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Posts Tagged ‘charleston’

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2017 SPERRY CHARLESTON RACE WEEK - DAY TWO-MEREDITH BLOCK PHOTO

After several years with lost days and poor racing offshore, the 22nd edition of Charleston Race Week delivered 3 days of full-on racing, with moderate to big air inshore and big wind and seas outside the harbor for 212 boats at the biggest event on the calendar for many teams.  After losing around 30 boats for both 2017 and 2016, organizers are doing what others often haven’t – they listened to their critics and moved things around significantly, and the 2017 event seems to have rewarded their moves.

The first move was working with the Coast Guard and Port to add a fourth circle in a harbor that many used to think couldn’t even fit two, and the result was not only sailable, but it showed that there’s easily room for another new fleet or two.  Stars and Lightnings are both perfect candidates, and both fleets are looking for some new venues, so we expect next year to begin growing once again.  They also moved the smaller handicap racing fleets – now all sailed under ORC – inside the harbor, and every team we spoke to will be back now that they don’t have to face the long slog offshore in little boats.

As usual, Charleston reminded us that it’s the only regatta party we know of with more women than men, and the diversity on the water was just as good; boats fully crewed by women, fully crewed by kids, and fully crewed by military vets and wounded warriors were all over the place, with some even winning their classes despite their bow guy/main trimmer being blind.

The overall winner was reigning J/70 World Champ Joel Ronning, who dodged a last-day protest to hang on in the biggest fleet at the event.  They almost lost it all though, when the forestay let go just before the final race.  Listen to the full story from Catapult trimmer and longtime SA fan Patrick Wilson here.

Clean and the media team posted stories, interviews, hundreds of photos and hours of video on the CRW Facebook Page here.  Full results here.  Meredith Block photo of the J/120 Illyria.

April 24th, 2017 by admin

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After several years of losing multiple days of racing from the usually reliable Charleston Race Week schedule, the 2017 regatta is more of what Charleston became famous for: 80 degree days and 12-18 knots of sea breeze for the 200+ boat fleet.  It’s also the first regatta in America to feature ORC for all handicap racing – an experiment that we’ll be reporting on after the data are in.

Results, photos, and constant video updates from our own Mr. Clean are over here.

 

April 22nd, 2017 by admin

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 The first edition of Charleston’s Fort 2 Battery looked more like a back-alley drug deal than a sailing race. Last-second registrations, lots of confusion, and competitors being distributed “race packs” in overstuffed brown paper bags late at night in the alley behind a downtown Charleston building…

In just three years since the race became the biggest of its type in the hemisphere; it was the first to use chip timing (which captured a .005 second split between the 2nd and 3rd place finishers in 2016), it was the first to provide prize money for the winner, and it led to the spinoff Foil Mania regatta – the first ever to pit foiling kites vs. moths, course racing from the same starting line.  And of course, it’s the first to offer a genuine Professional Wrestling Championship Belt as the overall prize! James Island Yacht Club has come along and helped class-up the operation, but fortunately not beyond a ‘weekend at the motorcycle track’ vibe.  Their welcoming atmosphere is more  ’go’n getcha brother a corn dog!’ than anything remotely yachtie.

The best Sailing Club in Charleston has stepped it up once again for 2017. On April 29 the college bowl atmosphere among the spectators will be bigger than ever; the competition ain’t just on the water – it’s at the club, and anyone coming down will be treated to a perfect front-row seat to the mayhem on the Harbor and at the JIYC Barbecue Championship1.  If you think you’ve seen a “Race back to the dock” before, just wait until these foiling craft pick up the scent of that sweet, sweet swine.  Just like 2016, you can watch Mr. Clean’s pre-race beach walk and the whole race LIVE on Sailing Anarchy from around 1pm, with the race start targeted for 2:00.

foil mania posterLast year saw slalom racing on Friday which continues again, and the Intercontinental FOIL MANIA Championship Belt will be on the line through the weekend as the Foiling craft slug it out in a more traditional regatta format. Registration is on pace for another record attendance, and this year could even see an E-Scow or two looking for glory in the “floating boat” grouping. We’ve seen the Mighty Hobie 20’s smoke the E’s on a circle track, but it will be interesting should it become a VMG downwind race. Will they show? Or are they allergic to corn dogs?  Find out on April 29 right here on Anarchy.

