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

2008 Star Worlds Racing Report
By Lynn Fitzpatrick, WorldRegattas.com and Janet Maizner
Apr 17, 2008, 23:32

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Race Six Report by Lynn Fitzpatrick
The 2008 Star World Championships – The Winners

The 2008 Star World Championships offered the 208 competitors from 31 countries a little bit of everything. Those who mastered the sea breezes, shifty unsettled air and arctic blasts on Biscayne Bay’s playing field took home trophies, fame, unforgettable experiences and the confidence that if they could succeed among such a large fleet of champions in tricky conditions, they may even have a chance at an Olympic Gold medal in Qingdao, China later this year.

As long as you weren’t blackflagged at the start of the final race of the 2008 Star World Championships hosted by Coral Reef Yacht Club, it almost didn’t matter in what place you rounded the first weather mark. Carl and Jamie Buchan (USA) who led around the top mark got buried on the run and dropped twenty places. The Buchans weren’t the only ones whose fate changed for the worse during the first run in 4-6 knots of breeze.

Those who came out of the run smelling like roses were Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA), Flavio Marazzi and Enrico DeMaria (SUI), Peter O’Leary and Stephen Milne (IRL), Rick Merriman and Brian Sharpe (USA) and Marin Lovrovic Jr. and Sinsa Mikuklicic (CRO). Buried so far back in the fleet that the spectators had almost cleared out by the time they approached the gate were Hans Spitzauer and Christian Nehammer (AUT) and Kunio Suzuki and Daichi Wada (JAP). With rounding in the mid-teens Maxwell Treacy and Anthony Shanks (IRL), the Irish were pretty much assured that one of their teams would qualify the country for the Olympics.

Spitzauer/Nehammer spent the rest of the race trying to push the Japanese back to the point that the Japanese would have to count a really deep race. The deeper they went the more that it affected the Japanese scoreline, because the Austrians were working with dropping a 23rd place finish from the third race or an average of greater than 23 points. In the end the Austrians crossed the line in 84th and the Japanese crossed in 85th. The average that Spitzauer/Nehammer dropped was a 32. So the Austrians beat out the Japanese for the final country spot at the 2008 Olympics in Qingdao, China. There are two protests that have yet to be heard. The first is between the Japanese and the Austrians. The result of that protest will determine whether a protest between the Austrians and the Croatians is heard. Should the protests be disallowed, then the scorelines are as listed below and the additions to the Olympic field are as follows.

Meanwhile up in the front of the fleet, Merriman/Sharpe spurted by Scheidt Prada so that the young Irish team, O'Leary/Milne won their first race of the regatta. Marazzi/DeMaria were second, Merriman/Sharpe third and Scheidt/Prada fourth. Peter Bromby and Lee White (BER) thought they were having their best race of the regatta and crossed the line in fifth only to find out much later that they had been blackflagged.

First, second and third in the 2008 Star World Championship standings went to Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominick Zycki, Diego Negri and Luigi Viale, Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada, respectively.

Meet the winners.

Mateusz Kusnierewicz and Dominik Zycki . Photo by Fried Elliott.
Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki (POL)
These sailors, already so revered in their home country, Poland, travel to regattas with an entourage of reporters who have been following them for years. Kusnierewicz was the most popular sportsman in Poland in 1999, the same year that he won the ISAF Sailor of the Year award for so clearly dominating the Finn Class over the year of nomination, August 1998 to August 1999. He did not place below second in thirteen ISAF graded international events during that period. Mateusz adds the 2008 Star World Championship title to his coveted 1998 and 2000 Finn Gold Cup and 1996 Olympic Gold Medals.

Dominik Zycki had a strong career in the Finn class that lasted from the early to late 1990's but was overshadowed in his home country by the fame of his teammate Mateusz Kusznierewicz. Recognized has one of the country's top sailors, Zycki was a commentator for TVP during the 2004 Olympics.

1. Kusznierewicz/Zycki (POL) – 1,1,(44),3,5,3,15

Diego Negri and Luigi Viale. Photo by Fried Elliott.
Diego Negri and Luigi Viale (ITA)
Diego Negri had an exciting career in the Laser that included representing his country in the Olympics at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. His first ranking event in the Star was at a Grade 2 event in Garda, Italy in April of 2006, waters that are very familiar to him. Over the past two years, he has been a player at every major Star regatta and came into the 2008 Star World Championships ranked #2 by ISAF and having accomplished the very difficult task of winning the multi-regatta Italian Olympic Trials in the Men’s Keelboat.

Luigi Viale’s first major Star regatta with Diego Negri was the 2006 Star World Championships. He is strong. He is dependable and he has been an integral part of this strong Italian team.

2. Negri/Viale (ITA) – 3,3,(25),9,2,7,24

Robert Schedit and Bruno Prada. Photo by Fried Elliott.
Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada

The 2007 Star World Championship skipper and crew had a tremendous year. Not only did they win the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships in the Men’s Keelboat last year to be crowned the Star World Champions but they won two other tough regattas that give a clear indication of how they will perform at the Olympics – the 2007 Pre-Olympic Regatta and the Star Rio de Janeiro Championship, which doubled as the Brazilian Trials. Even though two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and past Star World Champion skipper, Torben Grael wasn’t competing, the regatta was a close one, because Brazil is the home country of many Star World Champions. Robert and Bruno demonstrated their heavy air prowess this spring during the windiest days of the BACARDI Cup and the 2008 Star World Championships.

