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Team Zoum Zouming at 2010 USODA Team Trials

by Scott Brown on 7 May 2010
Tied for third place overall at the 2010 USODA Team Trials - 2010 USODA Team Trials Sipke Schuurmans
Eighty percent of the optimist sailors that qualified for the World Team at the 2010 Team Trials in Houston Texas hail from the south and it is no coincidence that the Zoum Racer also from the south would mirror that disproportionate performance.

Preliminary numbers suggest that 75% of Zoum sailors will qualify for a National Team and compete abroad, 50% for coveted spots on the North American Team and World Team. Among them, Conner Harding finished just three points shy of a World Team spot after losing a bullet to a protest. Alie Toppa, daughter of sailing great Mike Toppa, was the third placed female finisher in her first Team Trials.

The four day regatta opened with winds blowing 18-25kts. Medium to heavy breeze, white caps and a short steep chop would prevail during most of the regatta. Winds increasingly became shifty and out of the NE. Only part of the day Saturday did conditions ease and give the smaller kids a much needed reprieve for three of the 13 completed races. Zoum sailors were on fire as evidenced by their winning results.

Team Zoum member Richard Schuurmans of Houston Texas was the youngest and lightest sailor to qualify for the 2010 World Championships in Malaysia. He had this to say: 'Everything went smoothly. My Zoum Racer and foils measured perfectly. On the race course, I had good boat speed at the starting lines and played the shifts to my advantage on whatever side I chose.'

'I always felt I had a lot of boat speed that would be an advantage. I knew I had to work really hard to keep up with the big kids in the heavy breeze. I had my doubts that I could make it to the Worlds in the heavy wind. But it let up for just three races. I won them and closed the gap. By the end of day three, I had tied for third place overall with Harry Koeppel.'

'That's when I knew I could make the World Team. I was especially nervous on the last day. There were only a few points separating us. It would come down to the last race and any mistake would cost too much. At one point in the last race I was way back in 20th place but I had good boat speed, stayed focused and was able to climb back upwind. When I came ashore, everyone was asking me whether I made it or not. The last race was pretty close but I made it.'

Asked if he felt confident for the Worlds, being the youngest American sailor to make the World Team, he said:
'I believe in myself. I am proud to be the youngest member of the World Team. Malaysia should have light wind and I hope to do really well in those conditions.'

USODA Team Trials marked the second full season anniversary for the Zoum Racer, and the second year in a row the Zoum Racers were sailed by North American and World Team qualifiers. Last year's Zoum qualifiers have aged out and this year's winners have quadrupled from last year's. 'They represent a new generation of top Zoum sailors and we are very proud of all of them!' said co-founder Doug Drescher.

The custom made Zoum Racers are perfectly balanced and minimum weight with hi-tech components designed for optimum performance within limits set by the IODA. The Zoum Racers are sold exclusively by ZoumUSA, LLC a Florida corporation.

To learn more about the Zoum optimist sailboats, contact or visit the website at

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