CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — Friday is the first day of Charleston Race Week, the country’s biggest sailing regatta. But some of Friday’s events were canceled due to inclement weather. It was windy, rainy, and cold in the Charleston Harbor, so some of the conditions are an issue for some of the offshore sailing.
Anthony Villalobos, who is part of the Wounded Warrior Sailing Team, says, “I was super bummed. I want to be on the water. I came down here to be on the water and to sit on the dock is not fun.”
Some of the smaller boats that stick to the harbor were still able to compete on Friday, but the Wounded Warrior Sailing Team is competing on a boat that goes offshore where the waves were higher. They are on the biggest boat in the competition, the 84 foot Metolius.
Anthony Radetic, with Wounded Warrior Sailing Team, says, “You go a lot faster in the bigger boat, and you can go tackle bigger waves, and it’s more of a team effort in a bigger boat. It takes a lot of communication and a lot of skill to operate such a big boat.”
It is the first large regatta for many of these wounded veterans and they say sailing is where their injuries don’t exist.
One of the Wounded Warrior sailors, Matthew Cosmas, says, “The water and the wind is the equalizer. So if I was running a race, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with someone that was non-disabled, but when it comes to sailing, it equalizes.”
The team was able to get their boat on the water for a little practice on Friday, and says over the weekend, they will be prepared to take home the gold.
Villalobos says, “Have fun, enjoy ourselves, that’s the main part we’re here for, and obviously to take a trophy home for the Warrior Sailing Program.”
Charleston Race Week continues on Saturday and Sunday, April 16th and 17th.