Countdown to Charleston Race Week
Published on April 12th, 2017
The largest keelboat regatta in the America’s – Sperry Charleston Race Week – is known to attract big one-design fleets. And that trait will continue this year as 77 J/70s are expected to compete when the initial starting gun fires next week on April 21 in Charleston, SC.
Now in its 22nd year, Sperry Charleston Race Week has evolved to become a mecca for trailerable one-design sailboats from across the country. Along with the J/70 Class, event organizers are expecting a significant turnout among the Melges 24, VX One Design, J/24 classes in particular. And several other one-design classes are expected to produce strong numbers as well.
“We characteristically see a robust turnout among one-design classes,” said Randy Draftz, the Event Director for Race Week. “Informal surveys of competitors indicate that people love to attend this event because it truly is a regatta unlike any other.”
Draftz explains, “Our competitors have to deal with Charleston’s tricky tides. But we also know that sailors are drawn here by the location. We have a superb beachside venue that’s ideal for the social aspects of the regatta.”
New this year will be the use of the ORC (Offshore Racing Congress) Rule for all handicap racers except those in the Pursuit classes. The ORC system is an international VPP-based rule that provides fair and competitive scoring for different boat types, taking into account wind strength and course configuration.
Another new feature that the organizers have developed for participants is a Pro-Am event scheduled for Saturday after the regular racing finishes. This series within a series is intended for spectators at the event and it’s being staged as a fundraiser for the College of Charleston’s Sailing Program.
Ten high-profile racers who are well known in the sport will each steer one of the College’s J/22s. Their crews will include one member from the College’s varsity sailing team and guests who have paid for the privilege of sailing with some of the most talented sailors in the sport.
Over 200 boats have registered to compete in the racing to be held April 21 to 23.