29er Worlds: testing conditions on Day 2 of qualifiers
Wednesday, August 2, 2017 11:13 AM
Fluky winds that refused to settle teased sailors and organizers alike, on Day Two of the Zhik 29er World Championship Regatta, hosted by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club.
For nearly two hours, the Alpha Course Race Committee boat – called Patience – and mark set boat – Sunshine – hailed each other incessantly; testing (and hoping for) steady enough wind direction and velocity to start a race. “Patience, Sunshine,” reverberated across the course over VHF, sounding more like words of encouragement than a radio call. And they were, marks and lines were moved, and moved again as races were postponed, started, postponed, recalled, and abandoned.
“You’ve got to be patient,” explained Bruce Golison, PRO on Bravo Course. “You want to have as fair a race as possible: that’s what it’s all about.”
But in waffley weather, how do they decide when to race, and when to postpone? “I still race at an international level so I look at it as a tactician,” said Golison. “If I was racing my J/70, what would I want to see right now? What would the competitors like to see happen? We like to stay in touch with the racer, and be racer-friendly.”
As winds ultimately crystalized and built – up to 10 knots at times – Bravo Course squeezed out three races, while Alpha Course completed two.
Argentina’s team of Santiago Duncan Loias/Elias Dalli climbed a notch to the head of the leaderboard; followed by Benji Daniel/Alex Burger of South Africa; and Neil Marcellini/Ian Brill, USA. New Zealand’s Seb Lardies/Scott McKenzie dipped to fourth place, due to a 27th place finish in Race Four; but are still just 20 points out of first place.
While Alpha Course waited patiently for wind, the team of Tania Bonilla/Nuria Miro were flourishing on Bravo Course’s lighter air. The two-time Spanish Nationals winners struggled a bit in Monday’s heavier winds. “Yesterday there were crazy waves. We’re really good with light winds, so today was better,” said Bonilla. The team placed first in today’s first race and eighth in the third race, but were black flag disqualified in the second race of the day.
These university students, with Olympic dreams, are fighting to be the crowned the best woman’s team at the 29er Worlds “We want to win the girls title: we’re fighting for that,” Bonilla said. However, at 20 and 21, this will be the last regatta for them as a team. So, although they are working hard to be competitive, they are also enjoying the camaraderie and experience at the ABYC.
Unseasonable weather conditions are expected to last through tomorrow. Attributed to a series of tropical depressions rolling across the Pacific, the increased moisture in the air has produced unusually cloudy skies, which slowed the onshore effect of the sea breeze, and threatened thunderstorms and rain.
“These are not typical conditions, but they’re what you’d expect if there’s a hurricane in Mexico,” Golison explained. “Even if it’s 1,000 miles away, we can get the humidity, unstable winds, and big surf and swells.”
The Zhik 29er Worlds are host to 129 competitors from 17 nations. Qualifying races continue tomorrow, August 2, in the waters off Long Beach, beginning at roughly 12PM. Finals will be held Thursday, August 3 through Saturday, August 5, and are scheduled to consist of 10 races.
Trophies will be awarded to the top team overall, the top youth team, and the top girls team.
Alamitos Bay Yacht Club.
ABYC has a world-wide reputation as a premier small boat club dedicated to the development of the sport of sailing, and has hosted roughly 20 world championship events. In 1968 ABYC became the first yacht club in the United States to win the St. Petersburg Yacht Club Trophy: an award presented by US Sailing for excellence in race organization and management. ABYC won the St. Petersburg Yacht Club Trophy again in 1981, and more recently in 2016, for the Laser Mid-Winters West. More than ABYC 100 volunteers will participate during the week-long 29er World Championship event, serving an estimated 5,000 meals to the competitors, their families and coaches.
Zhik, the title sponsor of the event, is an Australian sailing apparel manufacturer known for innovative gear for all aspects of sailing, combining design and style with technical proficiency and style.