The Ida Lewis Distance Race begins Friday and takes teams on a 24-hour overnight competition around some of Rhode Island’s most beautiful spots.
The 24-hour Ida Lewis Distance Race begins Friday between Rhode Island’s Fort Adams State Park and Pell Bridge. This year’s race, the 18th running, features 48 teams in a number of different classes. Teams will challenge themselves with one of six new courses chosen in advance by the race committee. The courses are between 105 and 230 nautical miles long.
Classes for boats 28 feet or longer are ORC 1, ORC 2, PHRF Doublehanded, and PHRF Aloha, PHRF Coronet, and PHRF Bagheera. Classes are named after flagships of Ida Lewis Yacht Club flag officers.
“We have re-established the Ida Lewis Distance Race as a 24-hour race,” event chair Anselm Richards said, “so it has been quite the task to determine courses that will accommodate the various wind speeds and conditions that could transpire. We won’t know until closer to the race which courses will be assigned to what classes, but two things are for sure: the race covers some of the most storied cruising grounds in New England, and it is perfect – not too short, not too long – for veterans and newcomers alike.”
Veteran skipper Ken Read is looking forward to unique challenges.
“I think this year offers the potential of a unique 24-hour course that is not just another mundane upwind and downwind track,” said defending doublehanded skipper Read, who also won in 2020 and will sail with his younger brother Brad Read aboard the Sunfast 3300 Avalon.
“Sailing with my brother is obviously unique and a complete change of pace for us both,” Read said. “Doublehanded racing for us is exceptionally fun, and I wish more people would try it.”
Tristan Mouligne has twice won the Ida Lewis Distance Race twice with a full crew, will this year also sail with his brother and agrees about doublehanded racing.
“I’ve been racing doublehanded since I was 13 years old when I crewed for my dad in the Bermuda 1-2 Race,” he said. “That was 30 years ago; we won, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Now that it has become a serious class in the Ida Lewis Distance Race, I’ve gone back to doublehanded, because it’s what I love to do. I’m just a decent amateur sailor who really loves it. Doublehanded sailing gives me the opportunity to race against people like Kenny Read one-on-one; how cool is that!?”
He said that he and his brother, John Jay, completed their first Bermuda 1-2 together when they were 18 and 15 respectively.
The race’s largest class, with 12 entries, is PHRF Coronet. It includes Eric Irwin and Mary Martin’s J/122 Alliance.
“The Ida Lewis Distance Race is an ideal local race event to develop crew for longer distance races such as Newport to Bermuda and Annapolis to Newport,” Irwin said. “We enjoy providing offshore racing opportunities, particularly to younger and diverse sailors.”
One interesting racer will be Shake-A-Leg Miami’s The Impossible Dream, which is participating In its own Exhibition Multihull Class. The race will be included in a documentary being made about the 58’ wheelchair-accessible catamaran; the organization behind it is a nonprofit that aims to demonstrate how design and technology can make boating accessible to all.
The race is expected to end mid-morning on Saturday just inside Newport Harbor, within view of the Ida Lewis Yacht Club clubhouse. Presenting sponsor for the race is Bluenose Yacht Sales.
Another recent Rhode Island race, the Rhody Regatta, raised money for a great cause.