By noon on Sunday, any morning winds that lingered from Saturday’s ideal sailing conditions of 10-12 knots in the Carolina Yacht Club Regatta had been swept out of Charleston’s harbor.
Race judge J.D. Rosser gazed at the 50 or so motionless Optis and 420s that sat stagnant on the first of the three race courses. “These winds are frustrating,” he said.
“Mentally, it’s a challenge for these young sailors because they are forced to focus on every single wind indicator.”
The middle course wasn’t much different.
The former jail/quarantine center-turned-pelican-roost, Castle Pinckney, was about as stationary as the 50 Lasers, Snipes and Sunfish. Outer course principal race officer (PRO) Bob Bowdin was forced to abandon the race and radio for rescue boats to tow the stranded sailboats back to the Carolina Yacht Club.
The outer course, however, was able to catch enough wind to conduct the races. Harvey McCormick, the course’s PRO, set a short course — only about half the length of the typical mile-long course — for the E-Scows, Y-Flyers, and Lightnings because of the deficient winds.
“It’s going to be interesting to see which sailors are able to take advantage of these weak winds,” said Rosser.
He explained that boats that strategically negotiate the currents could gain a knot or two in speed in these types of conditions.
“This is when the sailing physics really come into play,” Rosser said.
Craig Bennett III entered Sunday’s race in first place in the Y-Flyer division, but he had issues negotiating the weak winds on the outer course and placed last in both races on Sunday.
“I just couldn’t pick up any speed,” said Bennett. “I’ve never been strong in light winds like these.”
Former Carolina Yacht Club Commodore Crayton Walters and his crew were able to finish second (to Ed Durant), thanks to a first-place finish in the final race Sunday — a race that Walters classified as “dead air.”
“It’s difficult when the wind is dead like it was today, but you just have to keep searching for new wind and be the first to catch it,” said Walters.
Despite subpar Sunday conditions, Walters and his crew pronounced the weekend event “the most competitive regatta of the summer.”
Fortunately, the afterglow of the event did not die with the winds on Sunday. As sailors guided their boats — some paddling surfboard style and others sculling their rudders back and forth like a makeshift motor — 20 or so CYC members stood in waist-high water on the ramps helping guide the boats onto trailers.
Laughter could still be heard from inside the yacht club as boats scooted out of the water —another measure of a good weekend for Charleston sailing.
Hunter Moore received the Henry Clay IV Trophy for the best all-around sailor under 16.
Avery Fanning received the Phillip O’Neil Harvey Memorial Award for the under-21 sailor who showed integrity, sportsmanship, competitiveness and a deep love for sailing.
A total of 120 boats sailed in the regatta.
CAROLINA YACHT CLUB REGATTA RESULTS
420 Jib and Main Class : 1. Max Thompson 10; 2. Ellnor Walters 12; 3. Todd Fanning 15.
E-Scow Class: 1. Ed Durant 8; 2. Crayton Walters 11; 3. Gary Mossman 13.
Laser Class: 1. Avery Fanning 3; 2. Rolfe Glover 11; 3. Rob Bowden 12.
J/24 Class: 1. Jim Farmer 10.
Laser 4.7 Class: 1. Wiley Spagnoll 4; 2. Christopher Sprunt 5.
Laser Radial Class: 1.Eliza Schuett 7; 2. Sally Key 10; 3. Lauren Yapp 14.
Lightning Class: 1. Drew Liciski 6; 2. Carter Cameron 9; 3. Frickie Martschink 15.
MC-Scow Class: 1. Stefan Schluze 10.
Opti Class: 1. Scott Harris 11; 2. Thomas Smith 14; 3. Reedy Monahan 22.
Opti Green Class: 1.Caitlin Hamilton 17; 2. Annie Kane 23; 3. John Nash Smith 23.
SIOD Class: 1. Stan LaRoche 12; 2. John Milligan 13; 3. Stephen Haswisworth 21.
Snipe Class: 1. Christopher Stang 2; 2. David Muhlhausen 4; 3. Lewis Seabrook 6.
Sunfish Juniors Class: 1. Lizzy Walters 3; 2. Nichole Nason 7; 3. Robert Morrow 8.
Sunfish Seniors Class: 1. William Smith 5; 2. David Parshall 7; 3. Brian Swan 7.
Y-Flyer Class: 1. Ned Goss 13; 2. Amanda Hodges 14; 3. Craig Bennett III 17.