North Sails LOFT NEWS
ONE FOR THE BOOKS
A Surge In The Atmosphere At Block Island Race Week
There was a distinct shift in the vibe at Block Island Race Week this year. The new title sponsor Margaritaville injected the 28th edition of the weeklong regatta with a new energy, impressive onshore activities, and—last but not least—a surprise closing gig by the legendary Jimmy Buffett.
As a returning partner, North’s involvement with Block Island Race Week this year included live coaching and daily debriefs, complimentary weather forecasting, the pop-up sail repair loft, and hosting the Lowell North Memorial Lay Day 5K.
Over 20 North Sails experts from five lofts were on the island to support all competitors, including Northeast Sales Manager, Kimo Worthington—one of only three Americans who’s won both the America’s Cup and The Ocean Race. Kimo helped Chuck Allen coach the performance cruising fleets, offering the complimentary coaching program to all boats. By providing photography and video from the race course, Kimo and Chuck were able to help teams improve boat handling and sail trim to perform better in their next race.
122 boats dealt with a variety of conditions throughout the week. Monday saw 8-12 knots and sunshine. Tuesday’s Around the Island Race lived up to its reputation of delivering a wide range conditions: rain and wind throughout the race, capped by thunderstorms and torrential rain; the North Service loft was kept busy with repairs that night.
Sailing around the wind farm kept navigators and tacticians on their toes during the Around-The-Island Race.
The newly resurrected Lay Day was embraced by crews and families with the introduction of The Storm TRYathalon. First thing in the morning, North Sails hosted the inaugural 5k, bringing over 100 runners out to start the day. Ben Quatromoni, pitman aboard Interlodge IV, was the overall winner with a superb time of 19 minutes, 55 seconds. Quatromoni got out to a fast start and left his lone competitor behind during the long uphill climb along Ocean and Beach avenues. The Newport, Rhode Island resident was one of three Interlodge IV entrants along with headsail trimmer Dave Armitage and navigator Geoff Ewenson. The afternoon brought more competition, with Trivia presented by Margaritaville followed by a New England Ropes Tug-O-War. Wednesday was also the lightest air day, perfect for some quality time on shore to enjoy New England’s summer hotspot.
Thursday and Friday saw winds averaging around 10-12 knots. Fog was an added challenge on Thursday, but the race committee was able to fit in two great races. Friday cleared up nicely for a beautiful, warm, sunny finale to a great week of sailing in New England.
North’s client victories included Kevin McNeil and his Farr-30 team on Seabiscuit, which won four of the seven races for a low score of 19 points in this evenly matched class. The performance cruising Spinnaker division was won by Reef Points, owned by Gurdon Wattles from Little Compton, RI. Thomas Lee and the crew of Jammy, a Gunboat 55, took home first place in the Multihull fleet, scoring two bullets out of three races.
Wings, owned by Mike Bruno of Armonk, New York, dominated the J/88 class. Wings added a fresh inventory of North Sails 3Di this year, and so far the team has won the J/88 Midwinter Championship, Charleston Race Week, and the American Yacht Club Spring Series. “Our amazing racing season continues!” Mike Bruno said, “Thanks to my amazing tactician, my excellent crew, a well-prepared boat, and North’s 3Di sails.”
According to host Storm Trysail Club, almost 50 percent of the 2019 fleet were newcomers. With the Margaritaville effect from this year, event organizers and partners are looking forward to what 2021 will bring.
“We are very pleased about the number of first timers. We think it points to a brighter future for the event, and a renaissance of folks bringing their boats back to the race course for competition and fun.” Ed Cesare – Regatta Chairman