Block Island Report: Emery in Command

Block Island Report: Emery in Command

Damian Emery has Eclipse back (following some Hurricane Sandy damage), and he and his team appear to be sailing it faster than ever. Eclipse captured the first three races of the 25th Block Island Race Week and stands in first with just three points and a six-point lead over second-place James MacDonald on Distant Passion. Emery narrowly won the first race, holding a slim lead over Bruce Stone on loulou throughout the entire contest. In the second race on Monday, Eclipse took off to the right side of the course for a second time and built a huge lead. He went right again in the third contest on Tuesday and held his lead over all challengers in a quasi-bizarre around the island race. The distance race was weird for two reasons. The first was an unusual convergence zone on the back side of the island that seemed to randomly deal out wind cards. This happened at the same time that the J/105s were surrounded by other fleets of varying sizes and speeds. The second was that the race committee finished the J/105s and other fleets early, before the full island circumnavigation was completed. The RC did so despite a building wind (around 18 knots at the finish), despite that it was still early on a beautiful sunny day, despite that the next leg was a beat, and despite that all boats had to finish sailing all of the way around the island to get back to New Harbor anyway. MacDonald sailed a smart race in the face of these factors to finish second behind Emery and move into second place in the standings one point ahead of Stone. Loulou's race was indicative of the conditions that faced competitors. Over early at the start, loulou gradually clawed back into contention, only to sail into a low pressure zone near the end of the first beat. Loulou rounded the weather mark in ninth, then caught a gust of wind that carried it past three boats in the convergence zone, bringing it into sixth at the finish and third place in the overall standings with 10 points. The 14 J/105s participating at this year's Block Island Race Week still have three more days of racing and a promise of further interesting competitive episodes.    Full standings

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