The Northern Ocean Racing Trophy (NORT) is awarded to the top boat that has competed in the 630-mile Newport-to-Bermuda Race, the 240-mile Vineyard Race and at least one of the other “optional” races such as the 150-mile Ida Lewis Distance Race or the 180-mile Storm Trysail Club’s Around Block Island Race. Additionally, the NORT rules specify that to qualify, a boat must have finished in the top three in its class in at least one of the qualifying races. Twelve yachts qualified this year, and long-time UK Sailmakers customer and Storm Trysail Club’s Rear Commodore Andrew Weiss brought home the trophy with his Italia 11.98 CHRISTOPHER DRAGON.

Team Christopher Dragon in their distinctive pink shirts with the Northern Ocean Racing Trophy. Left to right: Morgan Bennett, Ryan Zupon, Mike McGagh, Andrew Weiss, Larry Fox, Colin Fitzpatrick and Jonathan Asch.

This is the 12th boat the Weiss family has named CHRISTOPHER DRAGON, which is an Italia 11.98 that the team first sailed in January 2022.

The team had two standout finishes in this year’s NORT competition. In May’s Block Island Race, CHRISTOPHER DRAGON finished first in class, first overall in ORC, and they were presented the trophy for best overall performance. In the Bermuda Race, they won their class and finished fourth overall in the 105-boat St. David’s Lighthouse Division.

One of the “weapons” UK Sailmakers made for the boat is a small reaching spinnaker, “The A3 that UK Sailmakers’ lead designer Pat Considine created for the us does everything! It can sail down to 155° TWA in 22-26 knots, and it can reach well, too.” In the 180-mile Block Island Race, Weiss found the A3 could close reach well with a reef in the main. “I’m really glad Butch Ulmer talked me into making the sail completely out of .9 oz spinnaker cloth instead of having half the sail made out of a lighter material. We knocked down a handful of times and I was never concerned with damaging the sail. “

About the Italia, Weiss said, “This boat is fun to sail. We have not found a weakness of it yet.” He has used it for day races, coastal races, and the Bermuda Race and had done well in all courses and wind conditions.

Weiss sails his boat with an all-Corinthian crew except for the times when he brings someone from UK Sailmakers to join the team. That’s because Weiss prefers to sail with long-time friends, including Larry Fox who has been sailing with Andrew since 1973.

Photos used with permission: © 2022, courtesy of Rick Bannerot & Stamford Y.C.,

Cover photo: Maureen Koeppel photo.

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