Written by Andrea Watson Friday, 09 April 2010 00:00
Even though the last few days have been shorts and T-shirts kind of days, our bay is not ready to race the big boats and host a regatta – not yet anyway. That will happen later with the YRA of LIS Annual Frostbite Regatta. But for now, if someone wants to race in ultra-reliable breezes, flat water, warm weather and great hospitality, then Charleston, SC is the place to be this week. For this week is the 15th edition of Charleston Race Week, known for its great spring wind and high quality of the offshore handicap fleets and general race management.
The dates scheduled for this year’s event, April 8-11, are carefully chosen. The South Carolina Maritime Foundation and Charleston Ocean Racing Association select the dates for Charleston Race Week to maximize the benefit of Charleston Harbor’s famous tidal current. Properly timed dates provide offshore competitors with a 3-4 knot tidal “moving sidewalk” to and from the two ocean courses, making their morning and afternoon “commute” an easy ride past historic Fort Sumter.
Sue Miller, Manhasset Bay YC Commodore, will be one of those enjoying Charleston’s morning and afternoon “commute” as she is the PRO (Principle Race Officer) for Circle 2 for the Melges 24s, J80s and J24s at Charleston Race Week. While we may exhibit some envy as we commute to our daily on-land jobs, Sue will be working hard with her team to provide the best race management. Because of Sue and the other PROs in this regatta, the event has attracted many more boats over the last few years. In these economic times that says a lot. And much of this growth had been attributed to great race management.
This year the race will have over 50 of the 20 ft. sport boats, the hottest sector in the country, including the Viper 640, Melges 20, and Laser SB3 among others. These new performance-based boats are attracting all sorts of attention, and for anyone with an interest in growing the sport of sailing, they only have to look at these hot new boats to see where the action is. Nicknamed the “Roaring Twenties,” these boats (and their skippers) are making their mark all over the U.S.
Stacey Loula, a Viper skipper speaking about her experience in last year’s Charleston Race Week, thought it was amazing that so many boats could race inside the harbor without incident. “With a smart starting sequence and great work in getting races off, the racing was simply spectacular,” Loula said. “And having similar types of boats around you at all times - even from other classes - added more excitement to the racing than I’ve experienced at other regattas.”
As of press deadline, Charleston Race Week has 191 entrants, many of which are of the sport boat variety. “We’re immensely proud that the sport boats have embraced Charleston and made the commitment to show up with such large fleets,” said race management. Of the 174 boats racing during 2009 CRW, nearly a hundred were the ultra-light, ultra-fast, easily handled sport boats that make up the only growing sector of sailboat racing. “It’s the ideal place to race in April,” said Northern California-based Melges 24 skipper Kristen Lane. “San Francisco-like racing, but in T-shirts and maybe a spray top - Charleston is just awesome!”
The scratch sheet for Charleston Race Week indicates this is not just a southern event. Racers from all over the U.S. travel south to enjoy the great race conditions. Some of the racers from our area include: Bob Young, Locust Valley, John Storck, Jr, Huntington, James Reichel, Amityville, Damien Emery, Shoreham, Peter Rugg, NY, NY, Michael Zupon, Larchmont, Kerry Klinger, Larchmont, Jonathan Nye, Old Greenwich, CT, and Al Minella, Greenwich, CT.
Profits from Charleston Race Week support educational programs aboard the Spirit of South Carolina, a classic tall ship serving South Carolina’s youth. See www.charlestonraceweek.com for more information.
Some frostbite scores from March are due to readers. Starting with Sunday, March 7: Interclub winners: 1. Pedro Lorson/Johanna Silbersack, 2. Ted Toombs/Amelia Amon, 3. Dana Schnipper, crew name not available. Winners in the Ideal 18 fleet: 1. Bob Kirtland/Alan Thompson, 2. Louis Nees/B. Clark, 3. Mike Silverman, Ryan Christie, Co-skippers, 4. Bob Schwartz/Tom Powers. Results for Sunday, March 21: Interclubs; 1. Ted Toombs/Amelia Amon, 2. John Silbersack/Catryn Silbersack. Ideal 18 winners: 1. Bob Kirtland/Alan Thompson, 2. Bob Schwartz/Tom Powers, 3. Vince Syracuse/Steve Moore, and 4. Mike Silverman and Ryan Christie, Co-skippers. Scores for the last Sunday in March: Interclubs: 1. Ted Toombs/Amelia Amon, Dana Schnipper/B. Rogers. Ideal 18s: 1. Bob Kirtland/Alan Thompson, 2. Mike Silverman and Ryan Christie, Co-skippers, and Vince Syracuse/Steve Moore.