CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA, April 18, 2015—Sailors at Sperry Charleston Race Week 2015 were treated to a surprise respite this morning, with dead-calm conditions giving the 2,500 sailors at the premier regatta a chance to sleep in and catch up with old friends as the clouds slowly burned off. Around midday, bright sun and a beautiful, 8-knot sea breeze developed as the land heated, and both the inshore and offshore fleets were treated to a great, late-afternoon of racing in two contests across all fleets.
It takes teamwork to get the big kites down in the J/Classes today on Day 2, Saturday 18th April, 2015. Sperry Charleston Race Week/Brian Carlin photo
While the racers competed, one unfortunate incident that took place on Friday kept the jury busy on shore. It also brought into focus the challenges that Sperry Charleston Race Week organizers face when bringing nearly 300 racing boats onto a busy commercial and recreational harbor. On their way back to the marina that day, Kris Kalinski and his crew on board Kalinski’s Melges 24 Zoo crossed the bow of an incoming container ship in the shipping channel, forcing emergency action and a five-blast collision warning from the ship’s horn - twice. Race officials filed a protest against Zoo as necessitated by the rules, and the jury disqualified the team from all racing.
The bright white Dacron sails of the huge J/70 fleet set up a perfect contrast against a looming cloud over Sullivan’s Island today. Fortunately the squalls would hang back, allowing the competitors to enjoy two races in a light sea breeze today. Sperry Charleston Race Week/Sander van der Borch photo
After two rehearings on Saturday, Event Director Randy Draftz said the jury’s hands were tied, and with good reason. “We can all sympathize with Kris and his crew of course, but the race committee really has no alternative in this situation,” said Draftz. “Safety is always paramount to us, especially in a commercial harbor with swift currents and massive ships constantly on the move, and if we don’t take pretty drastic measures in this situation, we’re not being responsible.”
Racing begins an hour earlier on Sunday, April 19, the final day of Sperry Charleston Race Week 2015. There may be as many as four more races to decide the champions of sailing’s springtime classic. For real-time reports and beautiful photos from Sander Van Der Borch and Brian Carlin, and to relive the live video and highlight reels, and find much more at www.facebook.com/CharlestonRaceWeek.
You can also catch up on today’s racing action as broadcast live today from the J/70 and Melges/Viper courses thank to Sperry and Sailing Anarchy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94X6jb6DPq8.