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19 January 2007, 10:07 am
Female Domination?
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29er World Championship 2007
San Isidro, Argentina

The 2007 edition of the 29er Worlds in San Isidro, Argentina, is preparing to name a new champion - will this be a repeat with three women skippers in a row? Such is the precedent set by Jacqui BONNITCHA (AUS) and Silja LEHTINEN (FIN), both females who dominated in the winds of San Francisco Bay, USA (2005) and Weymouth, Great Britain (2006).
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Certainly there are several top female skippers to vie for the title on the registration list including Adela DESCHAMPS (ARG) who just finished second in the pre-Worlds regatta held over the past several days. All in all, there are ten female skippers registered for the Worlds. However, there is formidable competition from among the 52 registrants representing 12 nations with many males ready to upset the precedent.

With the 29er named as the equipment for the Two Person Dinghy events at the 2007 and 2008 ISAF Youth Worlds, many youth teams are in attendance to practice their skills including a large contingent of British sailors.

Thirty-three teams tuned their rigs and tested the shallow waters of the Rio de la Plata off Buenos Aires. Winds for the Pre-Worlds/South American Championships began light in 8-10 knots but served up 22+ for the final days racing. Local sailors Pepe BETTINI and Matias KELLER (ARG) won the South American Championships ten points in front of Adela DESCHAMPS and Juan DE LA FUENTE, also of Argentina. Shallow sand bars and flat water make the sailing fun but challenging and will be a good test for the competitors when the Worlds begin.

Registration and measurement are currently taking place with formal racing to begin on Sunday 21 January.

Jerelyn Biehl (As Amended By ISAF). Image, 2006 World Champions Silja LEHTINEN and Scott BABBAGE:© Lee Whitehead
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