Close racing in Day one of Block Island Race Week
25 June 2019
was extremely close in the ORC 1 and 2 with mere seconds separating
the first and second places finishes in both Race 1 and 2 after more
than an hour sailing around the buoys. Jim Grundy and his crew
aboard Baby Bella hold a one-point lead in ORC 1 after beating
Interlodge IV by one second in the second start.
“Isn’t that great? It shows the designers of the rating rule has done an outstanding job,” Grundy said. “We’re having extremely close racing among boats that are rated very fairly.”
Interlodge IV (Austin and Gwen Fragomen) is tied with Impetuous (Paul Zabetakis) with 10 points a piece, but holds second place by virtue of winning Race 3. Baby Bella, a 42-footer designed by Harry Dunning, has Dunning aboard as navigator and Chuck O’Malley as strategist.
“What an idyllic day of racing we had. It was like sailing in paradise,” said Grundy, a Pennsylvania resident. “We have a pretty clear advantage in this wind range. We were planing three-quarters of time on the downwind legs while our competition was not. We made huge gains on the runs.”
There was equally tight racing in ORC 2 with Teamwork emerging as the leader after the opening day. Skipper Robin Team steered the J/122 to a 19-second victory over the J/121 Incognito (Joe Brito) in Race 1 then finished 26 seconds behind the Ker 11.5 Peacemaker in Race 2. Race 3 for ORC 2 was tossed by organizers with Storm Trysail Club because the finish line mark dragged and caused confusion.
There was a good battle among the 52-footers in IRC 1 with Beau Geste winning the day after sandwiching a pair of bullets around a third. Gladiator, a TP52 owned by Tony Langley of Great Britain, briefly held the lead after winning Race 2.
This is the second Block Island Race Week for Beau Geste skipper Karl Kwok, whose last appearance came 25 years ago when he owned an ILC 40 built by Carroll Marine. “A lot has changed on Block Island since then,” said Kwok, who lives in Hong Kong.
Gavin Brady serves as helmsman aboard Beau Geste and has other renowned pros such as Chris Larson (tactician), Matthew Humphries (navigator) and Darren Jones (main trimmer) in key roles.
“Gladiator sailed very well today. This is a new boat and we are still getting a feel for it,” Kwok said. “Our team was totally motivated going into the third race because we were behind. We managed to just slip past Gladiator and Fox (Victor Wild)."