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2016 Race Updates

Chamber Of Commerce Conditions Make For A Perfect Finale At Sperry Charleston Race Week

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA (Sunday, April 17, 2016) — Certain boats seem to thrive in Charleston’s breezy, tide-wrought conditions, and Sperry Charleston Race Week 2016 provided the perfect weather for them. Perennial favorites and past champions battled adversity to rise to the top once again, while new faces joined the podium in several classes.

For the third straight day, the wind provided plenty of power for the nearly 250 boats racing out of Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina, and in the biggest and most competitive class – the 67-boat J/70 fleet – 13-year-old Gannon Troutman was poised to wrap up an amazing victory after leading this tough fleet all week. From Mexico City, helmsman Julian Fernandez Neckelmann – the reigning J/70 World Champion – had other ideas. In the final race, he edged out Troutman by a single point, tying the duo at 21 points after nine races  By virtue of Fernandez’s number of first-place finishes, the youngster from Fishing Bay Yacht Club lost the tiebreaker, but neither Troutman nor his parents seemed disappointed at all. 

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Race Week Battles Flare Up Under Bright Charleston Sun

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA, April 16, 2015 — Friday’s wintery conditions were barely a memory after today’s picture-perfect Day 2 at Sperry Charleston Race Week, with 15-20 knots of wind inshore and over 20 outside the jetties. The conditions allowed for racing across all the courses at the spring’s premier event despite seas that ranged from ‘bumpy’ to ‘scary’ according to crews returning from the offshore race course.

Sailing in handicap racing Class B, Frickie Martschink and Bill MacKenzie’s crew on board their J/105 RumFront out of Charleston said the racing was great “The ride out was pretty rough, but once on the course, conditions were not easy, but good for racing,” said Martschink, who said the highlight of his day was rounding the top mark and setting the asymmetrical spinnaker. “Once we got that set, we were smoking, and what a blast…well, until we had a little issue getting the kite down.” 

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Windy Forecast Provides Perfect Gift For Race Week’s 21st Birthday

Nearly 250 Racing Teams Ready For Extreme Conditions Friday

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA (Thursday, April 14, 2016) — Downtown Charleston residents were treated to the sight of a harbor full of colorful sails on Thursday as a postcard-perfect day ushered in yet another year of Sperry Charleston Race Week. Nearly half the 242 boats entered took the day to practice on the water to get ready for the first gun, while the rest of the fleet finished rigging and deck work, with everyone inspecting their boats thoroughly in anticipation of the big blow coming on Friday.

Event Chairman Randy Draftz says that nature smiled on the fleet for Race Week’s 21st birthday.  “This is a dream forecast with our strongest group of sponsors, supporters, and competitors ever, and it’s fitting that our birthday present is the same thing that made Charleston such a world famous sailing destination: Great wind.”

Charleston sailmaker and top pro crew John Bowden says the forecast 20-pus-knot northeasterly could make things ‘interesting’ for the entire fleet. “We’ve got a great Melges 24 fleet coming in as the whole country gets ready for the Worlds later this year in Miami, and the weather looks awesome.” Bowden says it looks like some of the most exciting racing in years.  “Friday will be full-on and maybe a little easier Saturday and Sunday – we should all get in some great sailing.”

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Cold, Stormy Day No Barrier To Inshore Racing Excitement

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA (Friday, April 15, 2016) — Morning came on like a winter blast today, with cold, driving rain and a brisk northeasterly breeze greeting the more than 2,000 sailors competing this weekend in Sperry Charleston Race Week. With dangerous surf at the harbor’s edge and a building wind forecast, all offshore racing was canceled before 8:00 a.m Event Director Randy Draftz said that while he hated to see the big boats lose a day, it wasn’t a difficult call.

“After looking at wind readings and wave reports from private boats and the US Coast Guard, and consulting with our Race Officers, we decided safety was far more important than racing, especially in potentially boat-breaking waves,” Draftz said. “There was definitely relief on most of the skipper’s faces after we called the offshore racing off.”

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