Bill Kneller’s (Newport, R.I.) Vento Solare crosses behind John Gowell’s (East Greenwich, R.I.) Temptress at last year’s Ida Lewis Distance Race. Fifty one teams have entered the 14th edition of the annual offshore adventure, which starts this Friday at 12:30 p.m. between Fort Adams and Rose Island. (Photo by Stephen Cloutier)

 

With 51 teams registered to compete, the 2018 Ida Lewis Distance Race will create quite the spectacle of sail when it starts at 12:30 p.m. on Friday (August 17) between Fort Adams and Rose Island. Prior to the gun, Ida Lewis Yacht Club’s Race Committee will decide – based on weather forecasts and sea conditions – which of four courses will be used in this 14th edition of the yearly round-trip offshore adventure.

“The courses range from 112 to 169 nautical miles and incorporate such iconic waypoints as Castle Hill, Brenton Reef, Block Island, Montauk Point, Martha’s Vineyard and Buzzards Tower,” said Race Chairman Pat Kennedy. “They are chosen with the best intention of having the fleet finish within 18-24 hours.”

Twenty teams on the roster show as hailing from Rhode Island, with many local sailors also sprinkled in amongst the out-of-town entries from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and as far away as Ohio, Florida, and Louisiana. Newport’s own Ken Read, a Volvo Ocean Race veteran and sailing world champion several times over, will take his place aboard the TP52 Spookie, whose captain is Newport’s Ben Quatromoni. Co-skippering the boat will be Miami’s Mark Watson and owner Steve Benjamin, who splits his time between Norwalk, Conn., and Jamestown, R.I. and has skippered in the race four times. “It’s one of my favorites,” said Benjamin, who last won in 2016. “I particularly like the challenge of deciding which side to take Block Island on the leg from Vineyard Tower to Montauk.” About his competition in the 15-boat IRC division Benjamin added: “Since the Bermuda Race, we know that both Privateer and Dreamcatcher are very fast.”

Privateer is Ron O’Hanley’s (Boston, Mass.) canting keel Cookson 50 that has made a name for itself throughout New England, and Dreamcatcher is a Swan 48 sailed by Stonington Connecticut’s Mudratz Offshore Program. The team won its class in the Newport to Bermuda Race and has joined the Ida Lewis Distance Race roster as a Youth Entry, which requires at least 40% of a crew to be within a certain age range to qualify. Middletown, R.I.’s Andy Burton will also field a Youth Entry in the five-boat PHRF Cruising Spinnaker class aboard his newly obtained Baltic 47Masquerade, while Young American YCC, will represent the Young American Sailing Academy of Rye, N.Y. as a Youth Entry in the 27-boat PHRF division. The team won its class here last year. “

We had a great time despite the fact it was really windy,” said Young American YCC’s coach Peter Becker. “The kids loved it and have sea stories to tell about surfing right through the lee of boats significantly larger than us.” This year, Newport’s Joe Cooper will stand in as coach aboard Young American YCC while Becker sails with the Academy’s second entry Gambler, a Reichel/Pugh 63 provided by the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Sailing Foundation. The team, entered in IRC division, is preparing for next year’s Transatlantic Race and qualifies as both a Youth and Collegiate Entry, the latter of which also has an age requirement for 40% of the crew.

Oakcliff Sailing of Oyster Bay, N.Y. will send no less than three Collegiate teams on Farr 40s that the organization uses for its sailing training programs. “Offshore racing is definitely what I came to do at Oakcliff,” said 24-year-old Brian Reilly (Mahopat, N.Y.) who will skipper Oakcliff Farr 40 Black. “I heard this race is a good time and I should do it.” His friend, the 17-year-old Jo Riley (Marion, Mass.), who will skipper Oakcliff Farr 40 Red, has sailed on a winning boat three times in the Ida Lewis Distance Race. “I definitely like it,” said Riley. “It’s a one-night sprint. You hunker down, go full throttle, and there’s no slacking off.”

