The town of Mount Pleasant and City of Charleston, SC are rightfully proud of the grand prix regatta that has become a fixture of the region. Charleston Race Week has brought a huge economic boost to both municipalities for more than a quarter of a century, and the regatta unlike any other has a new Race Village aboard the USS Yorktown, the historic World War II era aircraft carrier berthed at Patriots Point.
Longtime Race Week organizer Randy Draftz is excited about the new venue and believes regatta participants will enjoy attending post-race parties aboard a floating museum that has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.
“The USS Yorktown is an iconic warship and a landmark feature along the Charleston harbor waterfront,” Draftz said. “It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area and one of the most beautifully unique venues in all of Charleston.”
Commissioned in April 1943, the Yorktown is an Essex-class aircraft carrier. She was decommissioned in 1970 and transformed into a museum ship at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant five years later. This won’t be the first time the ship has served as a regatta venue. When College of Charleston hosted the Collegiate National Championships in 2017, all operations were held aboard the aircraft carrier.
Charleston Race Week will conduct the Quantum Sails daily racing debrief aboard the Yorktown. Hangar Bay Three, which is where all the fighter jets were armed, repaired and protected, will serve as location for the nightly parties.
Sailors will be allowed to go up to the flight deck to watch Saturday night’s popular Pro-Am Regatta, which pairs prominent pros with high school racers from the greater Charleston area. Both the flight deck and fantail, which are 67 feet above the water, offer a spectacular view of Charleston Harbor and the city skyline. Visit charlestonraceweek.org to learn more. ■