Since this column was last published in the fall of 2009, I have had the honor of becoming the CEO of the South Carolina Maritime Foundation, which runs the educational schooner Spirit of South Carolina. Now, not only do I get to publish words and stories in this column about the activity I love, but through my daily work, I now also get to see the lives of students changed and enriched their experiences sailing aboard a working sailing vessel.

The foundation is also the beneficiary of the proceeds of Charleston Race Week through an arrangement with Charleston Ocean Racing Association, which actually owns Race Week. This year's Race Week, held in April, was a huge success, with the most boats ever, and the event received kudos in national and international sailing media outlets.

Thanks to the Charleston sailing community for magnificent support and hospitality.

BIC news in youth sailing

The lifeblood of local sailing is youth involvement, and the more excitement sailors have at a young age, the more likely they are to remain enthusiastic about the sport later in life. There is a new class of sailboat designed to provide thrills -- and spills -- and it's called the O'Pen BIC. Yes, that's BIC as in fountain pens. The O'pen BIC is now an International ISAF class, and a complete race program has been established worldwide. It looks like a small version of the Open 60 class boats that sail around the world. BIC Sport got into the windsurfer business in the 1970s, also makes kayaks, and is now making a big impact in fast, small sailboats.

Jessica Koenig, executive director of Charleston Community Sailing, likes the new class and is happy to have them for their summer program. "This summer, Charleston Community Sailing has partnered with the Charleston Yacht Club Junior Sail Program to run the biggest Junior Sail Program in town. With this new partnership, our fleet of boats has more than doubled. We will have 8 Optimists and 2 O'Pen BICS from the yacht club, and with the addition of the 6 O'Pen BICS from our grant at the Symposium -- that is 8 Open Bics," Koenig said. The classes are for junior sailors ages 8-18 as well as adults, in all levels of sailing instruction from beginner sailor to advanced racer. The programs are open to everyone.

Ryan Hamm, who coaches the James Island High School sailing team and is active in James Island Yacht Club's Thursday night sailing program that helps new sailors get started, says, "I am starting to be convinced these boats are the next thing for small kids to learn on. Much easier to put together than Optis, faster, (and they) don't swamp when flipped."

Gulfstreamer Race 2010

The biennial Gulfstreamer Race from Daytona to Charleston was held Memorial Day weekend. Randy Draftz owns Charleston Yachting.com, which caters to sailors and their boats, and is often asked to race with his customers. Draftz sailed this event for the second time on John Keenan's J/120 Illyria, which won the last Gulfstreamer in 2008. "This year's race was beautiful -- calm seas, nice breeze, full moon," Draftz said. "It was almost boring the conditions were so calm." Draftz said they went offshore in search of the Gulf Stream and its helpful push. They were using a weather service that shows the surface temperature of the water. "We went out but never really got into the Stream," Draftz said. "We never got any push."

Overall winner was Obsession, a Morgan 41 skippered by Norm Church of host Halifax Yacht Club in Daytona. Church also won the Gulfstreamer in 2000 and 2004. Charleston's Brad Law sailed Shenanigan, a Gulfstar 50 ketch, to win Cruising A Class, and Cloud Dancer, an Island Packet 44, won Cruising B Class, skippered by Jerry Dixon.

Results / Coming up

CORA Summer Series I, Race I, sailed Wednesday June 2, Charleston Harbor (Winning boat name, type, owner): A Fleet: Dauntless, Beneteau 47.7, Don Terwilliger; B Fleet: Orange Crush, J/24, David Anderson; C Fleet: Old School, S2 9.1, Paul Jacques; D Fleet: Knot Twins, Pearson 30, David Smith; N Fleet: Big Booty, J/105, Patrick Eudy.

June 9: CORA Summer Series I, Race II, Charleston Harbor, 6:15 PM

June 12-13: Hobcaw YC Regatta, Mount Pleasant

Will Haynie is CEO of the SC Maritime Foundation. Reach him at willh@thepickledish.com.