by Dan Dickison
The Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week is expected to get even bigger as more than 100 boats has already made their entries with still three and a half months to go before the 2013 edition of the fastest growing regatta in the United States for the past six years.
PHRF B Class start - Charleston Race Week
Though it’s still three and a half months down the road, Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week is firmly on the radar for sailors across the country. As of early New Year’s Eve, over 100 entries had registered for this annual event – the fastest growing regatta in the U.S. for the past six years.
'We’re really excited to see so much interest so early,' explained Event Director Randy Draftz. 'The number of entries is now roughly double what we saw at this time last year, and that definitely validates all the planning and work that we’ve been doing in the off season.'
In part, the increase in entries can be ascribed to the popular new J/70 one-design. 'At the moment, 20 percent of our registrants are J/70s,' said Draftz, 'and we definitely expect that number to continue growing in the coming weeks.'
He also credits the ongoing work of race week's steering committee, which has been pursuing a deliberate plan for event expansion created several years ago. In addition, he cited Charleston’s continually rising popularity as a top tourist destination, along with the strong commitment of the event’s sponsors.
'We’ve had over 200 boats at the regatta for two years now, so it’s safe to say that the word is out among sailors regarding how fun it is to sail here, and how great a place Charleston is to visit.'
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week has evolved to become the No. 1 event in the country for trailerable one-design sailboats. Though it was established in the mid 1990s as a regatta for larger boats, smaller sportboats have come to make up over half of the entries. In recent years, however, the owners of larger offshore racing boats have gravitated to the event in increasing numbers. Draftz and his co-organizers expect to see entries among larger boats grow in the next few weeks as teams across the country cement their regatta plans for the coming season.
'Given the rate of registrations we've seen so far, it wouldn't be surprising if we surpassed 300 boats this year,' said Draftz. He added that the $50 discount for early registration will expire on January 31, and said that additional information and registration details can be found online at www.charlestonraceweek.com!Charleston_Race_Week_2013 You can also follow Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week on Facebook and Twitter.
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week runs from April 18 through April 21 and is open to all monohull sailboats 20 to 80 feet in length. The event is owned and managed by Charleston Ocean Racing Association, and is supported by Sperry Top-Sider, the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina, Vineyard Vines and Gosling’s Rum. Additional sponsors include the Town of Mt. Pleasant, Gill, Coral Reef Sailing Apparel, North Sails, B and G/Simrad, Board Sports ETC, Dimension Polyant, Torqueedo Outboards and Charleston Community Sailing, along with West Marine, Pierside Boatworks, College of Charleston Sailing Association, and Azalea Moving and Storage.