Gill North America and Charleston’s Holy City Helicopters who have both been on board since day 1 will be on hand to keep Fort 2 Battery racers looking sharp. The new Kite-Foil One Design Class CR:X will even be there which allows racers to fly in with a backpack, charter gear and be part of the big weekend! April sure delivers in Charleston with the biggest regatta- Sperry’s Charleston Race Week just the weekend before.

With Foil Mania, Fort 2 Battery and a BBQ contest, you can bet this version of Charleston’s most exciting race will be “Good enough to slap yo’ mamma!”

Relive last year’s excitement with the Rev’s Penalty Box edit of the 2016 Fort 2 Battery.  Register Here. And if you like our promo poster, there’s more pics of that photo shoot over here.

-Tim Fitz, Founder, F2B

April 15th, 2017 by admin

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Clean Report

For episode # 20, we caught up with three guys who represent some of the brave new thinking in the sport of sailing.  Longtime SA’er Chris Woolsey runs the reborn Miami Havana Race for a reborn SORC, and we get into the whys and hows of recreating this complicated international race to one of the world’s most unique race destinations.  After that, we catch up with Tim Fitzgerald, founder of Charleston’s Fort2Battery Race, to talk about his motivations for creating the successful harbor sprint.  We also get into Tim’s experience as one of the drivers behind Selden Masts growing dinghy business, discuss the first new hardware change in the 420 in years, and learn what Tim’s learned about getting millennials and Gen Z excited about sailing.  Finally, we turn to one of those Z’ers, young Peter Cronin of the Mudratz.  This clever kid discusses the team’s experience sailing amongst the big dogs in the Melges 24 and J/70 Class and the philosophy behind their growing Mudratz youth sailing movement in the Northeast.

Our next Sailing Anarchy Podcast will come to you from Havana Cuba, and you won’t want to miss that one!  Don’t forget to subscribe to the SA Podcast for instant notifications when each one drops.  (iTunes   Stitcher)

 

March 14th, 2017 by admin

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Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 11.52.24 AMIt is with an incredibly heavy heart that we announce the death of one of the Charleston sailing community’s most important figures.  Just 46 years old, former Charleston Race Week Director of Marketing/Sponsorship/PR Meaghan Van Liew died yesterday after complications related to a liver transplant operation – an operation required after damage her liver suffered from medication she took for an unrelated nerve issue.

Along with then-husband Brad Van Liew, Meaghan was the driving force behind Charleston Race Week’s explosion from a small regional regatta to America’s biggest sailing event.  She also ran the SC Maritime Foundation and oversaw the completion and running of the Spirit of South Carolina schooner and it’s educational youth sailing program.  Meaghan took on the nearly impossible task of raising two kids on the road while running a round-the-world IMOCA program for Brad’s dream of becoming the first American to win a RTW race.  From Balance Bar, to Tommy Hilfiger to Le Pengouin during the final days of the Around Alone, Meaghan sacrificed everything of her own to make sure her children had great life experiences and her then-husband had a chance to win.

Professionally, Meaghan was one of the first major event organizers to put her faith in Sailing Anarchy to help jump-start Charleston Race Week’s march to prominence, and her risky move led to the worldwide acceptance we have today.  She also was one of the few American sponsorship agents at the time (or since!) to secure real funding for offshore racing from major corporations.  Creativity, work ethic, risk taking, and sacrifice for those you love – these were her foundations.

