Last minute preparations

Charleston Race Week starts tomorrow for 174 boats

Friday April 17th 2009, Author: Meaghan van Liew, Location: United Kingdom
More than a thousand sailors spent a near-perfect Thursday at the water's edge in Charleston today, while they prepped, launched, and tested out their speedy racing sailboats in preparation for tomorrow's start of 2009 Charleston Race Week.

Once a small, largely local regatta, Charleston Race Week has ballooned in size over the past four years to become one of the most prominent sailboat racing events on the calendar. Sailors from ten different countries and 37 states will take to the waters of Charleston Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean at 10 a.m. as a record-breaking 174 boats race for bragging rights and prizes worth over ten thousand dollars.

"The opportunity to sail in San Francisco-like conditions but wearing short-sleeved shirts is just fantastic," said Kristen Lane, the northern California owner of the Melges 24 Brick House. Her husband Peter races against her in an identical boat, and shares Kristen's sentiments about Charleston. "It's a great venue, and the people are fantastic. Say what you want about Southern hospitality - here, it's true."

Forecast Bodes Well For Hot Racing

Dozens of different boat designs will race in thirteen divisions on four courses, but one thing all racing boats have in common is the need for wind, and tomorrow's forecast promises plenty of it. Up to 20 knots and 6-8 foot waves will propel these racing machines down their courses, guaranteeing smiling faces and an adrenaline-filled day for all. "There's nothing like big waves and big breeze to show off what these boats can do," said official videographer Peter Crawford. "The racers will have a great day, and that means we will too."

Spectators can see some of the action from the Battery, while those who want to get closer to the excitement can do so from their own boats. "People think of sailboat racing as a slow, boring sport - but they couldn't be more wrong," said official videographer Peter Crawford. "Anyone who comes out and watches 35 identical boats screaming in to a racing mark in strong winds will be shocked at just how fast, exciting and adrenaline-filled it can be.

Those without boats can spend Saturday taking in the racing action on the spacious Palmetto Breeze catamaran. Sailors and non-sailors alike will enjoy the thrills of big-fleet racing while taking in views of Forts Moultrie and Sumter, Castle Pinckney, the USS Yorktown, and the Charleston skyline. Refreshments are available, and spectators can view photos of the boat at www.palmettobreeze.com and reserve their space by calling (800) 524-3444 or (843) 886-8133.

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