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UK 29er Class to develop 'short course' or sprint racing

by Paul Hammett 30 Aug 2016 22:49 BST 30 August 2016
Zhik 29er UK Nationals at Torbay day 3 © VR Sport Media

The UK 29er Class is to run a new form of "Sprint" racing during 2016/2017 which we hope will bring a new element of dynamism and fun to the 29er circuit. We hope this format will encourage more local racing and the early signs are extremely encouraging. Sprint (or Short course) racing is designed to be similar to the short Medal races at the Olympics but "even more so".

This racing comes in two stages with local club organised Sprint events across the UK from 1 September 2016 to the end of January 2017. The top ranked boats will then go to Grafham for a Grand Finals weekend in March 2017.

What is Sprint racing?

For the club based Sprint events we expect 6-8 races will be sailed over 2 - 2 1/2 hours with each race lasting 12-14 minutes for up to 15 boats. With a start sequence of 3-2-1 go and no waiting around between races, this should mean it takes a maximum of 20 minutes from the start of a race sequence to the last boat finishing.

This format helps sailors engage in close quarter and boat handling situations with lots of starts to tune their skills. So far we have 13 regional Sprint events in the calendar over 2016/2017 where local 29er sailors, parents and clubs arrange and run the events under some broad parameters from the UK Class.

What about the Grand Final?

In addition to the club events a Grand Sprint Final will take place at Grafham Water on 11/12 March 2017. This will take the top 24 qualifying boats (exact number tbc) from the regional events for a weekend of fast and furious racing.

The Finals will have on water umpiring, some Gold/Silver racing but with repechage qualification also to keep the event "Open" until the latter stages. The event will likely end with a double points non-discardable "medal race" race to keep the interest going throughout the weekend. The final set of races we anticipate will be near the shore to allow spectators to get close to the action.

The winners of all the club sprint events are guaranteed an invitation to the Finals. The remaining 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc finishers at those club events are all ranked in relation to the finish position / boats competing and will take the remaining places.

The 13 local sprint events already planned are listed below with some and further information on the Sprint events can be found on the UK Class website www.29er.org.uk

If you want to run a regional Sprint event at your club please email Paul Hammett on

Regional Sprint events planned at present:

04‑Sep‑2016HISC 1S
17‑Sep‑2016HISC 2S
01‑Oct‑2016CardiffWales
15‑Oct‑2016CarsingtonN
29‑Oct‑2016PlymouthSW
30‑Oct‑2016HISC 3S
12‑Nov‑2016RLYCS
26 or 27 Nov 2016RTYCSW
3/4 Dec 2016LargsScotland
10‑Dec‑2016DraycoteMidlands
17‑Dec‑2017Leigh and LowtonN
28‑Jan‑2017CVSCSW
28‑Jan‑2017Leigh and LowtonN

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