Portsmouth, R.I.’s Paul Grimes, who has sailed the event four times on his J/35 Breakaway, hasn’t officially entered as a Collegiate Entry in PHRF division, but he’ll definitely be bringing along some local-area college sailing ringers, including his son Alden Grimes, who sails for Bodin College, Adrian van der Wal (Northeastern), Victoria Boatwright (Georgetown), and Collin Moffett (Princeton).

Newport’s Bill Kneller has skippered in the race every year since 2015 on his J/109 Vento Solare, with friends who sail with him regularly in the Tuesday night Jamestown Yacht Club race series. “We haven’t made the podium yet but are getting better each year,” he said. “Last year we were one of only 20 boats that endured the weather and finished the race.”

In the four-boat Doublehanded division, David Southwell (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) will be sailing the race for the first time in Alchemy, a J/121 that is new to him this year. His crew Stuart MacNeil has never sailed a doublehanded race before and this will only be Southwell’s second time to do so. “I’m preparing for the Bermuda One Two next year by doing shorthanded and solo races and deliveries. We’re really looking forward to this!”

Other defending champions are the father/son team of Stephen Murray Sr. and Stephen Murray Jr. (Metairie, Louisiana) aboard the Volvo 70 Warrior, the largest boat in the fleet, and Brian Cunha (Newport, R.I.) aboard the Ker 55 Irie 2.

Ida Lewis Yacht Club will host the skipper’s meeting and social on Thursday, August 16. A Sunset Awards Party at the club will celebrate the conclusion of racing on Saturday, August 18.

 

 

 

The start of the 2014 Ida Lewis Distance Race (Photo Credit: Meghan Sepe)

The start of the 2014 Ida Lewis Distance Race (Photo Credit: Meghan Sepe)

NEWPORT, R.I. (April 27, 2015) – For over a decade, grand prix sailors and racing/cruising enthusiasts alike have flocked to the summer destination of Newport, R.I. to compete in the Ida Lewis Distance Race, and on Friday, August 14, 2015 the tradition will continue with another year of “just-right” overnight racing planned for the hallowed waters of Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island as well as Block Island Sound. Depending on weather and wind conditions, organizers can choose to send IRC, PHRF, One Design, Multihull and Double-Handed boats of 28 feet or longer on one of four coastal round-trip race courses, ranging from between 104 and 177 nautical miles in distance.

“It is an extraordinary event,” said Steve Benjamin (Norwalk, Conn.) who won IRC and claimed line honors at the race last year with his Carkeek 40 Spookie. “The race is exhilarating, and last year the breezy conditions had us flying around the course. We started shortly after noon (off Fort Adams State Park) and finished at dawn in front of the Ida Lewis Yacht Club, which was a great way to see the sunrise.”

Co-Chair Skip Helme said the race is popular because “it’s not too long, not too short.” This is especially important for teams that might be trying offshore sailing for the first time.  “It’s a way to experience world-class offshore racing without having to beat yourself up, and for many teams, it’s a matter of navigating mostly-familiar waters.”

Organizers have also encouraged a new generation of sailors to try distance racing on for size through the separately scored Youth and Collegiate Challenges. Seven teams in last year’s record 47-boat fleet participated in one or the other of these challenges last year.

“I focus my whole summer on preparing for the Ida Lewis Distance Race,” said 17-year-old Kate Nota, who has been competing in the race for the past four years and won the Youth Challenge last year with her team on the J/111 Odyssey. “I’ve been racing dinghies since I was a kid, but got my first opportunity to try offshore racing at the Ida Lewis Distance Race. It completely opened my eyes to a whole new side of the sailing world, and I automatically fell in love with it.”

To qualify for the Youth Challenge, more than 40% of the crew must have reached their 14th birthday but not turned 20 prior to August 14, 2015. Teams are encouraged to register under the burgee of a US Sailing yacht club or community sailing program.

“The youth component is great because you are sharing the race experience with your peers,” added Nota, “but the race itself is fantastic, and it is such a great event for connecting with adults who are renowned sailors.”

