It was a real test of patience for the 99 boats that attempted the 92nd Annual Conanicut Yacht Club Around The Island race Sunday. Under a light northerly breeze, the Race Committee – led by PRO Mark Grosby -started the first of ten fleets at 1100, but soon after the third fleet started, the wind completely shut off.
The plan was to send the sailors counter-clockwise around Jamestown, an 18 mile course. While the boats in those first divisions drifted in the adverse tide – some ending up hundreds of yards behind the starting line – the rest of the fleets waited between CYC and Rose Island for the wind to fill. One of those drifters was local J/24 sailor, Mike Hill, who had to put out his anchor to prevent getting pulled out with the tide. “I want to thank my crew for being out there through it all – and the Race Committee for sticking with it,” said Hill ashore after sailing.
Slowly the wind filled from the southeast and the racing resumed with downwind starts. Colorful spinnakers passed under the Newport Bridge then rounded the North end of the island and beat upwind on the west side of Jamestown. By the time, many of the boats rounded the southern tip of the island at Beavertail Lighthouse, the wind subsided again making the last leg of the course another challenge of persistence.
Many of the participants – mostly the smaller boats under 30 feet – had to retire due to the time limit of the race (all boats must finish by 1800.) However, of the 76 finishers, prizes were awarded to those top finishers during the dinner at Conanicut Yacht Club.
Irie, owned by Newport’s Brian Cuhna, was the first to finish with an Elapsed Time of 2 hours 52 minutes 44 seconds, winning the Commodore Bruce R. Brakenhoff Memorial Trophy. However, it was Jim Madden with his C&C 30, Stark Raving Mad VIII, who walked away with the top prize, the Commodore Jim C. Quinn Trophy, with the fastest corrected time of 3 hours 23 minutes 53 seconds nearly six minutes ahead of 2nd place, Art Santry’s Oakcliff/Temptation.
Madden’s crew attributed a “great start and staying in clear breeze to extend from there” to their winning lap.
Other awards handed out were for the CYC Members with top results over and under 31 feet. For over 30 feet ( ), went to Chris Cannon’s Verrissimo and under () went to Quinn Bill Fortenberry who sailed with his daughter onboard one of the club’s J22s.
On his first day on the job, Commodore Andrew Kallfelz welcomed all the sailors and thanked them for their patience throughout the day. He was impressed with the record-breaking number of boats that showed up for the race.
Alan Baines, Race Chairman, wrapped up the evening thanking the sailors once again. “For the last two years, we have had over 100 boats register for this event, clearly hallmarking it as a great way to end and celebrate the summer. We look forward to doing it all again next summer.”