Looking Forward to Charleston

The sailors lucky enough to be present for the 2010 Key West Race Week witnessed a pretty quiet rum tent, with numbers down for the second year in a row in the IRC and PHRF fleets. When I mentioned how shocked I was to find there was no wait for the free Heinekens, a Savasana crewmember explained, “It’s because all the racers are pros. They don’t want to drink; they want to go home and sleep.
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on
crw.2

The sailors lucky enough to be present for the 2010 Key West Race Week witnessed a pretty quiet rum tent, with numbers down for the second year in a row in the IRC and PHRF fleets. When I mentioned how shocked I was to find there was no wait for the free Heinekens, a Savasana crewmember explained, “It’s because all the racers are pros. They don’t want to drink; they want to go home and sleep. Maybe order a pizza.”

Reasons for the slump abound, but it’s understood that the current financial situation has forced many boat owners to re-examine their yearly sailing budget. The costs of campaigns are now viewed in terms of mortgages, medical bills, and for some, unemployment wages. It’s a tough time to be a boat owner.

It’s normal, then, to look at the current entry list for Charleston Race Week —set to take place April 8-11—as an indicator of things to come. In only its 15th year, Charleston has gained a reputation for being home to Melges one design racing, with a strong PHRF contingent and a formidable Viper class. You don’t need a 70ft IRC racer to have a great time in Charleston.

Better still for those north of the Mason-Dixon line, South Carolina weather in April is much the same as Key West in January—a phenomenon best illustrated by the number of Canadian and New England sailors who make the annual trek each year to thaw their hulls.

Charleston’s annual registration numbers have been increasing steady despite the economic crunch, with 137 listed entrants in 2008, 166 in 2009, and 144 already registered for 2010.

crw.1.b

Viper 640s and Melges 24s represent roughly a third of all entrants, but this year a new class looks to share the spotlight as well. Announced at the Newport Boat Show last fall, the J/80 USA Tour begins in Charleston and continues through eight other regattas throughout the year. Already 14 J/80s have signed up for Charleston, up from nine in 2009 and 11 in 2008.

And the PHRF class is holding strong a well. My own experience at Charleston involved a thorough walloping by a fleet of Tripp 26s. I’m pleased to see the majority of them headed back for more intimidation and domination.

The majority of the PHRF A fleet is also returning, with several 2010 Key West top finishers ready for the line. Boats new to the market join the lineup daily, making the prospect of being a spectator as well as a participant even more enticing. The brand new Summit 35 ActOne, for example, is entered, along with a handful of Audi Melges 20s.

For all these reasons, the numbers for the 2010 Charleston Race Week are promising to the sport. This perhaps goes to show that even in a time of economic hardship, top-level competition in an ideal setting is priceless.

Related

anchor

Know how: Ground Tackle

Your ground tackle is like a relationship—the more you care for it, the longer it will last. So, how do you enhance the relationship? First up, think of the accommodations—a damp, salt-rich, often warm environment, just the kind of thing to encourage corrosion. What can be done? ...read more

DSC_7522

Boat Review: Beneteau Oceanis 46.1

The Beneteau sailboat line has long represented a kind of continuum, both in terms of the many models the company is offering at any given moment and over time. This does not, however, in any way diminish the quality of its individual boats. Just the opposite. Case in point: the ...read more

shutterstock_1016585167

Cruising: Memories Made by People You Meet

Steve greeted my boyfriend, Phillip, and me as soon as we tied Plaintiff’s Rest, our 1985 Niagara 35, up to his dock on one of the Berry Islands in the Bahamas. He was tall, cheerful and clad in a hodge-podge of clothes one might wear to paint a house: oversized, grungy and old. ...read more

_98A7540

Cruising: Dogs Afloat

We dog owners understand the general expectations of ourselves in public places, like picking up after Fido and keeping him on a leash. There are, however, certain places where additional unspoken rules or expectations may apply—as in harbors or marinas. If you sail with your ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Log the glass  A week ago I set out after breakfast on a 50-mile passage. The day’s forecast via the internet was for 14-18 knots. It never happened, and I spent the entire trip adjusting my genoa ...read more

African-Batik-Green-hires

Gear: The Wonderbag

A Wondrous Bag Cruising sailors are always on the lookout for energy-efficient ways to prepare food, so this new take on the slow-cooker principle should prove popular. The Wonderbag is an insulated jacket that keeps food hot (or cold) for many hours and, according to the ...read more