Monday, May 1, 2017

Spectacular Charleston Race Week!

J/24s sailing Charleston J/70 CATAPULT Overall CRW Champion!
(Charleston, SC)- For the first time in years, the Sperry Charleston Race Week that took place from April 20th to 23rd in Charleston, SC saw simply great weather for all three days of the regatta.  Some sailors say they had never seen better weather for CRW, with S to SW 10-15 kt winds gusting to 20 kts most days and sunny!  For the 217 boats entered (127 J’s were 59% of the fleet), it was icing on the cake each day to retire back home to the amazingly accommodating Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina on Patriots Point for more “dark’n’stormies” and fresh cold brews at the sandy beach/  tent party and awards each afternoon- almost Caribbean-like atmosphere!

J/70 Catapult- Joel RonningThe big winner for the J/70 class, and the CRW Overall Champion, was Joel Ronning’s formidable crew on the J/70 CATAPULT from Lake Minnetonka, MN.  There’s was not an easy “road to hoe” to the top of the leaderboard in the extremely competitive 76-boat fleet. In fact, after the first day of racing, it was Brian Keane’s SAVASANA leading with a 2-4-3 for 9 pts followed in second place by Gannon Troutman’s PIED PIPER with a 6-2-2 for 10 pts and in third was Oivind Lorentzen’s NINE with a 1-9-1 for 11 pts.  However, over the next two days of racing, the winds of change would dramatically re-arrange the top ten.

At the end of the regatta, Ronning’s CATAPULT simply out-sailed their competition, the only boat to post all top five finishes for the next six races!  As a result, they not only won with just 30 pts in 9 races, a 3.33 pts average per race (!), but they also were awarded the coveted CRW Overall Champion award for best performance in the toughest class in the event.

J/70s sailing Charleston HarborBehind the clear-cut victory for CATAPULT, it was an all-out battle for the balance of the podium, if not the top five for the regatta.  Literally, the last set of races determined that outcome for the podium.  By closing with a 2nd, Troutman’s crew on PIED PIPER managed to sail consistently enough to hang on to their second place performance on the first day with 36 pts total. Just one point back in a tie-breaker were Marty Kullman’s NEW WAVE and Al Terhune’s DAZZLER, with the tie going to Kullman.  Rounding out the top five was John & Molly Baxter’s TEAM VINEYARD VINES with 48 pts total.

J/70 Joint Custody- Ray & Jenn WulffTo qualify to be podium winners of the J/70 Corinthian Division meant you had to be a couple’s team! Perhaps the first time in the history of yacht racing, if not certainly in the J/70 class, the top FOUR boats, in fact were sailed by couple teams!  First was the Annapolis team led by Jenn & Ray Wulff on JOINT CUSTODY. Taking second place was Andrew & Mallory Loe’s DIME, followed by Mark & Sarah Renz’s BERTEAU GROUP in third.  Fourth was Tracy and Christy Usher’s CHRISTINE ROBIN from San Francisco, CA and fifth place went to Stein Skaane’s SHRED.

J/24 Bangor Packet- Martha Parker on bowIn the “Battery Bash” along the Charleston city waterfront, the big, competitive twenty boat J/24 class saw the class leaders emerge from the weeds along the “middle ground” to take home all the silverware.  Topping the fleet were all Midwinter, North American or World Champions in the J/24s.  First was Mike Ingham’s USA 5443 team from Rochester, NY with 22 pts, followed by Mike Marshall’s USA 5209 crew from Newport, RI with 32 pts in second place and Tony Parker’s Annapolis team on BANGOR PACKET taking third place with 40 pts.  The balance of the top five include Scott McCormack’s GIGGITY in 4th only one point back and Robby Brown’s ANGEL OF HARLEM just two more points back- a close finish for the top five!

J/80 Rumor- Storck familyCelebrating their first J/80 Midwinter Champions title for several years was John Storck’s RUMOR from Huntington, NY, winning 8 of 10 races and not even starting the last race to win by 12 pts!  Behind their stunning performance, it was quite a battle for the next four spots.  Winning the last race and taking second place was Ken Mangano’s MANGO from Annapolis, MD with 23 pts.  At 29 pts each, Tom Kopp’s KOPP-OUT and Bill & Shannon Lockwood’s SHENANIGANS tie-breaker ended with KOPP-OUT taking the bronze.  Then, fifth place went to Ryan McCrillis’ HAKA.

J/88 Hijinks sailing CharlestonThe five-boat fleet of J/88s saw Laura Weyler’s HIJINKS from Youngstown YC take class honors to add to their Key West Race Week 1st place silverware. After posting six 1sts and three 2nds in nine races, they did not start the last race to win with just 12 pts net.  Sailing fast and showing why they had earned the bronze at Key West Race Week was Ryan Ruhlman’s fast SPACEMAN SPIFF team from Lakeside YC in Cleveland, OH, taking home the silver with 19 pts net.  Winning the last race and taking the bronze was Brian O’Malley’s BLUE with 27 pts.

The J/105 class, in fact, did suffer a RUM FRONT by the end of the regatta!  Winning with virtually all bullets in 8 races was the duo of Fred Martschink & Bill McKenzie on RUM FRONT.  Winning the only other race and securing second place was the trio of Seif/ Smith/ Jacques on RUCKUS with 16 pts.  Rounding out the podium in the bronze spot was another duo, Miles Hartschink & Ben Hagood’s SKIMMER with 23 pts.

J/22 women's / girl's team at CharlestonThe J/22s saw the WARRIOR SAILING TEAM, a program designed to provide opportunities for America’s war veterans to experience the sea and team-building with friends, take home class honors.  They were followed by Allyson Pleassner on College of Charleston #9 in second place and John Thompson’s DIESEL’s WEASELS in third position.

The Warrior Sailing Program showed up in Charleston a few years back, quietly providing outreach and the therapeutic effects of sailing to injured and wounded veterans. And just three years later, they have their first class victory at Charleston Race Week! Here blind sailor Scott Ford shares his experience along with program J/22 Warrior Sailing skipperdirector Ben Poucher. We salute and thank all our vets!

In the world of offshore handicap sailing, in ORC A class we find multiple Key West Race Week champion, the J/122 TEAMWORK, led by owner/skipper Robin Team from Lexington, NC, take the silver in their class.

In ORC B class, the J/35 ARROW with Willy Schwenzfeier from Charleston, SC at the helm took second place. Fourth was the J/36 SOUL with Charles Coyer from College of Charleston YC; in fifth place was John Keenan’s ILLYRIA from Mt Pleasant, SC; and sixth was the J/120 MOOSE DOWN with Richard Moore from Carolina YC.   For more SPERRY Charleston Race Week sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.