Tag Archives: 29er

2018 29er National Championships

Eric Lyall and Andrew Moreno win 2018 US 29er National Championships

Racing at the 2018 US 29er National Championships (hosted by Community Boating Center, Inc of New Bedford, MA) concluded with 4 solid races in excellent skiff racing conditions – a welcome change from the loss of racing the previous day due to a storm passing thru the region. Eric Lyall and Andrew Moreno (Vancouver, BC) comfortably bested the fleet in the 8 race series with 5 first place and 2 second place finishes. Their success follows a number of excellent performances in the class – previously honored by being selected as Sail Canada’s Sailor of the Month for April of 2017.

Peter Joslin (San Diego, CA) and Scott Mais (Newport Beach, CA) were the top finishing all-US team and are this year’s US 29er Class Association Champions.

Also recognized were the top all female team of Brooke Shachoy and Jana Laurendeau and the top Junior team of Galen Richardson and Jake Adair (CAN) – who finished second overall.

For results and official postings, please visit the 2018 US 29er National Championships website.

Long Beach’s Roxy (l) and Charley (r) Snyder made the trip out to New Bedford to compete in this event.

Please visit the 29er North American Facebook page for photos and videos. Click here.

For those looking to next summer’s racing, the US 29er Class Association announced that the 2019 US Nationals will be held at The Gorge (www.cgra.org) July 12-14, 2019.

Note: Your SCSN Editor attended this event as a Race Committee member and was very impressed with the maturity level and spirit of the young competitors.

Lost and Found Files: 29er Sail

SCSN received an inquiry today through the website: “I found a sail on the interstate with the sail #1413 29er class. I am trying to locate the owner.”

If this is your sail or you know who it belongs to, message me through the website.  I will put you in contact with the finder.

Editor’s Note: Thank you for those who checked in – Problem Solved!!


2017 29er Worlds Friday Recap

Wind and Expectations Mount, as “Make-it or Break-it Day” 
Looms At Zhik 29er Worlds

LONG BEACH, Calif., August 4, 2017 – Bolstered by better breeze, with steady winds of 12 to 16 knots, the team of Benji Daniel, 16, and Alex Burger, 21, RSA, widened their lead to place a firm grip on first place in the 29er World Championship regatta.


One-hundred-twenty-nine teams from around the globe are competing in the six-day event, hosted by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, which concludes tomorrow, August 5.

Daniel and Burger said they came to the championship regatta with the goal of simply doing their best. But after another solid day of racing – consistently placing in the top five throughout the finals – it just occurred to them that they could win this thing.

Despite sailing the 29er together for only four months, the young men trained specifically for this competition, purposely sailing in mixed conditions. Training in the waters off both Durban and Cape Town, the boys’ hometowns, respectively, has prepared them well. Despite the series starting with unusual conditions for Long Beach, Burger reports that sailing conditions in South Africa are even more variable.

They also attributed their success to their height. It’s a massive advantage, they said. Both young men are tall and lean, giving them more leverage. “We also complement each other as a team, not only physically in size, but in making smart decisions,” said Burger.

Daniel, at the helm, is responsible for making sure the boat is going top speed all the time. “Whoever sails the shortest distance at the highest velocity, wins,” Burger said, adding with a smile, “speed makes you look clever.”

Daniel directs them along shortest route but credit he said goes to both team members for sharing responsibilities half and half on the boat – tactics and implementation.
Despite doing really well, the pair say that goal has not changed: do their best. “Our attitude will be the same ‘til the last race,” Burger said.

Although they started the day with a 1-2-1, Duncan Loiaz/Elias Dalli, ARG, made a valiant effort of reclaiming first place, but a 12th place finish in the last race left them in second, with the two French teams hot on their derrières. Seb Lardies/Scott McKenzie, NZL, dropped from a tie for third, to fifth. The top US team of Toppa/Rosenberg slid to 12th.

Next Gen Takes the Helm

For nearly two decades, the 29er has been a popular junior class; considered a stepping stone to higher level racing, and a favored platform for the progeny of sailing greats, cutting their teeth. The 29er Worlds fleet at ABYC is no exception, sprinkled with promising sailing stock: like Harry and Harriet.

Harry Melges’ great-grandfather started the Melges Boat empire, which continued to grow with the successes of Harry’s grandfather Buddy, and Dad. “I’ve been around sailing my whole life, going to every regatta,” says Melges, 16, who grew up in Lake Geneva, Wisc., and is racing with Finn Rowe. Despite family fame, Melges says there’s, “no pressure. I’m doing this for myself.” Fairly new to the 29er, finishing 21st in the Gold fleet today, he said, “This is the most competitive event I’ve sailed in yet. And the venue is awesome.”

Reared with another yachting legacy, Harriet “Hattie” Rogers last name is synonymous with yacht design; from the Contessa line created by her grandfather, to round-the-world racers designed by her father Simon.

