Photo: Rick Bannerot

77th Annual Block Island Race Recap: A Game of Chutes and Ladders

This past weekend, the 77th annual Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race unfolded under a mix of beautiful sailing conditions, frustrating doldrums, and even a dry squall. Described by some as a race of “chutes and ladders,” the fleet of 76 boats embarked on the 186-nautical-mile journey on Friday afternoon under sunny skies with winds of 5-10 knots. Multiple restarts in the lighter conditions punctuated the overnight race, but by Sunday morning, 52 boats had successfully completed the race.

David Greenstein’s Mills 68, Space Monkey, was the first to cross the finish line, completing the race in 27 hours and 11 minutes. However, ultimate victory in the ORC class went to Andrew Berdon’s TP52, Summer Storm, with a corrected time of 25 hours and 55 minutes.

Berdon, now on his third Summer Storm, praised his crew for their exceptional performance. He highlighted the significant logistical effort, led by project manager Alec Snyder, to get the boat from Kiel, Germany to the starting line within a few short months. Once on the course, Berdon emphasized the importance of staying in touch with the larger boats and making strategic decisions. “The key factor was staying in touch with these bigger boats throughout the race. None of them disappeared over the horizon,” he said. A decisive move north to the Connecticut shore after re-entering Long Island Sound helped Summer Storm stay in the breeze while the wind died down for the rest of the ORC fleet, securing their overall win. “That’s just the nature of racing on Long Island Sound,” Berdon remarked.

In the PHRF fleet, Loki, a J/122 skippered by David Rosow, was both the first to finish and the class winner. Rosow credited their success to strategic positioning in Block Island Sound, staying south of the fleet on both the outbound and inbound legs. “We seemed to have slightly better breeze and were positioned well for the local current effects,” Rosow explained. Like Berdon, Rosow was new to his boat and expressed his delight with the outcome: “I was thrilled and surprised we produced such a successful result with so little time in the new boat.”

In the doublehanded fleet, John Feleciano and Zach Doerr from NEKA Sailing in the Figaro 2 finished in the top spot for ORC, while Peter Becker and Adrien Blanc finished first in the J/105 for PHRF.

The post-race party at Stamford Yacht Club was well attended, with great music and a vibrant atmosphere as class winners were awarded. A special thanks goes to Raymarine for their generous giveaway of an electronics package, which went to doublehanded skipper Marc Berkowitz.

The Block Island Race, as always, is a true test of strategy, resilience, and determination for all participating sailors. Sometimes you ride the elevator, and sometimes you fall down the ladder, but it’s a great race to shake out the cobwebs before summer, especially for the 57% of the teams going on to sail in next month’s Bermuda Race.




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