Just so darn good (and every single time)
Pinnacle regatta, marquee event, premier race series, you choose... but Sperry Charleston Race Week sort of crept up on the international racing scene and now it's impossible to overlook
When you put a boast out there, you'd better back it up. And that's just what the people who are behind Sperry Charleston Race Week, the largest multiclass gathering in North America, do. For the better part of the past decade, they've billed their event as "a regatta unlike any other." Fortunately, the claim rings true.
Race Week, as locals refer to it, has evolved to become a fixture on the US sailing scene. For four days in early spring. Competitors from throughout the US and around the globe make an annual pilgrimage to this coastal city in the southeast. During the day, it's top-level competition with some of the world's best racers competing. Off the water, it's equal parts mad party and sailing industry conference. Think Mardi Gras meets Dussel-Boot meets Cowes Week, but on an intimate scale.
Next April, Race Week will celebrate its 25th edition, and the organisers have every intention of commemorating their silver anniversary in fitting style. In part, that means living up to the reputation they've established for regatta innovation.
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Spectacular Day on Charleston Harbor
By Bill Wagner
Sperry Charleston Race Week concluded in spectacular fashion with strong winds producing exciting action and several classes being decided during the last race. VX One, J/88, Viper 640, Melges 24 and ORC C were the windward-leeward classes that went down to the wire. Winners for five of the six Pursuit Hybrid and Pursuit Race, which were unable to complete any racing on Saturday, were also determined on Sunday.
Mike Bruno said following Friday’s racing that he’s been jinxed at Sperry Charleston Race Week, suffering problems that prevented podium finishes in 2018 and 2017. The Armonk, New York resident thought his bad luck would be extended when Wings was ruled on-course-side in Race 9 and had to restart.
“We came into the day saying we were going to be conservative and not make any mistakes then we got tangled up with another boat at the start and right out of the gate we were over early,” said Bruno, who did manage to battle back to finish sixth in the 10-boat fleet. “We were pretty glum going into the last race. I thought we’d blown it again.”
However, there was a happy ending as Wings redeemed itself big-time in Race 10, which was held in 20-22 knot south-southwesterly winds with gusts approaching 30. Wings rounded the first weather mark in sixth then moved up a couple places by the downwind rounding. Bruno and crew turned it on from there, passing the remaining three boats to get the gun.
That victory in the final start of the three-day regatta gave Wings a two-point victory over Albondigas (Justin Scagnelli, West Nyack, NY), leading Bruno to breathe a huge sigh of relief...
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