Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Charleston Prepares for around Alone, Festival

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Charleston Prepares for around Alone, Festival

Article excerpt

The city of Charleston, S.C., is gearing up for the biggest

sailing event in the nation, at least until and if The America's

Cup ever comes back up from Down Under.

The 1998-99 Around Alone singlehanded around-the-world race,

known in its last running in 1994-95 as The BOC Challenge, is

set to leave the city for the second time in the event's 16-year

history at noon on Sept. 26.

Jacksonville almost landed the race five years ago when the

then-sponsoring British Oxygen Corp. moved the event from its

previous starting point at Newport, R.I., and made the final

four but lost the affair to Charleston.

Area boaters can still travel to South Carolina for the

starting festival, much as they do to the Fort Lauderdale stop

on the other around-the-world classic, the Whitbread.

But they better make plans now, especially to take boats up for

the show.

"The Coast Guard estimated that at the 1994 start there were

1,000 boats at the starting line," said Jeanne Aichele of the

Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"We have also contracted with a charter company to have five

charter vessels with room for up to 250 passengers each to cover

the start."

Hotel space for visitors might be a problem for late arrivals.

"September is busy in Charleston anyway," Aichele said. "Hotels

haven't actually set aside blocks of rooms for the Around Alone

race, but some have special rates if you mention that you're

coming for the start."

The start of the BOC in 1994 was a rather thrown-together

affair, with the 20 competing boats staging out of a temporary

marina on the Cooper River, on the east side of the peninsula

near Charleston's famous Battery.

Now, Aichele said, a new home for the three-day Charleston

Maritime Festival is open with a permanent marina. …

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