By Kate Wilson Somers
In a summer of social distancing, getting out on the water has been a release for many sailors. Conanicut Yacht Club’s Annual Around-the-Island Race on September 6th aims to continue to be that respite. The 93rd edition, held annually on the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend, may look a little different this year but will still be a celebration of the Narragansett Bay summer sailing season winding down.
Typically attracting around one hundred boats, competitors start at 11 am in separated divisions then circumnavigate the 18-mile course around Conanicut Island. Usually, this is followed by the popular post-race party and awards ceremony at the Club, however, COVID prevention has removed that part of the day’s activities.
“We are proud and grateful for how flexible and patient the sailing community has been this summer,” says race chairman, Alan Baines. “We delayed opening registration until we knew more about how we could operate safely for everyone and of course, decided to not host a post-racing party. However, as regulations are always changing, we do ask for your continued cooperation. So please keep an eye out for any late special instructions or changes over the coming weeks.”
Despite the cancellations or modifications of other local regattas, many race boats have still been sailing as much as possible. Some events have even seen an increase in entries. Sailors adapted to the “new normal” by following the safety recommendations from the State by limiting crew or just sailing with family. Face masks or buffs have become a part of the sailors’ gear bag as much as the lifejacket, hat, and sunglasses.
Conanicut Yacht Club welcomes any monohull sailing yachts 22 to 80 feet (or sport boats less than 22′ at the discretion of the race committee ) with a 2020 PHRF-NB certificate to register at conanicutyachtclub.org. Registration is discounted until August 23rd, and the closing date for entries is September 2nd.