storms came through it was a perfect starlit night with little meteorites here and there. Nobody complained this year about the distance. It was a fast race and we finished in 17 hours. Seems perfect to me. We had an awesome time. This is actually our first win in a real race so my wife Lisa [the cook on all of White Rhino’s distance races] and I, we’re very excited about it.”
The win in the PHRF Doublehanded class was taken by Paul Cronin (Jamestown, R.I.) and Jim Anderson on the Quest 30 Kincora, with the PHRF Cruising Spinnaker prize going to the Nautor Swan 55 Haerlemowned by Hendrikus Wisker (Round Hill, Va.). Four boats had met the requirement that more than 40% of the crew must have reached their 14th birthday but not turn 20 prior to August 17, to compete for the Youth Challenge, and Chris Bjerregaard’s (Bristol, R.I.) Bashford Howlson 36 Shearwater earned that honor.
Spearheading a new challenge for college teams to compete in this late-summer distance race, SUNY Maritime College (Throggs Neck, N.Y.) reinstated the William E. Tuthill Trophy which was last presented in 1978 to the winner of the Eastern Inter-Collegiate Overnight Race. The trophy honors Tuthill, an avid sailor and member of the class of 1973, who met with accidental death at sea on the summer cruise in 1972. Massachusetts Maritime College (Buzzards Bay, Mass.) bested SUNY Maritime to receive the trophy in what is planned to be a continuing challenge.
The Ida Lewis Distance Race is a qualifier for the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF); the Northern and Double-Handed Ocean Racing Trophies (IRC); and the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series.
Starting Line sponsors for the 2012 Ida Lewis Distance Race are the City of Newport, New England Boatworks, Newport Shipyard and North Sails. Contributing sponsors are Blue Water Technologies,Dockwise Yacht Transport, Flint Audio Video, Goslings Rum, Mac Designs, Sea Gear Uniforms, Stella Artois, Rig Pro Southern Spars and Zblok.
Find more information online at www.ildistancerace.org – including the ability to relive the race viaKattack LIVE ; or “Like” ILDR on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ILYCDistanceRace
Ida Lewis Distance Race – Top-three Results
Place, Yacht Name, Type, Owner/Skipper, Hometown
Class 1 – IRC (6 Boats)
1. Catapult, Ker 40, Mark Glimcher, New York, N.Y.
2. Barleycorn, Swan 42, Brendan Brownyard, Bay Shore, N.Y.
3. Blazer, Swan 42, Christopher Culver, Stamford, Conn.
Class 2 – PHRF (14 Boats)
1. White Rhino, Swan, Todd Stuart, Key West, Fla.
2. Samba, Quest 30, Tristan Mouligne, Newport, R.I.
3. Wazimo, Aerodyne 37.66, Bob Manchester, Barrington, R.I.
Class 3 – PHRF Double-Handed (4 Boats)
1. Kincora, Quest 30, Paul Cronin, Jamestown, R.I.
2. Oronoco, Sabre 426, Adrian Ravenscroft, Cohasset, Mass.
3. Breakaway, J/35, Paul Grimes, Portsmouth, R.I.
Class 4 – PHRF Cruising Spinnaker (2 Boats)
1. Haerlem, Nautor Swan 55, Hendrikus Wisker, Round Hill, Va.
2. Gigi, Gulfstar 50, Joe Cleverdon, Newport, R.I.
With three races conducted in strong winds, there was opportunity for boats to make a significant move in the standings on the second day of Quantum Key West 2012. Or in some cases it was a chance to further increase leads taken on Day 1. Pisces fit into the former category, moving into the overall lead in Melges 32 class by winning two of three races on Tuesday. Skipper Benjamin Schwartz and company showed superb boat speed and made some sound tactical decisions and now lead the 19-boat fleet by tiebreaker over John Kilroy and the Samba Pa Ti team. “We are a new program so it is a tremendous feeling to be doing well in a big-time regatta like Key West. Hopefully, we can keep it going,” said Schwartz, who joined the class last summer and promptly placed fourth at U.S. Nationals. Schwartz has America’s Cup veteran Ed Baird calling tactics and Quantum professional Scott Nixon trimming the jib and spinnaker. “You have to give Ed and Scott a lot of credit for getting our boat up to speed,” he said. “I’m fortunate to have a great crew. Today was very challenging because the wind velocity was up and down and the sea state was not very forgiving, but the guys never stopped working and we were able to change gears pretty well.” Race committees on all three courses completed three races in 8-14 knot easterly winds.
