Downing Crowned 2012 29er Midwinters West Champion
26 March 2012
As we rolled into the third and final day of the 2012 Midwinters West Championship, sailors woke up to a gail warning on San Diego’s south bay. Sailors showed up to the CYC early in an effort to prepare their racing machines for a windy day on the water.
Race One commenced in a 20-23 knot southerly — What a DREAM! This is what these 29er sailors yearn for. Fast, fun skiff sailing with good tight racing. And they’re off!! The start was close with only 18 teams on the line for the first start of the day. Paris Henken took the early lead heading off to the left side of the course ripen' upwind. These 29ers will do 10+ knots upwind. Henken reached the top mark in first with Zack Downing right on her heels. Downwind, teams found themselves doing 18+ knots planning and surfing. Henken continued her lead all away around the course to take the gun with a comfortable 1-minute lead. Downing came second followed by Tucker Atterbury in third.
The last race of the day started with more wind than the first and by the time the racers got to the top mark, it was blowing a steady 26 knots. Henken lead at the top mark once more with Downing and Atterbury following close as they all set their spinnakers and blasted downwind. The run was an interesting one as half way down the course many of the top contenders flipped their boats making it anybody’s game. Atterbury pulled it together first, sorting things out successfully getting to the gate first, Downing in second, then Henken. At the second top mark, Atterbury held a strong lead taking the final run to the finish for the win. Cody Stansky battled strong fighting fierce for second place over Henken in third.
With only three teams across the line, The Race Committee decided to abandon the race and award the rest of the fleet average points. This was the final race of the event as the wind built to an impressive 28-30 knots and had several sailors struggling in every which direction.