Bruno's career in the Finn was formidable, but nothing compared to the track record he and Scheidt have established in the Star.

3. Scheidt/Prada (BRA) – (37),12,2,1,14,4,33


Flavio Marazzi and Enrico de Maria. Photo by Fried Elliott.
Flavio Marazzi and Enrico DeMaria (SUI)
Not quite 30 years old, Flavio Marazzi has been competing in the Star for one third of his life. He sailed with is brother in the 2000 Olympics where he was the youngest and least experienced Star skipper. Marazzi started sailing with Enrico DeMaria fifteen months before the 2004 Olympics. They were second in the Star World Championships in 2004 and were just out of the money at the Olympics in Athens with a 4th place finish.

For Marazzi, this quadrennium has been all about an Olympic Medal. He has been working closely with Wilke to develop a boat that will go fast in all conditions, especially in the light air and swells that are expected in Qingdao, China this summer. Their disappointing 20th place finish at the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships was a setback to their Olympic plans, but they showed everyone their speed in Qingdao last summer by leading the Olympic Test Event for much of the regatta, only to place 2nd following a difficult to recover start in the short course Medal Round of the regatta.

Enrico DeMaria sailed for Alinghi as a grinder through 2003 when he started training and racing with Marazzi for the 2004 Olympics. Fifteen months in the Star together resulted in a fourth place finish at the Games. DeMaria sailed with Alinghi during the most recent America’s Cup. In his first ranking event with Marazzi this quadrennium, the 2007 Star European Championships, the team won. With their solid performances this year and their Olympic experience, the team was the most feared by all of the teams who had already qualified for the 2008 Olympics.

4. Marazzi/DeMaria (SUI) – 6,14,(47),10,8,2,40

Marin Lovrovic Jr. and Sinsa Mkiulici (CRO) . Photo by Fried Elliott.
Marin Lovrovic Jr. and Sinsa Mikulicic (CRO)
Marin Lovrovic Jr. is a young man who has been sailing the Star for 10 years in a country where there are not many Stars. He started sailing with his father, Marin Sr. When the family realized that Marin Jr. had the potential to be an Olympian, Marin Sr. started sailing with his youngest son, Dan and Marin Jr. started sailing with Sinsa Mikulicic. They have done well on the European circuit and nearly qualified for the 2008 Olympics with their 15th place finish at the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Cascais. When not racing the Star at international events, Marin Jr., trained as a lawyer, but working in the family business because of the flexibility it affords him, practices at home in Croatia with Mikulicic as his crew and his father and brother as his sparring partners.

Sinsa Mikulicic is closer in age to Dan Lovrovic, his skipper’s brother than he is to Marin Jr., but he’s a bit heavier. The Croatian team is one big, happy family and if you didn’t know it, you would think that Mikulicic is a Lovrovic.

12. Lovrovic Jr./Mikulicic (CRO) – 29,2,(64),21,25,10,87

Maxwell Treacy and Anthony Shanks. Photo by Fried Elliott.
Maxwell Treacy and Anthony Shanks (IRL)
It’s by no means official that Maxwell Treacy and Anthony Shanks will be representing Ireland at the Olympics. That decision is to be made by a committee back home. Maxwell Treacy and Anthony Shanks, however, did beat the other two Irish teams in the Spring European Championships and US Sailing’s Miami OCR and they finished ahead of their compatriots in the 2008 Star World Championships to qualify their country for the Olympics, delighting the Irish Sailing Federation.

Maxwell Treacy has been sailing the Star since the beginning of the decade. He has put together some top performances including a 14th place finish at the 2004 Star Olympic qualifiers in Gaeta, Italy. He and Anthony bested the silver fleet at the 2007 ISAF World Championships in the Star after coming off a 4th place finish at the Eastern Hemisphere Championships in Mallorca, Spain.

Anthony Shanks came to the Star from the Dragon and the Etchells classes. He was well aware of the pressure cooker that a lot of the sailors were under, especially the Irish, as they came into the 2008 Star World Championships. His attitude was to “have fun and make sure that we’re sailing well.” It worked.

14. Treacy/Shanks (IRL) – 7,(105),17,15,26,26,91

Hans Spitzauer and Christian Nehammer. Photo by Fried Elliott.
Hans Spitzauer and Christian Nehammer (AUT)
Hans Spitzauer will make is third Olympic appearance at the 2008 Games in Qingdao, China. His first bid was in 1996 in Savannah in the Finn. His 4th place finish left a bittersweet taste in his mouth. After losing a bid in the Soling for the 2000 Games, he took the helm of a Star and qualified for the 2004 Olympics in Athens. This 1996 Finn Gold Cup winner has the never say die attitude that gave him yet another chance to sail in the Olympics.

