A big fleet and plenty of wind make for top-flight sailing
Even the best regattas occasionally get skunked for wind, but not this year in Charleston for the city’s annual race week. For 2017, the spring classic not only boasted a 200-plus fleet, but steady breezes that made for some spectacular sailing, especially for the larger boats competing on the regatta’s offshore circles.
As always, the one-design contingent was an especially strong one, with a fleet of 19 J/24s taking part as well as 13 VX Ones, a score of Melges 24s and a whopping 72 J/70s. In fact, the turnout of smaller keelboats has now become so strong that organizers elected to add a fourth racing circle to already crowded Charleston Harbor.
Equally important, the regatta also included a two-dozen-strong contingent of racer-cruisers mixing things up in a pair of pursuit-race sections, one with spinnakers and one without. Winner of the former section was the Beneteau M510 Celadon, owned by Steve Lesniak, followed by Denny Manrique’s Wauquiez Centurion 40 Island Flyer in second and John Streicker’s NY40 Defiant in third.
Winning the non-spinnaker section was former Beneteau USA president Wayne Burdick’s Beneteau 411 Marion Maid, followed by Timothy Vienneau’s Beneteau 456 Peregrine and Scott Strother’s Sabre 30 Destiny. Bottom line: even for those who are new to racing, there’s no better place to shake off the winter cobwebs than the Palmetto State.
For more on the regatta, including complete results, visit charlestonraceweek.com.
Photo courtesy CRW/Tim Wilkes