On a more personal level, Meaghan was one of my closest friends, and every year, Mer, the dog, and I would spend a week with her and the kids before Charleston Race Week to catch up and brainstorm new ideas to grow the event.  When her marriage fell apart, she devoted herself to helping her children navigate the tough emotional situation – often to her own detriment.  She ALWAYS put her children, her family, her friends, her clients before herself.

If there’s an afterlife, we pray that Meaghan Van Liew has finally found some time there to devote to herself.  Meaghan, we will always love you and remember you.  Check in to ex-husband Brad’s Facebook Page here, and there is a thread here. Ainhoa Sanchez photo.

Signed,

Alan, Meredith, Joey, Kuma (deceased), Cricket (deceased)

MEMORIAL SERVICE and celebration of Meaghan’s life will be held at the Charleston Maritime Center (10 Wharfside St, Charleston, SC) on Sunday at 3pm.

UPDATE: We spoke to a gutted Brad Van Liew moments ago, and he requested that we ask the sailing community to please refrain from calling over the next few days so he can tend to his family in their mourning.  His phone has been blowing up from South America, New Zealand, Australia, the UK, France, helping him to realizes just how many people Meg touched over the years.

UPDATE 2: We are going down to Meg’s memorial service on Sunday to pay our respects.  If you have great stories about Meg, find me at the Maritime Center so we can put together a video tribute to a great woman.

 

January 26th, 2017 by admin

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Hurricane Matthew is close to finishing up his best impression of a Worrell 1000 race course, and the storm has now killed some 900 people (overall), done billions in damage, and left millions without power as he works his way up the Carolina Coast.  The footage above comes from the AP, and is mostly of a very wet Charleston SC.  Those gorgeous new James Island Yacht Club docks that made Charleston Race Week launching so much easier last year are smashed to pieces, while cars, boats and anything else with westerly exposure got slammed.  Fortunately the worst of the surge in CHS came with low tide, but there’s plenty of rebuilding to be done everywhere Matthew has already touched.  Incredible that the US has only seen four deaths (two tree strikes and an elderly couple due to generator/carbon monoxide) despite it all.  We’ll have more pics and stories of this direct hit soon, but with Matthew still lashing the southeast coast with nastiness, give a call to your friends near the water – they will appreciate it!

And for something really cool, watch the Frying Pan Shoals live stream right NOW!

 

October 8th, 2016 by admin

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We’ll admit to shedding a tear when the South Carolina sailing community said goodbye to sportboat and offshore racer Pat Eudy back in 2013, but the boat with the name and logo seen around the world is far more durable. Eudy’s infamous Lutra 42 “Big Booty” was always a dog, and for the better part of a year she has sat at Pierside Boatworks in Charleston with US Marshal’s Office stickers affixed to her hull.

Last week, they relocated the Booty to the other side of the lot, and yesterday a nasty summer squall knocked her on her Booty. If she’s totaled, we want the section of transom with the name on it.

 

August 25th, 2016 by admin

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What do you get when you cross a 24 year old kiteboarder from the Great Plains, an insane creative genius videographer, and a loudmouth Sailing Anarchy editor?  It’s called the Charleston Fort2Battery, and it’s one of the big successes in ultra-performance sail racing of the past few years.  Watch the video for the full story, and go here to find out about the 2017 edition.

May 17th, 2016 by admin

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Clean Report

With three breezy and extremely lumpy (outside) days of racing, 2016 Sperry Charleston Race Week will be remembered mostly for disasters averted, and the biggest was the rescue of Orlando-based J/88 crew Patrick Daniel, whose heart stopped in the middle of Sunday’s first race.  We remember when the Van Liews, Draftz, the Coast Guard, and Doctor Stephen Shapiro from Roper St. Francis hospital created the CRW Safety Plan years ago, and now they’d get to put it into action.  Spoiler alert for those who haven’t yet seen my 5-minute video interview with Doc - A pulseless, breathless Daniel was breathing and talking by the time they got to the dock to transfer him to an ambulance.

