J/24 skipper Tony Parker called it “champagne conditions” and it would be hard to argue with that assessment.
Mother Nature delivered in a big way on the first day of Sperry Charleston Race Week with action getting underway in strong winds, sunny skies and warm temperatures.
Ten of the 11 classes competing on the four inshore circles were able to complete four races in winds that ranged from 12 to 16 knots and swung from south to slightly southwest. The lone exception was the highly competitive J/70 class, which did three races at the request of the sailors.
Because there are 66 boats in J/70, the class is so large that it is split for reseeding after each day of racing. Class organizers felt three races would make for better round-robin competition.
Winds were lighter for the five classes racing on Circle 5 and Course 6 outside the jetties on the Atlantic. ORC A and B along with the J/105 one-design fleet all finished two races.
How do you run a regatta with a whopping 246 boats in 16 classes? It requires flawless organization, and a ton of manpower. Those two factors go hand in hand.
Ultimately, the massive success of Sperry Charleston Race Week is due largely to a talented, dedicated army of volunteers. Properly executing an event of this size requires 220 on-water volunteers and another 100 for shoreside duty.
“A regatta this size requires a Herculean effort and we could not do it without such a large contingent of outstanding volunteers,” event director Randy Draftz said. “There are regattas all over the world wondering how we do this. The easy answer is because we have lots of great volunteers.”
Draftz, in his 10th year as event coordinator, conducted a meeting with all the volunteers on Thursday at noon and the large tent on the beach was almost completely full. It was an opportunity for Draftz to thank everyone for their support.
“Obviously, our goal is to keep the racers coming back and the on-water race management along with the onshore hospitality is why they do,” Draftz said. “That is a real credit to the great job done by our volunteers.”