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Sailing world championship returns to Corpus Christi promising good competition and economic impact

Sailing world championship returns to Corpus Christi promising good competition, economic impact
Posted at 6:51 PM, Jul 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-19 23:26:21-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Don't be surprised to see dozens of sailboats in Corpus Christi Bay this week.

The J22 World Championships run from Tuesday until Friday based out of the Corpus Christi Yacht Club. The competition's name comes from the 22-foot boats that will be participating.

There are 42 such boats in the event from 14 states with three to four crew members per boat. Many of them have supporters with them like friends and family.

"Every time we do one of these, it brings a lot of people in town," Regatta Chairman Brad Stokes said. "They stay in our hotels. They eat in our restaurants. It’s like getting a nice big convention each time."

The last time Corpus Christi hosted a sailing world championship was 2019, and it was a different type of boat called an etchell.

The last time the city hosted the world championship for J22s was 2002, but Stokes says these kinds of events should become more common place in the years to come.

"We’ve become known worldwide in the sailing community as a really top-notch sailing venue," he said. "Our reputation is something we want to protect and do a great job every time they come.”

This time, there are fewer boats in the regatta than in previous years. Because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, there are no international teams participating.

Competitors who've come to Corpus Christi from other states are ready for whatever the weather here throws at them.

“I prefer when there’s a lot of wind,” Brock Smith from Oklahoma City said.

“I’m a fan of a little wind,” his teammate Lauren Pinegar said.

There are lots of local sailors as well who are eager to get out on the water.

“It’s not everyday you get to compete — one, in a world championship, and two, in a world championship in your backyard," Yacht Club Vice Commodore and regatta participant Josh Richline said.

Winners will be crowned when the nine races wrap-up on Friday. They'll receive no prize money -- only trophies and bragging rights to take home with them.

Stokes hopes they'll take home one more thing -- an appreciation of Corpus Christi as a sailing community.

“The competitors love it," he said. "They love to have the big wind. That’s what they come here for. They want the wind, so we give it to them.”