Ed­i­tor’s Log

It’s a lovely des­ti­na­tion where New Eng­lan­ders have flocked for gen­er­a­tions to take in the salt air, per­haps eat a lit­tle taffy and a few clams, and re­lax and recharge.

Cruising World - - Contents - BY MARK PILLS­BURY

Each sum­mer, va­ca­tion­ers by the thou­sands de­scend upon Point Ju­dith, on Rhode Is­land’s south coast, to catch a ferry to Block Is­land, 13 miles out to sea.

Block is not a huge is­land by Martha’s Vine­yard and Nan­tucket stan­dards. Still, it teems with roads per­fect for bi­cy­cling, grand old ho­tels, restau­rants and shops, sandy beaches, wooded hik­ing trails, fresh­wa­ter ponds and count­less lit­tle nooks to get away from it all.

By sail­boat, it’s fairly easy to reach, though it can be an up­wind slog from Newport and points east thanks to the renowned sou’west sea breeze that builds most af­ter­noons and turns Block Is­land Sound into a froth of white­caps. Throw in a lit­tle fog and ad­verse cur­rent, and the trip can be­come quite in­ter­est­ing. Still, if you can tol­er­ate New York­ers, it’s a lovely des­ti­na­tion where New Eng­lan­ders have flocked for gen­er­a­tions to take in the salt air, per­haps eat a lit­tle taffy and a few clams, and re­lax and recharge.

Ex­cept, of course, dur­ing Block Is­land Race Week. For five days ev­ery odd year in June, the Storm Try­sail Club trans­forms the laid-back moor­ing field, anchorage and mari­nas in Great Salt Pond into a Wood­stock for foulie-wear­ing Type A per­son­al­i­ties.

This year was the 27th sail­ing of this ven­er­a­ble gath­er­ing that at­tracts sailors from across south­ern New Eng­land and be­yond. My col­league and sales guy here at Cruis­ing World, Ted Ruegg, has at­tended ev­ery race since 1987, when he was sent there on as­sign­ment by our sis­ter pub­li­ca­tion, Sail­ing World. Ted hails from An­napo­lis, Mary­land, the in­land sail­ing cap­i­tal, and for the past sev­eral race weeks, he and his wife, Heide, have rented a house and, with their pal Dave Robinson, have formed a core team that’s aug­mented by friends, and oc­ca­sion­ally staff mem­bers from the two mag­a­zines.

Ted and Heide were aboard the Farr 33 Sugar in 2001, with a posse of Mary­lan­ders, when it won the whole shoot­ing match. That year, they de­liv­ered the boat to Block and back home again to Ch­e­sa­peake Bay, adding con­sid­er­ably to the salty-tale Ted Ruegg trimmed main and X-yachts X4 owner Bob Rodgers did the driv­ing dur­ing each day’s race. po­ten­tial of the re­gatta.

Twice, Ted sailed aboard a Farr 395 named Up­grade, and raced sev­eral times with his pal Pete Dupont on J/boats.

More re­cently, though, Ted has found ways to bor­row new sail­boats from area deal­ers. This year, I jumped at the chance to join his cam­paign for three days aboard Rin­gle

X, a new X4 racer-cruiser from X-yachts. The sporty sloop came with its owner, Con­necti­cut X-yachts dealer Bob Rodgers, as skip­per. For the record, Bob’s an avid reader, and the name Rin­gle was bor­rowed from Pa­trick O’brien’s mar­itime clas­sics. The X in­di­cates it’s Bob’s 10th boat of the same name, rather than a nod to the builder. I was first smit­ten by the X4 dur­ing our Boat of the Year test sails last fall, when our judges deemed it Best Full-size Cruiser Un­der 50 Feet. That fond­ness only grew af­ter three days of events that in­cluded the Around the Is­land Race and two long trips around gov­ern­ment marks that lie be­tween Block and Mon­tauk, Long Is­land. Rin­gle X raced in the pur­suit-start spin­naker divi­sion, which in­cluded a J/24 and a Ker 55. Some in­ter­est­ing hand­i­cap spreads there.

Just be­cause of its name, the Around the Is­land Race has sat on my wish list for a while, so it was a joy to put a check mark in the “done it” col­umn, even though fog came in so thick that we never did find the ac­tual fin­ish line. And those trips to Mon­tauk and back? Well, who knew there were so many ways to twist up an asym­met­ric. No mat­ter, the Mount Gay flowed like a river at the party tent af­ter­ward, where we suc­cess­fully staked claim to a scenic, sunny spot on the lawn over­look­ing the har­bor. At the last run­ning of the race, Ted and team were aboard

In­vic­tus, a Jean­neau Sun Fast 3600 that fin­ished second in its class. Dur­ing that year’s Around the Is­land Race they pegged the speedo at 16.8 on one wild and squir­relly spin­naker run.

I was with them in 2013 for a few days, when they claimed third place aboard a Jean­neau 379 that had as many leaves on the cock­pit ta­ble as sheet winches: two, which made set­ting col­ored sails a spe­cial thrill.

But that’s the thing about a gath­er­ing such as Block Is­land Race Week. It’s ter­rific to fin­ish in the money, but OK if you don’t. As Ted says, “Block Is­land is a very spe­cial place to sail.”

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