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World-class sailors in town

Posted: Saturday, Sep 29th, 2012


Competitors in the Flying Dutchman World Championships head into the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor Thursday after two races. In the third photo, Durk Zandstra and his daughter, Toos, were teammates in the competition until Durk broke two ribs in a boat collision Tuesday evening. (Photos by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)


SANTA CRUZ — Sailors from around the globe are competing in Santa Cruz in the Flying Dutchman World Championships in a six-day event. The competition, which got under way Tuesday and runs through Sunday, draws an elite brand of sailors who sail small but extremely sophisticated, high-performance Flying Dutchman dinghies.

Though sailors are from such places as France, Italy, Australia and New Zealand, one sailor, Buzz Ballenger, is based in Watsonville and owns Ballenger Spar Systems, the 40-year-old mast building business on Walker Street.

“I started sailing when I was 15, and then I got interested in building boats,” Ballenger said. “I’ve sailed all my life and you kind of get addicted to it. The Flying Dutchman draws an amazing amount of world-class talent. The skill level in this event is extremely sophisticated. Though the competition is fierce, it’s still a lot of fun.”

Each day of the event there are two 90-minute races that take place roughly between noon and 4 p.m., depending on conditions. The course is a large triangle between the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor, Lighthouse Point and the one-mile buoy. Racers lap the triangle twice and then complete a final “sausage” loop past one of the markers. Each sailboat is commanded by a skipper and a crewmember.



For the complete article see the 09-29-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 09-29-2012 paper.


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