With five races in the bag, organizers with Premiere Racing are already halfway to the stated goal of holding 10 races during the five-day regatta. There was a lead change in the Farr 40 class as well with Charisma (Nico Poons, Monaco) and Struntje Light (Wolfgang Schaefer, Germany) overtaking Groovederci (John Demourkas, Santa Barbara, Cal.). Struntje Light has posted a pair of seconds and finished no lower than fourth in the seven-boat fleet, but Charisma holds the overall lead via tiebreaker by virtue of winning Race 5. “We had a very good day on the water and are happy with where we stand at the moment,” Schaefer said. “We have nice boat speed upwind and our crew work has been excellent. We have a very good tactician and he’s made some fantastic calls that have kept me in phase.” Renowned Italian professional and America’s Cup veteran Vasco Vascotta is calling tactics aboard Struntje Light, which has competed in Farr 40 class at Key West ever since 2002 with a top finish of third. “Wolfgang is doing a good job of driving and is getting better every day. The guys onboard have a great attitude and are ready to fight to the end. The good news is that we can still improve our performance.” PowerPlay lived up to its name by making a strong move in IRC 2 class with a strong line of 1-3-4 on Tuesday. Owner Peter Cunningham, a resident of Georgetown in the Cayman Islands, has a nice mix of amateur and professional crew with tactician Tony Rey, trimmer Dave Scott and bowman Geordie Shaver among the superstars aboard. “We’ve only had the boat for six months and we’ve made a lot of modifications during that time,” Cunningham said. “We’re pretty happy with our performance so far. We’re sailing fairly well and having a lot of fun.” Quantum Racing, skippered by Doug DeVos, continues to set the pace in the 52-foot class and leads PowerPlay by six points. Terry Hutchinson, helmsman for the Swedish syndicate Artemis Racing that is Challenge of Record for the America’s Cup, has made strong tactical calls in leading Quantum to victory in three races and second in the two others. “Today was far from straightforward. The wind was very shifty and there are some tricky current patches to deal with,” Hutchinson said. In other classes, the three-race day merely served as an opportunity for the early leaders to extend on the competition.
Ran, a Judel-Vrolijk 72-footer, continues to sail impressively in the Mini Maxi class (IRC 1), winning all five races so far. Red, skippered by Joe Woods of Great Britain with Paul Goodison aboard as tactician, has accomplished the same feat in the inaugural Farr 400 class. “I guess we’ve just figured the boat out a little faster than the other teams,” said Woods, who has previously sailed a Melges 32 at Key West. “We’re winning, but not by much. The racing has been awfully close.” West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes has posted straight bullets in Melges 24 class and built a commanding 10-point lead over Alan Field and the WTF team. Detroit resident Bora Gulari is steering and getting tactical advice from Australian native and North Sails pro Jeremy Wilmot as West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes seeks to follow up on its 2011 national championship. Groovederci, skippered by Deneen Demourkas of Santa Barbara, Cal., has won all five races in Farr 30 class. Teamwork, a J/122 owned by Robin Team of Lexington, N.C., has posted two bullets and a pair of seconds in grabbing a narrow one-point lead over the 1D35 Tres Hombres in PHRF 1. “We’re having a great time because the conditions have been terrific and the competition has been spectacular,” said Team, who has his brother and two sons in the crew. “We’ve been mixing it up with Tres Hombres and finished overlapped with them in the first two races today. Rush is also tough so I think it will be a dogfight the whole way.” Rush, a J/109 skippered by Bill Sweetser of Annapolis, was named Lewmar / Navtec Boat of the Day after posting a superb score line of 3-2-1. Tom Babel is calling tactics while Quantum pro Tad Hutchins is calling tactics on Rush, which is currently third in PHRF 1 and second in the J/Boats Subclass. “The conditions were very good for us today. When the wind is 14 knots or less we can fly our big jib, which is kind of like our secret weapon,” Sweetser said. “We pay for that jib in our rating so it’s good whenever we can use it.” It’s been close but no cigar for Rush at Key West as Sweetser’s boat has finished first or second in class several times, but never come away as overall winner at week’s end. “One of these years we’re going to finally break through and it’s going to be wonderful,” he said. Regatta dates are January 15 – 20, 2012.
For more Key West Race Week photos by Tim Wilkes check out Tim Wilkes Photography