One of the most accomplished sailors in American sailing history is taking over the sailing program at the College of Charleston. Greg Fisher, who has been with North Sails' One Design division in Annapolis, Md., since 1991, has won 21 North American or national championships in seven classes of boats.

He brings his national reputation to the Cougars sailing program that is a long established national powerhouse. George Wood brought the sailing program to national prominence after towing some old Solings up the Intracoastal Waterway in the 1970s to comprise a “new” fleet for the school, and built a program that is a perennial national force.

Annapolis' loss is Charleston's gain. Bill Wagner, staff writer for Hometown, writes "North Sails and the Annapolis sailing community are losing a legend as Greg Fisher has announced he will retire from professional sailing to become director of sailing at the College of Charleston."

Former C of C director of sailing Alice Manard departed this summer to pursue an Olympic match racing campaign as crew for skipper Genny Tulloch.

Fisher is an avid one design sailor, and most recently placed first in the J/22 class at the Annapolis National Offshore One-Design Series

Randy Draftz, owner of Charleston, a veteran sailor who has most recently served as race director of Charleston Race Week and helped it become a premier national regatta, is ecstatic about Fisher coming to Charleston.

"This is just great. He's a fantastic guy and will be quite an asset to Charleston," Draftz said.

Longtime local sailor Mason Chrisman served on the C of C selection committee.

"He's every bit the superstar in sailing that Bobby Cremins is in basketball, so the College of Charleston is fortunate to have him," Chrisman said.

Local harbor pilot and veteran sailor Crayton Walters was also on the selection committee.

"This is a major move for Charleston sailing. This will have impact in every part of the Charleston sailing community," Walters said.

CORA Savannah Challenge tonight

Several years ago, Charleston Ocean Racing Association attempted to revive offshore sailing in the area by starting its Offshore Challenge series, events geared to accommodate the fastest, most experienced racers as well as the novice offshore cruisers. Then-commodore Ken King described it as "Putting the 'O' back in CORA."

For various reasons, including the economic volcano that erupted in the fall of 2008, participation languished.

But tonight's Savannah Cup, a joint effort with Chatham Sailing Club, has about 20 boats registered, which will be a new high. Perhaps it's the improved stopover feature (aka, party) that has been added, or that it just takes time for new ideas to take root locally, but this surge in participation is great to see.

Look for results and firsthand reports in next week's column.

Results/Coming up

CORA Summer Series II, Race 6, sailed August 18, Charleston Harbor. (Winning boat name, type, owner) A Fleet: Dauntless, Beneteau 47.7, Don Terwilliger; B Fleet: Pigs Fly Too, J/24, Ryan Hamm; C Fleet: Quintette, Sabre 38 cb; D Fleet: Knot Twins, Pearson 30, David Smith; N Fleet: Wrinkles, Olson 30, Frickie Martschink.

TODAY: CORA Savannah Cup Offshore Challenge, harbor start, 6 p.m.

WEDNESDAY: CORA Summer Series II Make Up race, harbor, 6:15 p.m.

Reach Will Haynie at