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29er Class in North America

photo byJohn Liebenberg.
As long as skiffs like the 49er remain in the Olympics, growing the youth version – the 29er – will be vital for North America to keep pace. Currently there are 350 29ers in North America, with about half of them in the USA, but it is estimated that 80% of those are on the west coast. To further the growth of the class, the “westies” organized an east coast road trip after the 2008 US Nationals at the Columbia Gorge, with four regattas lined up in Marion MA, Jamestown RI, Kingston, ONT, and Annapolis MD. Picture this: summer, teenagers, skiff sailing, three time zones away from home, fast food wrappers throughout the car… just your every day misspent youth.

July 25-27 - US Nationals – Gorge, OR
Aug 1-3 - Buzzards Bay Regatta - Marion, MA
Aug 9-10 - East Coast Champs – Jamestown, RI
Aug 16-20 - North Americans - Kingston, ONT
Aug 23-24 - Mid Atlantic - Annapolis, MD

Rather than rely on overseas suppliers and exchange rate variances, Canadian-based PS2000 is the North American builder. The class is seeing great growth all over the country, with the latest hot spots being the east coast and Seattle, with a good showing at most races and the energy to drive large distances to race in bigger fleets like North Americans that had 65 boats. Tons of information is available at the class web site:

Special thanks to Max Fraser for providing class information.
The East Coast Experience - One to Remember
Here is an event by event recount of the east coast road trip. Story by C.C. Childers and photos by Stacy Childers.

The rumors are true; the Gorge is where it’s at! This is the guaranteed Big Air event not to be missed .We have heard for years this is the best regatta of the summer and now I see why. From one of the most beautiful campsites over looking the water, to hanging by the fire and making smores at the end of a long day of sailing, it was pretty great. We saw an incredible turnout of sailors from around the country from the best of the best to some first timers. After being schooled by the likes of veterans Jen Glass and Anthony Boscolo, Lindsey Bergen and Dalton Bergen, and Alain Huggler and Eric Aakhus along with Cameron Biehl and Max Binstock all I can say is .....WERE NOT WORTHY!!!!

Best barbecue of the summer with some great birthday cake courtesy of the Heineken’s to Celebrate his 62nd birthday after a full weekend of sailing with his daughter Erica and to the Stokes who made the trek from Virginia to sail in there first father son event. Thanks to CGRA, Chip Nielsen, Dave Bernal, John Popadoplus, George Yioulos Charlie McKee, Ben Glass, and Andy Mack pulling it all together.

Thanks to the Beverly Yacht Club, Volunteers and Race Committee for opening the doors to the 29er fleet and allowing us to join in on one of the largest and oldest events on the East Coast and to Max Fraser, David Liebenberg for making it happen. We loved the thunderstorms and awesome lightning shows and for the first time ever being instructed to.... GET OUR BOATS OUT OF THE WATER , GET TO AN OPEN FIELD AND LAY DOWN!!!!! We don’t get much of that on the West Coast. Sailing in the Cape was sweet from the warm water to pure white sea shell beaches. We saw some awesome sailing by Ian Simms and Mac Agnese and the Canadian team of Chounard who we would continually see at the top of the fleet throughout the summer. However, in the end Max and David did it again finishing first overall. Incredibly organized we saw three days of great sailing in one of the most beautiful places in the country. If given the opportunity again we will most definitely be back next year!!!!

Sailing in the Newport Harbor was about as good as it gets. The overall venue was unforgettable. Sailing from Jamestown to Newport, in between the lighthouses and under the bay bridge was really worth seeing. Thanks to Conanicut Yacht Club for allowing us to use there facility and to PRO Ellen Liebenberg and Chairperson Max Bulger along with his amazing father Chris who not only ran race committee but also sponsored a fleet dinner in Newport. This was hands down my favorite event of the summer. With the majority of us sharing an incredible house a block from the water, thanks to Dee Sims and Sherry Bulger it was the ultimate summer vacation. Also, thanks to the Potts and their host family for throwing one last barbecue to finish the event. In the end, it was great meeting a whole new group of 29er sailors rising from the East Coast. Cheers to Max and David, Mac Agnese and Ian Simms, and Kouton and Vogel for some incredible sailing!

What can I say, if you have ever been to CORK, you won’t soon forget it! This is one of the biggest events of the year and one of the craziest. Sailed out of the Portsmouth Olympic Harbor this is an open event for all ages and the competition is fierce.We had some nice sailing in the qualifying days but when it came time for the regatta the weather shifted. With our first day of racing the winds were blowing crazy allowing only the gold fleet out to sail followed by two days of mellow air giving everyone plenty of time to catch up on their tans. Max and David were on fire along with the Canadians Michael Blumer, Peter Soosalu, and the new team of Pearson Potts and Canadian Paul Ehvert. Cheers to the San Fran Team of Finn and Alek Neilsen who finished 4th and the Canadian girls Archibald and Filbee Dext who dominated with a fifth place finish. But the clear standout was the team of Evan Aris and Trevor Parkeh who finished with straight bullets but in the end lost position due to a protest. Nice sailing guys!

Great sailing on the Chesapeake Bay! Thanks to the Annapolis Yacht club, Jay Kehoe and the race committee for hosting an incredible event along with an all out Buffet on Saturday night! Also, thanks to all of those who made this event possible from the Mc klatchy family to the Bulgers for they’re over the top generosity. With Annapolis yacht club owning 6 new 29ers this regatta brought out an entire new generation of 29er sailors. We had some awesome days of sailing maneuvering our boats in and out of the crab pots and laid back nights off the water checking out the old town of Annapolis. Congrats to Max Fraser and David Liebenberg, new team Scott Houck and Jack Ortel and Max Bulger and Emmet Smith who continually worked their way to the top throughout the summer.

Here's to all of those who hit the road with us this summer, it was an adventure not to be missed. A special shout out to Cameron Biehl, Ian Simms, Mac Agnese and my partner Harry Bethwaite it was the best. And to those that met us along the East Coast road Max Bulger, Emmit Smith, Max Fraser and David Liebenberg along with many, many others that worked their way from regatta to regatta. Thanks for making this a summer to remember!

Scuttlebutt Sailing Club

GMT Composites

Team McLube

Lemon & Line

Newport Shipyard

Kaenon Polarized

Melges Performance Sailboats

Atlantis WeatherGear

North Sails

North U.

Team One Newport

Doyle Sails

Annapolis Performance Sailing

Ullman Sails

Point Loma Outfitting

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