Spookie no wind

Photo: Dobbs Davis

Charleston, SC – The warm summer-like conditions today in Charleston could not overcome a strong high-pressure ridge hovering over the offshore course area of Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week. So with no wind to set a course race manager Wayne Bretsch had to call it quits after a 3-hour wait, leaving Steve and Heidi Benjamin’s Carkeek HPR 40 Spookie the overall winner in the HPR Class, their second consecutive class victory in this event.

The team’s perfect winning scores throughout the regatta were the result of a year-long concentrated focus on teamwork, boat speed, and practice.

SPOOKIE high five

Photo: Meredith Block

“The boat was really going well this week,” said co-owner and helmsman Steve Benjamin, a multiple World Champion and Olympic Silver Medalist. “We have sailed nearly 100 days in the last year, so the teamwork is very refined and we’ve gotten to know the boat very well, how to shift gears in the conditions, getting the right sail selections, rig set-ups, etc. I think there’s still a little more for us to get in light air, but we certainly felt fast here.”

Spookie is Hull #3 of three Carkeek HPR 40 designs competing this week in Charleston, with the other two filling the remaining positions on the podium: Steven Murray’s Decision took second place and Bill McKinley’s Denali took third. Rounding out the HPR Class was Jim Grundy’s brand-new Carkeek 47 Grundoom.

Benjamin went on to say that having the other 40-foot sisterships was an excellent opportunity for all to tune each other and push the competitive limits so that all would learn. This was shown in part by the finish times getting closer and closer throughout the event.

“What’s great about this design and many other HPR boats is that when you can get out to spend the time to sail you can get to learn the nuances in trim and set-up, and when you get it right the boat rewards you with better and better performance. The process is really fun, which is why is why we’re seeing increasing interest in HPR among the serious performance sailor.”

The next two regattas to use HPR scoring in the US will be on opposite coasts: the American YC Spring Series, held over April 26-27th and May 3-4th on Long Island Sound, and the San Diego Yachting Cup, held over May 2-4 at San Diego YC, with one more Pacific coast event in May being the Phyllis Kleinman Swiftsure Regatta held in San Francisco at the St Francis YC.

For more information, results, videos, and photos from Meredith Block and Karen Ryan, visit www.charlestonraceweek.com.