Dr. Willy Schwenzfeier: the only sailor to compete in all 24 Race Weeks
When Willy Schwenzfeier first competed in Sperry Charleston Race Week, there were about 15 boats entered and nightly awards parties were held at Carolina Yacht Club.
It was 1996 and Schwenzfeier, as one of the original members of the Charleston Ocean Racing Association (CORA), played a role in establishing the fledgling regatta.
Schwenzfeier has watched the event grow and develop significantly since then and has been a loyal supporter throughout. The longtime Charleston resident has competed in all 24 editions of Sperry Charleston Race Week, the only boat owner to do so.
“I remember the very first year there was this new sport-boat called a Melges 24 and it raced in PHRF and the skipper had to put a bow pulpit on it,” Schwenzfeier said with a laugh.
Schwenzfeier has always campaigned a J/35 named Arrow and has done quite well in Sperry Charleston Race Week over the years, capturing class honors numerous times and finishing on the podium more often than he can count. Perhaps his most notable victory came onshore.
“Beneteau sponsored Charleston Race Week during the early years and held a raffle for a five-day, four-night trip to Nautic Paris Boat Show,” Schwenzfeier said. “My wife bought the winning ticket and we got to go to Paris for a great vacation courtesy of Beneteau.”