Photos: Tom Wilkes / Charleston Race Week

Brisk final day

Last blast at Sperry Charleston Race Week

Sunday April 17th 2016, Author: Dan Dickison, Location: United States

Certain boats seem to thrive in Charleston’s breezy, tide-wrought conditions, and Sperry Charleston Race Week 2016 provided the perfect weather for them. Perennial favorites and past champions battled adversity to rise to the top once again, while new faces joined the podium in several classes.
 
For the third straight day, the wind provided plenty of power for the nearly 250 boats racing out of Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina, and in the biggest and most competitive class – the 67-boat J/70 fleet – 13-year-old Gannon Troutman was poised to wrap up an amazing victory after leading this tough fleet all week. From Mexico City, helmsman Julian Fernandez Neckelmann – the reigning J/70 World Champion – had other ideas. In the final race, he edged out Troutman by a single point, tying the duo at 21 points after nine races  By virtue of Fernandez’s number of first-place finishes, the youngster from Fishing Bay Yacht Club lost the tiebreaker, but neither Troutman nor his parents seemed disappointed at all.


 
“We just tied for first in big breeze against the guy who won this regatta last year, and he’s also the World Champion, with his full world championship crew. We’re feeling pretty good about that,” said Gannon’s proud mom. Neckelmann and his crew not only won their class, but also took home the Charleston Race Week Trophy for the best overall performance in a one-design class.
 
It’s a testament to the level of competition in the fleets that tiebreakers would decide two other titles as well, with the Melges 20 National Championship going to New Jersey’s Russ Lucas’ Shimmer team. They came from behind to catch Daniel Thielman’s California-based Kuai on points with a solid final race. And, the J/24 fleet was just as close as local Charleston skipper Scott McCormick (Giggity) held off a late charge for the second straight year from Aidan Glacken’s NY-based Mental Floss to take the back-to-back class win on equal scores.
 
A back-to-back Sperry Charleston Race Week winner in the Melges 24 Class, Monsoon skipper Bruce Ayres’ had a tough battle with another past champ – Travis Weisleder. This contest also came down to the final race.  “We were tied going in to that race, and about two minutes up the course, we found out we were over early,” said Monsoon trimmer George Peet. We were able to dig back and then hold Travis’ team out just enough to get away cleanly. After that, it was just about keeping them behind us.”  Ayres’ match-racing prowess made him the first back-to-back-to-back winner in the Class as he heads off on a busy campaign to win the Miami Worlds, but he says he’ll be back to defend his title next year on Charleston Harbor.
 
With no end to the brutal wave conditions offshore, Event Director Randy Draftz and his principal race officers decided early in the day to bring the Circle 5 fleet inside the harbor, but where would they go? “It’s tough to find space with 200 boats already racing in the harbor, but with the help of the Harbor Pilots Association and the US Coast Guard, we came up with a solution that seemed to work,” said Draftz.
 
That solution was something never before tried at Sperry Charleston Race Week – a fourth inshore course inside the Wando River.  “We weren’t sure it would work, but thanks to great communication between all the local agencies, every offshore boat got in three good races in perfect conditions in the river,” Draftz added. One offshore racer, Phil Garland who crewed aboard Steve Thurston's second- place J/29 Mighty Puffin, said that sailing north of the Cooper River Bridge was "just like frostbiting in Barrington (Rhode Island, from where the team hails). River sailing with current and tide just like back home – we all thought it was pretty cool.”
 
The decision to move the offshore boats to a safer spot would prove to be fortuitous for one sailor aboard the New York-based J/88 Easy Eights, thanks to quick action, a detailed safety plan, and Charleston Race Week’s long partnership with Roper St. Francis Healthcare doctor Stephen Shapiro. “We got a report of an unconscious sailor and immediately we put our plan into action with an EMT getting on the boat within minutes,” said Dr. Shapiro. He added that the cardiac arrest patient had no pulse and wasn’t breathing before the onboard AED was applied. Within a few minutes, the stricken sailor was conscious and talking, and he was pronounced stable later at the hospital not long afterward.
 
Dr. Shapiro credited the J/88 crew with beginning CPR, getting the sails down, and assisting with the safety boat as the paramedics worked. “Both our safety team and their crew did everything right, and we’re all extremely glad that things turned out for the best,” he said. Despite these heroic efforts, Shapiro was still surprised at the awards ceremony later that day when Draftz called him on stage to present him with the prestigious Jubilee Trophy For Sportsmanship. It was certainly well deserved.
 