“I’ve been sailing since I was an infant: I didn’t have much of a choice! But I loved it from day one,” said Rogers, 17. As for her father, she continued, “He’s been out a lot this week, watching. On the water I see him more as a coach and team manager. He’s got so much experience, and is such a good sailor, I learn a lot from him. I kind of soak it all up.”

“It’s been a really good regatta,” added Rogers, who is racing with Emily Covell, daughter of Olympic medalist Mark Covell; but with a nod to regular crew and training partner Eve Townsend. “The quality of the fleet here is really high – I just made it into the Gold fleet,” she admitted, finishing 49th in Qualifying. They finished in 47th place at the penultimate day of Finals. “And the race committee has done a good job getting races in, in tricky conditions, and I’d like to say thank you to them.”

All That Glitters is Not Gold

At the top of the Silver Fleet, Morgan Pinckney /Michael Sabourin of Newport Beach, Calif. are in tight clash with the Kiwis.

“There are some really good sailors in the Silver Fleet,” Pinckney stressed, attributing that to several teams who got Black Flag Disqualified in the Qualifying Series, bumping them down the ranks. “It’s really close, and the starts are really gnarly. You’ve got a boat five feet above you, a boat five feet below you, and you’ve just got to find a hole. Everyone has good speed; it’s all about having good tactics.” They sit two points behind Craig Keenan/Reece Caulfield, in second; with Ben Peterson/Sean Paterson in the lead at 93 points.

In the Bronze Fleet, Brazilians Lorenzo Bernd/Philipp Rump are poised in first, with three bullets under their belt in Finals, so far.

It’s not just about race results, noted New Zealand Coach Matt Thomas. “Our focus is to help the racers set goals, follow the process and learn to solve problems independently, without coaches or anyone else.” Despite some good-spirited ribbing from competitors stopping by the coach boat, Thomas maintains that it’s all about learning, “They are all kids, at the end of the day.” But at the same time, the teams are still keen to do well and win.

Racing continues Saturday August 5, commencing around noon until roughly 3:30PM. Three races are expected tomorrow, with favorable conditions forecast. A prize-giving, ceremony and celebration will follow at host ABYC.

Alamitos Bay Yacht Club

ABYC was founded in the mid-1920s, and expanded in the years following WWII. In 1968, the Club was the first US recipient of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club Trophy: an award presented by US Sailing for excellence in race organization and management. ABYC was recognized again in 1981 and 2016 and maintains a world-wide reputation as a premier small boat club dedicated to the development of the sport of sailing. ABYC is located at 7201 E Ocean Blvd, Long Beach.

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.

Cover Photo Credit: Matias  Capizzano

2017 29er Worlds Qualifiers Final Recap

LONG BEACH, Calif., August 2, 2017 – 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.

Race Results

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.

It Takes a Village 
Regatta Chair Ed Spotskey said the seeds were planted three years ago, to host the 29er Worlds at ABYC, saying the club’s stature and PRO Mark Townsend’s reputation is why they were chosen. “But the nitty-gritty work kicked in around March,” Spotskey explained. While ABYC has a total membership of 400, over 150 signed up to volunteer. “That’s a solid 50-percent of our active members,” he pointed out. “All excited to be a part of it.”

And they were put to the task, as 260 sailors, 47 coaches, parents, supporters, race committee staff and more – plus containers of boats and equipment – began arriving at the bayfront facility. “Racing didn’t start until July 25, but teams and their equipment started arriving July 5! We weren’t staffed for that, that early; but everyone stepped up. The volunteers came forward, it was very rewarding.”

Spotskey said his team also learned a lot by running the 29er Nationals the week prior. “What we thought was going to happen, and what really happened, were two different things. Anything that wasn’t working, we fixed. It was a great learning process and everybody, regardless of whether they were Race Committee, ABYC staff, Food and Beverage, or what – everyone was glad we had that event first, so we could be properly prepared for the Worlds. There’s a lot of great teamwork taking place out there on the water, but I’m proud of the teamwork that’s taking place here too.”

Clear Skies Ahead
“Classic Long Beach conditions” are expected to return for the balance of the week, bolstering competition in the Finals. Clear, blue skies are forecast to bring steadier, stronger wind, as inland sun and temperatures stimulate the sea breeze.

With improved conditions, and a clean slate – scoring is scratched and competitors start anew –the 29er World Championship Title is still up for grabs.

Racing continues on the waters off Alamitos Bay, beginning at noon daily. Prize giving and closing ceremony is slated for Saturday evening, on the grounds of ABYC.

Alamitos Bay Yacht Club
ABYC was founded in the mid-1920s, and expanded in the years following WWII. In 1968, the Club was the first US recipient of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club Trophy: an award presented by US Sailing for excellence in race organization and management. ABYC was recognized again in 1981 and 2016 and maintains a world-wide reputation as a premier small boat club dedicated to the development of the sport of sailing. ABYC is located at 7201 E Ocean Blvd, Long Beach.

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.

