Multiple defending champions highlight 2022 Charleston Race Week
April 28, 2022 - Charleston, SC, USA - by Bill Wagner - There was a whirlwind of activity on the docks of Charleston Harbor Marina and Resort on Thursday morning. Some crew members were hauling sail bags while others were busily rigging sailboats. Race committee members were carrying flags and pulling dock carts filled with buoys. Across the Cooper River, smaller boats such as the Melges 24 and VX One were being launched in assembly line fashion.
The 2022 Charleston Race Week (CRW) got under way Thursday with most competitors getting out on the water for tune-up and testing. Organizers conducted an abbreviated practice session that featured multiple starts to give teams an opportunity to shake off the rust.
A typically large fleet of boats in 13 classes is all set for racing, being held Friday through Sunday on six different racing circles. Click here for entry list.
Melges 24 and VX One Classes - There are returning champions for two other high-profile classes - Travis Weisleder in Melges 24 and Doug Clark in VX One.
Weisleder won three races and finished second or third in most and fourth others posting an impressive victory in a 33-boat fleet at the 2021 Charleston Race Week. The Richmond, Virginia resident will once again have Mark Mendelblatt and John Bowden aboard Lucky Dog as tactician and trimmer.
Harry Melges IV, the 2021 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, figures to provide stiff competition as the Melges 24 class prepares for its 2022 World Championship next month in Fort Lauderdale, F.L.
Clark nipped rival Christopher Alexander by tiebreaker last year in Charleston, winning the 10th and final race to determine the outcome. Both are back to do battle again this spring in VX One class, which is the second largest of the regatta.
Michelle Warner and her Tudo Bem team took third last year after winning VX One class at Charleston Race Week in 2019. Other top contenders figure to be SDR (Jack Jorgenson), Magic Bus (Jerry Callahan), Another Bad Idea (Mark Liebel) and Blue Lobster (Iam Maccini), among others.
"I think the fleet is going to be even more competitive this year. This class just continues to get deeper and tougher with all sorts of talented sailors coming in, which is exciting," said Clark, who has been Director of Sailing at the Coast Guard Academy for 17 years.
Clark bought a new boat over the winter and said he still hasn't figured it out. He will also be without a key crew member from last year as Rod Favela is skippering his own entry (Angry Baboon).
For more information visit www.charlestonraceweek.com