Charleston's Michael Miller was the only sailor from the Southeast on the U.S. Sailing Team. He competed internationally in the Cascais Combined World Championships in the 470 Class, and the Trials in Los Angeles in an effort to make the Olympic team.
His e-mail posts from the events gave local sailors a feel for competition at that level. After his try at the Olympic team, he teamed up with local sailors Steve Kopf and Anna Hofford to form Pinnacle Sailing (www.pinnaclesailing.org) to promote one-design racing and foster the development of young sailors who aspire to Olympic level competition.
"Although Michael Miller was unsuccessful in his bid for the 2008 Games, he has channeled his experience and rededicated himself to teach his craft and to coach young sailors so that they can compete in the future. Look for Pinnacle to sponsor a number of clinics in 2008 aimed at building a strong one-design fleet in the Southeast," Kopf said.
O'Reilly sails with Jobson
College of Charleston standout sailor and James Island native Russ O'Reilly served as tactician for Gary Jobson on his new NYYC Swan Club 42, Mustang. Eighteen boats in the new class raced in a seven-race, no throw-out series off Newport, R.I. Jobson wrote in Sailing World: "My tactician was 20-year-old Russ O'Reilly from Charleston, S.C. I watched him win the college nationals the past two years(for the College of Charleston) and signed him up for Mustang. Let me state, this young man is one of the best new talents on the waterfront. This is a guy you will be reading about in future years."
Wilson in Pan Am Games
Patrick Wilson began sailing locally as a junior sailor. Last year, he crewed for Will Hanckel to win the Y Flyer Nationals. This summer, Wilson crewed on the J/24 Jesus Lizzard (named for the reptile that walks on water), based in St. Augustine, Fla., in the Pan Am Games in Brazil. They finished fifth overall after some controversial treatment of the Americans and their equipment.
Charleston Race Week, C2B
Though the final day of racing was canceled because of a gale, Charleston Race Week 2007 was a huge success. "We just love it here. It's the kind of atmosphere that the whole crew enjoys. I'll keep coming here forever — it's the perfect place to sail, and the people are amazing," said Steven Stollman of Key Biscayne, Fla., who won the Palmetto Cup as overall PHRF champion.
Meaghan Van Liew of the S.C. Maritime Heritage Foundation runs the shoreside events and said there was a surge in attendance by family and friends of sailors because last year's event got such rave reviews.
"Race Week participants booked 45 rooms last year at the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina. This year, we booked over 100," she said.
Van Liew also helped put on the biennial Charleston to Bermuda Race in May, which was another success.
Kopf wins M24 Southeast
Steve Kopf and his team, Blur, won the 2007 Melges 24 Southeast Circuit title in November in Jacksonville, Fla., at the King's Day Regatta/Atlantic Coast Championship. "Look at some of the big names that showed up for the King's Day Regatta: Terry Hutchinson, Bill Hardesty, Mark Ivey, Brian Porter. These guys are all phenomenal sailors. We have found that competing against these guys has just helped us get better, faster," Kopf said.
Kopf and other locals will compete in the Melges 24 Nationals to be held in Charleston in 2008.
Outgoing Charleston Ocean Racing Association commodore Dave Kowert summed up CORA's year: "The yacht racing year started on New Years Day 2007 and finished with the Thanksgiving Race last month. In-between, CORA and its totally volunteer Race Committee managed to hold 43 yacht races in Charleston Harbor, many attended by as many as 55 or more sailing yachts from 24 to 50 feet in length. In addition to the races we see in the harbor, CORA challenged its sailing community to eight different offshore races this year all of varying distances and complexity. This year we watched our Charleston sailors win four of the top seven places in The Charleston to Bermuda Race (770 miles), including local sailor Will Hanckel leading EmOcean to a first place finish. ... CORA sailors also helped raise over $180,000 to donate to The Leukemia Foundation."
Reach Will Haynie at email@example.com.