Published on Monday, 10th September 2018 - 2:58PM09/10/2018
Under sunny skies and a building sea breeze, one hundred yachts ranging from 80 to 22 feet sailed 18 miles around the small island of Conanicut nestled in the middle of Narragansett Bay on Sunday afternoon. One of the oldest races in North America, the race marks the end of the summer sailing season in the coastal region.
"Some sailors come out for the trophy or just bragging rights, while others are simply on a family picnic sail," said Race Chair Alan Baines. "The best part about this race that there is something for everyone and it's truly a celebration of another summer coming to end."
The triple-digit fleet represented 25% of all race boats registered on Narragansett Bay, making it one of the largest CYC Around the Island Races in recent history. Plagued by Hurricane forecasts the last two years, organizers, who have been planning since January, were very happy both the weather and competitors turned out for the event.
"We want to keep it fun above all else," said Principal Race Officer Mark Grosby of Jamestown. "Fair racing, a scenic course, and a great party afterward are what keeps everyone coming back year after year."
Separated into 11 divisions and staggering starts by six minutes, the slower boats started at 11:00 am on Sunday in eight knots from the south. It was around Beavertail Lighthouse on the southern tip on Conanicut that the fleets began to converge as they set their spinnakers for a nine-mile downwind run along the western side of the island.
There were plenty of winners amongst the more than 800 sailors but the residents of Jamestown also received a special treat watching the spectacular race from the shore. Jane Miner commented on the Race's Facebook Page: "Loved that I could use Kattack to see when they would be coming by my house, and then the scratch sheet to know who was who when I saw them with my binoculars from my terrace! So glad the breeze came in, too!!"
In every division that included J/crews, they either won or placed on the podium, there was a LOT of silverware to give out! Starting with PHRF B Class, Dennis Nixon's J/29 Lynx took third. In PHRF C Class of mostly J/22s and J/24s, taking second was Cory Sertl's J/22 Lucy, fourth was Kira Munger's J/24 Youth Grant Boat, and fifth was Henry Lane's J/24 Fast Lane.
Then, in PHRF D Class, third was Dexter Hoag's J/30 Altair while a sistership placed fourth, Chris Tate's J/30 Blitz. The same happened in the PHRF E Class, with Sean and Susan Doyle's J/105 Kestrel in second with their sistership, Matt Schmitt's J/105 Hardtack, taking third on the podium.
In PHRF F Class, a perennial winner had to settle for silver this time around, Paul Grimes' J/353 Breakaway. Fifth place went to Dawson and Ben Hodgson's J/100 Grimace.
The PHRF G Class consisted of just one-design J/109s. Winning the internecine battle was Bill Kneller's Vento Solare, joined on the podium by Ted Herlihy's Gut Feeling in second and John Sahagian's Picante in third.
Finally, the "big boat J class" was PHRF H Class. Not surprisingly, it was a battle of the 40-plus footers, with a Japanese crew taking the class honors! Winning was Akimitu Hirai's brand new J/121 Crescent IV from Hayama Marina YC in Japan, not only first in class, but second in fleet PHRF Overall by a mere 18 seconds! Third was Greg Manning's J/121 Sarah and fifth went to Jack Gregg's J/122 Tarahumara.