Charleston Race Week has quickly become one of the largest Regattas in the US, held annually in mid-April. This year Doyle was well represented, winning both the Viper 640 and Ultimate 20 Classes, and taking a close second in the hotly competitive J/70 Class. The One Design fleets got in eight races over two days before racing was called off prior to start time on Sunday due to high winds. Vipers had 33 boats and J/70 had the largest fleet of 55 boats.
For the second regatta in a row, Brad Boston and his team of Lee Shuckerow & Eric Vigrass sailed Jackpot to a win. The win was impressive considering the regatta featured some serious breeze on Friday. With a 33-boat fleet, the teams worst race was a 5, giving them a close win in a very competitive event. This is now the 4th year in a row that Doyle powered boats have won Charleston Race Week.
In the Ultimate 20 fleet, both BJ Jones and Brad Lawson utilized full Doyle Inventories to take first and second in the class. Doyle began producing Ultimate 20 sails in 2006 and has been successful ever since. Doyle-powered boats have won the U20 class at Charleston Race Week for three years in a row now, in addition to numerous North American and Regional championships.
Friday featured puffy and fresh 10-25 + knot south winds which made for some challenging races. Much of the time the upper level winds were mixing down to the surface with big puffs and full planing conditions. Upwind required heavy air tuning and trim techniques in the big blasts. On Course 2 the left side generally paid off on the windward legs especially near the windward mark. Downwind was more about finding the pressure lanes to stay planing. Getting consistent good starts and having the speed to hold a lane to the favored left side was what paid off. Boats that got flushed to the right off after the start missed the port tack lefties on second half of the beat and the leaders would then get away on the runs.
Saturday featured lighter 7- 15 knots N – NE winds and some big velocity and wind shifts throughout the day. The currents although always a factor were not as critical a play as the shifts and velocity. Although the right pressure would fill in on a few beats on course 2 there was some good lefty pressure on the top of the beat on most legs. Because of the incoming tide the fleet spent a lot of the beat on port tack and once again it paid to be fast and high on the boats nearby and win the one on one battles. The wind lightened gradually during the day which required easing the rig between races.
Jud Smith , Doyle One Design Manager , sailed Peter Duncan’s , J/70 “Relative Obscurity” with team Tom Blackwell, Greg Marie and Quinn Ziatyk to a consistent 2nd place overall with all but one top 4 finish. Tim Healy and his team won the regatta by 2 points. Henry Filter and his team on Wild Thing was 3rd overall.
Peter Vessella and his team placed 9th overall sailing their first regatta with Doyle One Design sails. Michael Glover, with Collin Kirby, Reese Wilkins and Robby Wilkins, sailing their first J/70 regatta on “Lucy”, were the third Corinthian finishers.
Many of the same teams will be racing at Annapolis NOOD in early May.
We have updated the tuning guide and some other notes on the J/70 which can be found here.
Below is a video of Jud Smith and crew leading the fleet around the leeward mark – quite a good feeling in a 55-boat fleet!