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      Race Week sails into Charleston Harbor

      MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV)-- Top skippers and sailors from around the world will descend on Charleston Harbor this weekend for Race Week 2011 - A three day regatta the promises to fill the sales of local businesses.

      While the waters remained calm Thursday, the forecast calls for sunshine, favorable winds and fierce competition.

      The waters of the picturesque harbor may seem calm, but this weekend it plays host to high winds and FIERCE competition.

      "It's a great ride and getting down here its all about the competition," Ian Coleman, member of the U.S. sailing team said.

      The Charleston Harbor Marina and resort was full of activity as organizers and crews prepared for what is considered one of the premiere sailing races in the country.

      "The energy is fantastic everybody is here, everybody is in a good mood. The weather is great. They are here to have fun, its a perfect venue for this event," Harbor Master Stan Jones said.

      As the man in charge of the largest marina in the southeast, Jones is hard at work gearing up and positioning some of the fastest boasts and most talented sailing crews in the world.

      All the activity is a welcome sign, as the marine industry tries to recover from the several years of recession when many boaters gave up their piece of floating luxury.

      "We've all taken a hit during this economic climate so to have and host an event like this is beneficial. Jones said. It breathes new life into the area and its gets people out enjoying their boats."

      Ben Ceasare hauled his schooner from Annapolis, Maryland to face-off against the best in the world.

      "The harbor is a fantastic venue. He said. "its 75 degrees, its going to blow 20 (knots) this weekend ,its perfect!"

      Race Officials expect 270 teams to compete over the three day race which in turn is slated to pump millions of dollars into the Lowcountry.

      Retailers spent much of the day setting up booths selling everything from tools to tee-shirts and expect smooth sailing and big sales over the run of the regatta.

      "For the local vendors and restaurants and motels and the marinas it's tremendous," Coral Reef Sailing Apparel representative George Cannon said.

      "We're already having people come in looking for product, primarily sailors but some of their family and friends, Gill North American Representative Lance Jones said. "They get interested in purchasing as well."

      Racing Begins Friday and will continue through Sunday.

      Listed Below is a full Schedule of Race Week Events.

      2011 Event Schedule

      April 14, 2011

      1200-1700 Registration
      1700-1800 Skippers' Meeting (Pavilion
      1800-1830 Chalk Talk (Pavilion)
      1800-2100 Opening Beach Party

      April 15, 2011

      0800 Harbor Start for offshore courses
      1000 Offshore (Circles 3&4) first warning signal
      1100 Inshore (Circles 0,1&2) first warning signal
      1600-2100 Bocci Ball & Cornhole Tournaments
      1800-2100 Beach Party

      April 16, 2011

      0800 Harbor Start for offshore courses
      1000 Offshore (Circles 3&4) first warning signal
      1100 Inshore (Circles 0,1&2) first warning signal
      1600-2100 Bocci Ball & Cornhole Tournaments
      1800-2100 Beach Party

      April 17, 2011


      0800 Harbor Start for offshore courses
      1000 Offshore (Circles 3&4) first warning signal
      1100 Inshore (Circles 0,1&2)
      1400-1800 Beach Party
      1600-1800 Awards Ceremony

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