Christian Nehammer crewed for six years before becoming a helmsman. He was good enough at both for Hans Spitzauer to take note and ask him to crew in this Austrian Olympic campaign effort. His first time in the harness as a Star crew was in January 2006. After a disappointing 24th place finish at the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships, Hans and Christian have been dedicated to their Star Olympic campaign effort. After spending the season in Miami, it is fitting that Christian qualify for his first Olympics on the waters that he has come to know so well during his short Star career.

16. Spitzauer/Nehammer (AUT)- 14, 18,23,19 AVG.,21, 84, 95

Kusznierewicz/Zycki Win Star World Championships by Janet Maizner
Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki (POL) won the 2008 Star World Championships at Coral Reef Yacht Club with a fifth place in the sixth race and a total of 14 points overall. “We sailed and fought with the best sailors in the world today’” said Kusznierewicz.

“We made a great decision on the downwind leg and used every opportunity to stay close to the Italians,” he said. According to his crew Zycki they have dreamed of putting a gold star on their sails. “One of our dreams came true today,” he said.

Second place went to Diego Negri/Luigi Viale (ITA) who crossed the finish line 18 seconds behind the leader with a total of 23 points. Both Kusznierewicz and Negri started at the signal boat end of the line and went after the start. Unfortunately, the wind went left and they got hosed. With 100 boats racing, they rounded mid-fleet at the first weather mark.

Third place went to Robert Scheidt/Bruno Prada (BRA) who finished the Star Worlds in fourth with 33 points.

Patrick O’Leary and Stephen Milne. Photo by Fried Elliott.
Today’s sixth race was won by the Irish team of Patrick O’Leary and Stephen Milne who could be deemed the comeback kids of the series. They were a solid candidate for a top five finish in race four but they lost their mast on the second downwind run.

“We never gave up at any time during the race today or during the entire week,” said O’Leary. “We chipped away at every opportunity after an awful start and we are absolutely delighted to have won today’s race,” he said.

Flavio Marazzi/Enrico De Maria (SUI) not only finished in second place today, but qualified Switzerland for one of the four remaining Olympic slots in the Star Class event.
The three other countries qualifying today were Croatia, Ireland and Austria.

Marazzi and De Maria sailed together in the Athens Olympics and placed fourth. They were also fourth in the 2007 European Championships. Said Marazzi, "We're always fourth but we hope to change that at the 2008 Olympics."

Rick Merriman/Brian Sharp (USA) took third place today, their best finish in the series.
“Being at the top of fleet today felt great the last couple of days,” said Merriman. “We had a good start mid-line and we stayed high around the weather mark and went left. We had great pressure and clear air around three quarters of the way down where we got ahead of the fleet,” he said.

Today’s final race got off in 10 knot winds with seven boats black flagged. Carl Buchan/Jamie Buchan (USA) were leading with Mark Mendelblatt/Mark Strube (USA), Hamish Pepper/Carl Williams (NZL) and Marc Pickel/Ingo Borkowski (GER) just behind them at the first weather mark.

At the first leeward gate, Flavio Marazzi/Enrico De Maria (SUI) jumped to first place followed by Robert Scheidt/Bruno Prado (BRA). O’Leary/Milne moved up to third place followed by Rick Merriman/Brian Sharp (USA). Joining the top 10 were the two teams holding first and second overall, Kusznierewicz/Zycki and Negri/Viale.

O’Leary/Milne grabbed the lead at the second weather mark and never let it go. Marazzi/De Maria stuck to the leader from the second gate to the finish.


Race Five: Percy/Simpson Win Day Five at 2008 Star World Championships by Janet Maizner

Big wind shifts from the Northwest to the East with winds ranging from 8 to 20 knots were accommodated with two start line resets and a change on the course after the second weather mark today.

Iain Percy and crew Andrew Simpson (GBR) took first place and sailed like the world champions they are. However, their black flag in race two and a disqualification in race four, put them out of the running for anything but a mid-fleet finish overall. Diego Negri/Luigi Viale (ITA) finished second and John Dane/Austin Sperry (USA) came in third.

“We had a good race today and sailed like we should have sailed the rest of the week,” said Percy. “It was tricky with no wind and big shifts all the way around the course, but we got the right side on the first shift and did better than our disasters earlier this week.” Simpson added, “We finally got it right.”

The Polish team of Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Dominik Zycki, current holders of the number one ISAF ranking for the Star Class, finished fourth today and moved into first place overall after the fifth race in the six race series. “Everyone near us on the start got a black flag,” said Kusznierewicz. “It was a difficult beginning and we started late, but safe.”

Deep in fleet rounding the first weather mark, the Poles picked up great speed, changed their tuning three or more times, and made their way to the top of the fleet. “The communication between me and Dominik was great. When I didn’t know what to do, he did and when he didn’t know, I did,” explained Kusznierewicz.

By the second leeward gate, the Poles had passed almost 30 boats and were in 10th and striking distance for the beat to the finish line.

Diego Negri and crew Luigi Viale (ITA) took second place in today’s fifth race in the series and moved into second place overall. “This was the best birthday present, I couldn’t have asked for better,” said the now 37-year-old.

