How do you run a regatta with a whopping 246 boats in 16 classes? It requires flawless organization, and a ton of manpower. Those two factors go hand in hand.
Ultimately, the massive success of Sperry Charleston Race Week is due largely to a talented, dedicated army of volunteers. Properly executing an event of this size requires 220 on-water volunteers and another 100 for shoreside duty.
“A regatta this size requires a Herculean effort and we could not do it without such a large contingent of outstanding volunteers,” event director Randy Draftz said. “There are regattas all over the world wondering how we do this. The easy answer is because we have lots of great volunteers.”
Draftz, in his 10th year as event coordinator, conducted a meeting with all the volunteers on Thursday at noon and the large tent on the beach was almost completely full. It was an opportunity for Draftz to thank everyone for their support.
“Obviously, our goal is to keep the racers coming back and the on-water race management along with the onshore hospitality is why they do,” Draftz said. “That is a real credit to the great job done by our volunteers.”
Fleet of 246 boats makes final preparations on eve of Sperry Charleston Race Week
Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina was a bustle of activity on Thursday morning
Competitors in Sperry Charleston Race Week 2018 were hurriedly carrying equipment, sail bags and other gear down to the docks while the various vendors were busily setting up shop.
Event director Randy Draftz and other organizers with Charleston Ocean Racing Association were huddled in a conference room going over last-minute details while volunteers were working furiously to install the infrastructure that transforms the beach area into a thriving party venue.
By mid-afternoon, a large contingent of boats was out on the water testing sails and tuning rigs. Most of the J/70 and Melges 24 fleets conducted a series of practice races mid Charleston Harbor. A significant number of VX One and Flying Tiger 7.5 entries filled the racing area in the Cooper River located closer to the Arthur Ravenel Bridge.
Thursday was all about final preparations and practice in advance of Sperry Charleston Race Week 2018. It will be go time on Friday as 246 boats in 16 classes take to the waters off this historic coastal city during the 23rd edition of this renowned regatta.