2016 Charleston Race Week saw planing conditions for Vipers nearly all races.  Photo courtesy Karen Ryan

2016 Charleston Race Week saw planing conditions for Vipers nearly all races. Photo courtesy Karen Ryan

Team Ghost Panda, with Peter Beardsley, his wife Rachel, Jay Rhame, and his fiancée Rachel Daugherty, handily won the 2016 Viper 640 Atlantic Coast Championship. The Championship was sailed as part of the Sperry Charleston Race Week from April 15-17. This is the first Atlantic Coast Championship win for the crew, which sails regularly out of the Larchmont (NY) Yacht Club.

Ghost Panda posted a dominating scoreline, with all firsts and seconds through the first two days. Keeping the Panda crew on its toes was Zeke Horowitz, also from Larchmont Yacht Club and the College of Charleston Yacht Club with Brendan Healy, Katie Gluskin, and Seppie McAdams as crew. Horowitz’s four bullets kept him in the hunt, but a couple of deeper results meant that Ghost Panda only needed to finish within four points of Horowitz in Race 9 on Sunday to avoid needing to sail the final race of the 10-race series. In third was Michelle Lee’s Coming in Hot with College of Charleston coach and Laser ace Mitch Hall at the helm and John Colarusso and Alexis Scott joining Michelle on the rail.

The conditions were perfect for Viper 640s: three days of winds between 15 and 20 knots from the northeast, making for one of the most consistently windy Charleston Race Weeks in recent memory. That being said, with the temperatures in the mid 50s most of the time and the fabled Charleston Harbor current to contend with, this was a true test of sailing skill with planing conditions in play throughout the regatta and, when sailing against the current in the afternoon, made the beats seriously long.

Ghost Panda planing past Fort Sumter

Ghost Panda planing past Fort Sumter

There are some interesting things to note about this Atlantic Coast Championship victory:

  • This was the first time the ACC was won by a crew sailing 4-up
  • This is the first time the ACC was won by a crew including two women
  • This is the first time the ACC was won by an all-Corinthian crew

It should also be noted that SAP, working with CRW and US Sailing, had race tracking transponders on each of the Vipers throughout the weekend. You can see a replay of each race from a bird’s eye view at: https://crw2016.sapsailing.com/gwt/Home.html?#/regatta/races/:eventId=56f62045-de57-4c5e-be6c-a2339d9c9ece&regattaId=CRW%202016%20-%20Viper%20640.

Noted Beardsley after the regatta, “We had really good boatspeed all weekend and it was great to see some new faces mixing it up.  We are very grateful to Zeke Horowitz and Tom Loutrel for their local knowledge and significant efforts to improve the regatta logistics for the Viper fleet, with Tom’s motorboat available for tows, coolers of beer on the dock after racing, launching capability at Charleston Yacht Club, and less crowded docking at the College of Charleston courtesy Commodore Horowitz.  Charleston Race Week has always been fun for us, especially now that the fleet is on Circle 3 far away from Middle Ground, but the improvements make us even more excited to return in future years.”

Full results: http://www.yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=1530
Photos: http://www.photoboatgallery.net/2016-charleston-race-week-photos and http://www.timwilkes.com/portfolios.php?folder=395

Team Ghost Panda with the spoils on the way back to New York.

Team Ghost Panda with the spoils on the way back to New York.