More sportsboats for Charleston Race Week
With more than four months until the start of 2011 Charleston Race Week, running from 14-17 April, volunteers and professional staff are already hard at work to make the South Carolina regatta the biggest and best in its history.
Race Director Randy Draftz and his team have already been hard at work on new solutions to provide the best experience possible for more than 1,400 sailors at Charleston Race Week.
"This event's success has required constant adaptation and evolution from the professionals and volunteers that keep everything running," said Draftz. "Our biggest change for 2011 is to create a new location for our fourth course; the sportboats and smaller handicap raceboat course."
Draftz explained that the new course would use the Dynamite Hole channel to eliminate nearly a half hour off the commute to the race course. "The new passage will require attention to navigation, but the sailing area will be fantastic and everyone will get to the party that much sooner!"
The North circle will continue to host the larger IRC and PHRF boats, and as always, the event is scheduled so that substantial tidal currents push the boats out in the morning and pull them back in after racing.
Logistics Manager Danny Havens has already seen an uptick in classes ready to take to the new course. "Where safety allows it, we'll always adjust the way we do things if it makes our racers happy," Havens said. "Randy and his team found we could give people more of what they came here - great racing and great parties - so it was a no-brainer, and we hope the racers enjoy their new, easier commute."
Key to Charleston Race Week's success is the passionate One-Design sailors, with boats like the Viper 640 and Melges 20 jump-starting their growth after the excitement of big turnouts at the past two Charleston Race Weeks. The stalwart Melges 24 Class is using 2011's Race Week as the final stop en route to an exciting 2011 World Championship in Texas, and of course the J/24 and J/80 Classes never disappoint with strong turnout and great competition. In addition, Charleston is proud to welcome two classes that haven't competed at Race Week in years: the Tartan 10s and J/22s.
"We love Charleston Race Week, but until this year we couldn't seem to get enough momentum together for the mostly Midwest-based fleet to get to Charleston," said Ted Mahoney, the T-10 National Fleet Captain. "We've finally bitten the bullet though after hearing about and seeing so many happy Charleston competitors for the past few years. We're confident the T-10 fleet will enjoy great racing at Charleston Race Week for their 2011 Midwinter Championship."
Another new-to-Race Week class is the popular J/22. Attracting well over 100 boats to its recent Rochester, NY World Championship, few boats deliver the kind of bang-for-the-buck as the well-balanced race boat from Rhode Island-based J/Boats. Charleston is lucky to have one of the world's top J/22 racers as a new resident and Director of Sailing at the always-competitive College of Charleston, Greg Fisher.
"Charleston Race Week would be such a super opportunity for J/22 sailors. There are many boats within just a day's drive and the sailing here is just incredible." said Fisher. "We have even been discussing some sort of a clinic Thursday evening to help make the regatta even a bit more tempting. We invite all J/22s to come down and experience this incredible venue that I've fallen in love with."
Yet another new face has confirmed his entry to 2011 Charleston Race Week, this one with the suntanned Mediterranean charm of Melges Europe President Federico Michetti, who will enter with the two-time Melges 24 World Champion Uka Uka Racing Team.
"It seems every month that we hear yet another great comment about Charleston and with the World Championship just a month later in Texas, this will be the perfect place to get some big fleet practice time in the boat in preparation for Worlds," said Michetti, the only man to ever win three Melges 24 World Championships. "It's also the ideal spot to spend some enjoyable time with my friends from the other Melges fleets and I can't wait to learn what this 'southern hospitality' that I hear about really means!"