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Charleston Race Week at Patriots Point - Day 2

by Charleston Race Week 20 Apr 19:34 PDT April 18-21, 2024
2024 Charleston Race Week © Joy Dunigan / CRW 2024

The great news on day two of Charleston Race Week was that the wind came in, albeit late, but it came in strong with starts after 2pm, except the pursuit fleets which started with a small delay around 11am.

With a ton of sunshine and 80 degrees, conditions could not have been better once that breeze kicked in and racing was fast, exhilarating, and just plain fun. Lead changes across all fleets kept the racing exciting all day for a thrilling set up going into day three.

The action at the pinnacle of the 28-strong VX One fleet couldn't be tighter with a battle between Trevor Parekh on Bro Safari and SDR, skippered by Jack Jorgensen. Parekh and his crew Marc Farmer prevailed finishing with a lead of just one point over SDR, skippered by Jack Jorgensen, however the delta between second place and third is a substantial twelve points.

"What worked for us today was boat speed, we had a really nice course with a few shifts but really flat water, so it was just a boat speed thing I think," Parekh said. "We had an amazing battle with the boat that is right behind us, SDR, we duked it out all day and were neck and neck pretty much the entire time. They bested us by one point today, but we have a one-point lead on them and the same drop so it's all on tomorrow. Charleston has been fantastic thus far, really warm, 80F every day and sunny, the thermals have come in three days in a row so absolutely no complaints there and the city is just fabulous so we're thoroughly enjoying our time here."

In the J88 fleet, newcomers are giving the old guard a run for their money. Having raced their previous boat, a J80, for 14 years, CRW is the first major regatta that owners Chris and Liz Chadwick have raced Church Key. They're leading with just one point over William Purdy, owner/skipper of Whirlwind.

"It was fun sailing as always," Chris Chadwick said. "We were glad for the delay because conditions were setting up like yesterday, so the race committee did a nice job of waiting for the breeze to set up. It is a tough fleet, but we have been starting really well, we've been able to set up and win the boat end of the line, get on starboard and into clear air and run the boat for a while to assess what's going on, how it fares with the other boats and make any adjustments that we need to make, and try to manage the fleet."

Two bullets for Flat Stanley Racing, the Melges 32 owned and skippered by Trey Sheehan saw the Cleveland, OH-based team take the lead in class finishing two points ahead of Sitella, owned and skippered by Ian Hill. Sheehan has been sailing CRW for some 20+ years so he knows his way around the Charleston Harbor like a local.

"We had a good day, and were very lucky," Sheehan said. "Everything we did with the boat today went well," Sheehan said. "I am an original gangster in the class, our first boat which we bought in 2007 was number 6, we replaced it with a newer boat a year ago and the new iteration is just as fabulous as the original, I have a couple of boats but love this boat more than the others!"

Jay Greenfield, skipper of the Cheetah 30 Bottle Rocket, sailing with good friends Nick Johnstone and Nate Fast, is pretty happy to be leading Pursuit Spinnaker B with two bullets after another win today. He grew up with Nathan, and he and Nick sailed together at Tabor Academy. Greenfield also sailed at the College of Charleston on the offshore team. As Greenfield explained, Bottle Rocket hasn't been in the water since the mast went through the deck at Key West Race Week in 2006, and it has taken that long to get the boat fixed, smiled Greenfield.

"Yesterday was the first day we were fully able to sail the boat and our day today was fantastic," Greenfield said. "We just had a nice clean race - it was about a 17-mile course - and my crew were a great help."

Sailing on North U #2 in the J22 class, Geoff Becker, multiple class one-design and keelboat champion, and 2x Collegiate All-American, and his crew took two bullets putting them in third overall in class. Becker is coaching a race clinic this week at the College of Charleston in J22s with six boats each with an instructor or professional coach on board and the teams are participating in the J22 division.

"We raced non spinnaker today because it got windy out there, but it was a lot of fun," Becker said. "Once it filled in, it shifted to the south, the first race was lighter 10-12, then it was mid-teens most of the time and puffy. We crossed channels sailing so there were a lot of powerboats and obstacles to go around," Becker laughed. "It's challenging, you really have to pay attention here because there are a lot of things that change in a hurry when you get a lot closer to or away from shorelines. We actually ran aground today but when we sailed off it, we still couldn't see the shallow part!"

Taking a bullet today in Pursuit Spinnaker C, Lioness, the Bermuda 40 Custom Yawl skippered by Sheldon Haynie, was a lot of fun for his crew of twelve, some of whom are new sailors and others who are experienced.

"We just had a great day," Haynie said. "I don't expect to beat full-on race boats with a 62-year-old cruising boat and when you do it is glorious. We had a great start, and the crew did a heck of a job keeping the boat moving. The boat is older than some of the crew by about a factor of two!" Hanie laughed. "I'm just here to have fun!"

After a superb day on the water, Steve Hunt, the all-time winningest high school coach with 11 national titles in fleet and team racing and winner of three World titles and 17 National and North American championships, presented to a group of local high school sailors and CRW competitors at the post-race party on the USS Yorktown, a huge treat for kids and big kids alike.

Competitors are invited at 8am each morning for the online weather briefing presented by Quantum Sails. Join forecaster Shea Gibson from Sailflow Weather with Quantum Sails pros for interactive forecasts, local knowledge, and expert tips. Get your questions ready and prepare for your day on the water!

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