Skidaway Island Boating Club and Yacht Club of Hilton Head Island host Annual Hook Ocean Race

Competitors in the Low Country Hook Ocean Race ride high on the approach to the finish line at Landings Harbor Marina.

There are arguably few better places for boating than the Lowcountry of South Carolina and Georgia, and it has been a popular spot for sailing for generations. 

On Sept. 18, Skidaway Island Boating Club and the Yacht Club of Hilton Head Island will host the Sixth Annual Hook Ocean Race. 

Founded in 2015, Skidaway Island Boating Club was formed to promote boating and the recreational use of the Skidaway Island waterfront. 

The club has grown quickly, including power and sail boaters from both harbors at The Landings, kayakers, canoe owners, fishing enthusiasts, and non-boat owners who simply enjoy island life. 

The Hook Race is the only open ocean water sailing event in the Lowcountry. While many area boat clubs host annual regattas in inland waterways, the Hook offers the opportunity to compete in open ocean waters for several hours which historically was a large part of sailboat racing. 

“Despite the ongoing challenging times we are all facing, we are pleased to be holding the Hook Race again this year, bringing together our regional sailing community for an exciting day on the water, and bringing attention to the great coastal resources and the waterfront activities that we enjoy here year-round,” noted Doug Powelson, Race Chair.

Due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, this year’s event will be modified to reduce risk to competitors, volunteers, and staff—it will not include a Welcome Party which is traditionally hosted by YCHHI the night before the race. 

However, the captains’ meeting will be held in-person at Harbour Town Yacht Basin on Hilton Head Island Friday evening. There will be no awards dinner following the race, but Landings residents are welcome to gather at the marina to watch the finish. Yachts will enter the competition in one of three classes, Cruising, Spinnaker, and Non-Spinnaker (spinnakers are the large colorful balloon-like sails extending in front of a sailing vessel). 

The race is open to sailboats larger than 22 feet. A published handicap system will be used to adjust the entrants to equivalent times so both large and small sailboats will be competing fairly.

The first racing group will launch at 10 a.m. in Calibogue Sound off Hilton Head Island, head south past Tybee Island, and then head up Wassaw Sound to end at Landings Marina on Skidaway Island. 

Depending on winds, it will take about six hours for the fleet to reach Wassaw Sound and finish. SIBC’s “signature event” offers sailors a unique experience with a course that resembles a large hook, hence the name.

For more information on the race and to register, visit regattanetwork.com/event/20203

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