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This Article Last Updated: Oct 14th, 2010 - 15:13:49 

2004 Star World Championship - Final
By Star Worlds web site
May 3, 2004, 08:00

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May 2: by Scuttlebutt Europe
Gaeta, Italy: The race Star sailors were lucky, the wind fille in just half an hour before the time limit to start the last race and in a light seabreeze the fleet got off at the first (black flag) start. It was down to just one point on who will be World Champion 2004 in the Star class.

Ian Percy / Steve Mitchell in second got a clean start in the middle and led away to the right side of the course where less current and better pressure could be expected. But at some stage the left side of the fleet was lifted and the British wanted to play it safe and tacked.

Meanwhile the Swedish team Loof / Ekstrom didn't have such a brilliant start and sailed with lots of courage (or desperation) into the far right corner, came out perfectly right and closed up to the British. Shortly before the windward mark they overtook them and started to sail them back.

Percy tacked, Loof tacked on him and gave him bad air, Percy tacked away, Loof ... And so on. Boats passed and the Swedes sailed the British back, not dissimilar to the duel for Gold in the Laser in 2000 between Ainslie and Scheidt.

Percy and Mitchell's engagement with Loof / Ekstrom cost them dearly as they lost not just the championship but also lost second place to Marazzi / De Maria from Switzerland who scored fourth today.

Finally the last spots for the Olympic Games in Athens this summer were decided. Spain scored average points for the last two races and finished seventh in the regatta, closely followed by Westergaard / Neergard from Denmark. With a fifth place from Canada’s Ross Macdonald/Mike Wolfs they managed to come back to snatch the third place after being fifth yesterday. The German team Pickel/Borkovski had a bad race today, but the Kiwis Lord/Taylor had a worse and therfore Germany got the last spot by just two points.
-- Andreas Hanakamp


May 1:
Taken from Paul Cayard's Website:

Race Day 7
Today was a beautiful day on the Golfo de Gaeta. It all came good in the end. The fog burned off, the sea breeze filled in and we were off and racing around 11:30. Black flag was up for the first start. No time to waste today.

We had a very good start toward the left side. Very good boat speed up wind but unfortunately the wind was winding right. We got to the first mark about 30th. For the rest of the race we moved up finally finishing 15th. George Szabo with Christian Finnsguard won the first race.

In the second race, black flag up again, we had a good start and after a few minutes tacked onto port and headed for the now obviously favored right side. The wind was 16-18 knots from 250. Mark Reynolds and Steve Erickson were clearly out in front of the fleet about 100 meters ahead of us. We were going very fast now and we ground them down to round the top mark first.

On the reach, Reynolds pushed us both high and they were able to slide down the inside of us for the gybe.yes, we went reaching today. Around the gybe mark and they stretched on us to have a 100 yards lead at the leeward mark. The Swiss team of Marazzi/De Maria, were in third.

For the rest of the race we went a bit faster than Reynolds up wind and about the same down wind. At the end of the final beat he was tacking on us trying to hold us back. He did and the USA finished 1-2. Marazzi was third and Percy (GBR) fourth.

Tomorrow Freddy Loof or Iain Percy can win. They are one point apart and Percy has a 22 as his worst while Loof has an 8th as his worst. If they both finish worse than 8th, Loof is guaranteed of the win. So I think we all know what he will be doing.

Which ever on wins, it will be his second Star World Championship in 2 or 3 years. These guys have really dominated the class since their arrival. Loof is especially consistent. Percy is the heavy air specialist.

Provisional results pending protest:
1) Loof/Ekstom (SWE) 15,
2) Percy/Mitchell (GBR) 16,
3) Neelman/Van Niekerk (NED) 23,
4) Marazzi/De Maria (SUI) 28,
5) Bromby White (BER) 29,
6) Beashal/Giles (AUS) 34,
7) Cayard/Trinter (USA) 39,
8) Mansfield/Collins (IRL) 43,
9) Szabo/Finnsgard (USA) 46.7
10) Grael/Ferreira (BRA) 49.

I am bushed right now. Two races of full hiking 22.5 miles. Going to sleep very well tonight. Tomorrow, one race and it has to be started before 14:00.


