Thursday, April 27, 2017

2017 Criterium Cycling Race - Speed Week

2017 Kids Bike Race!
Bike Support Staging Station
Downtown Walterboro is one of the staunch supporters of the CRITS speedweek, and the 15th annual cycling race on April 26 was contested under sunny weather conditions. Hampton Street and Washington Street are closed down to traffic at 2 p.m. and the first race for a Masters class of riders begins at 4 p.m., followed by several other races that increase in speed level, with the exception of the 6 p.m. Kids Bike Race. It's worth noting that the Kids race drew a large field of competitors and enjoyed just as much support from the crowd when it comes to cheering, as any other race!

To view past blog entries about Criterium Cycling Speed Week click on 20162015 -  2014 -  2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010, - 2009 

The Peloton leans into a turn

A large live oak graces the VIP area

2017 Flyer

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Rice Festival, Saltwater Fishing and Bird Watching On Tap

The Dolphin Slam at Edisto is April 29
The month of April is turning out to be one of the best months of the year in the Lowcountry when it comes to outdoor activities. The moderate temps provide a more pleasant environment for those who are competing in sailing or cycling races. Warmer temperatures are trending towards an earlier arrival in the past few years, triggering a response from the natural world too. The Annual Rice Festival is always kicks off with a fireworks display on Friday night, and is set to ignite on Friday April 28 at 8:45 in the evening. A wide range of festival activities such as the All American lumberjack Show will take place on Saturday April 29, and a golf tournament keeps up the outdoor fun on Sunday, April 30.
For those heading to Edisto Beach for the weekend, don’t forget to check out the annual Dolphin Slam tournament down at the marina. A captain’s meeting with food, drink and live music will take place on Friday afternoon at 6 down at the docks. This offshore fishing tournament for the tasty mahi mahi fish is the first of many saltwater tournaments coming to Edisto this year. To catch the weigh-in on Saturday swing by the marina from 3 to 6, and then stick around for the awards party at 6 p.m., while Sunday April 30 is the back up weather date.
If bird watching is your passion, then this time of year is equivalent to the Super Bowl of birdwatching. For those wanting the ultimate avian outing, travel to Harleyville on Saturday for the Wine and Warblers outing at Francis Beidler Forest, and Audubon Sanctuary in South Carolina. For a cost of $50, you can stroll their boardwalk from 4:30 until 9 p.m. with expert birders guiding the way. Besides food and beverages, and a silent auction, expect to see Neotropical songbirds like the Prothonotary warbler, and other birds that frequent their ancient cypress trees.

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries on Migratory dolphin off S.C. click 20162014 - 2013 - 2012 - 20112010 - 2009 - 2007

Sunday, April 23, 2017

2017 Charleston Race Week - Sunday Sailing and Results

Racing under cloudy conditions on Sunday
You just can't get a bad view of Charleston Race Week, whether viewing from Mount Pleasant, Downtown or James Island.

To view the Final Results click on Yacht Scoring.

From the Charleston Race Week media director:
Viewing Charleston Race Week from the High Battery downtown
Viewing Charleston Race Week from James Island,
looking back towards Charleston Harbor Resort
Charleston is known for its reliable spring seabreeze, but the Holy City’s coast outdid itself this year during the 22nd edition of Sperry Charleston Race Week. It wasn’t just the three race days either; from the first team’s arrival for practice more than a week earlier until the lengthy awards ceremony on Sunday night, reliable southerly winds buffeted the region, ensuring maximum racing, maximum action, and maximum enjoyment for the nearly 2,000 sailors, shore crew, staff, and volunteers that comprise this largest event of its kind in the Americas.
With a number of teams holding dominant leads going into the final day of competition, there may have been fewer last-ditch battles than in previous years. In fact, overall winners in a number of classes were more or less a fait accompli by Sunday morning. Teams that clinched their wins before the end of the regatta included Frickie Martschink and Bill McKenzie’s RumFront in the J/105 Class, Mike Ingham’s USA 553 in the J/24 Class), Tony Langley’s TP52 Gladiator  in ORC Class AJerry Taylor’sTangent  in ORC Class B, Steve Vincent’s B-25 Fully Involved in ORC Class D, John Storck Jr.’s Rumor in the J/80 Class, Laura Weyler’s Hijinks in the J/88 Class), Thomas Loutrel’s Choppy Seas in the Viper 640 Class, Mike Beasley’s GP 26 Rattle ‘n’ Rum in ORC Class C, Steve Lesniak’s Beneteau 510 Celadon in the Pursuit Spinnaker Class, and Wayne Burdick’s Marion Maid in the Pursuit Non-Spinnaker Class).
Viewing Charleston Race Week from Charleston Harbor Resort

To view past blog entries from Charleston Race Week click on 2017 - 2016 - 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

2017 Charleston Race Week - Saturday Sailing

Awesome Threesome from the Offshore Races
From the Charleston Race Week media director:
For a second straight day, Charleston Harbor and the open ocean just offshore provided near-perfect conditions for over 200 competing teams at Sperry Charleston Race Week 2017. Boats across all six courses faced brisk southerly winds of 15-20 knots, while the offshore boats saw five-foot waves and big gusts on the second day of the biggest multiclass keelboat regatta in the Americas.