The very first time Negri and Viale sailed together was the 2006 European Star Championships where they came in fourth. Their boat was old and literally taped together and they said they actually had to call some friends to figure out the rigging. That’s when they decided to name their boat “Lady Mianda,” Mianda, which literally means old underwear, but in their Ligurian dialect means old sails or not very good sails.

Negri has been to the Olympics twice for Lasers and was at one time ranked 4th in the world. He decided to switch to Stars when he wasn’t having fun anymore. “Racing Stars was like going home for me,” he said. “At our first competition I saw Hamish Pepper, Robert Scheidt, Mark Mendelblatt, guys I used to race against in Laser.”

The Japanese team of Kunio Suzuki/Daichi Wada, which is trying to qualify its country for the Olympics, finished 19th today and jumped from 23rd to 11th overall. “There was a lot of wind and it changed all the time. It was very difficult for us,” said Zuzuki. Other countries still racing for the four available Olympic slots are Austria, Ireland, Croatia and Switzerland.

Dane/Sperry had a solid day today sailing in the top 10 for the entire race. Marc Pickel/Ingo Borkowski (GER) moved into the top 10 at the second weather mark and finshed in fifth place.

Mark Mendelblatt/Mark Strube (USA) moved up two slots to sixth overall. At the first leeward mark the team moved into the top 10 and dropped down to an 11th place finish at the second leeward gate.


Race Four - Defending World Champions Scheidt/Prada Win by Janet Maizner

It was a wild and windy day on Biscayne Bay for the 102 boats racing the fourth of a six race series in the 2008 Star World Championships at Coral Reef Yacht Club. The race start was delayed almost an hour and three boats were black flagged at the start after a postponement and a general recall. Some 27 boats did not finish, more than eight masts were lost, one boat capsized, and one of the top three finishers fell out of his boat just seconds before the finish line. What a day!

Defending World Champion Robert Scheidt/Bruno Prada grabbed the lead and crossed the finish line five boat lengths ahead of everyone else. "At the last mark we were in 6th position and decided to go to port where there were fewer waves," said Scheidt. "A 30 knot wind hit just behind us and put us back in the race," he said.

Pepper/Williams - photo by Fried Elliott.
Second place Hamish Pepper/Carl Williams (NZL) and third place Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Domink Zycki (POL) were neck and neck to the finish. According to Kusznierewicz, who had been in the lead since the first weather mark, "We made a very tight tack behind the Committee boat and I missed my hiking strap. Dominik's reflexes were brilliant; he grabbed me and we only lost a few seconds."

The Italian team of Diego Negri and crew Luigi Viale finished in ninth place and moved up to first place overall with 40 points. The Poles moved into second overall with 49 points and the Swedish team of Frederik Loof/Anders Ekstrom finished fifth and moved up to third

O'Leary/Milne- photo by Fried Elliott
Rounding the first weather mark was Kusznierewicz/Dominik Zycki, followed by the Irish team of Peter O'Leary/Stephan Milne, Hamish Pepper/Carl Williams (NZL), John Dane/Austin Sperry (USA), and O'Connell/Cooke (IRL). Not far behind the first pack were Mendelblatt/Strube (USA) and Percy/Simpson (GBR).

After the triangle, at the leeward mark Kusznierewicz/Zycki was still leading. Rounding the mark behind him were Pepper/Williams gaining a spot, followed by O'Leary/Milne, Dane/Sperry (USA), and yesterday's winner Xavier Rohart/Pascal Rambeau (FRA).

At the second weather mark, the Polish team continued to lead by 10 seconds with the Kiwis close behind. Next around the mark were Rohart/Rambeau, O'Leary/Milne, Alan Adler/Ronald Seifert (BRA), Dane/Sperry, and Mendelblatt/Strube. Robert Scheidt/Bruno Prado (BRA), Maurice O'Connell/Ben Cooke (IRL), Luca Modena/Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA) and Flavio Marazzi/Enrico De Maria (ITA) were in the next pack.

This last downwind run is when all hell broke loose. The gusts and lulls were coming fast and for a few teams who didn't respond quick enough, their masts snapped in two. Steve Mitchell, crew with Ross Macdonald of Canada said he saw broken masts on at least six boats including Peter O'Leary/Stephen Milne (IRL) who were running a great race in the top five from the first weather mark to the rounding of the windward mark and looked like they would make it to a solid finish.

Luigi Viale confirmed that masts were falling everywhere on the last downwind run. "Peter Bromby lost his mast just 50 meters in front of us," he said.

The top three leaders cleared the leeward gate in the same positions with Scheidt/Prada moving into the fifth slot.

The winds were from the NW at 18 knots with gusts up to 30 knots on the downwind run. As crew Bob Carlson from one of the USA teams described it, "There were streaks of white foam running down from the tops of six foot waves, and our cockpit filled with water twice."

Skipper Mark Mendelblatt (USA), in eighth place overall with a 17th place finish today, said he and his crew Mark Strube were doing okay until their pole broke during their gybe. "It was windy as hell out there," he said.

