FIYC Hosts 58th Annual ‘Round Island Race

by Jane Ahrens
Photo Credit: Art Walsh

By Jane Ahrens

Sailors in the 
58th Annual 
‘Round Island Race, hosted by the Fishers Island Yacht Club (FIYC), had a perfect day 
on and off the water on 
Saturday, August 30, 2014.

The FIYC Race Committee assigned boats that entered to handicap racing and cruising classes using their PHRF rating, and one design boats to the International One Design, J70, Watch Hill 15, Ensign classes. There were 10 classes in all.

84 boats participated, including 16 from the FIYC. Skippers and crew also came to race from Groton, Stonington, New London, the Coast Guard Academy, Salem, and Watch Hill.

After positioning themselves near the starting line just outside West Harbor, each class started at five-minute intervals beginning at 10:00 Saturday morning. The first class off was the Ensign class, then came the Watch Hill Fifteens with the Fishers Island IOD class going third. Next was the non-spinnaker class called “cruising canvas”, and then the various racing handicapped classes with the fastest boats starting last.

The ‘Round Island Race Committee, also known as the Mystic River Mudhead Sailing Association, led by Commodore Frank Murphy with Greg Gilmartin and assisted by Elby Burr, noticed a lone Bullseye positioned behind the last of the big boats. It was Fishers Island sailor Paul Burnham who sailed the entire race solo in Querida in memory of his father David Burnham, Sr., a former FIYC Commodore.

The boats raced counter-clockwise around the Island going from West Harbor around North Hill then west to the nun off Race Point and then had a fairly straight leg up the south side of the island because of the prevailing wind – running 11 knots at times. The tide was flooding (coming in) which made getting around Race Point a real challenge for the smaller boats. The wind was a little unusual for this time of year, coming out of the Southeast at right angles to the normal Southwest summer breeze. That meant the spinnakers were not raised until they approached the buoy at Lords Passage for the turn back into Fishers Island Sound. The racing crafts could be seen from every shoreline vantage point – quite a sight!

The first boat to cross the finish line was a non-spinnaker boat, Fusion, a Tripp 37 sailed by Mark Salerno. The first Watch Hill 15 was Bahama Gal, sailed by Bruce Avery, and first IOD was Ginch skippered by Wes Maxwell. The fastest boat around the island this year was Wild Horses, a Melges 32 owned and skippered by Bill Canning from Masons Island. He took 2 hours, 5 minutes and 31 seconds to go around. The slowest boat took 3 hours, 46 minutes and 17 seconds. (Complete results are available on the FIYC website link below.)

The FIYC would like to thank Commodore Colin Cashel; the ‘Round Island Race Committee’s Mudheads; Elby Burr, self professed ‘boat equipment guy’; those that donated and drove the chase boats; FIYC’s Marina Manager John Evans, launch driver Mary Ellen Marcotte and Jackie Hewes. Thanks also goes to FIYC Assistant Secretary Laurie Finan; Events Chair Suzy McCance; caterer Sue Lusker; Grill Master Aaron Lusker; James Hall’s tent set-up; Trophy Awards Ceremony MC Bill Reed; Chris and Kathy Dollar, Doris Burrall and the FIYC member volunteers; and all the skippers and crew members for their participation in the 2014 ‘Round Island Race.

As Elby Burr reflected, “This year’s ‘Round Island Race was one of the best races I have ever been a part of. Great sailing wind, interesting tide, and a wide range of competitors. This is the biggest sailing event the FIYC has every year – nothing compares. And this year we had a perfect day. Every boat finished – the race was complete!”

Trophy Presentation:
The first three boats in each class won ‘Round Island Race trophies. In addition, The “Donzo” Trophy, for fastest boat around the island, went to Bill Canning on Wild Horses, and the Commodore David F. Harris Trophy, for first Fishers Island boat, went to Geordie Loveday on Jolly Mon.

Click on any image to see a larger version or view as a slideshow. 

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay . Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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