Block Island Race Week to host five Class Championships
Founded in 1965, Block Island Race Week (BIRW) is considered by many to be America’s original destination regatta. Racing on Block Island Sound in late June often brings ideal conditions for these sailboats and continues to be the ideal venue for this highly competitive and social regatta.
This year’s line-up features five days of competition that will pit more than 150 performance sailboats against each other in races in Block Island Sound as well as various areas around our tiny island. It has also been designated the “Championship Regatta” this year because four one-design classes and the IRC Congress have designated Block Island Race Week as their East Coast or North American championship.
Viewing opportunities include checking out the boats in New Harbor — at the docks at the Boat Basin and Payne’s Dock — or heading to the end of Champlin Road to watch the parade of boats leave the harbor on race-day mornings, typically between 9 and 10 a.m. There’s even a round-the-island race that’s especially impressive to see from various vistas island-wide. Each morning from 7:30 to 9 a.m., under the large tent stationed at The Oar restaurant, you can enjoy coffee and donuts while catching up on the days scheduled events and listen to and watch Facebook Live interviews and hear informative statistics on the races. In the evening the public is also invited to attend the festivities under the tent, paying a cover at the door, and to buy some raffle tickets. Don’t be shy — stop by to check it all out!
In an effort to give back to the community, starting with BIRW XVIII in 2001, the Storm Trysail Club’s BIRW Raffles have generated over $100,000 that has been directed to the services and charities serving the island and its residents. BIRW Media Manager Will Gammel reiterated that “For all the years we have been racing here — it has only been made possible by the hospitality the island’s residents have extended to our sailors, regatta after regatta.”
The 2017 BIRW Raffle is looking to be the most successful yet, targeting a record $20 thousand in donations to this year’s designated organizations: the Block Island Rescue Squad, which has been called into action for one reason or another by virtually every BIRW, and The Block Island Medical Center, that has patched-up more injured sailors over the years that can be remembered.
This year’s Raffle will again include a list of amazing Race Week prizes including:
The Grand Prize—a Rolex watch
A week for two at the Bitter End Yacht Club
Two Gill sailing jackets
A collection of Vineyard Vines apparel and accessories
Mt Gay Rum items
A large Soundview Millworks carving board
More prizes will be added