Scheidt and Prada Pour It On! By Lynn Fitzpatrick
Hold on cowboys! If you can stay on your mount for an Olympic course and lots of black whammies you are better off than one third of the fleet during the fourth race of the 2008 Star World Championships. Brazilians Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada, who stunned everyone with their heavy air speed during the windiest day of the BACARDI Cup, turned on their jets after missing a 15 degree shift at the top of the first leg and rounding the weather mark in 13th. One of their secrets to success was having their mast back on the run and retracting their spinnaker pole before a monster of a puff took out the likes of Peter Bromby and Lee White and Luca Modena and Sergio Lambertenghi. Although the race started in 12-13 knots with puffs up to 17 knots, the whammy that took out Star veterans was up over 27 knots. Scheidt summed up the race for all of those who made it around the course, "EXHAUSTING!"

It was truly and expensive day for everybody. Sails flogged for quite a while as the RC reset the line and sent the 2008 Star World Championship fleet off on the ride of their lives. With the wind out of the NE, the air temperature was a brisk 60 degrees, the Star fleet had flat seas leaving the harbor, but by the time it neared Stiltsville the wind and waves were enough to launch boats into the air.

Some boats elected not to start and many of those who ended up with twisted rigs, holes in boats, blistered hands and sore muscles (everywhere), wished that they hadn't. Wing marks and bottom marks were absolute spectacles. The leaders were lucky because they were in a spaced far enough apart from one another that they could leave each other room as one after the other tried a gybe. Many boom tips hit the water and some of the boats rounded up. The first rig came down at the first bottom mark. 2006 Etchells World Champion turned Star sailor this year, Jud Smith and Terry Yuill's (USA) rig collapsed during a puff that hit during their approach to the bottom mark. Kostya Datsenko and Olexandr Yevseyenko (UKR) had theirs come crashing down at about the same time.

It looked as if Mateusz Kusnierewicz and Dominik Zycki (POL) were going to get their third bullet of the regatta, because they led around each mark of the course. However, it was not to be. Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada clawed their way back from 13th at the first weather mark to challenge Kusnierwicz/Zycki on the top of the final beat by going left along with Xavier Rohart and Pascal Rambeau (FRA). Scheidt/Prada got the gun. Kusnierewicz/Zycki and Hamish Pepper and Carl Williams (NZL) had a photo finish that went to Pepper/Williams. (The real photo, however, was of Kusnierewicz falling out of the boat on the final tack to the finish). Rohart/Rambeau were fourth and many of the next several boats to cross the finish line have either qualified for the Olympics or are among the top teams trying to qualify through this championship. John Dane III and Austin Sperry (USA) were the top North Americans.

Broken forestays took out the likes of past Olympic gold medalists Mark Reynolds and Hal Haenel (USA). A broken cap stay took out Olympians Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR). A broken mast probably broke four-time Olympian Peter Bromby and crew Lee White's (BER) heart as their bid for the 2008 Games looks doomed. Hans Spitzauer and Christian Nehammer (AUS) were T-boned.

Everyone held on for dear life throughout the day. Sergio Lambertehghi (ITA) said, as he was being towed in under a tangled mess of shrouds and a top section with the top panel of their sail flogging upside down, "I told Luca (Modena) to watch out because a big gust was coming down on us along with Peter Bromby's mast. It was too late. We couldn't pull enough on to keep our mast from inverting."

Everyone has at least 'one deer in the headlamps' story to tell from today's fourth race of the 2008 Star World Championships hosted by Coral Reef Yacht Club. Comparing tales will help them to pass the time in the boatyard while they re-rig and make sure that everything will withstand the final two races of the series.


Lay day at Nikki Beach Club. Photo by Tom/Joyce Septembre.
Lay Day: Star Struck in Miami by Janet Maizner
The lay day was laying on the beach at Nikki Beach Club for many of the 208 Star sailors at the 2008 Star World Championships. While temperatures hit the 80s, the 150 Coral Reef Yacht Club (CRYC) volunteers and Race Committee were busy prepping for the next three days of the regatta.

Mid-Week party and awards at Shake-A-Leg. Photo by Tom/Joyce Septembre.
Last night's Tropical Night at Shake-A-Leg Miami (SALM) had junkanoo dancers on stilts, parrots, food and beverages. CRYC's own Star World Champion, Magnus Liljedahl, who won in 2000 with Mark Reynolds and is the founder of Team Paradise, helped present the Mid-Week Awards.

The regatta's Heineken Poolside Pubs have been hubs of post sailing activity especially with their co-hosts (Sperry Top-Sider, Harken, New England Ropes, SLAM and Fiji Water). There will be more fun to come with cocktails hosted by Biscayne Bay Yacht Club and our Awards Dinner at CRYC.

RC chair Rich Raymond and vice-chair Carol Ewing. Photo by Tom/Joyce Septembre.
The racing is even more exciting. At this point in the regatta, there is no real leader but many superb sailors who still have a chance to win the Gold Star. Of the nations who have not yet qualified for the four remaining Olympics slots, Austria, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, and Switzerland are all coming on strong. Japan's team of Kunio Suzuki and Daichi Wada are sailing very well with there three finishes better than 15th place.


Star Worlds fleet. Photo by Marco Oquendo/imagesbymarco.com.

