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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.

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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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