Battle tightens at 29er Midwinters West
Published on March 23rd, 2019
Coronado, CA (March 23, 2019) – The second day for the 29er Midwinter West Championship saw South San Diego Bay back to its normal self in many ways. Instead of the 2-6 degree oscillations of Day 1, the breeze today shifted back and forth between 5 and 15 degrees while it made an inconsistent march to the North-West, eventually settling into a great 10-15 knot westerly.
The top 4 teams (3 from Phil Muller’s Miami 2Niner group) again showed their dominance with great positioning at the starts, the ability to sail the boats absolutely flat while generally in foot mode all day, planing through gybes combined with massive speed advantage down-wind.
The story of the day was regular battles between Riley Shipley/ Nicolas Hardy and Stephan (Steff-ahn) Baker/ Oliver Duncan. Ripley showed power and skill while Stephan showed absolute determination and will power. Stephan held the lead in race 2, got passed on the run (Ripley has set the bar here in breeze down-wind) only to cover from behind, keep it close and then “pounce” on last gybe to the finish to beat Ripley at his own game.
Additionally, the other two outstanding teams saw Berta Puig/ Bella Casretto grinding out a bullet in breeze for race 1 (actually they made it look quite easy) and the brother team of Jordan and Grant Janov who are a picture of consistency with all top 5 finishes after some amazing comebacks.
Four teams still have a shot to win this regatta, and depending on tomorrow’s performance, three still have a chance to represent the United States at the Youth World Championship. This event is the final qualifier, and each team’s final overall finishing position will be added to their position at YWQ #1. At end of today it was Stephan (1, 2+ 3 points), Ripley (3+1 =4), Berta (2+3=5).
Ten races are scheduled for March 22-24.
Source: Jon Rogers