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2013 Ida Lewis Distance Race - Preview

by Kirsten Ferguson 11 Aug 2013 15:19 BST 16-17 August 2013
2012 Ida Lewis Distance Race start © Meghan Sepe

New developments complement the Newport Summer favourite

The starting line at the Ida Lewis Distance Race will be adorned with some extra bells and whistles next week when new teams, a new class and multiple Youth and Collegiate Challenge teams join the competitive ranks for the popular overnighter. Scheduled for a 12:30 p.m. start on Friday, August 16th off Fort Adams in Newport R.I., the race will take its fleet on one (or more, depending on conditions and final classes) of four coastal courses – between 104nm and 177nm – that trace the charming coastlines and beautiful sailing grounds for which New England is known. In its ninth edition, the event has already surpassed last year's entry numbers, with 34 boats registered to date.

"I would really like to see this be the beginning of a much bigger thing, and with entries coming in thick and fast, we are hoping to break 50 boats this year," said Race Chairman Simon Davidson (Newport, R.I.), adding that a number of competitors are traveling from outside Rhode Island to race, and currently ten states, as far west as Colorado, are represented. "In my opinion, competitors like this race because it is long enough that you can experience the overnight and offshore component but short enough that you can finish it in less than a weekend."

To open the adventure up to more boats, the event has added a Multihull Class to the roster alongside its PHRF, IRC, One Design and Double-Handed competitions.

Kevin Baxley's (Brooklyn, N.Y.) custom 36-foot trimaran Three Little Birds will be one of the class's high-performance entrants. "I do mostly distance races with this boat, because it has legs and can cover a lot of territory in a reasonable amount of time," said Baxley who normally races the boat double-handed but will have a team of four others onboard for this event. "I was super pleased to find out that this distance race was open to multihulls, because there are so many of us out there and not many races where we have the opportunity to sail against each other. I've never done the Ida Lewis Distance Race but have been in other competitions that follow parts of the same course, which I love."

Baxley will be in good company; already three of the four class winners from last year have signed up to compete, including Marc Glimcher (New York, N.Y.) with his Ker 40 Catapult, Hendrikus Wisker (Round Hill, Va.) with his Nautor Swan 55 Haerlem and Todd Stuart (Newport, R.I.) with his Swan 56 White Rhino.

Youth and Collegiate Challenge

Of the large number of entries committed, a healthy handful will participate in the third edition of the Ida Lewis Distance Race Youth Challenge and the second edition of the Collegiate Challenge, both of which are designed to give the next generation of sailors an opportunity to try offshore sailing on for size.

"I'm excited to be spending time on a bigger boat and doing an overnight race, which I've never done before," said 15-year-old high school sophomore Tyler Kumes (Johnston, R.I.) who will join four other sailors from the Prout School Sailing Team aboard an entry that veteran sailors and distance race competitors Joe Cooper and Bjorn Johnson (both Newport, R.I.) have organized. (To qualify for the Youth Challenge, more than 40% of the crew must have reached their 14th birthday but not turn 20 prior to August 16, 2013.)

"We are all used to sailing 420s with just one other person in the boat," added Kumes, "so I think the biggest change for this event will be the teamwork aspect, because we will all be working together."

For the Youth Challenge, teams are encouraged to register under the burgee of a US Sailing yacht club or community sailing program, and for the first time ever, event host Ida Lewis Yacht Club is fielding an entry, which will include participants in the club's junior big-boat program. A third Youth Challenge entry is Oakcliff Racing from the Oakcliff Sailing Center in Oyster Bay, N.Y.

The Collegiate Challenge debuted last year when SUNY Maritime College reinstated the William Tuthill Trophy, which had last been presented in 1978 to the winner of the Eastern Inter-Collegiate Overnight Race in memory of Tuthill, an avid sailor and member of the SUNY Maritime College. (To qualify for the Collegiate Challenge, more than 40% of the crew must not have reached the age of 26 by August 16, 2013, and teams are encouraged to register under the burgee of a college sailing program, a US SAILING yacht club or community sailing program.) The trophy was awarded last year to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy team, which beat out SUNY to win and will be defending its title this year onboard the 50-foot Baltic Crazy Horse.

For the Youth Challenge, teams are encouraged to participate in the Storm Trysail Club Foundation's Newport Junior Safety@Sea Seminar on Thursday, August 15th (participants of all ages welcome).

The Ida Lewis Distance Race is a qualifier for the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF); the Northern and Double-Handed Ocean Racing Trophies (IRC); and the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series. Starting Line sponsors for the 2013 Ida Lewis Distance Race are Bluewater Technologies, Inc., the City of Newport, New England Boatworks, Newport Shipyard, North Sails, and Marsh. Contributing sponsors are Dockwise Yacht Transport, Flint Audio Video, Mac Designs, Sea Gear Uniforms, Stella Artois, Gosling's Bermuda Black Rum, Rig Pro Southern Spars and Z Blok.

For more information and to register, visit www.ildistancerace.org, follow the race's Facebook Page or contact .

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