The 2017 Zhik 29er World Championships were held very close to home this year in Long Beach. Alamitos Bay Yacht Club hosted sailors from 16 countries and 130 boats gathered on the beach. Close to the event, I was presented with an opportunity to sail with a girl from New Zealand named Greta Stewart.
After getting all of the last minute logistics organized in order to sail with Greta, the boat measured in and we were ready to go for the event. Greta arrived the night of the Opening Ceremony and just before the first day of racing. Greta and I had the chance to sail for for just a bit inside the harbor that evening.
The regatta consisted of a three day qualifying series and, after a splitting of the field into Gold, Silver and Bronze, a three day final series.
We arrived on day one of the event excited to start racing against the world’s best. Day one went fairly smoothly with the exception of a capsize in the last race of the day which which put us a bit back on points. By the last race the breeze was up to the high teens and low twenties which was challenging as a new team. The last two days of qualifying were much lighter with shifty conditions. We sailed consistent enough to make the gold fleet, qualifying in 29th place.
The finals series proved to be very tight and challenging. We started out the finals well, sitting 20th after the first day, however we did not sail quite as well the following two days and ended up 33rd in the world. We ended the regatta with a bang rounding 1st at the weather mark of the final race and finishing 6th in the last race, our best result of the event.
I’d like to thank the SDYC Competition Fund for its support of Greta and I sailing against the world’s best. I also must thank Leandro Spina, Willie McBride, Malcolm Page, and everyone else involved in the Olympic Development Program for providing us with great support at the World Regatta as well as the training leading up to it. Greta and I could not have clicked so quickly without their support.
Finally, a big thank you to SDYC’s own Jerelyn Biehl, Executive Director of the Class and Jeff Johnson, Race Management, along with ABYC all who organized and ran a fantastic regatta for the 29er International Class.
It was an amazing event!