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Countdown to 2024 Charleston Race Week at Patriots Point is on

by Charleston Race Week 4 Apr 21:36 BST April 18-21, 2024
Sixteen classes of sailboats will be represented at Charleston Race Week 2024 at Patriots Point. Among them are the popular J/70 Class, VX One and Melges 24 fleets © Priscilla Parker / CRW2023

The countdown for the much-anticipated Charleston Race Week 2024, which starts in just two weeks, is under way. Sailors are gearing up for an exhilarating competition with entries spanning 16 classes, including a robust turnout in one-design fleets: 41 J/70s, 26 VX Ones, and 16 Melges 24s.

Building upon 2023 and the regatta's first event aboard the USS Yorktown, Charleston Race Week will expand its festivities aboard the historic aircraft carrier at Patriots Point. Participants and guests will enjoy access to the entire vessel, which will be complemented by award-winning Southern Bear Catering, Gosling's cocktails, beer from Westbrook Brewery, and live music. The ship's 280-seat cinema will host daily race debriefs, continuing the event's legacy of camaraderie and learning.

A Pro-Am event is scheduled for Saturday evening, conditions permitting - local high school sailors will get to race with the best in J22s. Ten teams will compete each with one pro on board and two sailors from local Charleston high schools. Professionals include Rod Favela, David Loring, Travis Odenbach, and Zack Clayton, all very talented sailors, knowledgeable teachers, and pillars in the sport. The course will be sailed below the USS Yorktown, and the format short college-style windward leeward races.

The VX One class, in collaboration with Vakaros, will once again harness cutting-edge race sense technology to enhance performance. This same technology will be utilized for the event's Pro-Am, a testament to Charleston Race Week's commitment to innovation and improvement.

"One of Charleston Race Week's goals is to have sailors leave better than they arrived," Randy Draftz, event director commented. "Using Vakaros' technology and data to improve one's performance is a great step in that direction."

The USS Yorktown, welcoming over a thousand visitors daily, is a vibrant hub for the sailing community to engage with new enthusiasts. Charleston's sailing organizations, such as Charleston Community Sailing, Veterans on Deck, and the College of Charleston Sailing, will be present to share insights into the sport. Interactive STEM stations throughout the ship will further promote sailing's educational aspects.

Charleston Race Week's success is bolstered by the generous support of its sponsors, including newcomers Patriots Point, Westbrook Brewery, Evolution Sails, and Revo Sunglasses. Their involvement is invaluable to the event's vibrant spirit.

Competitors Love Charleston Race Week!

Ryan Davidson, from Hermosa Beach, Calif., will again be racing CRW on his VX One SDR. He says, "On a perfect Charleston sea breeze day, with an incoming tide and flat water, this boat rips downwind but the best part at CRW is that all my close friends are sailing alongside me. A beautiful 3 or 4 race day with all my closest friends and coming back to a shoreside party at the USS Yorktown; what more could you ask for! If you have not been to CRW, pack up your boat and head out this way! You will not regret it."

Peter McClennen, from Newport, RI, will be racing his Melges 24 Gamecock: "Charleston is a great venue with the combination of the on-water racing and the city's fun and unique offerings. The racing is complex with the rivers and current, but the best part is the one design nature of our fleet and general level of sailing in the Melges 24. I'm looking forward to CRW, to go out there and focus on the learning and execution."

Testimonials from competitors like Ryan Davidson and Peter McClennen underscore the event's allure. They highlight the exceptional racing conditions, the strong sense of community, and the unique blend of competition and celebration that defines Charleston Race Week.

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