Out in the crowd, headsail and spinnaker trimmer Alan Johnson on board John Stevens’ GP26 Sprint 6 out of Grosse Point, Mich., was smiling broadly as he stood on the beach under the brilliant Southern sun. Despite having to overcome a sixth place finish in the first race for not starting properly, the Spring 6 crew finished in third place overall. But Johnson was also celebrating a special occasion: Today was the first day in nearly 20 years that owner Stevens, who is 80 years old, had actually raced. “The guys tell me that he hasn’t been on a boat in that long, but he came on board today and did the runners, and he enjoyed the heck out of it,” said Johnson. “And we even had a little local knowledge by way of College of Charleston freshman Mack Dickson, who was our midbow person. After a tough start, it turned out to be a great regatta for us.  Fun to the end.”
 
Ben Poucher and his Warrior Sailing Team members arrived a little late to the awards party and Poucher was immediately waylaid by a reporter from Charleston’s Post & Courier. The team has been attracting local media attention all weekend, but he didn’t mind it at all, because they were on hand to collect their third-place trophy in the J/22 Class. “We’re all going up on stage,” said Poucher, referring to skipper Sammy Lugo, and crewmembers Scott Ford and David Carras. But he could also have been referring to the crew from the 84-foot Metholius, which sailed in the Pursuit Class non-spinnaker division with a number of military veterans of the Warrior Sailing Program.

“Today turned out to be our best day at the event for both of our crews,” said Poucher. “The guys really jelled and had the boat going well. It’s gratifying to see them do so well.” And gratification is what local sailing organizer Guy Mossman offered when he took the stage at the awards presentation to acknowledge the third place finish by Metholius and her Warrior crew. “The Warrior Sailing Program is such an admirable initiative,” said Mossman to the crowd. “It introduces injured and ill veterans and active service personnel to the sport of sailing.  These are people we should all be grateful to. They make up less than one percent of our population, but they defend this nation all over the world, and allow us all to live free.”


 
Full Results (Top 5 Only)
 

J/80 (One Design - 10 Boats)
1. Courageous, USA1313, Gary Panariello - 1 -1 -1 -[11] -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 ; 8
2. Shenanigans, USA1004, Bill & Shannon Lockwood - 4 -5 -2 -1 -[10] -3 -3 -2 -4 ; 24
3. White Lightnin', USA335, Vince Kalish - 5 -4 -3 -2 -2 -2 -4 -[8] -2 ; 24
4. Cool J, USA1150, Alexander Kraus - 2 -3 -4 -[8] -4 -4 -2 -6 -5 ; 30
5. Mango, USA286, Ken Mangano - 3 -2 -5 -3 -7 -[8] -5 -4 -3 ; 32

J/24 (One Design - 17 Boats)
1. Giggity, USA5237, Scott McCormick - [5] -1 -1 -2 -3 -2 -1 -4 -4 ; 18
2. Mental Floss, USA5257, Aidan Glackin - 1 -3 -2 -4 -1 -[5] -3 -3 -1 ; 18
3. Sea Bags Sailing Team, USA2785, Carter White - 2 -2 -4 -3 -4 -4 -[18] -1 -2 ; 22
4. Velocidad, USA5476, Christopher Stone - 7 -[8] -5 -1 -2 -1 -2 -2 -3 ; 23
5. Bash, USA5277, Ron Medlin, Jr. - 3 -4 -7 -5 -5 -[8] -5 -8 -6 ; 43

J/22 (One Design - 4 Boats)
1. CYC, USA1203, John Mossman - [2] -2 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 ; 8
2. Slippery When Wet, C of C 5, Daniel Lawless - 1 -1 -2 -2 -[5] -5 -4 -2 ; 17
3. Warrior Sailing Team , USA, Sammy Lugo - [4] -3 -4 -4 -2 -3 -2 -3 ; 21
4. Los Tres Bigotes - CofC 1, C of C 6, Dan Reasoner - 3 -[4] -3 -3 -3 -2 -3 -4 ; 21

