Annual Races and Regattas
For: All dinghy sailors of all abilities (Opti, Sunfish, Laser etc.)
First Gun: 11:30am
For: Dinghy sailors of all abilities (Opti, 420, Sunfish, Laser etc.)
Date: Thursday 9th August
First Gun: 3pm
From the 1960's through the early 1990's the BIC sailing fleet consisted primarily of club owned and private Sunfish and 420's. For decades, club Sunfish races were held on Saturday mornings and 420 races on Sunday afternoons. In the mid-1980's the sailing staff decided to hold a more formal Sunfish regatta toward the end of the summer and dubbed it the "Sunfish Challenge." After a few years, the Board of Governors, seeking a suitable way to honor the service to the club of Ruth and Carl Kaufmann, established the Kaufmann Cup Regatta, so the Sunfish Challenge evolved into the Kaufmann Cup. The Board commissioned an attractive permanent trophy in 1992. In 1993, the club acquired a fleet of JY 15's, and the race was sailed in those until the club began using its current fleet of Optis and 420's. The late Ruth Kaufmann was the wife of President Emeritus and extraordinary club volunteer, Carl Kaufmann. For many years, Ruth, a former math teacher, did all the financial work for the club as bookkeeper and treasurer. At that time, the club did not have a professional accountant or bookkeeper on retainer to prepare tax returns or payroll. Ruth did it all, putting in, at peak times, about 20 hours a week as an unpaid volunteer. Every bill for lessons or memberships came from her pen, including all those reminder letters in December to members who forget to pay. Ruth undertook all of this work with warmth, patience and a sense of humor as she dealt with everyone from college student staff with short attention spans, to board members with questions, to vendors. Additionally, she was an avid BIC tennis player and, years before, crewed Thistles that she and Carl raced competitively.
The Hal Madison Race
For: All sailors; dinghies and keelboats
Skippers' Meeting: 14:00
First Gun: 16:00
The Hal Madison Yacht Race traces its roots to a weekday morning at the Club in summer of 1983. Jamie Spallone, then head sailing instructor, and Tim Larkin, his assistant, were talking while sailing students were competing in a practice race during an intermediate sailing class. At the time the only local big boat race was an annual Mary D Cup Race in late August, a keelboat race to raise money for the Mary D Fund. Jamie and Tim felt that as the center of sailing on the island, the club should host a keelboat race. They quickly set to work, putting up hand made posters around town for the race they dubbed "The Block Island Club Cup," sending a press release to the Block Island Times and even going boat to boat with the club Whaler, handing out flyers about the race to visiting sailors. Remarkably, a number of families interrupted their vacations to race. Jamie and Tim borrowed a taffrail log from a local sailor to measure the course in those pre-GPS days, and Tim's dad's Mako Dangerous Dan, for a committee boat. They scrounged up some signal flags and studied the rules governing big boat starts and protest hearings. In addition to keelboats, dinghies and sail boards turned up, as the poster said "any boat may enter." A good party at the club followed, and a tradition was born. In 1984, the Board of Governors, under the leadership of then president Dan Larkin, commissioned an impressive, silver permanent trophy (that Dan ordered and picked up in New York) to be awarded the boat with the best overall corrected time in the race.
The trophy was named in honor of Harold ("Hal") and Virginia Madison, founding members of the club and early supporters of the junior sailing program. Hal Madison was an early board member consummate club volunteer, always fixing or building something to improve operations. An early photograph of Hal Madison can be found on the second floor of the club building. Over the years, members of the Gaffett family, the Madisons' children and grandchildren, have presented the trophy at the post-race ceremony. Another Hal Madison tradition is the club sailing instructors serving as the race committee in most years. This gives young people the opportunity to take on a task often reserved for their elders with decades of racing and race administration experience and reflects the origins of the race.
Thursday Night Racing (6-8pm)
For: All sailors
First Gun: 6pm