Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Charleston Race Week 2011

The APS team made it safely home to Annapolis early Monday morning. We had a full weekend with some unexpected events. The following is a regatta report and photos from the team...

Charleston was a busy place this weekend, with 270 boats and the 150th anniversary of the Civil War all happening this past weekend. The venue was quite impressive. Sitting in the shadows of the USS Yorktown, complete with a nice hotel, large marina and sandy beaches the Charleston Harbor and Marina sits on the riverside of Mt. Pleasant, just over the bridge from downtown. With live bands and tiki bars greeting you as you came in, there’s not much more you could ask for after a long day of sailing.

Aaron, Customer Service:

My first visit to Charleston for this year’s race week was one that will keep me coming back. The harbor was lovely and full of pelicans, fish and even some dolphins. Race Committee was efficient, well run and showed a good helping of the not so common-common sense. Racing had everything that people could ask for.

The competition was intense but instantly relaxed on shore as the South Carolina easygoing nature was contagious among all of the competitors, (possibly aided by the freely flowing rum swizzles). The food at the party was all good with the exception of the evil Mahi at Friday's dinner.

My favorite part of the regatta however may have been the weather induced lay day. Often times with regattas we go all of these great places but never get to really see the towns that we are sailing in. The lay day allowed the competitors to do things like see the city of Charleston and tour the famous WWII carrier Yorktown.

We took advantage of the day to visit the Saturday farmers market at King and Calhoun streets and enjoyed some local flavor including shrimp and grits, local unpasteurized whole milk, fresh veggies and local favorite pickled okra. We also took in some rays on the nearby postcard beaches on Isle of Palms.

To steal a yogi’ism I would say, “we went on a vacation and a regatta broke out”. Thanks for all to made the regatta possible, including the people that spent months planning, the volunteers on race committee, the folks at the marina, Goslings rum, and a personal shout out to my skipper Ken Mangano and the great folks on Galilée.

See y’all next year!
-Aaron

Bryn, Marketing:

Photo by Shannon Hibberd
The wind gods were a little too generous at this years Race Week. Saturday's races were called off due to a large storm system that swept across the entire East coast scattering grapefruit sized hail and tornadoes about. Luckily for Charleston, we only received the 30+ knots of breeze and no rain or apparent tornadoes.

It would have been an awesome day for sailing but many were convinced rigs would fall and boats would inevitably break down. Less carnage is a good thing.
Being stuck in Charleston was no problem for a lot of the sailors. Most of the crew aimlessly wandered downtown and found ourselves at a roof top bar watching the wind rip through the streams.


Friday proved to be the best day for racing. The inshore courses had plenty of strong breeze that picked up as the day went on. The current ripped boats down the river. Getting off the docks in the morning was more challenging than expected. The J/80s shared a course with Vipers and Ultimate 20’s. We had several wipe outs on our course, but it felt good to be waterborn downwind. Glad I packed my new Musto spray top.


Sunday was a floater thanks to the stormy conditions on Saturday that cleared out any hope of breeze. Only 7 of the 25 boats finished in my fleet. The current to wind ratio was so awful that some boats were being pushed away from the finish line and others had to tack 20+ times to get around the windward mark!

Katie, Marketing:


We were welcomed Thursday morning at the marina with cannons going off, commemorating the Civil War, which made for quite the entrance. The marina was gorgeous, with the Yorktown tied up and the bridge to downtown in the background. I was sailing in the offshore course, which involved hour plus motor in and out through a tight channel. We left the dock at 8 each morning, which in comparison to the inshore dock times of 9:30, was quite early. I won’t complain though, the long treks out to the ocean were certainly better than my view at my desk!

Friday was gorgeous, with temperatures in the 70s and winds 15 – 20, making it a perfect day for sailing. After three races in pretty consistent breeze, we headed back in. It was quite impressive coming back into the harbor; dodging tankers and watching the inshore classes finish their races. The marina was already bustling, with all 270 boats docking in the same place.

Onshore, familiar and unfamiliar faces filled the crowds. It was a lot of fun seeing friends from college and beyond, as well as many from Annapolis, with around 20 boats from local clubs in attendance. We even had a flyover too, check out the picture to the right...

By Friday night, the winds were already up, as were rumors of some bad weather rolling in. By early on Saturday morning winds were already in the 25 – 30 range, so races were cancelled. We got to enjoy a day off, with the thunderstorms missing Charleston, it was a nice day. Sunday handed us light, shifty breeze. We were able to complete 2 races, in steadily increasing winds. It was a great weekend of sailing and a nice way to start off the spring sailing season.

A great regatta in all aspects, the APS crew headed back north Sunday night. Thanks for all volunteers and race committee for a well run regatta. We'll be sure to mark our calendars for CRW 2012!

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