Privateer Wins 95th Annual Conanicut Yacht Club Around the Island Race


“It looks like a perfect day,” Moose McClintock said during his weather briefing to skippers ahead of the Conanicut Yacht Club’s 95th Annual Race Around the Island. “At this time of year, as the water warms, there is less of a tendency for strong heat flow, but with highs near 80 there will be a strengthening of a south westerly flow. from an incoming but weak cold front.”

McClintock’s predictions were accurate. By the time the first classes of 80 boats left CYC at 11 a.m., the wind had picked up nicely and the clouds parted to welcome sunny skies. The breeze continued to build at 10-15 knots from the south-southwest, making the course an 18-mile windward-leeward course.

With a rising tide in Narragansett Bay throughout the race, sailors were challenged to choose which shores to hit, Newport or Jamestown, as they sailed south to round Beavertail and then up the western passage to at the North End. Then, again, sailors had a choice of which side of Gould Island to pass before sailing under Newport Pell Bridge to the finish.

“We couldn’t have asked for better conditions,” said race chairman Peter Schott. “It was definitely the best we can remember in recent memory.” Schott was new to the job this year and has assembled a group of volunteers to carry on the 95 year old tradition with a few changes such as the introduction of YachtScoring as a recording and scoring system.

Rich Moody’s R/P 66 Aurora was the first to cross the finish line in 2 hours and 14 minutes and ten seconds, followed by Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50, Privateer four minutes later. The O’Hanley crew corrected first to win the top prize, the Commodore Quinn Trophy, with a corrected time of 3 hours and nine minutes and thirty-eight seconds.

It was Privateer’s first race of the year due to a lightning strike four days before the Newport Bermuda Race in June which damaged the boat extensively. According to navigator Ed Cesare, “Our goal was just to get out there to take it casually to feel comfortable on the boat again after the repairs and the crew accomplished that – which was a win in itself. afterwards with the trophy makes the day even more rewarding.High praise for boat captain Scotty Innis-Jones for getting the boat back in shape for the fight.

The race around the island isn’t just about winning, it’s a celebration of summer and making the most of these last hot days.

A new team this year was Joe Lark’s Olson 30 Sail for ALS. Lark, the 22-year-old owner, started the team after losing his mother to ALS in March 2021 just before graduating from Salve Regina with a friend also affected by the disease.

“We decided we wanted to start the team to raise awareness of the disease and also run a fundraising campaign directly tied to the ALS Association,” Lark said. “We are still getting to know the boat and hope to do more with the team in the years to come.” (Read more about his cause at

The day ended with a great evening at the Conanicut Yacht Club for the awards where sailors were regaled with stories from the race and awards were handed out.

Schott says, “We hope that in the years to come we can attract competitors from outside Narragansett Bay. This race is always on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, so we want to encourage our friends from Buzzards Bay or Long Island Sound to come and make it a weekend.

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