Seabiscuit is overall Palmetto Trophy winner in Charleston

6 May 2022


The start of the USA’s ORC inshore racing season for 2022 was at last week’s Charleston Race Week where two ORC Classes competed among numerous other one designs at the 26th edition of this annual event.

ORC Class D raced on windward/leeward courses within Charleston Harbor, with daily sea breezes bringing tight fast racing on short courses scored mostly in Triple Number Medium conditions. Ten races were held in three days, with US Sailing Race Management expert Matt Hill making his debut as an ORC PRO.

Skipper Kevin McNeil of the Farr 30 Seabiscuit led the team to victory in nine straight races then headed into port before the final start of the series, having a sufficient lead to win. While this scoreline made it look easy, the racing was close among a class composed of Sportboats: another Farr 30, a few Melges 32’s, a Melges 30, and a GP 26. As usual, corrected time margins in ORC scoring were in seconds, and only a few points separated the the next three finishers in the class.

Jonathan Bartlett called tactics for Seabiscuit, with Matt Beck trimming the main, Rich Bowen and Teddy Haaland trimming, and Seth Minninger handled the foredeck, while his wife Ginny Minninger worked the pit.

The team’s performance earned them the coveted Palmetto Trophy, a perpetual award from the Charleston Ocean Racing Association to the best performing team among the ORC-scored entries in the event.

“We had a great group of people on the boat,” McNeil said. "We had a crackerjack crew with everyone doing their job very well to keep the boat going. The boat was very well prepared with quality sails that were tuned right. It was just one of those magical weekends.”

ORC Class B had larger boats sailing two offshore races per day, the first starting in the harbor and the last finishing in the harbor on courses designed to avoid the multiple other race areas for small one-designs, and the constant commercial traffic in this busy port.

David Poston’s XP-44 Polly Esther captured the class with wins in all but two races in conditions that were mostly scored in the Low wind range of Triple Number scoring.




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