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Best Around the Buoys at Charleston Race Week 2013

Get the latest updates, photos and video from 2013 Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week. Executive Editor, Adam Cort, was on scene following the progress of SAIL's Best Around the Buoys team InfraRed and shares exclusive footage of the regatta.
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April 21, 2013

Bryan Hutley & Team InfraRed's Last Day of Racing

April 21, 2013

Cancelled: It’s a Wrap on another Great Regatta

We knew the wind was going to come on strong, the only question was when. As late as 0900 it looked like things would hold off long enough to get in a race or two. But when things lit up, they lit up fast.

By the time the offshore boats reached the jetties at the mouth of Charleston Harbor on their way to the race course, they found northerly winds already in the upper 20s and whipping up 6 to 8-foot seas. The Tutto Bene crew saw a gust that topped 40.

Soon afterward, the big winds hit the inshore courses as well, so that by 1100 the entire area was being raked by sustained winds of 30-plus knots out of the east-northeast, with gusts in the high 30s. It was a little surreal seeing the hundreds of boats making their way back in under sunny skies. But if a number of near misses around the marina entrance and the sound of slatting sailcloth were any indication, the race committee made the right call.

The one group that did head out to do some racing was the pursuit division, which included the Class 40s GryphonSolo2, Icarus and Dragon. However, even these oceangoing thoroughbreds were apparently having a tough time of it, with Icarus reportedly withdrawing following a gear breakage and GryphonSolo 2 leading Dragon while sailing triple reefed, until Dragon retired as well.

A little too much of what everybody wanted. But that’s sailing…

In the end, Tutto Bene and the BAB crew finished seventh out of the nine boats that raced in what proved to be a highly competitive PHRF B section. But while their place in the standings is not what they’d hope for, the crew seemed to still be having a heck of a good time. In fact, look for them to be back in future years.

Winning the PHRF B section was Gerry Taylor’s Cape Fear 38 Tangent, which swept the table, taking all first. Robert Hibdon’s SR33 Temptress took second and Bob Hillier’s C&C115 Line Honors Racing took third.

For complete results, click here.

April 21, 2013

Day 3 Preview Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week

An absolutely gorgeous morning here in Charleston! Sunny and cool with winds around 10-12 knots. But look out: the forecast is calling for it to build out of the northeast into the teens, low 20s and then higher, with gust into the high 30s.

We’ll see how many races we can get in and how the boats fare as the breeze builds. One thing’s for sure: after a couple of days of overcast, the marine paparazzi is chomping at the bit and ready for some action!

For current standing going into the last day of the regatta, click here.

April 20, 2013

Day 2 at Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week

The pecking order in PHRF B seems to be pretty well established, and Gerry Taylor’s Cape Fear 38 Tangent is very much at the top of it, with five 1st-place finishes in six races.

Battling it out for second are Robert Hibdon’s SR33 Temptress and Bob Hillier’s C&C 115 Line Honors Racing, which are separated by just one point after six races.

Meanwhile Bryan Huntley and the BAB crew aboard the Beneteau First 35 Tutto Bene remain in seventh place with two 6th-place finishes and a 4th on the day. “We’re not doing as well as we’d like to do, but we’re having fun,” Huntley says.

All the sections on offshore Circle 4 have been tight, navigating the course in well-defined clumps with plenty of action at the marks. The exception has been the HPR class, which was reduced to just two boats following a collision between Stephen Murray’s Carkeek 40 Decision and Pat Eudy’s Lutra 42 Big Booty in the first race of the day.

For complete results from Day 2, click here.

April 20, 2013

Tough First Day for Tutto Bene

A tough first day for the BAB crew aboard Tutto Bene, and challenging conditions for both the inshore and offshore fleets, as the southerly breeze came on strong in the morning, moderated a bit around noon, and then picked up again for the last couple of races.

Tutto Bene’s rough started included a 7th and a 6th in PHRF B followed by a DSQ when they tangled with another competitor during a mark rounding. Hopefully today will fare better as they get used to the new boat and a new sailing venue.

If nothing else the sailing conditions should be a little less challenging today, allowing them to think their way through the moves a little. Last night’s cold front—and the dramatic storms it brought with it—ushered in chill temps and much less wind—a northerly of around 7 knots, forecast to build a little and going into the northeast this afternoon as the overcast clears.

A welcome respite: and they’re going to need it, with honkin’ conditions forecast for tomorrow!

Elsewhere, the heavy air made for exciting sailing that resulted in numerous breakdowns—including a pair of dismastings in the Melges fleets—Vipers turning turtle the puffs and a handful of collisions. A Viper 640 sailor was reportedly taken to the hospital after being struck by the tiller when his and another boat made contact.

Among the standout performances were those of Scott Irwin’s Team Iball, which took all firsts in the Tartan 10 fleet, and Gerry Taylor’s Cape Fear 38 Tangent, which did the same in Tutto Bene’s PHRF B section, John Hele’s Daring which did the same in the Swan 42 section and BJ Jones’ Rumbullion, which did the same among the Ultimate 20s.

Perennial Charleston favorite Bora Gulari is once again at the top of the Melges 24 fleet, with a first and three seconds, just three points ahead of Alec Cutler aboard Hedgehog, while the Viper 640 fleet remains as competitive as ever with the five boat on top separated by a mere 7 points.

Tim Healey aboard Helly Hansen is currently at the top of the 55-boat J/70 fleet, with just 5 points separating him from Joel Ronning’s 2nd place Catapult.

April 19, 2013

A Good Day of Racing

Among the standouts at this year's Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week are the J/70s and Swan 42s.

April 19, 2013

Fun Times on Day 1 Of Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week 2013

The wind gave the fleet a bit of a break, settling down during the first couple of races, but then promptly began building again as the sun came out in the early afternoon. Some breakages out there, to be sure, but a lot of fun as well.

