Charleston plays host to fast-paced sailing
With numerous battles on tap between 174 race boats across the 13 divisions that made up 2009 Charleston Race Week from April 16-19, Mother Nature ordered up a sparkling day with near-perfect sailing conditions to close out the event.
“This is probably the best place I know to race,” says local sailing coach Ryan Hamm. “We just don’t have a lot of days without good wind — not a bad reason to live here if you’re a sailor.”
The harbor courses saw 12 knots of wind at the start of the day quickly increasing to more than 15 knots, lifting the sporty Melges, Viper and SB3s out of the water at full planing speeds while providing plenty of power for the big J/24 and J/80 fleets.
College of Charleston sailor Terry Ensick had a special method for finding the most powerful wind: she wore a pair of bunny ears her crew bought for her Saturday night. “They were my secret weapon,” says Terry. “It let me feel the gusts much sooner than without them.”
Five-time Charleston Race Week competitor Brian Robinson, of Annapolis, Md., had never sailed the offshore courses until this year. He usually competes with his wife, Kristen, aboard her J/80 inside the harbor, but this year switched to perennial champion in PHRF C, the Annapolis-based Beneteau L’Outrage. Scott Nixon was winner of the Charleston Race Week Cup Perpetual Trophy aboard the Melges 24 Quantum Racing.
Charleston sailors Lacey and Don Terwilliger own one of the biggest raceboats on Charleston Harbor, the Beneteau 47.7 Dauntless. Their hard-fought battle ended with a second-place finish.
Dauntless finished just a few points off the winner of the overall PHRF award for most competitive handicap racer: Robin Team’s J/122 Teamwork, which also won the previous week’s 409-mile Fort Lauderdale-to-Charleston Race.
In that event, which finished just a week earlier, Roger Sturgeon’s STP65 Rosebud/Team DYT of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., broke the 35-year-old race record set in 1974 by Ralph Ryder’s C&C 66 Phantom. Although Rosebud/Team DYT clocked in at 1 day, 7 hours: 52 minutes: 49 seconds, on corrected time under IRC rules it finished second overall by less than 9 seconds to Teamwork.
Winner of the PHRF division title was John Evans’ Little Harbor 54 Jasmine from Fort Lauderdale, whose crew included navigator Chris Woolsey, son of Dr. Dean Woolsey, winner of the inaugural 1968 race on his Columbia 40 Circe. Jim Edwards of Satellite Beach, Fla., who raced on the Beneteau First 40.7 Santarella in the PHRF fleet, also sailed with Dr. Woolsey in 1968.
25 youth regattas on tap for 2009
Young sailors around the country will have the chance to sail in U.S. Sailing-coordinated regattas from two tremendously popular circuits. The USA Junior Olympic Sailing Festival and the U.S. Junior Championships will collectively organize a combined 30 regattas around the country from June through December.
In its 13th season, the Junior Olympic program is a nationwide series of regattas for youth, ages 8 to 21. Twenty-five regattas are slated for 2009 in the United States and more than 4,300 sailors are expected to participate. The action begins with two events in June, and culminates with the 33rd annual Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta, the largest junior sailing event in the country. The Orange Bowl is hosted by the U.S. Sailing Center and Coral Reef Yacht Club in Miami. Last year, more than 700 junior sailors from 24 countries, as well as 26 U.S. states and territories participated.
The summer schedule gets under way with the U.S. Youth Championships from June 25-30 at the Indian Harbor Yacht Club in Greenwich, Conn. The series sails into July with the U.S. Junior Women’s Doublehanded Championship from July 6-11 at the Hampton Yacht Club in Hampton, Va. The U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship follows this event from July 19-24 at the Westhampton Yacht Squadron in Remsenberg, N.Y. The C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Trust supports both events. These open events for girls, ages 13-18, feature intensive clinic instruction prior to the championship.
U.S. Sailing’s Chubb United States Junior Championships is a nationwide elimination series that concludes Aug. 13 in Marblehead, Mass. This event is run by organizers from the Pleon, Eastern, Corinthian, and Boston yacht clubs.
For more information visit www.ussailing.org.
This article originally appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Home Waters Section of the July 2009 issue.