A bucket list regatta
By Bill Wagner
Block Island Race Week has long been on the bucket list for Bill Zartler. The Houston, Texas resident registered for the biennial regatta in 2013, but could not get away from work and had to pull out.
This year, Zartler was not going to be denied and cleared the decks in order to compete at Block Island Race Week XXVIII, presented by Margaritaville.
“It’s a week-plus commitment, but I made time to do it,” Zartler said. “If you’re a serious sailor, this is just one of those regattas you have to experience.”
Schedule-wise, including Block Island Race Week in the season schedule worked well because Zartler was bringing the J/105 to the East Coast anyway for the multiple events. Deja Voodoo began by racing the Annapolis stop of the National Offshore One-Design (NOOD) series and later this summer will head to Marblehead, Massachusetts for another NOOD followed by the J/105 North Americans.
Zartler made it clear that Block Island Race Week is the highlight of this season.
“We’ve heard so much about how great this regatta is and I have to say it has lived up to the advanced billing,” Zartler said. “Block Island is kind of the summertime version of what Key West used to be.”
One thing Zartler and team learned quickly is the weather conditions off Block Island are much more unpredictable than Key West.
“We saw all three seasons yesterday,” he joked. “You definitely get a little bit of everything out here on this island.”
Deja Voodoo is one of many first-time entrants at Block Island Race Week 2019, presented by Margaritaville. According to records compiled by host Storm Trysail Club, almost 50 percent of the 122 boats competing here this week are newcomers.
“We’re very pleased about this development. I think it points to a bright future for Block Island Race Week,” regatta chairman Ed Cesare said.