Brian Porter’s Full Throttle is the 2018 Melges 24 Sperry Charleston Race Week Champion

Full Throttle USA849 - Karen Ryan

April 15, 2018 - Charleston, S.C., USA - There was an interesting dynamic taking place on the docks of Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina in the morning of last race day. Some of the boats competing in Sperry Charleston Race Week 2018 were getting ready to go racing with sailors pulling on foul weather gear in anticipation of heavy air and rough seas. Meanwhile, a bunch of other boats were in breakdown mode with sailors packing up gear and carrying sails down the dock.

That unique dichotomy was the result of a split decision by event organizers in response to a severe storm that was due to hit Charleston that afternoon. After carefully reviewing weather reports and consulting with overall principal race officer Hank Stuart, event director Randy Draftz decided to conduct racing for certain classes while cancelling the final day of action for others.
Sperry Charleston Race Week organizers announced in the morning that competition in nine of the 10 one-design classes along with ORC C, which is comprised of smaller sportboats including Melges24s. Meanwhile, Stuart and his team elected to allow the two Pursuit Race classes to complete a condensed course out into the Atlantic Ocean and back. Meanwhile, the three classes on Circle 5 (J/105, ORC A, ORC B) came into Charleston Harbor for a windward-leeward course of approximately nautical miles.
Draftz said the main reason for cancelling competition for the smaller boats was concern about the haul out process. Draftz had to consider the possibility of a severe thunderstorm hitting Charleston just as boats were beginning to be lifted out of the water and put onto trailers.
“I’ve been watching the forecast all morning and the breeze is just going to escalate. We could get one race in, but afterward we would have to pull all the boats out of the water,” Draftz said. “It was just not a prudent thing to do. We have 200 boats that have to get hauled out. You have to error on the side of caution. We know it’s coming, we just don’t know exactly when. Better to have cranes pulling boats out now as opposed to 2 or 3 in the afternoon.”
Owners of the 188 boats impacted by the decision were mostly grateful to not risk their equipment in gale-force winds. “I haven’t heard any complaints. No one seems too disappointed,” Draftz commented.
With the entire fleet safely out of the water by early afternoon, the final awards party on the beach at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina was moved up to 3 p.m. Overall winners of Sperry Charleston Race Week 2018 were the J/70 Relative Obscurity and the GP 26 Rattle-n-Rum.
Full Throttle USA849 - Karen Ryan
Brian Porter's Full Throttle USA849 - photo Karen Ryan 
Veteran skipper Brian Porter and the Full Throttle USA849 team excelled in the heavy air conditions on Thursday and Friday en route to victory in the Melges 24 class, second-largest of the regatta with 31 entries. Andy Burdick served as tactician for Porter, who won four of eight races and placed second or third in three others in totaling 11 points – 13 better than Monsoon USA851 (Bruce Ayres, Newport Beach, CA).
Monsoon USA851 - Karen Ryan
Bruce Ayres' Monsoon USA851 - photo Karen Ryan 
“Whenever I come to these regattas my primary goal is to just sail well. I’m real happy with how we performed,” said Porter, who hails from Fontana, WI. “My crew was just flawless and I can’t compliment them strongly enough. My job is really easy when everything goes so smoothly with the boat.”
Porter was particularly happy to have his son as part of the team. RJ Porter, a junior member of the College of Charleston sailing team, helped his father capture Sperry Charleston Race Week for the first time in over a decade.
“Charleston is awfully hard to beat for a big sailing regatta. There is no better venue for food and overall hospitality,” Porter said. “We love this town and it sure was a real fun time.”
War Canoe USA825 - photo ZGN
Mike Goldfarb's War Canoe USA825 - photo CRW / Zerogradinord
Super HOT-TO-TROT Corinthian Chris Field's LEDA USA115 battles it out with Brent McKenzie's EX-KAHN USA575 in sixth and seventh followed by K.c. Shannon’s Shaka USA801 being ninth overall.
Melges 24 Top 5 ( 31 Boats)
1. Full Throttle, Melges 24, Brian Porter , Fontana, WI, USA - 1 -1 -1 -2 -[6] -3 -2 -1 ; 11
2. Monsoon, Melges 24, Bruce Ayres , Newport Beach, CA, USA - [9] -2 -4 -1 -7 -1 -6 -3 ; 24
3. War Canoe, Melges 24, Mike Goldfarb , Seattle, WA, USA - 2 -4 -5 -9 -[11] -2 -1 -2 ; 25
4. Zingara, Melges 24, Richard Reid , Toronto, Ont, CAN - 5 -5 -2 -4 -1 -[17] -8 -5 ; 30
5. Blind Squirrel, Melges 24, John Brown , Philadelphia, PA, USA - 3 -3 -8 -5 -3 -[13] -12 -6 ; 40
LEDA USA115 - photo Karen Ryan
Chris & Vicki Field's Leda USA115 - photo Karen Ryan
Melges 24 Top 3 in Corinthian division
Leda , Melges 24, Chris & Vicki Field , Noank, CT, USA - 6 -7 -3 -7 -[9] -9 -3 -8 ; 43 (6th overall)
2. EX KAHN, Melges 24, Brent McKenzie , Flowery Branch, GA, USA - 4 -9 -6 -8 -[13] -5 -4 -9 ; 45 (7th overall)
3. Shaka, Melges 24, KC Shannon , Fayetteville, GA, USA - 15 -6 -17 -6 -12 -[21] -7 -7 ; 70 (9th overall)
Racing at Sperry Charleston Race Week was held April 13-15, 2018.