With time still to register, the roster for the eighth edition of the Ida Lewis Distance Race is growing with both veteran competitors as well as newcomers. The offshore competition, which will host IRC, PHRF and doublehanded classes in boats 28 feet and longer, begins Friday, August 17, with a spectacular start off Fort Adams in Narragansett Bay. Competitors will head out on one of four coastal race courses (with distances between 104 and 177 nautical miles) that cover some of the most breathtaking sailing grounds in the world and incorporate turning marks at Castle Hill, Brenton Reef, Block Island, Montauk Point, Martha’s Vineyard and Buzzards Tower before ending with a signature champagne finish inside Newport Harbor off the historic Ida Lewis Yacht Club.
Already in the lineup for the IRC Class is the grand-prix racing machine Rima2, a Reichel Pugh 55, skippered by John Brim (New York, N.Y.), who will mark this as his fourth Ida Lewis Distance Race. Other repeat contenders include Tristan Mouligne’s (Boston, Mass.) Quest 30 Samba and Bob Manchester’s (Barrington, R.I.) and Barrett Holby’s (Warren, R.I.) Aerodyne 38 Wazimo, which took first and second place, respectively, in the 2011 standings for the PHRF Division.
“Samba and Wazimo, our boat’s bigger sister, have always battled it out,” said Mouligne, explaining that both boats were designed by Rodger Martin. Barrett Holby was also responsible for the building of Samba. Mouligne, who counts this as his third Ida Lewis Distance Race, also said that this is one of the few races he does withSamba that doesn’t fall under the doublehanded or solo category. “Ida Lewis is the perfect overnight race and really fun to do with a few friends. We did our first Ida Lewis Distance Race in the doublehanded division but decided to switch into PHRF last year because we like the competition and the boats that compete.” Samba, which is one of the smallest boats in this year’s fleet, has competed in five Bermuda One-Two Yacht Races and has sailed to victory in many events, including first place in Class 1 of the 2012 New England Solo/Twin Championship. “It is just fun to involve a few more people for the Ida Lewis Distance Race and race the boat hard for 24 hours with people I’ve known for a long time,” said Mouligne.
There are also some boats experiencing the Ida Lewis Distance Race’s charm for the first time, including the 55-foot sloop Haerlem, skippered by Hendrikus Wisker (Rolling Hill, Va.) who, between 2007 and 2011, has logged approximately 30,000 offshore cruising miles aboard the boat. “I’m not a racer at all, and my boat is not a race boat, but this distance race sounds like an event that is suited for cruisers as well,” said Wisker, who is also just back from the Newport Bermuda Race where his team took third place in the Cruiser Division Class 12. “My favorite part of offshore cruising is being on the ocean and having somewhere to go. When I’m out there I’m in my element.”
Fans will be able to follow Haerlem’s moves as well as those of the rest of the fleet through Kattack LIVE, a real-time online tracking system.
The Youth Challenge Lives On:
The Youth Challenge is back on for its third year, encouraging junior sailors to try on offshore sailing for size.
“Without the kids, there is no future for the sport of sailing,” said Jerry Kirby (Newport, R.I.), a Volvo Ocean Race and America’s Cup veteran who spent his summers as a kid sailing out of Ida Lewis Yacht Club. “I started doing the bow on big boats at the age of 14. Having the ability to learn from great Ida Lewis sailors had a big impact on my sailing. Something like the Youth Challenge is an important thing that every sailing club or group should have to get young people excited about the sport."
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 17, 2012. Teams may have junior crew members outside of those parameters; however, they will not count towards the youth component. 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. on Thursday, August 2, 2012.
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