Race Three Report by Janet Maizner
Americans John MacCausland/Kevin Murphy in Overall Lead at Star Worlds
Three World Champions Finish One,Two,Three in Day Three Race

Miami, FL – Sunday, April 13, 2008 -- With less than four knots of wind, the Race Committee at the Star Worlds Championship at Coral Reef Yacht Club waited, reset the start line, and waited again for the wind to pick up. Almost an hour and a half later, it edged up to a shifty seven knots. The 104-boat fleet crossed the start line with only four over the line early.

Both John MacCausland/Kevin Murphy (USA), who finished eighth, and Iain Murray/Andrew Palfrey (AUS), who took a fifth place, ended the day with 27 points each. Yesterday’s fourth place finish by MacCausland broke the tie.

“I feel wonderful!” said MacCausland. “We’ve sailed a lot this winter with reasonable finishes in several events, but nothing great.” He explained that he and Kevin made some changes in their sails and in other areas and can now “race the race with the other guys.”

In third place overall with 31 points is the Italian team of Diego Negri and crew Luigi Viale despite a 25th place finish today.

Kostya Datsenko/Olexandr Yevseyenko (UKR) were first to round the weather mark followed by defending Star Worlds Champions Robert Scheidt and crew Bruno Prada (BRA), Star World Champion Hamish Pepper/Carl Williams (NZL), Xavier Rohart/Pascal Rambeau (FRA) and Gastao Brun/Fabio Kraiczyk (BRA)l.

The Race Committee made a course change on the downwind leg when the wind shifted to the right. At the first leeward gate, Scheidt/Bruno grabbed the lead from the Ukranians and Iain Murray/Andrew Palfrey (AUS) and Marc Pickel/Ingo Borkowski (GER) moved ahead of Brun/Kraiczyk and Rohart/Rambeau.

The course was changed again on the fourth leg with another wind shift to the right. Two-time Star Worlds champions Rohart/Rambeau rounded the second windwark mark in first position with Pepper/Williams behind them and Murray/Palfrey in third followed by Scheidt/Bruno and Benny Anderson/Mogens Just (DEN).

At the second leeward gate, Rohart/Rambeau was still leading with Scheidt/Bruno and Pepper/Williams close behind and Murray/Palfrey overtaken by Carl Buchan/Jamie Buchan (USA).

Rohart/Rambeau and Scheidt/Prada were only eight seconds apart as they crossed the finish line. Pepper/Williams finished a minute later.

“Today we had good clean air with a start right near the Committee Boat and we used our magic speed especially on the second upwind leg,” Rohart explained. “It was just like always, Scheidt on one side, Pepper on another, but we were happy that they were behind us,” he said.

According to Scheidt, “The French team sailed well and protected themselves once they got the lead. It will be a mixed up series,” he said, “and the game is still open.” Scheidt thought the right shift would come and it did and he had good speed coming around the first mark and the second leg. “Biscayne Bay is hard to predict – sometimes you’ll be right.”

Day Three report by Lynn Fitzpatrick,

Biscayne Bay Kicks up and the French Win the Race

Xavier Rohart and Pascal Rambeau (FRA) won the day with a clean start at the boat and going right up the second beat. John MacCausland and Kevin Murphy, with an average of seven points and an eighth in today's race, the third race of the 2008 Star World Championships, now lead the six race regatta as we go into a lay day.

The 104-boat fleet and its floating entourage drifted on a glassy Biscayne Bay for a little over an hour in singing heat. It was so hot that the Star sailors stripped off their neoprene and tried to hide below decks and in the shade of their sails. The sea breeze started to fill and the sailors hoisted their sails and slowly sailed downwind toward Coco Plum.

After yesterday's harsh punishment for being over early, more boats hung back at the start. For the first time in the regatta, an individual recall flag went up. A couple of boats ducked back below the line, but the flag remained standing. Those who had clear air and played the middle and the right rounded in the top of the fleet, while those who fought valiantly for the pin at the start and went left struggled to weave their way through the fleet as it bore away toward a leeward mark that had been shifted right to 330 degrees. Kostya Datsenko and Olexandr Yevseyenko (UKR) were punched out so far ahead of everybody coming in from the right that it looked as if they must have been OCSed, but they weren't and they rounded the first weather mark in the lead with Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA) and Kunio Suzuki and Daichi Wada (JPN) in pursuit.

By going low on the run, Scheidt/Prada scooped the lead and were the first to round the right gate. The Ukrainians were second and Hamish Pepper and Carl Willams (NZL) came out of the gate right on their hip. Iain Murray and Andrew Palfrey (AUS) and the Japanese paraded behind them. The key to the second beat was to go right as the wind built and continued to clock toward the south. By the time the leaders reached the second weather mark, the wind was blowing 12.5 - 14 knots and everyone was wishing that they had set up for heavier winds.

Positions changed considerably during the run with the breeze on and waves to surf. Four Olympians pulled into the top positions. Xavier Rohart and Pascal Rambeau (FRA), Pepper/Williams, Iain Murray and Andrew Palfrey (AUS) and Scheidt/Prada headed out toward the right hand side of the course for a final leg with the breeze on and the waves kicking up. The French won the race. Scheidt/Prada were second and Pepper/Williams were third. Xavier Rohart looked down at his blistering hands following the race and said, "Whew, they hurt. I wish that I had put my gloves on and set up for heavy air."

