Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Charleston Race Week Report

J/70 sailing Charleston (Charleston, SC)– From the newly, massively, dynamic J/70 fleet to the revved-up PHRF classes, there was a tremendous amount of racing activity across Charleston area waters for Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week on April 11-13; the 19th edition hosted racing for 16 separate classes.

The growth of the event drew competitors from 27 states and five continents, from as far away as New Zealand, Scandinavia, Brazil, Guatemala, Australia and Peru. Many of these foreign sailors are among the sport’s top names, including Vasco Vascotto from Italy (in the J/70 Class), 2013 College Sailor of the Year Juan Maegli of Guatemala (in the J/24 Class), Jordan Reese from Australia (in the J/70 Class), and Peruvian Olympic Laser hopeful Stefano Peschiera (in the J/24 Class).

J/22s sailing CharlestonThis pantheon of stars notwithstanding, the majority of the competitors racing in Charleston are folks whose faces wouldn’t catch notice on the pages of a sailing magazine, yet they’re definitely capable of scorching up the race course. A case in point is the J/80 crew on board DO IT FOR DENMARK- Will & Marie Crump of Annapolis, who sailed masterfully with Thomas Klok and Alan Terhune. In fact their performance was so flawless that they won the regatta handily with all bullets. Taking second was past J/80 North American Champion John Storck on RUMOR with 30 pts.  Third was determined by a tie-breaker, with Ken Mangano on MANGO taking third overall and Alex Kraus on COOL J getting the short end of the stick to take fourth.  Fifth was Chris Johnson on DRAGONFLY.

In the regatta’s largest class, the 80-boat J/70 fleet, Jim Barnash on SUPERFECTA took top honors in the J/70 Class by four points over Rob Britt’s crew on HOT MESS from St. Petersburg, FL. For Britts, who has only been sailing the boat for three months and sails with an all Corinthian team of friends, it was a very sweet moment after taking a 1-2-1 in the last three races.  Third was Will Welles from Newport, RI on SCAMP, fourth was Joel Ronning on CATAPULT and fifth was Tim Healy on HELLY HANSEN.

J/24 sailing CharlestonThe J/22s and J/24s also sailed on the same circle as the J/80s.  In the end, it was Aden King’s BATTUB taking the J/22 class honors followed by Arthur Libby’s TORQEEDO and Chris Sands’s QUICK BEAT in 2nd and 3rd, respectively.  For the J/24s, it was a nail-biter going into the last set of races.  The win was determined by a tie-breaker at 24 pts a piece, with Mike Ingham from Rochester, NY taking it Skip Dieball’s RUDIE/ GILL RACE TEAM. Third was Ron Medlin’s BASH.

Elsewhere across fleet, the competition for first in class was much tighter even though the offshore competitors weren’t able to race on Sunday due to a lack of wind. In PHRF A class, the J/111s and J/122 were having an extraordinary battle for the top three.  The fight was fought all the way until the final leg of the last race on Saturday.  Rob & Ryan Ruhlman’s J/111 SPACEMAN SPIFF again reigned supreme (like they did at Key West Race Week), as not only the top J/Team but also taking 2nd overall in class.  Third was Robin Team’s famous J/122 TEAMWORK from North Carolina.  Fourth and fifth were J/111 class newcomers Rob Stein on KINETIC and John Yonover’s EVONNE.COM/3.

J/122 sailing CharlestonIn PHRF B class, the two J/120s cracked the top five with Rick Moore’s MOOSE DOWN grabbing 4th and John Keenan’s ILLYRIA taking 5th.

PHRF C was dominated by J crews.  Dave Pritchard’s J/92 AMIGOS/ GILL RACE TEAM took first with another almost perfect record of 1sts, followed by Steve Thurston’s J/29 MIGHTY PUFFIN in second and Miles Martschink’s J/29 MONGO in fourth.  Fifth was a great performance by Robert Key’s J/27 AUDACIOUS.

The Pursuit classes (spinnaker and non-spinnaker) enjoyed a bit of a renaissance, having grown by over 300% from previous years.  In the Spin class, the J/120 EMOCEAN sailed by Bill Henckel took a 2-1-1 to win by a massive 9 pts in just three races.  Sailing Photo Credits- Priscilla Parker and Allen Clark/ Photoboat.com.  For more Charleston Race Week sailing information