Sailors from around the globe are taking over Corpus Christi Bay. The 2018 Youth Sailing World Championships start up this weekend and the competition is expected to have a tremendous impact on our city.
It was nearly four years ago in November 2014 that the Corpus Christi Yacht Club found out our city won the bid. More than 380 sailors from 66 countries will take part in the competition.
"We were competing with countries from around the world and also cities from the United States," explains Craig Henderson, Commodore of the Yacht Club.
Describing the preparation, Mark Foster, member of the yacht club, says, "we’ve put 85 people together and 17 boats to make the event happen and then gathering up all the equipment and all the necessary supplies to put together on the water." Foster will serve as the Field of Play Manager for the championships, meaning he will handle everything on the water including the four races courses.
Corpus Christi is no stranger to hosting regattas so Henderson wouldn’t call this event a return of major sailing competitions to the city. However, he says there is a clear difference.
"We’ve hosted world events before but never anything of this size, of this magnitude," Henderson says. "This is, I think, the largest regatta that Corpus has hosted that I can recall."
One of the major reasons our city landed the championships is our bay.
"We are blessed with an enclosed bay that’s large enough, that allows to run large regattas when we would like to," Henderson explains.
Foster adds that the bay is also free of any obstacles, and also allows quick access to the docks and convenience to the race course for sailors.
Then there’s something most of us notice when we’re along the Bayfront — the consistent sea breeze.
"It’s one of the reasons U.S. Sailing took us and asked us to do this because they knew they would have the consistent sea breeze to make the event happen," Foster explains. "Because without wind, sailboats don’t really do that well."
The event is sure to give the city an economic boost. Henderson says according to a study from the Corpus Christi Convention and Visitors Bureau, the week-long event is expected to add about $1 million to our local economy.
The local sailing community is hopeful that the exposure from this event will make Corpus Christi a prime pick to host other major regattas in the future.
As Foster explains it, "All the other people will see this and see the conditions here and recognize that if we want to host a regatta for them, they’re going to get incredible conditions and some incredible Texas hospitality."
Foster also says that the Yacht Club is preparing to host another world championship next year, and will bid on two others for 2021 and 2022.
Meantime, competition for the 2018 Youth World Championships runs Monday through Friday. Henderson says about 110 races will be run during those days. You can learn more about the event and schedule by visiting this website.