Despite forecasts for light and unsteady wind, the first day of the 2012 Melges 24 Gold Cup at Charleston Race Week dawned with a nice 8-10 knot Northerly breeze. It was more than enough for PRO Hank Stuart, who knocked off 4 action-filled races in less than four hours with wind from 8-15 knots. "We're out there trading places with Bora [Gulari] and Alan [Field] the whole day," said Jonny Goldsberry, crew of Brick House 812, the 2011 Charleston champion and winner of two races today. Gulari is one of only two drivers without a double digit finish in today’s racing, though it could have been much worse for the Detroit skipper, 2011 M24 US Champion, and 2012 Key West runaway winner. "Everything was great except for the leg where we were going to the wrong mark," he said.
The day featured typically shifty harbor breeze, though with a more Northerly component than Charleston's typical SE'ly sea breeze. "With the wind coming from so far East, the breeze and current line up fairly well on this course," saidRocksteady tactician Michael Miller. "That makes working the current a bit easier while increasing the penalty for doing things wrong," he said. Rocksteady sits just outside the top ten with 47 points in four races.
America’s Cup Welcomed By Saturday Storm?
Forecasts call for a rare afternoon thunderstorm, though the general outlook is for yet more great breeze in Charleston Harbor. Most models predict somewhere around 15 knots of wind, and if the sun makes an appearance, it could easily build to 20 before a frontal system changes the direction of the breeze.
"We're certainly ready for some real Charleston racing, with pumping sea breeze and ripping current," said Peter Crawford, crew for Guy Mossman. "I think everyone else is too."
The America's Cup will be displayed from 1 PM until the evening. Multimedia "Cupdate" presentations will occur at 1:00 P.M. for the general public, and 6:30 PM for racers or other attendees of the ‘Lowcountry Feast’ beach party on Saturday night. Racing begins at 11 PM Eastern time, and 4 more races are expected. Racing concludes Sunday, and results are available at www.charlestonraceweek.com
Many thanks to the USMCA's Joy Dunigan for the photos.