Last weekend's inaugural Savannah Cup Offshore Challenge Race was a success despite some wet weather and light wind.
The overall winner was the Lutra 42 One Design called Big Booty II. The Charleston-based boat is owned by Charlotte businessman Pat Eudy and has been making the rounds, entering races such at the Newport Bermuda Race and New York Yacht Club Race Week, among others. The lightning-fast Big Booty II (PHRF rating -30) finished the 72-mile offshore race in just over 10 hours, almost four hours ahead of the nearest competitor. The B Fleet winner was Paul Jacques' S2 9.1 Old School, and the C Fleet winner was Brad Law's Shenanigan, a 50-foot Gulfstar ketch.
One of the goals of the CORA Offshore Challenge is to get cruising boats to go offshore and sail point to point with the added safety of a fleet of local boats making the same trek.
One sign of the success of that idea is the participation of boats like Charleston sailor Bud Hay's Sea Urchin. Hay's Beneteau Oceanis 373 has a 37-foot length, though it looks much larger with its big 12-foot, 4-inch beam and high freeboard. A lifelong sailor, Hay has only been racing his Beneteau in CORA for a few seasons. Hay and crew enjoyed the Savannah Cup, though the weather could have been better.
"We definitely learned a lot about our nighttime racing skills," Hay said. The night was slow, mostly in the rain. We saw that Big Booty II averaged something like 7 1/2 knots. We were doing one and a half to two knots - in the rain."
Hay said the reception at Savannah, hosted by the Chatham Sailing Club, was "fantastic" and well worth the trip.
The race began in Charleston Harbor last Friday at 6 p.m., starting by classes with the faster boats getting under way first. Hay says that by the time the slower cruising boats started, a storm from Mount Pleasant caused the wind to shift about 200 degrees.
Hay enjoyed the trials of ocean racing. "We all had to tack out the mouth of the jetties staying out of the way of shipping traffic. One of the harbor pilots said over the radio 'CORA sailors -- don't make me blow my horn at you!' "
Under CORA rules, getting five short blasts from a ship means automatic disqualification from the race.
Van Liew sendoff
Charleston's Brad Van Liew will race solo around the world for the third time in the Velux 5 Oceans Race starting in October in France. There will be a Lowcountry sendoff and fundraiser for his Team Lazarus on Sept. 2 at Seabreeze Marina at the foot of the Charleston side of the Ravenel Bridge, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased from his website at oceanracing.org.
Reach Will Haynie at firstname.lastname@example.org.