The 96th Annual Around The Island Race
Sunday | September 3, 2023
Around the Island Race (ATI) is the flagship sailing event the Conanicut Yacht Club and the crown jewel of Narragansett Bay yacht racing. Held annually since 1927, the ATI sails the classic 20 mile course around the scenic Conanicut Island typically drawing close to 100 boats in both racing and cruising classes.
Verissimo at Beavertail - Photo Credit: Steve Cloutier
CYC Around the Island Race 2023 Recap
Strong Ebb and Sunny Skies Send 83 Boats around Jamestown for the 96th time
“We dedicated this one to Jimmy Buffett,” says Chris Cannon, owner of Verissimo, the Alden 65 that won the 96th Annual Conanicut Yacht Club Around the Island Race as news had just broken of the singer-songwriter’s passing the day before.
“At the helm, we rotated among a 73, 80, and 76- year-old and we joked the experience of doing this course quite a few times helped, but we knew we had to stay focused the whole time too because it’s strong competition out there. In 2021, we lost by 44 seconds and that just motivated us to be prepared and think through all our maneuvers,” reports Cannon on what he attributes the win to.
This was not Cannon’s first time on top of the CYC ATI, they won in 2017 on the heels of a line honors Bermuda Race win in the cruising class in 2016. Earlier this year, Cannon won the Camden Classics Cup as well.
A strong ebb tide delayed the start so the Race Committee could set a line for the 83 boats. By the time the first classes were off, the wind had filled nicely and the breeze continued to build to 10-15 knots from the south-southwest making the course an 18-mile windward-leeward.
With an ebbing tide, there were quite a few boats over early forcing them to sail back around the starting line. On the downwind in the West Passage, sailors were challenged to choose which shores to hit, Saunderstown or Jamestown, as they sailed south to round Beavertail and then up the West Passage to the North End. Then once again, sailors had a choice of which side of Gould Island to pass before sailing under the Newport Pell Bridge to the finish.
“We had great conditions once again,” said Race Chair Peter Schott. “Thrilled we had 83 boats on the starting line including one Multihull [Larry Phillips’ Midtown Racing M32] who finished in an hour and a half! We hope next year more multihulls join us Labor Day Weekend.”
Oakcliff Sailing’s JV 66 Temptation was the first monohull to cross the finish line in 2 hours and 06 minutes and 36 seconds followed nine minutes later by last year’s line honors boat, Boudicca, owned by Jamestown local Rich Moody. Those boats corrected out to 5th and 7th respectively.
Rounding out the podium was Manic, Alex Wadson’s Shaw 6.5 in second, and another Jamestown local, Mike Hirshland, with his Swan 44, Meraki, up from 16th last year.
The Around the Island Race is not about just the victories, it is a celebration of summer and getting the most out of these last warm days.
The day ended with a beautiful night at Conanicut Yacht Club for awards where sailors regaled the stories from the race course and awards were presented.
Schott says “We are hoping in future years, we can attract competitors from outside Narragansett Bay. This race is always the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend, so we want to encourage our friends from Buzzards Bay or Long Island Sound to come and make a weekend of it.”
For the full race results visit:
Competitors can find photos and purchase from Cate Brown here:
More photos from Cate and drone photographer Steve Cloutier: