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Just returned home from a fantastic 3 days of sailing from James Island Yacht Club in Charleston SC. Beautiful and historic locations - Ashley and Cooper Rivers confluence, tidal flows, various wind conditions, and very tight challenging competition. My hosts - Jay and Kathy Adams - provided such warm and fun hospitality that it was hard to leave. The great race management team managed to get 12 races in the 3 days of sailing. They were certainly ready to keep going on Sunday after 2 races, but we sailors had had enough. Plenty variety with both windward-leeward and triangle courses. The guys were sailing in spray tops and shorts, while I was mostly fine in full armor wetsuit, kneepads and furry spray top.
James Island YC has a large grassy area for setup, and a very nice sandy/shell beach for launching. After racing, there is a friendly bar - and popcorn! Also a handy covered area with chairs and couches to hang out.
Sailors were treated to a full range of wind conditions - from 8-10 its - to absolutely nuclear gusts. Wait times were well spent visiting and swapping stories, and comparing the different boat setups. Doug Seib even set up his awesome Wave spinnaker for all to see.
The St Simon's Surf Sailors - or as I call them - "the 400's" represented the great state of GA, the FL bunch from Mt Dora area, Doug from OH, and me from TX, and Jay Adams representing the home club - a fun and competitive group.
You know it's windy when the boat is litterally shaking, you can't manage to get the mainsheet pulled in for more that a few seconds, you are waiting desperately for a lull and flatter water to attempt a tack, and you are so far back on the boat going downwind that you are in the guy behind you's lap. Turning downwind from the weather mark was particularly exciting. I witnessed some great saves - especially enjoying Terry Warren's boat doing a beautiful headstand and pirouette, followed by a less graceful crash landing. I understand that Jay Adams also did an impressive headstand as well, but I was afraid to look behind me at the time.
On the last race, Doug's rudder would not lock down, and while giving him plenty of room at the gybe mark - Jay swooped in and turned that advantage into a horizon job. Beautifully done.
Note from Ted: remember to sail the right course - Ted was sailing like a scalded-ass-ape towards the windward mark instead of the finish. Nice of the PRO to ask his intentions so he could come back.
Note from Roland: never put sunscreen anywhere above your eyes.
I managed to measure a bunch of boats, and several sails. Not really sure what the numbers tell us, but they are interesting to see. Numbers will be published on the FWC pages.
Be sure to add the Charleston SC regatta at James Island Yacht Club to your schedule for next year.