Board seeking funds for Laffey

USS Laffey (DD-724) at Patriots Point Mount Pleasant

WADE SPEES

According to Wikipedia, hiking is the action of moving the crew's body weight as far to windward (upwind) as possible, in order to decrease the extent the boat heels (leans away from the wind).

According to me, hiking for 1.6 mile beats (4 per day) in 20-plus knots of breeze and 3-foot chop, wondering if I can keep my lunch down, is miserable. But flying downwind with a kite at 20-plus knots of breeze ... awesome!

My team and I are still in Corpus Christi, Texas, sailing the 2011 Melges 24 World Championship that ends Saturday. We sailed the Pre-Worlds and the event officially started on Monday, meaning we have been racing two races a day. Each day we figure out ways to improve as a team, and with big chop and I am grateful for warm water. A handful of teams have been here since Charleston Race Week gearing up for this event and the fleet is stacked with professionals. (To follow the racing visit www.melgesworlds.com).

Closer to home

Now let's get back to what is happening in Charleston.

If your looking for a great summer activity for children, check out one of the many junior sail training programs in town. Go to sailcharleston.org, an online resource dedicated to increasing participation and to promote sailing awareness in and around Charleston.

The Lightning Fleet in Charleston is currently up to 15 boats, a huge improvement over last year when there were three boats. A handful of boats have been out practicing on the weekends as they prepare for the Districts and the upcoming summer. The Lightning Class (ICLA) announced that skipper Will Tyner and crew Reese Wilkins and Conor Brady were selected for the 2011 Boat Grant Team. The young team had been campaigning a 45-year-old boat for several years and through the grant program they will now get to sail a nearly new boat.

The team will be mentored by Greg Fisher, who is the director of sailing at the College of Charleston. Last weekend the 2011 Southeastern District Championships were held at Lake Hartwell with Charleston boats taking the top three spots -- Lenny Krawcheck won, Will Sloger placed second and Mark Marenakos finished third.

As I wrote last week, Alana O'Reilly is currently ranked No. 1 in the ISAF Sailing World Cup. Her team just won the U.S. Sailing May Qualifier, which qualifies them for the ISAF World Cup Sail For Gold Regatta as well as the Pre-Olympic test event, which will both be held in England this summer. Follow Alana and her team at team7sailing.com/.

Coming up

This Saturday is the start of the eighth edition of the 777-mile Charleston Bermuda Race which began in 1997. Currently there are 11 boats registered, ranging in size from 41-65 feet.

Stephen Colbert of the The Colbert Report will be sailing on board one of the largest boats. He sailed in this race in 2005 and is coming home to Charleston to sail again. It all starts at 1 p.m. Saturday and can be viewed from White Point Gardens or from Sunrise Park on James Island. Track the fleet online at charlestonbermudarace.com/.

On Sunday, join the female sailors of Charleston on the water for the Annual Femme Fatale Regatta. This is one of CORA's two races that require a female driver. Join the sailors after for a party at Midtown for games, contests and awards. For more information or to find a boat, go to charlestonoceanracing.org.

Upcoming events

Saturday: Charleston Bermuda Race

Sunday: Femme Fatale Regatta

June 3-6: Lowcountry Special Olympics Regatta

June 11-12: Hobcaw Yacht Club Regatta

June 17-19: James Island Yacht Club Regatta

Jessica Koenig is executive director of Charleston Community Sailing. Contact her at jessica@charlestoncommunitysailing.org.