Mount Pleasant Magazine March/April 2024

32 | | of the race week on Mount Pleasant and our greater community.” As a lifelong sailor who has participated in Charleston Race Week on numerous occasions, prior head of the South Carolina Maritime Foundation and former sailing reporter and writer for the Post and Courier, Haynie’s connections to the event run deep. “It’s important that the whole Mount Pleasant community understand what Charleston Race Week is,” stated Haynie. “It’s an international event. So it’s a very good thing for Mount Pleasant, for Charleston Race Week and for our cultural heritage to sailing in Mount Pleasant.” Haynie, who also serves on the board of Patriots Point, said the town supports the race through some of its accommodations tax funds, as well as through providing first responder assistance and logistical planning for issues such as parking. “This doesn’t just happen. People don’t just show up in sail boats and start sailing. There’s a lot that goes into this.” A REGATTA LIKE NO OTHER Last year, nearly 200 different boats competed in Charleston Race Week across 17 different classes (17 different styles of boats over six courses), according to Draftz. “It’s very unusual. Most events will have maybe three courses. We have six.” While the race festivities are great, Draftz said it’s the quality of the racing that sets the event apart. “We provide some of the top race management in the country. And internationally as well. So that’s built our reputation.” Despite the name, the race is currently held over four days, though in its formative years it was a week-long event. In 2005, the event was brought to Mount Pleasant. Peak participation was in 2017, with 287 boats in the water. There were over 300 boats scheduled to attend in 2020 before COVID-19 canceled the regatta. In 2021, the first year back from the pandemic, they hosted about 185 boats, a number which has stayed consistent in recent years. Race Week’s economic impact includes an uptick in spending on lodging, restaurants, boat yards, marine retail stores, liquor stores and more. “It has a huge impact on the area,” maintained Draftz. “We probably have 1,500 sailors. We have 200 race committees that are out on the water. And we have another 125 people who are shoreside volunteers. And then you add their families and friends that come along to Charleston for the regatta and the tourism factor, it’s a big number.” Draftz attributes the continued success of Race Week to constant efforts at improving the event. “We do not rest on our laurels. We are always trying to look at ways to grow.” Draftz added, “The ethos of the event — yes, it’s sailboat racing. But it’s more about just growing the sport. The awareness of the sport and getting more people into the sport. And that’s going to be something that’s very significant by having the Yorktown because that’s going to allow us to get the general public involved in the sport. It’s an incredible opportunity for us.” Race headquarters will be anchored in a central location on Charleston Harbor in Mount Pleasant and will feature more than 200,000 square feet of race viewing, event and sponsor exhibition space. our town For more information, visit