Charleston Race Week 2023

Published on April 23rd, 2023

Fifteen fleets competed in the 27th Charleston Race Week, held on April 21-23 in Charleston, South Carolina. The 186 boats had sufficient wind all three days on three separate circles set on Charleston Harbor.

One of the larger fleets racing this year was the VX One. With twenty-nine boats, after ten races sailed, first place went to John Porter (Savannah, GA). Porter has sailed his whole life in the low country and his local knowledge shone through with a whopping twenty-five-point lead over second place.

“We’ve been working on the boat hard this past year to get it ready and it was great to go racing,” noted Porter. “The competition was great as always, and Charleston never fails to disappoint! It’s been fantastic getting my old buddies back in the boat with me including Dave Himmell who I sailed with last at the 1992 trials in the Finn.”

Mike Quaid (Williston, VT) racing on the J/24 Ice Cube took first in class with sixteen points, a tidy 12-point lead over second place team Alexandria 4. “We started each day with a plan based on what the current was doing which was an important part of racing Circle One at the confluence of the two rivers,” said Quaid. “We weren’t always right but we would learn soon enough and adapt and we always at least started with a plan and that was critical today and the whole regatta.”

“It was fun, it was nuts,” Doug McKeige (Mamaroneck, NY), who helmed his crew to a one-point lead in RS21 over Nilah Miller and her crew from Clemson University. “We literally traded off winning races one after the other with Nilah and we pushed leads inside of races multiple times,” explained McKeige. “They went fast in the light stuff and when the breeze filled in this afternoon, we put the hammer down and had our way.”

In the Inshore PHRF J/22 division, Allegra, the Morris M-42 skippered by Gary Vogel (New Canaan, CT) took first place with 11.5 points, just beating out the Clemson J/22 #1 team who scored twelve points.

The tightest racing of the regatta was in the J/88 fleet where three boats finished the race with seventeen points. The winner was Albondigas skippered by Justin Scagnelli (New Rochelle, NY) which won the final race taking the overall win in class. In second was Exile, skippered by Andy Graff (Chicago, IL), and in third, Deviation skippered by Iris Vogel (New Rochelle, NY). Albondigas was also awarded The City of Charleston Trophy.

“We set out to win the regatta for our former co-owner Tim Price who we tragically lost in February – this regatta was for him,” Scagnelli said. “We were up four points going into the final day, we did not get a good start in the first race, we clawed back and fought real hard in the second race to tie it all up.

“We didn’t think about the points, we rounded the last mark of the last race in third and we took them all downwind. It was just unbelievable racing. I’ve been doing this race every year since 2019 and I’ve been trying to win, and to win for Tim this year has been fantastic.”

George Massoon (Taylors, SC) owner/driver of the J/105 Temeraire, took first in class. “It was a lot of hard work, I really have to thank my crew, we never gave up, we just kept on grinding away,” noted Massoon. “It was a fantastic venue, the race committee and everybody did a great job but I really can’t say enough about my crew.

“It was challenging, the tide was on, the tide was off, we had a great time. Sailing in close fleets like the 105 is all about mistakes and not making them, or not making as many as the other folks. I have to say that was our edge this week. We made no major mistakes, no bad roundings, we were consistent. We only won one race yet we were in the running – consistency!”

Jonathan Bamberger (Ontario, Canada) drove his Melges 32 Spitfire one thousand miles to make his first Charleston Race week and he’s ready to do it again, especially after taking first in class with a three-point lead over Fearless sailed by Charleston local John Lucas.

“It was great, it is an incredible venue and the race committee, well I don’t know how they did the job they did so well, with the tides, the currents and the windshifts, they did a wonderful job setting up,” Bamberger said. “We sailed nine races and we’re exhausted and thirsty but we’ll be back again, it was great!”

Sailing on Spitfire was Scott Nixon with Quantum Sails, who commented, “I couldn’t be prouder of Jonathan and his team for embracing the challenge and coming out on top. It was really challenging to beat the local team on Fearless!”

This was the National Championship for the Hobie 33 fleet, which was easily won by Hoof Heated, owned by Craig and Deborah Wilusz (Fort Walton, FL), with all bullets. Second place went to Hi Tech, skippered by Scott Maust (Pigeon, MI), and in third was Bruce Huddleston (Sylvania, OH) on Bandit.

“Our crew performed exceptionally well, with lots of hiking throughout the series,” Craig Wilusz said. “Today there was a lot of changing gear with sail set up and rig set up between races. It was a real pleasure for me and my wife to be able to sail with this crew.”

ORC D Sport Boat fleet was won by the Cape 31 Sitella owned and helmed by Ian Hill (Virginia Beach, VA), with a solid lead of eight points over second place Sailing Inc, also a Cape 31 skippered by Ryan Ruhlman.

Skippering Travis Weisleder’s Melges 24 was Laura Grondin (West Hartford, CT) who made good on her promise to keep Lucky Dog/Dark Energy’s winning streak alive. Grondin, a two-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year nominee, skippered Lucky Dog/Dark Energy to a fourth consecutive Charleston Race week win finishing with eleven points, eight points ahead of second place Zingara helmed by Richard Reid (Ontario, Canada).

“Travis and I are competitors, but also friends and coming here this week to sail his boat has been a reminder about what is important – so I am proud to have kept the Lucky Dog streak alive,” Grondin said. “I give lots of thanks to the team: John, Jackson, Alex, and Chandler.”

Sailing in the Corinthian division, the Melges 24 Wombmates Racing owned and sailed by John and Gretchen Shockey (Vermilion, OH) took first in class with a solid five-point lead over second place Surprise, helmed by Dan Berezin (Ontario, Canada).

Never really losing the lead throughout the regatta in a highly competitive class, Brian Keane (Weston, MA) skippering the J/70 Savasana.

“I think we were quick, on the wind shifts we were right on point, and I think we were able to capitalize on the currents – it is a multi-variable environment with a lot of things changing,” shared Keane. “We did a really good job of that. This is the fourth win for us over the past few months – we won Bacardi, the Mid-Winter Championships in Miami, and the Davis Island Winter Series. It’s been a fantastic winter and we just have to keep up the momentum for the Worlds in October.”

First in Corinthian J/70 was Henry Filter on Wild Child.

Matthew Schaedler (Toledo, OH) on his J/122 Blitzkrieg won the final race in ORC A to take the title, also earning the regatta’s Palmetto Trophy. “It was very competitive and we were right there together with two others in our class the entire time, it was really fun and great sailing,” noted Schaedler. “It was our fourth Charleston Race Week, our first time in this boat, and it’s always a fun time!”

In Pursuit Non-Spinnaker A, Hunter Weekes (Greenville, SC) won racing on Retox, his Beneteau Oceanis 41. Pursuit Spinnaker A was won by the J/111 Wide Load, skippered by Les Cabiness (Charleston, SC), and in, En Charette, the Noe 27 skippered by Elliot Jennings (Goose Creek, SC), won in a close race against Pursuit Spinnaker B second place William Cramer (Charleston, SC) on Easterly, the e33.

Event informationRace detailsResults

Source: CRW Events

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