Ida Lewis Distance Race early entry deadline approaches

Fleet passes Castle Hill Lighthouse in the Ida Lewis Distance Race 2010
The Ida Lewis Distance Race (ILDR) is right around the corner, and organizers are encouraging competitors to register by the early bird deadline of August 5 to help build excitement among the competitors and encourage others to sign up early, too.

Open to boats 28 feet and longer and with its courses covering some of the most storied and beautiful sailing grounds in the world, the seventh edition of the Ida Lewis Distance Race starts Friday, August 19 at 1 p.m. off Fort Adams in Narragansett Bay and includes turning marks at Castle Hill, Brenton Reef, Block Island, Montauk Point, Martha’s Vineyard and Buzzards Tower on its way to a signature champagne finish inside Newport Harbor off the historic Ida Lewis Yacht Club.

'In the past we’ve done a lot more buoy racing, but after a friend of ours requested we do the Ida Lewis Distance Race back in 2009, we decided to try it out and ended up having a great time,' said John Wayt (Jamestown, R.I.) who placed second in the cruising spinnaker class that year on his S&S Swan 44 Vixen. 'We did the race that year with four crew members, including my wife. It was a really relaxing sail but also competitive.'

Along with Wayt, other competitors who have signed up early include Charlie Robertson (Old Saybrook, Conn.), Swan 68 Cannonball; Bill Varr (East Freetown, Mass.), Hanse 540e Airglow; Ian Scott (Newport, R.I.), Swan 36 COCO; Ray Way (Warwick R.I.), Dehler DB2 Dead Reckoning; Dennis Ziemba (Highlands, N.J.),Tartan 41 Moonshine; Jeffrey Ohstrom (Dumont, N.J.), Custom 50 STAR; Roel Hoekstra (Essington, Pa.), Swan 43 Akela II; Robert Tullman (Tampa, Fla.), Swan 46 Destiny; and Rod Komar (Marstons Mills, Mass.), Jonmeri 48 Finnesse.

Among many return entrants will be Ron O’Hanley’s (Boston, Mass.) Privateer, the canting keel Cookson 50 that placed second last year in IRC 1, as well as Tom Rich’s (Middletown, R.I.) Peterson 42 Settler, Charlie Milligan’s Summit 35 Act One, Edmund Flynn’s (Marlborough, Mass.) Beneteau First 40.7 Lark and Robert Kits van Heyningen’s (Portsmouth, R.I.) IMX-45 Temptress, which finished second, third, fourth and sixth respectively, in PHRF 2. Also returning is Jason Richter’s (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) J/35 Paladin, competing in the PHRF Doublehanded Division and Greg Manning’s (Warwick, R.I.) X-41 Sarah, which finished third in PHRF 1 and took home the overall Youth Challenge Trophy on behalf of East Greenwich Yacht Club.

New to the event this year will be Steve Frank’s (Darien, Conn.) custom 69’ McCurdy and Rhodes Gracie entered in the Youth Challenge, which was introduced to the junior sailing world last year and met with huge success when six boats out of a fleet of 35 signed up to compete.

'We all really wanted to volunteer the boat, and when we learned about the distance race it was the perfect opportunity,' said Skip Kelly (Burke, Vt.), Captain of Gracie, who continues to recruit junior sailors from local yacht clubs for the team. 'Five of our crew are Storm Trysail members, and each will be given three youth sailors to work with. We have to bring up the new crop of sailors; our primary goal for this race is to be safe, teach them some good skills and have fun along the way.'

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 19, 2011. Teams may have junior crew members outside of those parameters; however, they will not count towards the youth component. Adults (minimum two aboard, one of whom must be designated as Captain) will make up the balance of the crew, but it is intended that they serve only in a supervisory capacity.

Teams must be registered under the flag 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., the Wednesday (August 17) prior to the race.

The Race Committee will choose separate courses (longer for IRC and shorter for PHRF, Youth Teams, One-Design and Double-Handed sailors) from among four courses: Montauck (177 nm), Block Island (150 nm), Nomans (122 nm), and Buzzards Bay Tower (104 nm).

The Ida Lewis Distance Race is a qualifier for the 2011 New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF); Northern and Double-Handed Ocean Racing Trophies (IRC); and the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series.

Ida Lewis Distance Race website