and it seems that after almost five decades a good thing has only gotten better with age. First held in 1965, the five-day competition, originally patterned after Cowes Week, is one of the last true Race Weeks remaining in America. The event proved it still can deliver on its time-tested tradition of good, challenging racing to over 1500 sailors competing on 182 teams while also embracing all types of racing sailors with a “something for everyone” approach.
Of the 182 boat fleet, J/Boats had by far the largest brand presence in the regatta with 80 boats participating (44% of the fleet!). Six J one-design classes participated, including the J/111s, the J/80 North American's and East Coast Championships for the J/109, J/105s, J/44s and J/29s. J/Teams also sailed in the IRC and PHRF handicap divisions.
With their North American Championship on the line, the J/80's sixteen boats saw what became two races within a regatta: two boats clearly vying for the overall lead with five other boats vying for the balance of the top five. In the end, Will & Marie Crump and team aboard R80, launched a tremendous comeback to topple the previous leader USA 1162, skippered by John White (Annapolis, Md.). “There were five points between us, and we were excited about the conditions but anxious about the fog,” said Crump, a 1999 J 80 North American champion (as crew) whose crew was comprised of wife Marie, her brother Thomas Klok and new crew member Chris Larson (all from Annapolis). “We’re more experienced in the high breeze, so we knew it was possible to win. We did a little match racing with our competition to get him driven back in the fleet in the first start. For the second start, we didn’t have such a command, but we got out and away early.”
Sailing Photos by Allen Clark/ PhotoBoat.com and Stephen Cloutier/ BlockIslandRI.net. For more Block Island Race Week sailing information