Taken from the Italian reports by Rhonda Fantasia on the Star Worlds web site.

Despite the best attempts of the Principal Race Officer and the Race Committee, the wind failed to materialize today and so Race 4 of this AUDI Star Class World Championship was abandoned due to a lack of wind and a constantly shifting wind which prevented a good starting line to be set. This race was being sponsored by the Silver Sponsor WIND, and they have graciously consented to offer “Happy Hour” despite the frustrating results of the attempted race.

The International Jury is hearing protests about the reinstatement of Neeleman and van Niekerk as winners of yesterday’s race (Race #3) based on the uncertainty of the line sighter at the start. We await word of their decision, and word from the meteorologists as to whether the posted start at 1100 on Saturday, May 1 will occur. Some of the Star sailors have abandoned this series although many remain as it will serve to qualify four nations seeking an Olympic berth later in the summer. The big worry is that the six races are completed to qualify the series as a World Championship.

Taken from the Italian reports by Kühne & Kühne Ass. on the Star Worlds web site.
Thursday, April 29:
The Star Class World Championship Starts Again With the Third Race won by Percy/Mitchell
After two days of no racing the 102 teams in the Star Class involved in this competition that is also an Olympic qualifier, had one race today.

A regular scirocco wind of 8 meters/second (c 16 knots) provided a perfect setting for the 3rd race of the Star Worlds, that goes until May 2. Organized by the Sailing Committee in the Gulf. The heroes of the 3rd race, sailed on course 4, were the English team of Iain Percy and Steve Mitchell, who, by crossing the finish line 2nd, became the winners due to the OCS of the boat first across the line, Neeleman/Van Niekerk.

Unfortunately, also today the initial program has quick variations. Yesterday, the jury, in order to recuperate the lost race, had indicated that there would be two races today, but at 11 am the absence of the wind made it only possible to sail one race. Punctually, as always in the Gulf of Gaeta, the wind arrived at 2 pm making at least one race possible.

After the first windward/leeward, the first place team was Percy/Mitchell. Right behind were the Dutch Neeleman/Van Niekerk and the Finns Makila/Heinonen, while in 4th was the Olympic sailor Torben Grael. The best Italian at this point was Pietro D’Ali in 13th.

Neeleman crossed the finish line first but the OCS nullified the finish as it did for another seven teams, among which was our Chieffi. After Percy/Mitchell were the Austrailians Beashel/Giles and the Brazilians Grael/Ferreira. The best placing of the Italians was of D’Ali/Romeo in 10th and Bruni/Vigna in 12th.

Wednesday, April 28: Race abandoned due to lack of wind.

Tuesday, April 27: Jury decisions cause cancellation of day’s racing
Wherever there’s sailing there’s politics and day three of the Star World’s proved no exception with the international jury throwing a spanner in the works after twenty-four hours of crazy decision making, amendments and counter-amendments that very nearly threatened to kybosh the regatta.

The problems all started yesterday morning at the weigh-in of USA crew George Szabo and Christian Finnsgard who after standing on the scales were informed that they were a full one pound over the permitted limit. Cue a frantic cycle around the town to shed the excess weight and the boys jumped back on the scales only to find that they were still over the limit. Furthermore the Italian crew of class chairman Riccardo Simoneschi and Marco Marenco were also found to be over the limit alongside two other competitors.


Taken from the Italian reports by Kühne & Kühne Ass. on the Star Worlds web site.

Monday, April 26th:
Victory for the Dutch team of Mark Neeleman/Peter Van Niekerk in the 2nd race
Sun and steady wind of 12 knots for the 2nd race at the Star World Championship in Gaeta were welcome after the poor weather conditions of the first day of racing. The 2nd day brought perfect sailing conditions.

The race, which started at 2:25 pm, was sailed on course #3, a five legged windward-leeward course with an upwind finish. At the first windward mark, first around was the Dutch team of Mark Neeleman/Peter Van Niekerk, followed by the Danes Stig Westergaard/Jann Neergaard, with third being the Italian team of Roberto Benamati and Filippo Domenicali (33rd in the first race). The Olympic Champions Torben Grael/Marcelo Ferreira were 5th around the buoy, the winners of yesterday’s race, the English Iain Percy/Steve Mitchell were seventh, and Nicola Celon/Sergo Lambertenghi were 8th.

