Less than three weeks away, the annual Ida Lewis Distance Race is making an all-call for early entries with discounted fees (through this Friday, Aug. 6) and is preparing for its sixth running on Friday, Aug. 20, starting at noon off Ft. Adams in Newport, R.I. In June, the event, hosted by Ida Lewis Yacht Club, was named one of Sailing World magazine’s “14 great events” in its guide for “The Ultimate Summer.” The designation came in large part because the event starts when Newport’s busy sailing schedule is actually winding down, and it offers two race courses–the 177 nm Montauk course and the 150 nm Block Island course)–which, as Sailing World reports, “has developed a loyal following of IRC rockets and PHRF warhorses.”
The addition of a Youth Challenge has attracted teams like Greg Manning’s aboard Sarah, an X-41 that won its class and finished second overall in this year’s Newport to Bermuda Race. Including Manning and his son Benjamin, the team will consist of six kids, ranging from ages 14 to 18, and five adults, meeting the majority-youth crew requisite.
“I love sailing with kids,” said the elder Manning, who is a first-timer in the Ida Lewis Distance Race but whose offshore experience with juniors crewing includes not only the Newport to Bermuda Race but also the Marblehead to Halifax Race . “They are so enthusiastic; they just do everything they need to do, and no egos get in the way.”
Manning laughed when he recounted his tale about deciding to enter. “I was at a Board Meeting of the Greenwich Bay (R.I.) Sailing Association where the idea was presented, and I said ‘I’m in!’—it was as simple as that.” Manning’s team will represent East Greenwich Yacht Club.
Along with the earlier start at noon (in previous years it was 1500), for the first time ever, fans can follow real-time race tracking through Kattack LIVE. The Youth teams, PHRF, One-Design and Double-Handed sailors will enjoy the shorter course while the IRC sailors will take to the longer course.
There is also a new Finish Line sponsor, KVH Industries (which made possible the follow- through on the tracking initiative and a new trophy for PHRF Cruising Spinnaker Class), while new Starting Line sponsor ATC Tech joins veteran Starting Line sponsors North Sails and New England Boatworks. Contributing sponsors are Dockwise Yacht Transport, Mac Designs, Narragansett Beer, Newport Shipyard, Rig Pro Southern Spars, Sea Gear Uniforms, and Z Blok.
The 2010 Ida Lewis Distance Race includes divisions for IRC, PHRF (Racing and Cruising Spinnaker Classes), One-Design (including NYYC 42s) and Double-Handed boats. The largest boat signed up is George David’s (Hartford, Conn.) Reichel/Pugh 90 Rambler, which returns this year after taking line honors in 2009, while the smallest boat is Tristan Mouligne’s (Boston, Mass.) Quest 30 Samba.
With its courses covering some of the most storied and beautiful sailing grounds in the world, the Ida Lewis Distance Race features a spectacular start off Fort Adams in Narragansett Bay and includes turning marks at Castle Hill, Brenton Reef, Block Island, Montauk Point, Martha’s Vineyard and Buzzards Tower on its way to a signature champagne finish inside Newport Harbor off the historic Ida Lewis Yacht Club. The event is open to boats 28 feet and longer and is a qualifier for the 2010 New England Lighthouse Series; Northern and Double-Handed Ocean Racing Trophies; and the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series.
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