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Ireland's Clementine and Nathan Van Steenberge Crowned 29er World Champions in Weymouth

5th August 2023
Ireland's Clementine and Nathan van Steenberge celebrate their 29er world championship win in Weymouth Bay
Ireland's Clementine and Nathan van Steenberge celebrate their 29er world championship win in Weymouth Bay Credit: 29er Ireland Facebook

In stunning skiff sailing prowess, Ireland's Clementine and Nathan van Steenberge have been crowned champions of the 29er World Championships in Weymouth.

The brother and sister duo, hailing from Dun Laoghaire Harbour, put on a masterclass in the final day's racing, surging from fifth place to claim the top spot on the podium.

With 8-15 knots north westerly wind on the final day of racing, shifty conditions with a moderate sea state, the Irish siblings sailed a standout final day of four solid races with no large discard to the overall Championship win.

Their victory was hard-earned, as the competition was fierce and the margins were razor-thin. But with a final points tally of 22, the Irish mixed pair from the National Yacht Club emerged victorious, finishing a massive 16 points ahead of their closest rivals, Maximo Videla and Juan Cruz Albamonte of Argentina. Italy's Alex Demurtas and Giovanni Santi rounded out the podium in third place.

Dun Laoghaire's Van Steenberge siblings won both the Open and Overall World ChampionshipsDun Laoghaire's Van Steenberge siblings won both the Open and Overall World Championships Photo: Sailing Pics 

As Afloat reported earlier, the Van Steenberges posted an impressive scoreline, winning the last race on Thursday by over a minute. Sitting in fifth overall overnight and with the next Open team picking up a DSQ (ARG 2581), their eyes were fixed on the overall medal podium going into today's final races, and they didn't flinch.

Sailing a consistent series over the week long championships, which has tested the fleet in every condition from 25 knots, flat water in Weymouth Harbour down to 6-10 knots in the bay, accompanied by very large swell, chop and significant wind shifts.

In perfect partnership, the sister and brother duo of Clementine and Nathan van Steenberge mastered the strong winds of Weymouth to finish top of the 205 boat entry at the 29er World Championships Photo: Sailing PicsIn perfect partnership, Clementine and Nathan van Steenberge mastered the strong winds of Weymouth to finish top of the 205 boat entry at the 29er World Championships Photo: Sailing Pics

In further honours for Ireland, Royal St. George Sisters Emily and Jessica Riordan put in a sterling performance of their own, earning a well-deserved silver medal in the Female division.

As most sailors know, consistency counts, and Clementine and Nathan once again proved this old age saying still rings true. With no large discard going into the final race, they climbed through the fleet to secure the overall win. In the rest of the top ten overall places, points came down to the final race. 2022 Men's and Overall World Champion. Maximo Videla and Juan Cruz Albamonte, Argentina won the final race to swoop into the Men's top spot taking the overall Men's World Championship for a second time. Close behind was Italians Alex Demurtas, Giovanni Santi who also finished second last year and in third Hugo Revil and Karl Devaux, France.

Poland's Ewa Lewandowska and Leon Sapijaszko took second place in the Open World Championships and in third was Amparo Stupenengo and Tadeo Funes De Rioja from Argentina.

In the Women's fleet, racing was similarly close and came down to a protest in the final races. With Italians Malika Bellomi and Beatrice Conti just managing to hold on to the Women's World Championship title just ahead of Emily and Jessica Riordan. Ebba and Ellen Fredriksson from Sweden took third, also winning the Silver fleet by 28 points.

Men's Under 17 Champions were Dutch team Folkert Van Surksum and Lars Ganzevles whilst Women's Under 17 winners were Emily Polson and Tiffany Mak from Hong Kong. Open Under 17 winners were Panna Széll and Brúnó Schneider from Hungary so we can watch this space for an exciting future in the sport.

Argentina took the Nations Cup which is awarded to the country which has the least points when adding up their top three boats from at least two categories, and their pride, team work and camaraderie was very clear for all to enjoy!

Whilst it has been a challenging week for the 410 competitors from all over the world, one thing is for sure the fleet had incredible fun and the vibes around the 29er class and in the boat park were at an all time high. Sailors were kept engaged and in the fight for the top spots until the very end of the championships, racing was some of the closest we've seen, and in the end those who kept their nerve and minimised the big scoring races came out on top.

Race Results

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Published in 29er, National YC Team

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About the 29er Skiff Dinghy

The 29er is a one-design double-handed, single trapeze skiff for youth sailors.

There is an active class in Ireland, just one of the 38-countries from across all continents now racing the high-performance skiff.

The 29er is one of the latest dinghy classes to arrive in Ireland and has a 50/50 split between boys and girls.

The class like to describe the boat as "The most popular skiff for sailors who want to go fast!".

Derived from the Olympic class 49er class and designed by Julian Bethwaite the 29er was first produced in 1998.

Two sailors sail the 29er, one on trapeze.

The class is targeted at youth sailors aiming at sailing the larger 49er which is an Olympic class.

The 6.25-metre high rig features a fractional asymmetrical spinnaker; a self-tacking jib decreases the workload of the crew, making manoeuvres more efficient and freeing the crew to take the mainsheet upwind and on two-sail reaches.

The 15.00 m2 spinnaker rigging set-up challenges crews to be fit and coordinated, and manoeuvres in the boat require athleticism due to its lack of inherent stability and the high speed with which the fully battened mainsail and jib power up.

The 74kg weight hull is constructed of fibreglass-reinforced polyester in a foam sandwich layout.

The fully battened mainsail and jib are made from a transparent Mylar laminate with orange or red Dacron trimming, while the spinnaker is manufactured from ripstop Nylon.

The mast is in three parts - an aluminium bottom and middle section, with a polyester-fibreglass composite tip to increase mast bend and decrease both overall weights, and the capsizing moment a heavy mast tip can generate. Foils are aluminium or fibreglass.

About the ILCA/Laser Dinghy

The ILCA, formerly known as the Laser, is the most produced boat in the world, with 220,000 units built since 1971.

It's easy to see why the single-handed dinghy has won the title of the most widely distributed boat of all time.

The Laser is a one-design dinghy, the hulls being identical but three rigs that can be used according to the size and weight of the sailor.

The class is international, with sailors from 120 countries. The boat has also been an Olympic class since 1996, being both the men's and women's singlehanded dinghy.

Three rigs are recognised by the International Laser Class Association (ILCA):

  • ILCA 4: sail of 4.70m2
  • ILCA 6: sail of 5.76 m2
  • ILCA 7: sail of 7.06 m2

29er skiff technical specs

  • Hull weight 74kg (163lb)
  • LOA 4.45m (14.4ft)
  • Beam 1.77m (5ft 7in)
  • Crew 2 (single trapeze) 
  • Spinnaker area 15.00 m2 (181.2sq.ft)
  • Upwind sail area 12.5 m2 (142.0 sq.ft)
  • Mast length 6.25m (20.5ft)

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