'We're gratified to know that word is spreading about the wonderful hospitality Charleston offers, and the high calibre of competition that underscores this unique event,' said Brad VAN LIEW, Event Director and the Executive Director of the South Carolina Maritime Heritage Foundation, the organization that is managing the regatta. 'Having international competitors in the mix seems a fitting way for Charleston Race Week to enter its second decade of existence.' The event first took place in 1995.
Meteoric growth is becoming a hallmark of this early April regatta. Just three years ago, the event attracted fewer than 90 boats. In 2004, 94 boats competed, in 2005 that number surged to 143. For 2006, more than 150 entrants are expected to materialize. Among those boats will be entries from as far afield as Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York, New Hampshire, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.
Several years ago, explained VAN LIEW, the officers of the Charleston Ocean Racing Association began instituting a number of incentives as a means of ensuring increased participation in Race Week, particularly among boats from outside Charleston. Free dockage was offered for early registrants, as well as free trailer storage for out of town boats, and those policies continue today. In addition, registration fees are set at an affordable level to encourage a broad range of participation. The growth that has resulted in part from these measures has given Charleston Race Week a unique character.
'This regatta attracts some of the top competitors in the southeast,' added VAN LIEW, 'And it can be very challenging on the water with the strong tides we have. But you'll also find sailors here who are just out for some fun sailboat racing, no matter the outcome. We've got sailors of all stripes. You see that on the water as well as on shore at the great parties we orchestrate. It's true southern hospitality at its best.'
Charleston Race Week presented by Seabrook Island is open to all keel sailboats from 22 to 60 feet. The event begins on 6 April and runs through until 9 April at the Charleston Harbour Resort and Marina. The regatta is also sponsored by Raymarine, the Charleston Harbour Resort and Marina, Ginn Clubs and Resorts, Gosling's Black Seal Rum, Bauer International, Inc., Hall Marine, O'Malley Avant, LLC, Charleston Boat Works, West Marine, and Latis Yachting Solutions, as well other Charleston based businesses.