Photo: Stephen R. Cloutier

Ida Lewis Yacht Club Moves Ida Lewis Distance Race Start Back One Entire Day Due To COVID Pandemic

The Ida Lewis Yacht Club has scheduled its annual Ida Lewis Distance Race to start on Saturday, August 15 rather than the previously announced Friday, August 14 date. The move is meant to enable teams to participate without having to take time off from work to do so. The popular late-summer racing tradition, enjoyed by veteran offshore sailors as well as those trying the “overnight sprint” for the first time, begins off Fort Adams and ends just inside Newport Harbor where Ida Lewis volunteers can site the finish line from their clubhouse on Lime Rock before greeting each team on the water with a congratulatory bottle of Prosecco.

“We are trying to make life easier during the transition to post-pandemic activities, and of course, we will conform to any and all social distancing requirements that might be the ‘new normal’ for the 2020 Ida Lewis Distance Race,” said Event Chair Pat Kennedy. “The shoreside activities, including the Friday night Skippers Meeting and the Sunday Awards and Cocktails might have to change somewhat, but it still doesn’t change the fact that on the water, this race is like no other. There will be much pent-up energy and many who will be excited for this opportunity to get back to sailboat racing. Because of that, we’re gearing up for more teams and one of our best events ever.”

Unique to the Ida Lewis Distance Race, the Race Committee considers weather forecasts to decide from among four courses that range from 112 to 169 nautical miles. The goal is to get all teams back to the dock within 18-24 hours. The courses – incorporating some of the most iconic cruising grounds in New England – are named “The Montauk”, “The Block Island”, “The Point Judith”, and “The Buzzards Bay Tower”.

This is the 16th running of the Ida Lewis Distance Race, which is certified as a “Clean Regatta” by the Sailors for the Sea organization. Classes are for boats 28 feet or longer and include IRC, PHRF, One Design, Multihull, Double-Handed, and, new for this year, Mixed Double-Handed (to debut at the 2024 Olympics). The race also Includes Youth and Collegiate Challenge categories.