CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA, April 17, 2015—Despite overcast skies and some early rain, the 2,500 sailors competing in Sperry Charleston Race Week got in a full day of racing across the six race courses that make up this mega event. And if the conditions dampened anyone's spirits, they were sufficiently uplifted on the dock as the racers were greeted by the Torqeedo girls handing out cans of Gosling's signature Dark 'N Stormy beverage.
The huge J/70 fleet commutes downwind in the same bumper-to-bumper traffic reflected on the Ravenel Bridge above on Day 1 of Sperry Charleston Race Week 2015. Sperry Charleston Race Week/Sander van der Borch photo
On the inshore courses, where everyone battled strong ebb tides flowing nearly parallel to moderate northerly breezes, all of the 200 boats across three race courses managed to complete three races. Offshore, the story was nearly the same, with the majority of competitors enjoying three good contests.
The word of the day was "challenging" with a capital "C" according to Ryan Ruhlman of Bratenahl, OH, and the crew on board his Stupendous Man sailing in the 84-boat J/70 class. They were in an upbeat mood despite finishing 26th in their first race of the day.
"The current is really tough to figure out," said Ruhlman between races. "It's not something we deal with when we race at home. But overall, we're enjoying ourselves. I actually went to college here, and it's fun to come back and sail in such a huge fleet. Honestly, it's such a terrific regatta. This my tenth time and I'll keep coming back."