Waiting Game at 29er Worlds
Published on August 1st, 2017
Long Beach, CA (August 1, 2017) – Fluky winds that refused to settle teased sailors and organizers alike on the second day 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 now top the leaderboard.
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.
Racing in this 17th annual championship event is scheduled from July 31 to August 5.
Note: This story has been updated after the race organizers incorrectly posted results without discard.
Source: 29er Worlds