Last year, Kevin McLaughlin’s Farr 47 Crazy Horse (representing Duquesne University) won the Collegiate Challenge, which similarly requires that more than 40% of the crew must not have reached the age of 26 by August 15, 2014. Collegiate teams also are encouraged to register under the burgee of a college sailing program, a US Sailing yacht club or community sailing program.

The Rhode Island Offshore Challenge Trophy

For the first time this year, the Ida Lewis Yacht Club and Bristol Yacht Club have joined forces to create the Rhode Island Offshore Challenge Trophy. This perpetual trophy (to be crafted and donated by GMT Composites), will be presented to the boat with the best combined score in the Ida Lewis Distance Race and the Sid Clark Offshore Race, scheduled for July 10 and featuring a variety of courses ranging in length from 75 to 160 miles.

The Ida Lewis Distance Race also is a qualifier for the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF); the Northern and Double-Handed Ocean Racing Trophies (IRC); and the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series.

CATAPULT at Ida Lewis Distance Race (Photo by Meghan Sepe)

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Chairman Simon Davidson: “Opportunity is Unique for Trying Offshore Racing”

NEWPORT, RI (February 4, 2013) — The ninth edition of the Ida Lewis Distance Race challenges sailors of all ages and experience levels to try offshore racing by competing in the popular overnighter that starts and finishes at Ida Lewis Yacht Club in Newport, R.I.  Scheduled for a 1 p.m. start on Friday, August 16, 2013, the race is open to IRC, PHRF, One Design, Double-Handed and Multihull boats and features four coastal courses–between 104nm and 177nm—that incorporate such scenic waypoints as Castle Hill, Brenton Reef, Block Island, Montauk Point, Martha’s Vineyard and Buzzards Bay.

Bringing a fresh perspective to the August tradition is newly appointed Race Chairman Simon Davidson (Newport, R.I.) who co-founded the inaugural event in 2004.

“We started with the intention of having a biennial event,” said Davidson, “but by our second running in 2006 it was clear that we had the enthusiasm from grand prix racers as well as double-handed and cruising sailors to make this event happen annually.  It now is an August tradition, perfectly timed for the end of summer when activity on Narragansett Bay has quieted down somewhat.”

Davidson added that his committee’s goals this year are to expand the race’s reach to surrounding areas and “encourage more sailors to try offshore racing in some of the most beautiful and storied cruising grounds in the country, if not the world.”   To that end, the event’s Youth Challenge, added in 2010, will be more heavily promoted to New England area yacht clubs, and an emphasis will be given to the Collegiate Challenge that was inaugurated last year at the 2012 event.

“There are sailors who have sat on a couch to eagerly watch the Volvo Ocean Race, but they’ve rarely, if ever, had the chance to actually compete in a distance race,” said Davidson.  “With the Ida Lewis Distance Race, the opportunity is unique for trying offshore racing. It’s a medium-distance offshore commitment that requires a minimal amount of logistics, since the race is not point-to-point but rather begins and ends in the same place.  It’s the chance for an owner to take his or her around-the-buoys crew on a new adventure or to integrate youth or college sailors into the team for a different kind of rewarding experience.  Then, of course, for veteran big-boat crews, the race is ideal for practice and training before they move on to other distance races around the world. RamblerBella Mente and Decision are just a few of the high-profile teams that have competed here in the past.”

 

The race is also a qualifier for the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF); the Northern and Double-Handed Ocean Racing Trophies (IRC); and the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series.

The Youth Challenge

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 16, 2013. Teams may have junior crew members outside of those parameters; however, they will not count towards the youth component. Teams are encouraged to register under the burgee 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. in August.

The Collegiate Challenge

For the second year, the Ida Lewis Distance Race is incorporating a Collegiate Challenge for the William Tuthill Trophy. The Trophy honors Tuthill, an avid sailor and member of the SUNY Maritime College, class of 1973, who met with accidental death at sea on the school’s summer cruise in 1972.  SUNY Maritime College reinstated the trophy, which was last presented in 1978 to the winner of the Eastern Inter-Collegiate Overnight Race, at the Ida Lewis Distance Race 2012, where Massachusetts Maritime Academy (on Crazy Horse) beat out SUNY (on American Girl) to win.

