With low temperatures hanging around the peninsula, we’re starting to wonder if we’ll ever get to break out the bikinis and daiquiris. Like most of you, we’ve been bundled up and watching our weather app. This past weekend, however, we were fed up and got outside. And what better way to show those rays of sunshine we don’t need them than to go on out on a boat?
Starting last Thursday, Charleston Race Week descended upon our waters. If you happened to go anywhere near the harbor, you may have noticed a preponderance of sailing vessels whipping around. This four-day event is the largest keelboard regatta in the Western Hemisphere, bringing visitors from around the world to our town. We started our Race Week experience on Saturday with an informational harbor cruise. Unseasonably cold and quite blustery, we braved the elements to board the Charleston Explorer to watch the fleets. The captain escorted us around to the courses and told us about the sailboats and races. While we wished we had taken our Dramamine, we learned a few things about tacking and jibing.
Back on dry land, it was time to party with everyone who worked hard on the water that day. Every night of Race Week boasted a different party, one more robust than the next. The fêtes were hosted at the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina’s beach. We made the mistake of not wearing flip-flops and crunched around the soiree with sand in our shoes. Everyone gathered with their crews to discuss the day’s races, relaxing with a beer or one of the many Gosling’s rum drinks offered. The laid-back atmosphere made the evening feel like a summer beach party — even though we were freezing. Dogs named Rudder and Fisher ran about while groups played cornhole or snacked on the grilled offerings. With 35-knot winds forecast for the next day, everyone was taking it easy for the rough seas ahead. While we barely know port from starboard, we could say with certainty that this party was stacked with swaggering sailors, so single ladies take heed and buy tickets for next year’s festivities.
Other than some time on a Sunfish, we have no experience on a sailboat and believe it’s best left to the professionals. That’s why we were glad to board the Schooner Pride on Monday for the Charleston Beer Week Brewmaster’s Boat Cruise. To kick off the Beer Week festivities, guests were treated to samples from Tenth and Blake Beer Company as well as appetizer pairings. The company trade brewer, Ben, told us all about the science behind combining food and beer. He’s basically the Bill Nye of brews, complete with hand-drawn diagrams of molecules, solvents, and other words we haven’t thought about since organic chemistry class. During the lecture, guests gobbled up the first course of bacon-wrapped dates washed down with a Redd’s Apple Ale. Other beers we tasted, like the Leinenkuegal Summer Shandy and the Blue Moon Agave Nectar Ale, were light and refreshing enough to become summer poolside staples.
With the wind whipping around on the boat and couples huddling together, it was difficult to imagine the balmier months ahead, but as more beer was poured, everyone seemed to warm up just fine. The menu for the evening wasn’t very novel (can we agree to ban chicken skewers?), but we were impressed with the ladies serving crab cakes while the boat jostled the rest of us. In the end, stunning sunset views of the harbor had all the guests whipping out their iPhones to share photos with friends on land. A little full and a lot more knowledgeable about beer, we couldn’t think of a better way to end a Monday.
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