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Qualifying complete at Zhik 29ers Worlds: Racers advance

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Qualifying complete at Zhik 29ers Worlds
Qualifying complete at Zhik 29ers Worlds

Day Three of the Zhik 29er World Championship regatta got underway late today:as the Alpha Course fleet struggled in capricious breeze to complete Race Six which was abandoned late Tuesday.


The delay was an added challenge on an already tricky, tight day. Light and unstable wind conditions continued to plague the event, but the Qualifying Series wrapped up with a total of nine races.

The fickle breeze did not stop Annabelle Davies/Madison Woodward, AUS, from getting their first bullet and finishing the Qualifiers as the top female team; with Tania Bonilla/Nuria Miro, ESP, second.

A lively international field continued to dominate the fleet, with Duncan Loiaz/Elias Dalli, ARG, maintaining a grip on first place, holding off a challenge by Theo Revil/Gautier Guevel, FRA, and Benji Daniel/Alex Burger, RSA, close astern. Francesco Kayrouz/Jackson Keon, NZL, finished fifth.

If there had been any expectation the US teams would have a huge local knowledge advantage, that was shot down by abnormal weather conditions, brought on by storms off Mexico. Neil Marcellini/Ian Brill, USA, edged in at fourth in the Qualifying Series, with Nicolas Martin/Damian Saponara, ninth.

The top 50 teams will advance to compete in the Gold fleet of the Finals August 3 through 5. The second 40 teams will move to Silver, and the balance to Bronze.

One hundred and twenty nine teams from 17 nations are participating in the six-day World Championship event hosted by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club. Competitors’ average age is estimated to be 16; with a few barely in their teens, like Ireland’s wee Lola Kohl (racing with Johnny Durcan).

But one couple touts a combined age of 75. Jaclyn Manrique and Patrick Szeto, of California’s Sequoia Yacht Club, have a lot less experience than their younger rivals, but plenty of gumption. They’ve been sailing the 29er just a few months, and finished the Qualifying Series at the bottom of the leaderboard.

“Dead last,” Szeto joked, but with a smile. Their goal was to learn, and they have: logging their best finish of the series – 51 – Wednesday. It didn’t get them into the Gold fleet, but they did meet many helpful racers, coaches and parents, they said, on their 29er quest.

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