To qualify for the Collegiate Challenge, more than 40% of the crew must not have reached the age of 26 by August 16, 2013.  Teams are encouraged to register under the burgee of a college sailing program, a US SAILING yacht club or community sailing program.

For more information and to register, visit www.ildistancerace.org,  follow the race’s Facebook Page,  or contact info@ildistancerace.org.

 

Samba at Ida Lewis Distance Race 2012 (Photo Credit Meghan Sepe)

White Rhino (Photo by George Bekris)

White Rhino (Photo by George Bekris)

Ideal sailing conditions, perfect starts and a 16-18 knot southwesterly breeze allowed the 26 boats competing in the 2012 Ida Lewis Distance Race (ILDR) to power up on Friday, August 17, and provide a great show for the spectators who turned out to see them off on their offshore adventure.  The IRC, PHRF and PHRF Doublehanded fleets were sent on the 122 nautical mile Nomans course, while the two boats racing in the PHRF Cruising Spinnaker class took on the 103 nautical mile Buzzards Tower course.

Weather conditions led to a prediction that the leaders in IRC would be at the finish line off the historic Ida Lewis Yacht Club sometime after sunrise on Saturday morning, where they would receive the traditional champagne welcome.  That prophecy came true for the Ker 40 Catapult owned by Marc Glimcher (New York, N.Y.), which had passed the first mark of the course with about a minute lead on the rest of the IRC fleet and held on to take line honors just before 6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Line Honors Winner Catapult (Photo by Megan Sepe)

Line Honors Winner Catapult (Photo by Megan Sepe)

 

“This race was fantastic,” said Geoff Ewenson (Annapolis, Md.) who was the navigator on Catapult.  “They made a very good decision in shortening the course to a 122 miler.  It really allowed all of the IRC boats to race reasonably tightly and there was everything to the race without the extra 25 or 30 or 40 miles.  In the end everybody on our team, and I’m sure on the 42s, felt like it was the perfect length race.  We got all the conditions, all the angles, we had a bit of everything and we didn’t feel that the race drug on at all.  For us it ended at the right time.“

 

Breakaway by George Bekris

Breakaway (Photo by George Bekris)

Ewenson sailed the inaugural Ida Lewis Distance Race in 2004 and recalled that they finished that race in the wee hours of Sunday morning with the race taking what seemed like forever.  This year after finishing the race in under 17 hours he explained that the challenge was whether to get into a watch system or tough it out and sail everybody up.  “We realized there would be short bits during the race when it wouldn’t be stability conditions and so we had to steal little naps then.  The most anybody slept on our boat was probably an hour.”

 

For their efforts, Catapult collected the Ida Lewis Distance Race Commodore’s Trophy for the IRC class win, along with the perpetual Russell L. Hoyt Memorial Trophy for best elapsed time. For Ewenson, winning the Hoyt award had special meaning.

 

“When I was 10 years old I sailed home from Bermuda on Russell Hoyt’s boat Destination.  I grew up in Newport and knew Russell and I considered him to be a friend even though he was quite a bit older than me.  It really is quite nice to be able to be on the boat that comes back and wins the trophy that’s named after him.”
The 56’ Swan White Rhino captured the glory in the 14-strong PHRF class.  Owner Todd Stuart (Key West, Fla.) almost pulled out of the race when he thought he wouldn’t have enough crew.  It all came together with a number of his regular crew, including sailors he has twice done the Bermuda Race with, forming the core of this race’s team.  “We had a great race; it was a lot of fun,” said Stuart after collecting the Lime Rock Trophy for the class win.  “We started out fast and the wind held up for us and when it’s windy our boat’s pretty quick, and I think we got lucky.  When we turned around, I think the winds were changing behind us a little bit.  I think some of the slower boats that could have caught us on corrected time, if the winds had held up, I think the door just closed on them.  For a brief period we were down to about four knots of breeze during the thunderstorms; we barely got wet and then the winds came back to being favorable for us.  We made good time the whole way.  We made a decision to leave Block Island to starboard and I think that was the right choice because a boat that was pretty much neck-and-neck with us left it to port and when we both got on the back side we had definitely gained a couple miles on them.”

