by Joy Dunigan
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week 2013 is currently underway. The Audi Melges 20 Class thoroughly enjoyed four high-powered 'rippin' races today. Overcast skies, 15-20+ knots of breeze with periodic gusts up to 30, and white caps appropriately set the stage for opening day. Consistent top five finishes helped Michael Kiss on Bacio secure the overnight lead position by a ten point margin. Rob Wilber on Cinghiale is seated second and Jeff Ecklund's STAR felt the effects of a stellar day to land third overall.
Audi Melges 20 starting line action - Charleston Race Week 2013
The day commenced with the perfect amount of breeze, warming up the fleet just right for Race One - a short and sweet, six-legger. James Wilson's Oleander lashed out at the competition taking control immediately, Ecklund followed closely in second. The first downwind run shuffled the fleet with Travis Weisleder's Lucky Dog / Gill Race Team moving up to overtake for second.
Lady helm Camille Rasdal on Odin also got in the mix to pass through the gate in third. Ecklund slipped to fourth, Robert Hughes' Heartbreaker rounded out the top five. As teams headed back upwind, Wilson extended his lead for the win, leaving Ecklund and Weisleder to battle for runner-up honors. Ecklund eventually edged out Weisleder for second. Weisleder settled for third.
Defending Charleston Champion Russell Lucas on Shimmer got in the groove to win Race Two. Hughes had a great race to finish second, just ahead of Wilber in third.
As races three and four unfolded, just as forecasts had predicted, the breeze was on the increase as was the wave action. The combination of the two, paired perfectly with classic Charleston Harbor current made for some very interesting racing. Hughes took the lead at the first mark and saw it through to the finish, earning him his first bullet of the event. Kiss turned up the speed to finish second over Ecklund in third. Weisleder hung tight to take fourth and Reilly grabbed fifth.
The breeze was pumping a beautiful 20 knots for the final heat of the day, with Wilson staking his claim on the lead position at the get go. As the race progressed Wilson extended, acquiring a massive lead mastering the big breeze conditions for the win. Ecklund and team excelled in the heavy air to finish second, Kiss claimed third.
More racing is scheduled for Saturday, however the weather forecast appears rather different from today. Morning showers are expected to provide cooler temperatures with a lighter, more civilized 5-10 knots of breeze.
Charleston Race Week 2013 - Rob Wilber, Cinghiale
Charleston Race Week 2013 - Jim Richardson, Barking Mad
Charleston Race Week 2013 - Jeff Ecklund, STAR
Michael Kiss, Bacio - Charleston Race Week 2013
Top-Ten Results (After Four Races)
1.) Michael Kiss/Chris Rast, Bacio; 4-5-2-3 = 14
2.) Robert Wilber/Anthony Kotoun, Cinghiale; 6-3-8-7 = 24
3.) Jeff Ecklund/Ed Baird, STAR; 2-24-3-2 = 31
4.) Jim Richardson/Terry Hutchinson, Barking Mad; 12-6-9-4 = 31
5.) Paul Reilly/Andy Burdick, Red Sky Sailing Team; 14-5-7-6 = 32
6.) James Wilson/Sam Rogers, Oleander; 1-8-23-1 = 33
7.) Travis Weisleder/Scott Nixon, Lucky Dog/Gill Race Team; 3-18-4-12 = 33
8.) Robert Hughes/Morgan Reeser, Heartbreaker; 5-2-1-34/DNF = 42
9.) Mark Bremer/Mitchell Kiss, TRUE; 10-11-12-9 = 42
10.) Tony Tabb/Seadon Wiesjen, Elevation Racing; 7-15-11-10 = 42
Top-Five All-Corinthian Results (After Four Races)
1.) Mark Bremer, TRUE
2.) John Brown, Blind Squirrel
3.) Andy Rasdal, Valkyrie
4.) Lance Smotherman, Details
5.) Danny Shea, Diamante
Charleston Race Week Melges 20 Results
Charleston Race Week 2013