The crew of Defiant leans into it!
There’s drama across all these highly competitive fleets, but nowhere more than in the Pursuit course today, where former Beneteau USA President Wayne Burdick leads the regatta with a group of longtime friends aboard his 18-year old Beneteau 411 Marion Maid despite being unable to locate the turning mark in their Saturday race. “Our Race Officer Frank Pontious was kind enough to provide us with his cell phone number, so we called Frank and suggested that maybe we round Rattlesnake as our mark, and he was fine with that. That saved the day!”

Dogs are welcome at Race Week, and so are smiling sailors.
Burdick has been sailing with his crew for over 40 years, and he said their motto is “All Chiefs, no Indians” because they’ve each owned their own boats and no one wants to be the crew. “We’ve raced all over the world together, in the Med, in Bermuda, the Caribbean, and it’s a great group,” he said, adding that “now it looks like we have to stay pretty close to shore because at 66, I’m the youngest one of us.”

When asked about his group’s experience here, Burdick said it’s been wonderful. “The weather has been just spectacular. But like the rest of us on board, Marion Maid isn’t a spring chicken. I love this boat, she can be a great racer, but she was going a little sideways a lot of times today in that chop offshore. If we hadn’t had this strong breeze, I’m sure we wouldn’t be sitting in first right now.”
The Tiki Bar at the Charleston Harbor Resort

Charleston’s new ORC scoring classes allow ratings of dissimilar boats to be customized to the wind speed on the day, producing corrected time results that are closer and more fair than single-number rating systems. In today’s high-wind conditions (>14 knots), this closeness was demonstrated most clearly in the ORC C class, where the nine boats competing on inshore Circle 3 not only saw scoring places determined within seconds in corrected time, but even tied to within one second after over 30 minutes of racing.

Viewing Charleston Race Week from Demetre Park
With crisp boat handling, smart tactics, and blazing speed, Mike Beasley’s GP 26 Rattle n Rum continued to extend its lead from yesterday and is dominating the class. Yet in today’s first race, they had to share 4th-place points with sistership Hall Pass, Jim Carkhuff’s Jim Donovan-designed GP 26. And the winners of this race were the hard-fighting students of College of Charleston with the Melges 30 Cougar, but their margin of victory was slender; just 20 seconds ahead of Hawk Caldwell’s Henderson 30 Short Bus, which now shares a third-place tie with Marcus Durlach’s Charleston-based Melges 32 Fearless. “The racing here has been outstanding,” said Caldwell, “because we are fighting not only boat-for-boat, but closely in corrected time as well. The system seems to really be working well.”

To view past blog entries from Charleston Race Week click on 2017 2016 - 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 

Friday, April 21, 2017

2017 Charleston Race Week - Sailing Begins

Ready! Set!! Sperry Charleston RaceWeek!!!
The 22nd edition of Charleston Race Week began on Thursday night with a beach party at the Charleston Harbor Resort. Longtime visitors now have a fully operational second wing at the hotel, complete with swimming pool, cabanas and even a tiki bar. A quick review of the parking lot license plates show competitors in town from places as far away was Ontario, Indiana and Florida. A band played music while supper was served at 6 p.m. ahead of the first day of racing on Friday.
Even the pirates wear a bow tie in Charleston

The forecast for light winds in the morning had most folks looking for the sea breeze to fill in by noon and boost the inshore racing. My fate took me to the offshore race courses, and everyone was pleasantly surprised to see that strong and fresh breezes were blowing already by the 10 a.m. race start! All sailboat racers like to go fast, but the stronger the wind the more a racing team's skill set is under the microscope. We saw one team go from first place to last place when they came around a buoy and then their spinnaker sail failed to deploy, causing one viewer to say it looked like they were trawling for shrimp.

Sailing Crew from Augusta enjoying the Shore Party
On the inshore course the J70 fleet looked to number near 70, and the race committee did an admirable job for each of their dramatic race starts. Regular horn sound offs when under five minutes to go allow the sailors to prepare, not crossing the line too early, while eyeballing the competition and implementing a strategy about what course of sail to take. Of course, with three days of sailing, it's important to accrue points in hopes of making an appearance at the Gosling's Sunday afternoon awards.

To view past blog entries from Charleston Race Week click on 20162015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 

Cats really do like water?!