Professionals and family racers prepare for sperry top-sider® charleston race week

Professionals and Family Racers Prepare for Sperry Top-Sider® Charleston Race Week

CHARLESTON, SC (April 11, 2012) –America’s largest and fastest growing keelboat regatta, Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week, prepares to welcome more than 2,000 sailors and support staff to Charleston next week.

“More than one hundred volunteers are putting the last pieces in place for another huge year,” said Randy Draftz, Event Director of Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week 2012. “Every year we have to work a little harder to accommodate the growing fleets, and every year, the payoff is entirely worth it.”

While the inshore courses for smaller racing craft have been operating at near capacity for the past two years, Draftz and his fellow organizers are gratified to see the offshore sections for larger yachts continue to grow – both in size and competitiveness. “We’re excited to have 11 offshore racing classes now, including a class of grand-prix racers from 50 to 72 feet,” said Draftz.

He added that the regatta’s new Cruising Class has also provided a huge draw. Thirteen boats already entered. “Charleston has always been known for its hospitality, and that means giving our competitors exactly what they want. In the case of the Cruising Class, that’s a more engaging, cruiser-friendly race course that will feature a pursuit-race format,” he explained.

With more than 90 boats expected to participate on the offshore race courses, there’s excitement all around. One of Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week’s most successful veterans says he’s anxious for some grand-prix level competition. Anson Mulder, the tactician on board Tim Tucker’s Florida Based C&C 115 Rock Star, is the only tactician ever to have won this regatta’s overall trophy, the Palmetto Cup, three times in a row.

“I wasn’t able to participate in Charleston for a few years, but when I came back last year, the level of competition had absolutely skyrocketed,” said Mulder, who was speaking from St. Barths in the West Indies, where he had just won his third Caribbean regatta of the season. Mulder said that Charleston offers the vibe of the big Caribbean regattas, but with bigger crowds and top-quality windward-leeward racing thrown in. “Most well-practiced teams love good windward-leeward courses, and the race committees in Charleston do a great job of setting good courses and getting lots of races in,” he added.

For professional sailors like Mulder, Charleston is the place to be in April. But it’s also the perfect spot for more family-oriented competitors such as Toronto-based Rob and Sandy Butler, who will bring their brand new, 38-foot, all carbon-fiber craft – Carbonado – to town. “We can’t wait to experience Charleston’s offshore courses for the first time,” said Sandy Butler, who has competed in previous editions on the inshore courses. “The McConaghy 38 is going to absolutely love Charleston’s sea breeze, and the bonus is that my son will be sailing with me.”

Riley Butler, who at age 14 will be attending his first Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week this year, shares his parents’ enthusiasm. “Sailing really brings us together, especially when we stay in the RV like we’ll be doing in Charleston. Racing and hanging out together for the entire event really teaches you a lot about the character of your crewmates, and I’m just lucky to have the chance to do it with my family,” he said. Riley is ranked as Canada’s top Laser sailor under 16.

Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week takes place April 19 - April 22 and is open to all monohull sailboats 20 to 80 feet in length. The event is owned and managed by Charleston Ocean Racing Association and is supported by its title sponsor, Sperry Top-Sider, as well as the Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina, Vineyard Vines, and Gosling’s Rum. Additional sponsors include The Town of Mt. Pleasant, Gill, Coral Reef Sailing Apparel, Newport Shipyard, North Sails, South Carolina State Ports Authority, Interlux/Awlgrip, Marlow Ropes, Ltd., and Charleston Community Sailing, along with West Marine, Pierside Boatworks, College of Charleston Community Sailing, Harken Yacht Equipment, Sail Charleston, B&G Simrad, Azalea Moving and Storage, Zip 2 Water, and Lewmar Navtec.

For full scores, photos or additional information regarding the regatta, log on to the event’s website or email