Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race Week XXII Presented by Rolex
Popular Race Week to Serve as Rolex US-IRC National Championship
One of the nation's most revered sailing competitions, the Storm Trysail Club's biennial Block Island Race Week presented by Rolex is set for its 22nd running from June 17-22, 2007. The event, which traditionally offers five days of both handicap and one-design racing, will attract extra attention this time around when it doubles as the debut of the Rolex US-IRC National Championship.
"2005 was the first time Block Island Race Week hosted divisions sailing under IRC, which over the last few years has gained consensus as a replacement for IMS," said STC Commodore Rich du Moulin (Larchmont, N.Y.). "It made sense to use Block Island Race Week XXII as a platform for the nationals, especially since Rolex has stepped up to sponsor the IRC rule nationally and the Storm Trysail Club's Chesapeake Station has hosted the IRC East Coast Championships for two years running."
Du Moulin explained that the Rolex US-IRC National Championship targets boats with a PHRF handicap faster than 90. "Those boats will need to obtain an IRC rating and sail in IRC, while boats with PHRF handicaps of 90 or slower will have a choice of sailing either PHRF or IRC," said du Moulin. "However, any boat with a valid IRC certificate--even if it is entered in PHRF or one-design divisions--qualifies for IRC overall fleet trophies for first, second and third in the around-the-island races, of which we hope to run two in 2007." (Yachts slower than PHRF 51 are allowed to use non-endorsed IRC rating certificates, thereby eliminating the need for an IRC measurer and weighing.)
These multi-dimensional offerings, according to Block Island Race Week's 2007 Chairman Jim Bishop (Jamestown, R.I.), are a natural build-out of the full-bodied racing sailors have come to expect at Block Island. Bishop, himself an overall and class winner at Block Island, has owned and sailed a J/44 for 16 years and is a proponent of keeping sailing affordable and fun. "You'll have the high-end, purpose-built IRC boats at Block Island Race Week," said Bishop, "but you'll also see the one-design and PHRF sailors there having a blast, enjoying outstanding competition." The J/44 class, which disallows professional sailors onboard and further evens the playing field by rotating sets of racing sails (owned by the class) among the fleet, expects to see a dozen boats on the line."
All told, over 200 boats and 1000 sailors are expected to converge -- as they have in uneven-numbered years for over four decades -- on the tiny land mass located approximately 12 miles southeast of Rhode Island. The cozy community of Block Island (only around 800 year-round residents), which can only be accessed by ferry, boat or plane, embraces the swell in population and the excitement of hosting a fun-filled week of impeccably-managed competition on the water and famously friendly revelry ashore.
The racing format for the week allows for three fleets on three different race courses. Sailors will be gunning for individual class trophies, with fleets vying for Rolex watches as overall prizes for the top-performing yachts. The traditional around-the-island distance race (with an option for a second distance race) also will be included.
For those with endorsed IRC ratings, the Storm Trysail Club's Block Island Race Week XXII presented by Rolex is a qualifier for the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series (http://www.us-irc.org/).
Block Island Race Week Headquarters will be located at the Oar Restaurant, in the Block Island Boat Basin on the shore of the Great Salt Pond, also known locally as New Harbor. It is there, under a giant event tent, that racing will be complemented by socializing each evening. And during the day, families of the racers will take full advantage of Block Island’s island-getaway setting.
Compliments of Rolex, daily video shows of each day’s racing will be produced by Annapolis-based T2Productions and broadcast on-line at www.t2p.tv. The videos also will be shown each day under the "Big Top" tent where all of Race Week’s sponsors will have a presence. Sponsors are Rolex, Jeep, Mt Gay, Vineyard Vines, Lewmar, B&G, Gill, Hall Spars, J Boats, the Rhode Island State Yachting Committee, Sailing World, UKHalsey Sailmakers, West Marine, Heineken and Yellow Tail wine.
For more information, visit www.blockislandraceweek.com