The sailors have arrived in beautiful Mar del Plata, Argentina to contest the 2011 29er World Championship. Twelve nations are representing all continents with over 65 entries in what will be a highly competitive fleet.
Most of the competitors have already had a chance to stretch their legs on the waters where the Championship will be held, first through the Argentine Nationals held earlier in December and then the South American Championship completed on 29 December. Two different teams emerged victorious with Francisco Cosentino and Tomas Wagmaister winning the Nationals and Juan Krevisky and Eduardo Lopez Segura emerging as the South American Champions.
Although current World Champions French sailors Kevin Fisher and Glenn Gouron are unable to attend, nine of the top twenty from the 2010 Worlds are poised to contest the title. This includes Argentine Pepe Bettini who has competed in eight previous 29er Worlds and has finished second in the 2010, 2007 and 2003 Worlds; Pepe and crew Fernando Gwozdz are looking for a win in their home country with family and friends watching. Also in attendance are Americans Max Fraser and David Liebenberg who finished fifth in the 2010 Worlds followed by Argentines Nahuel Martinez and Axel Vugdelija. Another team to watch out for will be the Croatians Domagoj Fizulic and Leon Ostrez who finished second overall in the 2010 eight-event EuroCup.
The women's team of Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen from Denmark have won the top female team trophy the past two World Championships and finished top youth and female team at the 2010 Europeans. This pair has been training hard and have begun to move into the 29erXX event with the hope that the women's skiff will be added to the 2016 Olympic Games programme.
You can never count out the local teams of which there are forty, who have been sailing in these waters most of their lives and will undoubtedly bring some surprises to the competition.
Rafael De Martis, Chairman of the 29er Worlds, commented, "Club Nautico Mar del Plata is excited to have the level of competition at the 29er Worlds and we welcome all the competitors from the various nations. This will be an exciting event for competitors and spectators alike."
Racing begins on Monday 3 January with three days of the qualifying series followed by three days of the final series. The prizegiving will be held on Saturday 8 January. Photos provided by renowned photographer Matias Capizzano, www.capizzano.com
Live reports and daily results: www.29erworlds.org
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