Stuart raced the 2011 ILDR in the IRC class, and because he expected to have fewer crew kept White Rhino in PHRF for this year’s race.  “This was perfect as we had a bunch of new people on the boat so we thought we’d play it safe and make the boat a little less dramatic.  Until the storms came through it was a perfect starlit night with little meteorites here and there.  Nobody complained this year about the distance.  It was a fast race and we finished in 17 hours.  Seems perfect to me.  We had an awesome time.  This is actually our first win in a real race so my wife Lisa [the cook on all of White Rhino’s distance races] and I, we’re very excited about it.”

 

 

The win in the PHRF Doublehanded class was taken by Paul Cronin (Jamestown, R.I.) and Jim Anderson on the Quest 30 Kincora, with the PHRF Cruising Spinnaker prize going to the Nautor Swan 55 Haerlemowned by Hendrikus Wisker (Round Hill, Va.).  Four boats had met the requirement that more than 40% of the crew must have reached their 14th birthday but not turn 20 prior to August 17, to compete for the Youth Challenge, and Chris Bjerregaard’s (Bristol, R.I.) Bashford Howlson 36 Shearwater earned that honor.

 

Spearheading a new challenge for college teams to compete in this late-summer distance race, SUNY Maritime College (Throggs Neck, N.Y.) reinstated the William E. Tuthill Trophy which was last presented in 1978 to the winner of the Eastern Inter-Collegiate Overnight Race.  The trophy honors Tuthill, an avid sailor and member of the class of 1973, who met with accidental death at sea on the summer cruise in 1972.  Massachusetts Maritime College (Buzzards Bay, Mass.) bested SUNY Maritime to receive the trophy in what is planned to be a continuing challenge.

 

The Ida Lewis Distance Race is a qualifier for the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF); the Northern and Double-Handed Ocean Racing Trophies (IRC); and the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series.
Starting Line sponsors for the 2012 Ida Lewis Distance Race are the City of NewportNew England BoatworksNewport Shipyard and North Sails.  Contributing sponsors are Blue Water Technologies,Dockwise Yacht TransportFlint Audio VideoGoslings RumMac DesignsSea Gear UniformsStella ArtoisRig Pro Southern Spars and Zblok.
Find more information online at www.ildistancerace.org — including the ability to relive the race viaKattack LIVE ; or “Like” ILDR on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ILYCDistanceRace

Ida Lewis Distance Race – Top-three Results

Place, Yacht Name, Type, Owner/Skipper, Hometown

Class 1 – IRC (6 Boats)

1. Catapult, Ker 40, Mark Glimcher, New York, N.Y.

2. Barleycorn, Swan 42, Brendan Brownyard, Bay Shore, N.Y.

3. Blazer, Swan 42, Christopher Culver, Stamford, Conn.

 

Class 2 – PHRF (14 Boats)

1. White Rhino, Swan, Todd Stuart, Key West, Fla.

2. Samba, Quest 30, Tristan Mouligne, Newport, R.I.

3. Wazimo, Aerodyne 37.66, Bob Manchester, Barrington, R.I.

 

Class 3 – PHRF Double-Handed (4 Boats)

1. Kincora, Quest 30, Paul Cronin, Jamestown, R.I.

2. Oronoco, Sabre 426, Adrian Ravenscroft, Cohasset, Mass.

3. Breakaway, J/35, Paul Grimes, Portsmouth, R.I.

 

Class 4 – PHRF Cruising Spinnaker (2 Boats)

1. Haerlem, Nautor Swan 55, Hendrikus Wisker, Round Hill, Va.

2. Gigi, Gulfstar 50, Joe Cleverdon, Newport, R.I.