VX One (One Design - 9 Boats)
1. GiddyUp, USA213, Kevin Gillman - -[2] -2 -2 -1 -1 -1 ; 7
2. VX1, USA187, John Potter - -[3] -3 -1 -2 -2 -2 ; 10
3. Chuck Wagon, USA171, Greg Fisher - -1 -1 -[3] -3 -3 -3 ; 11
4. Victory, USA153, Christian Koppernaes - -[7] -4 -7 -4 -4 -5 ; 24
5. Pablo, USA151, Peter Gamble - -6 -[10] -5 -6 -5 -4 ; 26

GP 26 (ORC - 5 Boats)
1. Rattle 'n' Rum, USA2604, Serhad Ciftci - 1 -1 -1 -1 -3 -1 -1 -1 -[6] ; 10
2. Supra Turbo, USA2610, Peter D'arista - 2 -3 -[4] -2 -1 -3 -3 -3 -1 ; 18
3. Sprint6, USA2608, John Stevens - [6] -4 -2 -4 -2 -2 -2 -2 -2 ; 20
4. Rhumb Punch, USA26007, John and Linda Edwards - 3 -2 -3 -3 -[4] -4 -4 -4 -3 ; 26
5. Pithy, USA2, Kevin Farrar - [6] -5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -6 ; 41

J/70 (One Design - 67 Boats)
1. Flojito Y Cooperando, MEX384, Julian Fernandez Neckelmann - 7 -2 -1 -5 -1 -1 -1 -1 -2 ; 21
2. Pied Piper, USA380, Dan & Gannon Troutman - 3 -1 -4 -3 -3 -2 -1 -1 -3 ; 21
3. team vineyard vines, USA901, John Baxter - 5 -5 -1 -1 -2 -3 -3 -2 -2 ; 24
4. Catapult, USA187, Joel Ronning - -3 -1 -8 -1 -1 -1 -3 -2 -8 ; 28
5. Stampede, USA240, Bruno Pasquinelli - -4 -3 -3 -4 -3 -2 -2 -4 -4 ; 29

Melges 24 (One Design - 29 Boats)
1. Monsoon, USA851, Brucey Ayres - 8 -1 -1 -2 -2 -1 -1 -9 -5 -[17] ; 30
2. Lucky Dog / Gill Race Team, USA848, Travis Weisleder - 2 -4 -2 -3 -14 -2 -3 -1 -3 -[19] ; 34
3. Helly Hansen, USA658, Tim Healy - 7 -2 -3 -[11] -7 -3 -6 -6 -1 -1 ; 36
4. Argo, USA786, Jason Carroll - 3 -8 -[13] -1 -12 -4 -2 -11 -8 -4 ; 53
5. Decorum, USA805, Megan Ratliff - 15 -5 -9 -4 -3 -5 -7 -[16] -6 -5 ; 59

Melges 20 (One Design - 12 Boats)
1. Shimmer, USA8, Russ Lucas - [6] -2 -4 -1 -6 -2 -3 -1 -1 -3 ; 23
2. Kuai, USA7676, Daniel Thielman - 2 -3 -1 -[6] -1 -3 -2 -4 -2 -5 ; 23
3. Character 2.0, CAN229, Justin Quigg - 5 -5 -3 -4 -[13] -1 -1 -13 -3 -1 ; 36
4. Midnight Blue, USA228, Jason Michas - 1 -1 -2 -3 -5 -7 -[10] -2 -9 -8 ; 38
5. Flygfisk, USA225, Tom Kassberg - 4 -6 -7 -7 -2 -6 -[8] -5 -5 -2 ; 44

Viper 640 (One Design - 12 Boats)
1. Ghost Panda, USA222, Peter Beardsley - 1 -1 -2 -2 -2 -1 -2 -1 -3 -[13] ; 15
2. Long-Limbs Lenore, USA172, Zeke Horowitz - [5] -4 -1 -3 -1 -2 -1 -4 -4 -1 ; 21
3. Coming In Hot, USA202, Michelle Lee - 3 -3 -[9] -1 -8 -6 -3 -3 -1 -2 ; 30
4. Choppy Seas , USA221, Thomas Loutrel - 2 -5 -4 -4 -3 -4 -6 -[7] -2 -4 ; 34
5. Blackout Proposal, USA205, Megan Pletsch - 6 -2 -3 -[7] -5 -5 -5 -5 -6 -3 ; 40