Kunio Suzuki and Diachi Wada (JPN), with their tenth place finish today are the top contenders for the final four country berths at the Olympics in Qingdao. Others in good stead going into the second half of the regatta are Hans Spitzhauer and Christian Nehammer (AUT), Peter O'Leary and Stephen Milne (IRL) and Flavio Marazzi and Enrico deMaria (SUI).

MacCausland/Murphy are winning the regatta on a tie breaker with Murray/Palfrey. Both Iain Murray and Pascal Rambeau have something more to celebrate than their race results, tomorrow is the Australian skipper's and the French crew's birthday. Mateusz Kusnierewicz and Dominik Zycki (POL) the winners of the first two races had a mid-fleet finish and slipped to ninth in the standings, but like many they've had at least one race that they'd really like to discard.


Day Two Report by Janet Maizner
Miami, FL - Saturday, April 12, 2008 - The top ranked Star Class sailing team of Mateusz Kusznierewicz and crew Dominik Zycki made it two bullets in a row today, the second race of the 2008 Star Class World Championships at Coral Reef Yacht Club.

"We are smiling today," said Kusznierewicz. "Sometimes people have just a good couple of days." He and Zycki crossed the finish line one minute and 20 seconds ahead of second place finishers Marin Lovrovic Jr., and crew Sinsa Mikulici who move up from 29th place to 9th overall.

Kusznierewicz/Zycki were second around the first mark, passed the Croatian team before the leeward gate, and continued to increase their spread on the next two beats. "Dominik and I were talking about everything but sailing on that last beat," said Kusznierewicz.

Marin Lovrovic Jr./Sinsa Mkiulici (CRO) Bow # 39 and Diego Negri/Luigi Viale (ITA) Bow # 25 duel on the final charge for the finish line. Photo by Marco Oquendo/imagesbymarco.com.
The Italians, Diego Negri and crew Luigi Viale, ranked second in the world, took another third place finish moving them up to 2nd place overall. "We decided to be more conservative at the start line then we went left looking for the first big shift and found it," said Negri. "Being in front in the top 10 on the course gave us an opportunity to improve our position at each mark," he explained.

Mark Mendelblatt and crew Mark Strube move to 3rd place overall with a sixth place finish today behind the Irish team of Peter O'Leary/Stephen Milne, who are now in 7th overall.

O'Leary and Milne, sailing in only their third Star Class event, are giving the Irish a strong chance of earning one of the four Olympic berths still open. "We still have four races to go, but we'll certainly take today's finish," said O'Leary.

Marin Lovrovic Jr./Sinsa Mikulicic (CRO) cross the finish line. Photo by Marco Oquendo/imagesbymarco.com.
The wind on Biscayne Bay picked up with 14 knots and choppy water. Squalls in the west and uneven wind caused several gang ups of competitors at several points on the line resulting in two race postponements with a subsequent line adjustment.

More than 80 percent of the 104-boat fleet started to the left, a solid choice as this group included the top three finishers in yesterday's race - Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Dominik Zycki (POL), Mark Mendelblatt/Mark Strube (USA) and Diego Negri/Luigi Viale (ITA).

Almost half of the initial two dozen boats rounding the first upwind mark were notified that they were black-flagged at the start line. In total, 25 boats were black-flagged including several Star World champions and Olympians.

Day Two Report by Lynn Fitzpatrick

Kusnierewicz the Crusher

It was all grins for Polish heartthrobs Mateusz Kusnierewicz and Dominik Zycki (POL) as they crushed the rest of the fleet during the second race of the 2008 Star World Championship. Marin Lovrovic Jr. and Sinsa Mikulicic (CRO) approached the weather mark from the middle left with a nice lead over Kusnierewicz/Zycki. As they bore off for the offset mark, they took a peak at the board to see if their bow number was among the 25 boats that were black flagged. Relieved that they were not among the nearly quarter of the fleet sent marching home, they got down to business. Lovrovic/Mikulicic went high and Kusnierewicz/Zycki went low and 2.1 miles later Kusnierewicz/Zycki had a three boat length lead as they rounded the leeward gate and headed back up wind.

Call it Black Saturday for many who had hoped to win the 2008 Star Worlds or go to the Olympics. Among the twenty five crews who have already qualified for the Olympics John Dane III and Austin Sperry (USA), Marc Pickel and Ingo Borkowski (GER), Ian Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR) and Hamish Pepper and Carl Williams (NZL) were black flagged. Among the teams who have mounted quadrennium long campaigns from countries that are still trying to qualify for the Olympics and who were also black flagged were Rodrigo Zuazola and Robert Riegel (CHI), Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Pedersen (NOR), Maurice O'Connell and Ben Cooke (IRL), Max Treacy and Anthony Shanks (IRL) and Peter Bromby and Lee White (BER). Thankfully, the Irish can breath a sigh of relief, because the young lads who came onto the scene this season Peter O'Leary and Stephen Milne (IRL) carried the baton for their county. There were many other very talented crews who were tagged after the race committee went to the black flag following the first general recall. The second starting sequence ended with the AP going up, and many aggressive competitors charged the line during the third attempt at the start.

