2019 Sunfish Worlds report – Bonaire

Bonaire, September 20, 2019 — David Hernandez, a 23-year-old sailor from Guatemala, captured the Sunfish World’s top honor  for 2019 with smart sailing in light-to-medium air for all twelve races over four days. That win wasn’t without its share of anxiety as Hernandez won in a tie-breaker beating out Renzo Sanguinetti of Peru who placed second. Both scored 43 points total. David had two wins in the 12 races; Renzo had only one. But, hey, that’s yacht racing!

Adding to the anxiety going into the last race was the fact that, ending-up only one point behind David and Renzo was Alonso Collantes, a two-time Sunfish World Champion from Peru. Collantes ended up with an impressive third-place finish, one point behind the leaders.

Day 1 of the International Sunfish Class Association World Championship is in the books with American Eugene Schmitt (Bay Waveland Yacht Club, MS, from New Orleans, LA) atop the leader board with 18 points. Schmitt has a 3-8-6-1 scoreline and enjoys a 6-point lead over Renzo Sanguineti (Lima, Peru) whose 7-10-2-5 performance demonstrated excellent consistency. In third is Simon Gomez Ortiz (Bucaramanga, Colombia) with 30 points after a win in Race 3 and a 21st in the day’s finale.

With lots of sunshine and 8-14 winds, everyone got to polish their light-to-medium air skills. Reading where the puffs were coming from and making the smartest tactical decisions were the key. The Race Committee has been on its toes with multiple UFD finishes in the first two races and three Black Flags in the third. The results indicate that everyone behaved themselves in the final race of the day.
After seven completed races, it is David Hernandez from Guatemala sitting atop the leaderboard despite finishing 29th in Race 6. Once the throw-out kicked into the scoring mix today, the fleet’s rankings shuffled. Further, with a fleet of 65 sailors, a score of whom could take home the Championship, every sailor is having ups and downs on the scoreboard. Sitting in second is Renzo Sanguineti (PUR) with 33 points followed by Eugene Hendrikz from the Netherlands with 41. Yesterday’s leader, American Eugene Schmitt, dropped to fourth, one point behind Hendrikz with a 20-10-13 scoreline for the day.

On the water, Day 2 of the ISCA Sunfish Worlds started with an abandoned race due to a 90+ degree wind shift. Groans of disappointment from the leaders were drowned out with cheers from those who were glad to have another chance to sail a better race. Although the following 3 races were run without a hitch, many wind shifts in light-to-medium air continued to challenge both the Race Committee and the competitors. Race 3, in particular, presented the most challenging wind shifts according to champion sailor Lee Montes of the Wet Pants Sailing Club and New York’s Regional Rep on the U.S. Sunfish Class Association Board of Directors.

Lee also noted that “Having most of the competitors staying at the Plaza Resort in Bonaire made this Championship even more special because the social activities are all taking place in one location. Sunfish sailors love hanging out with each other…to compare every tack and gybe!”

Simon Gomez-Ortiz of Colombia, and last year’s Sunfish North Americans Youth Champion, said he was disappointed in his second race today; but that his winning the day’s first race and the fourth in the day’s finale just might even out the one deeper (20th) finish. Spoken like a true champion!

Gail Turluck, U.S. Sunfish Class Association Regatta Chair and a Midwest Regional champion, had the biggest smile after Day 2 because she thinks today’s finishes just might be her best Worlds ever. And Lucy Brock, the 2018 Women’s Sunfish North American Champion from the Austin Yacht Club in Austin, TX, said she had a much better day today and felt as though she was getting better boat speed than yesterday.

Tomorrow’s winds are expected to be more of the same. But there’s not one champion out there who isn’t looking forward to the challenge!’

After three days of racing hosted by the Bonaire Sailing Federation, the top-four sailors are in the same positions they were yesterday; but the point differences totals have closed. Still atop the leader board, David Hernandez (GUA) placed 2-11-3 today and his 35 points are only two ahead of Renzo Sanguineti (PER) who was consistent today with a 3-3-1 for 37 points. A 20-point gap now exists between Sanguineti and Eugene Hendrikx (NED) in third with 53 points after placing 5-2-10 and American Eugene Schmitt in fourth whose 13-1-12 gives him 55 points in total. With a lay day tomorrow and light, shifty winds forecast for the finale on Friday, there is a chance that it’s a two-boat race for the win and, in reality, a four-boat race for third. Jean Paul De Trazegnies (PER) in fifth is in striking distance with 60 points and his countryman Alonso Collantes is in sixth with 66 points.

Day Three’s racing at this year’s Sunfish World Championship brought few changes in the weather, too. Light-to-hardly-medium air with winds shifts seemed to be the program for today’s sailing … again. Today’s second race presented wind shift challenges as well; but th race was sailed before the biggest wind shift of the day combined with the air getting too light for competitive sailing. Ultimately, the third race was cancelled.

Tomorrow is a lay day with folks making different plans … renting mopeds to explore the island; snorkeling; swimming or just relaxing on a beach. But there will most likely be a bunch of sailors using a lay day to tweak their boats to get even more speed out of them for the last remaining races!

Jaime Torres (PUR) noted: ‘Racing in Bonaire has been the quintessential Sunfish World experience. Fun on the water and ashore. Great racing and good times on land is what it’s all about.’ Jaime went a step further to say, ‘My results hardly speak to my growth as a sailor. It’s easy to dream about a top-20 results; but even better to enjoy raising my personal performance standard. Sunfish sailors are both fun and competitive!’

One of the Dutch race officers said:

What they noticed right away about the Sunfish Class is how friendly and helpful they are to each other even when its their main competitor out on the water who needs help of any kind. We were quite impressed with what they’ve worked hard to accomplish as a Class…they’re ‘family!

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