IMG_7429-1Mer and I were just a couple hundred feet away when it all went down, and we immediately motored over to stand by for assistance, but it was apparent that the first responder – and then Doc – had things well under control.  The crew had CPR already started inside the 3 minutes it took the rescue boat to get alongside, and the AED was on Daniel’s chest maybe 2 minutes later almost before the sails were completely down.

With a sharp uptick in racing fatalities over the past few years, it’s a delight to not only hear a story about a sailor escaping death, but to watch it all happen in real time.  It’s also a vindication of the hard and seemingly thankless hours that organizers spend on developing and reviewing safety plans.  Most importantly perhaps, even with a perfect performance from the crew, the EMT, the boat drivers, and the doc, there’s always something to learn – and everyone knows that had the fleet been on their intended offshore course, the outcome would likely have been much more tragic.

Draftz awarded Doc Shapiro the Jubilee Cup Perpetual for sportsmanship while the crowd gave him a massive ovation.  It was well deserved.

While it paled in comparison to the potential tragedy averted on the Wando River, the weather was pretty tragic for those looking to race sausages in 6 offshore fleets on a single course outside the Charleston jetties.  All offshore racing was shut down on Friday thanks to massive, and most of Saturday was lost offshore thanks to a nasty injury on the RC boat and no easy way to transfer to a medical boat in the big waves.  When conditions continued to rage outside on Sunday morning, CRW boss Randy Draftz dug into his bag of tricks with a long morning of calls to Port Captains and Coast Guard Commanders, and had the Wando River closed down to traffic so the fleet could move under the bridge and get some racing in.

Like pretty much all regattas in the US, handicap windward/leeward racing has been falling off pretty continuously for the better part of the last decade at Charleston, even as inshore one-designs have made it the biggest regatta on the continent.  Giving those six fleets a 3-race day in gorgeous Charleston conditions may have saved the format for another few years.  Given the millions and millions of dollars that the event generates for the area, we’d try to push the local shipping orgs for a permanent Course 4 under the bridge to allow another 50 or 75 one-designs into the harbor or even some handicap fleets if the demand is still there, but then again we care more about enjoying Charleston and sleeping past 6 AM than we do about having obstruction-free race course.

There are literally dozens of videos and hundreds of photos (including some nice work from the back-on-the-water Meredith Block) along with news from all over the place over on CRW’s Facebook Page.  And of course, there is a thread.

 

April 19th, 2016 by admin

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Charleston’s Fort 2 Battery Race was bigger, badder, faster, and nastier than ever, though you wouldn’t know it from the ballerina-like gybe in this great Penalty Box Productions teaser from the race.  Enjoy (and share!) the quick edit above, and keep an eye out for a feature from The Rev Petey next month.  For the full video of the morning Beach Walk, go here.  For the full shaky-cam video of the Fort2Battery Race, here.

Here’s the after-action report from F2B founder and organizer Tim Fitzgerald. (and for more from Petey on the upcoming monster Melges 24 Worlds, check out Petey’s third ‘View From The Chair.’

“10 seconds to start…Here I go!”

“Uh-oh.”

There’s a couple catamarans hooked up and I can see we may be getting acquainted.  No thought on my part of Port and Starboard, just simply that at 25 knots, it’ll be wise of me to miss them one way or another. I’m crossing, until I hit a hole in the offshore breeze…and now I’m trying to stay on the foil.

3 seconds to impact, and now its too late to stop before I’m in their path.. But it’s my friend Jeff.  “He wouldn’t run me over,” I think.  On second thought, yes, he would.  He’d wear my kite on the top of his mast like a trophy animal pelt.

2 seconds to impact, and now I’m way too slow to cross.  so I cross the first cat, and it’s an e-brake bail to explode the water and stop before T-boning the second boat. I look up through the spray to see two masts fly past either side of my kite lines.  “Holy shit.”

