Juniors to Offshore Sailing

NEWPORT, R.I. (March 4, 2010)–Junior sailors from Narragansett Bay and the surrounding region will be able to extend their summer sailing season this year by 150 miles. The Organizing Committee of the Ida Lewis Distance Race has announced the introduction of its Youth Challenge–aimed specifically at introducing junior sailors to offshore sailing–for this year’s sixth edition of the race, scheduled to start on Friday, August, 20, 2010.


Regional yacht clubs and sailing organizations are invited to field youth-crewed teams on the 150 nm mile course that is offered for PHRF classes. (The other course, reserved for IRC classes, is 177 nm.) “The idea of the Ida Lewis Distance Race Youth Challenge is to give junior programs an incentive to organize teams and develop the skills necessary to succeed in a medium-distance overnight race,” said Committee Member Joe Cooper, who is spearheading the effort. “We have already had various teams compete in the race with kids onboard, and we have recognized that because it is a manageable distance – not too long but not too short, either — it lends itself to this.” In 2006, second-place finisher Tom Rich (Middletown, R.I.) said his mostly teenage crew experienced their first-ever overnighter on his Peterson 42 Settler, and they will never forget the whale that sprayed the boat when it spouted, seemingly in encouragement of their efforts.

There are many instances of such wonderful experiences by young sailors.  Once a young sailor shared his struggle in a thunderstorm and how he feared whether the tides will take up the entire boat.  Fortunately, the winds helped and there was a sudden change in the direction of movement of the clouds.  Thus luck helped him address victory.  Back to the details of IL race.

To qualify for the Youth Challenge, more than 50% of the crew must have reached their 14th birthday but not their 19th birthday prior to August 20, 2010. Boats may have junior crew members outside those parameters; however, they will not count towards the youth component. Adults (minimum two aboard, one of whom must be designated as the Captain) will make up the balance of the crew, but it is intended that the adults serve only in a supervisory capacity. Teams must be registered under the flag of a US SAILING yacht club or community sailing establishment. All youth sailors will be required to attend a brief informational meeting the evening prior to the race (participants of all ages welcome), and they will be encouraged to attend one of the Storm Trysail Club Foundation’s Junior Safety at Sea Seminars.


“The goal of the Ida Lewis Distance Race Youth Challenge is to introduce junior sailors to the disciplines of seamanship: navigating, night sailing, safety related issues, coordination of larger crews, sail handling and related areas of big boat sailing that are not required in typical dinghy-based programs,” said Cooper.


It is anticipated that with sufficient numbers of entries in the Youth Challenge that the fleet will have its own start. Otherwise, the fleet will start within its handicap class. Furthermore, Youth Challenge boats are eligible for overall honors within the PHRF fleet.


For information on the Ida Lewis Distance Race Youth Challenge, visit www.ildistancerace.org or contact Youth Challenge Coordinators Joe Cooper, 401-965-6006, Hoodri-sales@att.net, and Andy Dickinson, 401-423-0600, andy@jby.com. There is also a Facebook Page for the Ida Lewis Distance Race. On-line registration is open through August 6.


More About the Ida Lewis Distance Race

The Ida Lewis Distance Race, in its sixth running, features a 177 nm “Montauk” course and a 150 nm “Block Island” course over some of the most storied and beautiful sailing grounds in the world. With a spectacular start off Fort Adams in Narragansett Bay, the race 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. It attracts family cruisers as well as grand prix racers, offering classes for IRC, PHRF (including Cruising Spinnaker and a new Youth Challenge), One-Design (including NYYC Swan 42) and Double-Handed boats of 28 feet and longer. Hosted by Ida Lewis Yacht Club, it is a qualifier for the 2009 New England Lighthouse Series; Northern and Double-Handed Ocean Racing Trophies; and the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series.


For more information, contact Dirk Johnson, info@ildistancerace.org, or go to www.ildistancerace.org for the Notice of Race and online entry (deadline is August 6, 2010).