*Results pending protests. For further details and complete results please visit www.29erworlds.org.

2017 29er World Championships Day 2 Recap

“Patience, Sunshine.”
Testing conditions for racers and organizers on Day Two

LONG BEACH, Calif., August 1, 2017 – 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.
For further details and complete results please visit www.29erworlds.org.

2017 29er Worlds Day 1 Recap

One regatta, two courses, two different experiences
29er World Championship Day 1

LONG BEACH, Calif., July 31, 2017 – Day one of the 29er World Championship, hosted by Alamitos Yacht Club, started a bit like A Tale of Two Cities. Although just a mile apart, the Bravo Course, closer to Seal Beach Pier, saw shifty and variable winds resulting in starting line drama; while the Alpha Course, nearer Alamitos Bay, enjoyed steady, building breeze; and most starts went off without a hitch.
Competitors in this 17th annual championship event were split into two groups, and each completed three races. Racing on the Bravo Course was initially postponed due to oscillating, light winds that made it challenging even for the skilled Race Committee to establish the line and marks. With fickle winds, OCS were rampant, leading to black flags. By the final race of the day, 20 teams had disqualifications due to premature starts. “The fleet was pushing really hard, we were anxious to get racing,” explained Wells Drayton, racing with Lucas Pierce of Santa Barbara.
“What struck me was that the two courses were like two different worlds,” said ABYC’s Commodore Chuck Clay. “The two courses were only a mile apart, but the sailors experienced such different conditions, wind and racing. The kids did really great; my hat’s off to these athletes.”
Executive director of the 29er Class, Jerelyn Biehl, concurred, saying, “the event is off to a great start with epic race conditions and a stellar race committee!”
One hundred thirty-one teams from around the globe are competing in the six-day event, at ABYC. Many of the teams – including foreign competitors from Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Canada, France, Spain, Brazil, the US Virgin Islands, Germany, Poland, Argentina and Hong Kong, in addition to representatives from Ireland, Czechoslovakia, Uruguay, and South Africa –arrived early to tune up in last week’s US Nationals Competition, also hosted by ABYC.
While New Zealand’s Seb Lardes and Scott McKenzie won on points, by a narrow margin over the domestic duo of Alie Toppa and Jacob Rosenberg, it was Toppa and Rosenberg who were named US National Champions. Toppa, of the Lauderdale Yacht Club, teamed up with Long Beach’s new favorite son, Rosenberg, and now have hopes of achieving silver or gold: something no other US team has been able to do in the history of the 29er Worlds. Benji Daniel and Alex Burger, the sole South African team, aced third by just one point; the Top Women’s Team went to Australians Annabelle Davies and Madison Woodward.
Attesting to the international flavor of this talented fleet, Kiwi entrants Lardes and McKenzie ended today’s first day of Worlds at the top of the leaderboard, with Argentina’s Santiago Duncan Loiaz and Elias Dalli second. South Africans Daniel and Burger stuck to their third place status, with Australians Achie Brewer and Max Paul fourth, and Pep Costa and Fran Nunez, of Spain, fifth.
Two more days of Qualifying will be held August 1 and 2; followed by three days of Finals, to be held Thursday, August 3 through Saturday, August 5. The Final Series will consist of 10 races. Trophies will be awarded to the top team overall, the top youth team, and the top girls team. U.S. entrants are hoping for a hometown advantage that will enable them to best third place, the highest position a U.S. team has ever achieved in this world championship event.

Photo Gallery


Opening Ceremony welcomes competitors
130 Boats registered for racing

WHAT: Youths from 16 countries will compete July 31 – Aug. 5 at the Zhik 2017 29er World Championships. The 29er is a capricious 14.5-foot boat, sailed by a team of two — one of whom extends beyond the hull on a trapeze. Racing at speeds of up to 20 knots, with florescent tipped sails, this daredevil competition is a thrill to behold.

WHO: One-hundred thirty teams of competitors, aged 10 to 20, will compete out of Alamitos Bay Yacht Club in Long Beach. The two-person teams will sail on one of three courses outside the breakwall on the southern end of Long Beach Harbor, unless winds exceed 20 knots per hour.

NEW: Opening ceremonies will commence July 30 at 6:30 p.m. A representative from each country will bring a bottle of water and pour it into a bowl representing the coming together of nations. The World Championship is an open event, so there is no pre-qualifying requirement; although nearly half the fleet elected to tune-up in the US National Championships, also hosted by ABYC July 25 – 28.

US competitors are hoping for a home team advantage, having never placed better than Third in the event’s 17-year history. Last year, the top US team placed 19th. Nearly 20 teams in the competition represent California, 13 of which are Southern California based.

BACKGROUND: The 29er was designed by Australian multiple national and world sailing champion Julian Bethwaite. It debuted in 1998 and today is raced in 53 countries, and considered a stepping stone that creates future World and Olympic champions in other classes. Like in all competitive sailing events, winning is achieved by agility, skilled boat handling, and brisk decision-making.