April 19, 2013

Plenty of Breeze for Day 1

Big wind today at Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race week. Winds are already blowing a good 20-plus out of the south, and it’s expected to build as the day wears on, with gust in the mid-30s. Oh, and a chance of thunderstorms. No opening-day drifter this year!

Below, Tutto Bene heads out to the start line.

April 18, 2013

Ready for Racing

InfraRed skipper Bryan Huntley discusses the trip down from Sandusky, Ohio, and getting the Beneteau First 35 Tutto Bene ready for racing. 

The fleet has arrived in force for registration day at Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week. By noon the harbor was littered with boats out tuning up for the three days of racing, including the Lake Erie-based crew of our 2013 BAB boat Tutto Bene.

Conditions today were absolutely perfect, with plenty of sun and wind. However, the next few days may be a bit more of a challenge as a cold front passes through the Charleston area Friday night.

Currently the forecast is calling for south winds of 11-16 knots Friday increasing to the 20s with gusts into the low 30s by afternoon. There is also a chance of showers and thunderstorms later in the day.

Saturday could be a wet one with showers likely, thunderstorms possible and winds out of the northeast at 10-15 knots. Sunday will be clear, cooler and breezy—which will certainly make the photographers out there happy.

April 18, 2013

What to Expect & Meet Team InfraRed

Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week director Randy Draftz on the upcoming regatta:

After making the long trip down from Northern Ohio, this year's BAB crew set straight to work, getting Tutto Bene in shape in preparation for the first practice sail. They couldn't have asked for a better day--sunny skies, temps in the upper 70s and SE winds gusting into the 20s.

April 16, 2013

Sperry Top-Sider CRW is Almost Here

The runaway phenomenon that is Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week continues to set records as organizers prepare to welcome some 2,000 sailors aboard nearly 300 boats for three days of racing.

As in years past, CRW 2013 will host a wide variety of classes, ranging from the regatta’s trademark sportboats racing on a trio of inshore courses in Charleston Harbor to Swan 42s, HPR speedsters and other keelboats racing on a pair of offshore circles.

Of course, among the latter will be this year’s Best Around the Buoys winners, Lake Erie-based Team InfraRed, aboard the brand new Beneteau First 35Tutto Bene racing in PHRF B.

As in 2013, this year’s CRW will also include a pursuit-start division, which will jump off from directly in front of race headquarters at the Charleston Harbor Marina and include everything from jib-and-main cruisers to a trio of Class 40 thoroughbreds.

Among the inshore sport boats will be the usual contingents of Viper 640s, Ultimate 20 and Melges 20s and 24s. The juggernaut that is the new J/70 class will also be making its presence known, with no less than 53 of the boats taking part. There will also be a very healthy 26-boat J/24 section at this year’s race week. For a complete scratch sheet, click here.

"This year, Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week has grown by over 15 percent," said Randy Draftz, Director of the regatta. "Growth has been a constant for us throughout the past six years. It's no surprise that the majority of participants – roughly 85 percent – now come from places other than South Carolina. And, with over 300 boats, the event has become the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere."

Although the weather has been somewhat problematic the past couple of years, with either too much or too little wind often plaguing the fleet, the long-term forecast for this year looks promising.

Even if the weather doesn’t cooperate, the regatta already looks to be another one to remember, thanks to the usual combination of great venue, great parties (thanks in large part to long-time corporate sponsor Gosling’s Rum!), great race committees and great sailors.

As Viper 640 sailor Justin Scott puts it: "Each year I say in the fall that maybe I should take a break from CRW this year, attend to a few business demands, maybe take the family spring skiing…and each January I go, ‘Nah.’ The hospitality, the place, the ridiculously fun and complex sailing conditions, the people, the Wreck (local seafood joint) and the beach keep on drawing me back!"

Let the racing begin! 

April 12, 2013

Team InfraRed wins Best Around the Buoys, Heads to Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week

SAIL Magazine has announced that Bryan Huntley of Sandusky, Ohio, and the crew of the Kelly 28 InfraRed have won SAIL’s 2013 Best Around the Buoys (BAB) contest. They will race aboard Tutto Bene, a brand-new Beneteau First 35, at Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week from April 18-21, 2013. 

Now entering its third year, SAIL's Best Around the Buoys program is a grass roots initiative that rewards sailors for their team’s performance locally and provides them an opportunity to take their racing to the national level. This will be the second time SAIL has entered a BAB team in Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week. In 2012, the BAB-winning crew of the Florida-based Tripp 38 Warrior took first place at Charleston in the PHRF G class aboard the Beneteau Oceanis 37 BeneRound.

Huntley and his team have been racing for decades on Western Lake Erie in a variety of different boats and classes. The team’s BAB win was based on its strong performance in a number of 2012 events, including the Sandusky Islands Race, ILYA Bay Week, and the Port Clinton Yacht Club’s Green Island Race and Snow Flurries Regatta.

“It is an honor to be chosen from among the field of strong competitors that entered,” Huntley says. “We are looking forward to racing the regatta, and count on us giving our very best effort as a team on the race course.”

“Bryan Huntley and his team represent exactly what we are looking for in a BAB crew—excellent PHRF racing results combined with a strong commitment to their local racing scene and the sport," says Adam Cort, SAIL's Executive Editor. "Now they can test their skills at Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week."

Huntley's winning BAB team of six (one skipper/five crew) will receive free entry to Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week 2013, housing, dockage and the use of a Beneteau First 35 equipped with hardware from B&G, a new set of North Sails, bottom paint supplied by Pettit Paint, sailing gear from Ronstan, and rulebooks from U.S. Sailing.

Photos courtesy of Bryan Huntley



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