Earlier this summer, the Sunfish World Championship was held in Tuscany, Italy, and two Charleston sailors made the trip of a lifetime to compete. Ryan Hamm and Charlie Frasch, both of James Island, along with their wives, Heather and Meta, enjoyed the ambiance of Italy along with some of the best sailing in the world.

The Sunfish is one of the most popular sailboats in the world. The Sunfish Worlds were held here in 2006, and in fact, a beautiful picture of the 100 boats on the starting line with the new Ravenel Bridge in the background graces the Sunfish class website. Charleston sailor David Loring won his second world championship in that event, and has since won his third.

"We went over early and took in Rome for a couple of days, then on the lay day during the event, we went to Siena," said Hamm.

Their trip shows that sailing even in top-flight events doesn't mean you have your game face on the entire time.

"The food was so good there that it made me cry," Hamm said.

Participation in the event was by invitation only, and when Frasch's came, he "was on the fence about going, but then I thought -- how many invitations will I ever get to the world championship regatta?" Frasch and his wife also made a two-week vacation of it. "It was fabulous," Frasch said. "It was a dream come true."

In Italy, when they weren't savoring local restaurants, the two couples took turns cooking dinner for each other during the event. Asked what they served, Hamm replied, "What else -- pasta and red wine."

"We saw every kind of condition, from extremely light air to extremely heavy air," Hamm said. "It was hard not to forget that as we sailed every race on the Mediterranean, we were looking at the island of Elba, where Napoleon Bonaparte was held after his defeat."

Jonathan Martinetti, an 18-year-old from Ecuador, won the worlds in a tiebreaker with David Mendelblatt of the U.S. based on Martinetti's three first-place finishes. Martinetti won the North American title when it was sailed here last summer. Hamm finished 23rd, Frasch 35th.

Mount Pleasant Youth Regatta

The sixth annual Mount Pleasant Junior Regatta is Aug. 14 at Hobcaw Yacht Club on the Wando River. The event is open to sailors of all experience levels. Sailors will compete in Optimists, 420s, Sunfish and Lasers. A limited number of Optimists and 420s are available to be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis by calling Tina Carter at 840-2061. The entry fee is $20 until Aug. 12 and $25 on the day of the event at the club, from 9-11 a.m. Pre-registration can be completed at the Mount Pleasant Recreation Department.

Youth dance

Charleston Community Sailing is holding its End of Summer Dance for sailors age 8-17 next Friday from 6:30-9:30 p.m. in the Charleston Yacht Club flag room. The cost is $10. Parents are welcome at a social for them upstairs at the yacht club.


CORA Summer Series II, Race 4, sailed Aug. 4, Charleston Harbor. (Winning boat name, type, owner) A Fleet: Big Booty, Lutra 42, Patrick Eudy; B Fleet: Pigs Fly Too, J/24, Ryan Hamm; C Fleet: Andiamo, Beneteau 35s5, Dave Kowert; D Fleet: Outside the Lines, Pearson 26 OD, Shannon Runquist; N Fleet: Wrinkles, Olson 30, Fred Jones.

Coming up

SATURDAY-SUNDAY: Rockville Regatta, Wadmalaw Island

WEDNESDAY: CORA Summer Series Race 5, Charleston Harbor

AUG. 14: Mount Pleasant Junior Regatta

Reach Will Haynie at willh@thepickledish.com.