Time to get going again. Over there I think I see a moth. It’s hard to tell because he’s far away. A few seconds pass and now we’re not far away at all.  We’re both lit up like a Christmas tree in a big puff, heading for a 40mph pileup.

And again…3 seconds to impact.

I heat up to go behind just before a huge blast hits me and takes me downwind toward my handshake with the mothie, who is also at vaporizing top speed and planning to cross ahead.  2 seconds…I’m heading right at him. If I bail in front, I’m fish food,  so I lean back and heat up, which makes me go FASTER. It’s that awful feeling you get in a keelboat when it’s too late to duck and you know it’s going to get ugly.

I close my eyes a split second before my board makes contact with my good friend Pat’s Mach 2 moth with both of us at over 25 knots – though it feels like Mach 2.  We clear each other by inches.

I had survived the first minute of my 2016 Fort 2 Battery. Let it be known that the good advice of “sail in clear air and open space” applies to Fort 2 Battery races also.

It began without warning.  The first attackers landed at Fort Sumter in under 6 minutes with reinforcements pouring ashore in under 8. In just 15 minutes they had taken the Fort. It was glorious and it changed everything.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 11.31.44 AMThe third running of the Charleston Fort 2 Battery was run in reverse because of the west wind coming off the city at a chilly 20-30 knots. With the sun out, this was the kiteboarder’s version of a Chamber of Commerce day. Charleston’s Holy City Helicopters team was in the air with Sammy Hodges and Mac Dickson hanging out of the bird with long lenses astutely affixed to the competitors.  From the air they witnessed a “reverse invasion” of Fort Sumter, when dozens of kite boarders landed on the beach near the Fort to wait for a ride home.  You know it’s survival conditions when the competitors can’t even sail home after the race!

With the big breeze and favorable current, the hard work was getting to the upwind start but the race was all down-hill. Mr. Clean threw down the challenge in the morning letting the live audience on Sailing Anarchy know that records could fall. He was spot on, and the overall course record was cut to 5:52 by Foilboarder Zack Marks, who broke his own record in winning the race. Local kite hotshot Davey Blair also cut 7 seconds from Tucker Mason’s record to bring it to 7:12 which was even faster than the winning time in the first edition of the race. Victor Diaz de Leon cut the moth time to 6:41 while defeating George Peet by an insane five one-thousanths of a second to take second overall and win the Moth race.

When you talked to the racers, one theme was common. Among a bunch of adrenaline junkies who love to fly 40 feet in the air on a kite, and break speed records on flying boats, “I was pretty scared” could be heard over and over. The conditions were at the top end which kept the big cats on shore and ended some Moth Pilots’ days early with cartwheeling wrecks.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 11.33.36 AMThe high-octane format of the Fort 2 Battery is as addictive as it is exciting, and with over 36,000 people watching the pre-race Beach Walk and F2B Sprint on SA’s Facebook page, we think we’ve really stumbled on something the public loves!   At James Island YC, dozens of fishermen and motor-boat owners were tailgating like Clemson Tigers football fans, and the innovating club’s only questions were “how do we make this even better?” Sweetwater Brewing and Charleston Distilling Co. helped, keeping things lively at the beach bonfire and dance party well into Saturday night.

The rest of the weekend featured more wacky stuff – three days of Kite vs. Moth free-for-all course racing – which had never been done in the world. The verdict seems to be ‘it’s everything you’d think it could be.’  Terrifying but exhilarating for the racers and spectators. Amazingly, despite the big, puffy breeze, we didn’t see a single collision or even a tangled-up kite.

It is fitting that this super high performance everyman’s revolution has grown quickly in Charleston, specifically at Fort Sumter, where our last domestic revolution started…let’s hope that this one is less messy. See you next year!

Mack Dickson photos.

-Fitz

 

April 13th, 2016 by admin

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