At the leeward mark, Neeleman and Van Niekerk were solidly in command. This scenario did not change in the 2nd go-around with the Dutch again first around the weather mark, and just behind were the Brazilians Grael/Ferreira, with the Danes Westergaard/Neergaard in 3rd.

The Dutch crossed the finish line first, while the 2004 European Champions, the Swedes Frederik Loof/Steve Mitchell were 2nd, and third were Grael/Ferreira. The best Italian teams were, in 14th Giampiero Poggi/Giovanni Stilo, and Pietro D’ali/Piero Romeo in 18th.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 27th, will bring the 2nd race, with the start at 2 pm. Wednesday is a lay day, with racing continuing on Thursday, April 29th.


Sunday, April 25th:
The English team of Ian Percy and Steve Mitchell won the opening race in the Audi-Star Class World Championship sailed at Gaeta, Italy, which was dominated by wind and rain.

First the rain, and then the continued strong wind characterized the 1st day. The start of the first race of six of the Worlds was delayed two hours (planned for 2 pm) because of the adverse weather. Then the wind settled around 14 knots and the 102 entries left the docks.

The first to round the windward mark was the Ireland team of Mansfield/Collins, followed by the European champions Loof/Eckstrom. Following them were the American Olympic champion Mark Reynolds with Steve Erickson, then the Danes Holm/Olesen, and Percy/Mitchell. But at the 2nd buoy things changed. Loof took the lead, followed by Percy, going upwind after a rounding where Mansfield accused him of a light error in manuvering.

But the biggest missing competitor at the 2nd buoy was the winner of the American Olympic Trials, Paul Cayard, breaking his mast in the first downwind run and he was forced to retire.

The top Italians were Bruni/Vigna in 14th, Colaninno/Brizzi in 18th and Poggi/Stilo in 19th. For the Italian qualification for the Olympics, Bruni/Vigna lengthened their lead a bit in their competition with Dalì/Romeo and Benamati/Domenicali.

At the finish line, Ian Percy and Steve Mitchell were first, followed by Mansfield/Collins and Loof/Ekstrom.

Monday, April 26th, will bring the 2nd race with the start, as always, planned for 2 pm. In the afternoon there will be a meeting about the America’s Cup which will precede the national premiere of a film produced by Raj Sport – “La Coppa America”, produced by journalist Giulio Guazzino, with Paul Cayard, Paolo Cian and the Olympic champion in swords, Sandro Cuomo.


Olympic qulification:
Gaeta, Italy: The final Olympic Qualification Regatta for the keelboat men, the Star World Championship, kicks off in Gaeta, Italy on 24 April.

The Star Class has always been a fleet that attracts a diverse range of top class sailors from around the world and the World Championship is not just about Olympic qualification. With the huge number of boats participating over the six-race schedule, the class, for many sailors represents a return to their roots of big fleet, one-design racing after a foray into diverse projects.

So far 12 nations have qualified for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, with a further four having the opportunity to qualify based on their results from the 2004 Worlds.

Current qualified nations for Athens 2004 are as follows:
2002: Bermuda, Brazil, France, Great Britain, USA
2003: Australia, Austria, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden

The challenge for the four qualification places up for grabs could well come from amongst nation in the top twenty of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings. Germany, Denmark, Canada, and Portugal all have sailors on the first page of the rankings, but have yet to qualify for the Olympic Games.

Of these four, both Germany and Canada were in Sydney, but for Denmark and Portugal their last appearance on the Olympic startline was at the 1996 Olympic Games where they placed 9 and 21 respectively.

At the 2003 World Championships, eight different nations appeared in the top 10 finishers, with an overall of 13 different nations in the top 20 places. Similarly in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, 9 different nations can be found amongst the world’s top 10.

In addition to Germany and Canada, the other countries who participated in the Star fleet at the 2000 Olympic Games but have yet to qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games are Argentina, Spain and New Zealand.

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