J/111 (One Design - 6 Boats)
1. Skeleton Key, USA115, Peter Wagner - 1 -1 -1 -1 ; 4
2. Wooton, USA89, William Smith - 4 -2 -2 -2 ; 10
3. Spaceman Spiff, USA93, Rob Ruhlman - 2 -5 -3 -3 ; 13
4. Perseverance , USA7311, Bennet Greenwald - 5 -3 -4 -4 ; 16
5. Velocity, USA008, Martin Roesch - 3 -4 -6 -5 ; 18

J/88 (One Design - 6 Boats)
1. Deviation, USA24, Iris Vogel - 2 -1 -1 -2 ; 6
2. Touch2Play Racing, CAN56, Rob Butler - 1 -5 -2 -3 ; 11
3. Jazz, USA1, Douglas McKeige - 7 -3 -4 -1 ; 15
4. Wings, USA80, Mike Bruno - 3 -4 -3 -5 ; 15
5. BLUE, USA64, Brian O'Malley - 5 -2 -5 -4 ; 16

PHRF A (PHRF - 7 Boats)
1. Teamwork, USA52939, Robin Team - 1 -2 -3 -3 ; 9
2. Cool Breeze, USA60432, John Cooper - 2 -1 -7 -1 ; 11
3. Dauntless, USA28477, Don Terwilliger - 4 -4 -1 -7 ; 16
4. Orion, USA12282, Paul Milo - 5 -3 -2 -6 ; 16
5. Photon, USA35022, Robert Hibdon - 4 -7 -4 -2 ; 17

PHRF B (PHRF - 10 Boats)
1. Tangent, USA53228, Gerry Taylor - 1 -1 -1 -1 ; 4
2. Moose Down, USA52120, Rick Moore - 3 -6 -2 -3 ; 14
3. RumFront, USA51306, Fred Martschink - 4 -3 -4 -6 ; 17
4. Arrow, USA32864, Willy Schwenzfeier - 2 -4 -7 -7 ; 20
5. Illyria, USA51882, John Keenan - 11 -5 -5 -2 ; 23

PHRF C - Sport (PHRF - 6 Boats)
1. Next , USA36, Ryan Walsh - 1 -2 -1 -1 ; 5
2. Cougar, USA105, College of Charleston - 3 -1 -2 -2 ; 8
3. Farr Yacht Sales Powered by College of Charleston, USA005, Jesse Fielding - 4 -3 -3 -7 ; 17
4. Standard Deviation, USA006, William Markel - 6 -4 -4 -3 ; 17
5. Red, GBR007, Peter Sulick - 2 -7 -7 -7 ; 23

PHRF D (PHRF - 5 Boats)
1. Mighty Puffin, USA269, Steve Thurston - 1 -2 -1 -2 ; 6
2. Sole Vento, USA172, Adrian Cain - 3 -1 -2 -1 ; 7
3. Old School, USA108, Paul Jacques - 2 -3 -4 -3 ; 12
4. FOGDOG, USA83472, Andrew Guhl - 6 -4 -3 -4 ; 17
5. Project Mayhem, USA97921, Steve Young - 4 -6 -6 -6 ; 22

Pursuit Race - Spinnaker 1 (One Design - 5 Boats)
1. Triple Lindy, USA93310, Joseph Mele - 1 -1 ; 2
2. Traveller, USA60793, Bjorn Kronquist - 3 -2 ; 5
3. Emocean, USA37120, Bill Hanckel - 2 -3 ; 5
4. Azura, USA60454, Jamie Walker - 4 -5 ; 9
5. Sceptre, USA28693, Bob Musor - 6 -4 ; 10

Pursuit Race - Spinnaker 2 (One Design - 8 Boats)
1. Indigo, USA184, Elliott Dodds - 1 -2 ; 3
2. Quintette, USA32838, Kenneth King - 3 -1 ; 4
3. Naut-on-Call, USA51977, Eddie Evans - 4 -3 ; 7
4. Audacious, USA151, Robert Key - 2 -9 ; 11
5. Alexandria, USA60349, Joseph Hanna - 7 -4 ; 11

Pursuit Race - Non-Spinnaker (One Design - 18 Boats)
1. Peregrine, USA60451, Timothy Vienneau - 2 -1 ; 3
2. Kestrel, USA32174, Scott Sorenson - 4 -4 ; 8
3. Metolius , WSP, Warrior Sailing WSP - 7 -2 ; 9
4. Destiny, USA213, Scott Strother - 3 -6 ; 9
5. Bliss, USA12, Randy Brooks - 10 -3 ; 13

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