With the fleet thinned out immediately behind them, Kusnierewicz/Zycki and Lovrovic/Mikulicic pulled away and Diego Negri and Luigi Viale (ITA) followed around the left gate while John MacCausland and Kevin Murphy (USA) and Freddy Loof and Anders Ekstrom (SWE) tried to make up ground by rounding the right gate. Peter O'Leary and Stephen Milne (IRL) executed a picture perfect left gate rounding inside the father and son team of Carl and Jamie Buchan (USA) to snag sixth.

The sun came out for the final beat as Kusnierewicz/Zycki sailed their final beat alone for the second day in a row. Having to defend against some formidable veterans, Lovrovic/Sinsa slipped back in the 8-10 knot breeze from the SE, but were able to cover Negri/Viale and cross the finish line in second place. MacCausland/Murphy, who showed off their starts and speed in the practice race, finished fourth. The Irish youth, O'Leary/Milne posted yet another impressive finish in Miami and took fifth.

If anybody is interested, Kusnierewicz/Zycki are sailing a Folli that is the sister ship to Dane/Sperry's trial horse, 8320. It's likely that both teams are shipping their trusty steeds to Qingdao shortly after the 2008 Star Worlds hosted by Coral Reef Yacht Club. Countries that are leading the charge toward qualifying for the 2008 Olympics are Switzerland, Ireland, Japan and Croatia.


Content courtesy Lynn Fitzpatrick, www.worldregattas.com

Race One: The Poles get the Pole Start

Mateusz Kusnierewicz and Dominik Zycki . Photo by Fried Elliott.
Mateusz Kusnierewicz and Dominik Zycki (POL) had a game plan and they stuck to it. During each of the starts before the black flag went up during the first race of the 2008 Star World Championships, they were right near the boat. As they set up for the start under the black flag, Kusnierewicz/Zycki timed it perfectly so that they were right on the money. The Polish team took a quick hitch onto port, realized that they were in control of the right side and tacked out for more. Their game plan put them in third around the top mark behind Marc Pickel and Ingo Borkowski (GER) and Kunio Suzuki and Daichi Wada (JPN). It was only a matter of time before the Polish team was able to reel in the Japanese on the 10.5 mile course.

Suzuki Kunio and Daichi Wada of Japan who led for the first lap. Photo by Fried Elliott
The race started under mostly sunny skies with clouds building over the mainland. Winds were out of the southeast at 130 degrees at 10-12 knots. The 104-boat fleet looked spectacular as it lined up for the start. The top guns were fairly evenly dispersed down the line, but those who could keep clear air in such a large fleet and get left were rewarded on the first beat. The fleet was all too eager to make sashimi out of the Japanese leaders. Although they held the lead to the first leeward gate, they chose the right hand gate. As Mateusz Kusnierewicz put it, “we had a smile on our face as we set up to round the left gate. They were dead at the mark.” Mark Mendleblatt and Mark Strube (USA) rounded the left gate just behind Kusnierewicz/Zycki while Pickel/Borkowski, Ian Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR) went to the right gate. The leaders played the left and middle left up the second beat.

Kusnierewicz/Zycki rounded the second weather mark a couple of boat lengths ahead of Mendleblatt/Strube and Pickel/Borkowski trailed by the distance between the weather mark and the offset mark. Flavio Marazzi and Enrico de Maria (SUI), in fourth, were the first among the teams and countries that have not yet qualified for the Olympics. While the teams set off on the second run, the wind had shifted to 120 degrees and had slackened off to 8.5 to 9 knots with white caps here and there and nothing to surf.

Kusnierewicz/Zycki went into the left gate ahead of Mendleblatt/Strube by six boat lenghts. The Americans had extended their lead on the Germans by eight boat lengths. Flavio Marazzi and Enrico de Maria (SUI) had closed the gap on Pickel/Borkowski to be within two boat lenghts, Diego Negri and Luigi Viale (ITA) and Ian Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR) were nipping at the heels of the Swiss.

Kusnierewicz/Zycki got to sail their own race all the way up the final beat. They played the middle of the course and kept an eye on Mendleblatt/Strube and Pickel/Borkowski who were slightly to the right of them during the leg. It’s difficult to claw your way back in this fleet, just ask reigning World Champion, Robert Scheidt or the 2003/05 World Champions Xavier Rohart and Pascal Rambeau. That said, there was some excitement to the finish as Diego Negri and Luigi Viale (ITA) and Marc Pickel and Ingo Borkowski (GER) shot the pin end of the finish line together (and finished in that order).

There are five more races to go before we find out which countries will be the final four to win the right to go to the Olympics, but after today’s results, Peter Bromby and Lee White (BER), Flavio Marazzi and Enrico de Maria (SUI), Max Treacy and Anthony Shanks (IRL) and Kunio Suzuki and Daichi Wada must be happy with their top ten performance---


Report by Janet Maizner
Miami, FL – April 11, 2008 – The winds were out of the SE at 10 knots with a slight chop on Biscayne Bay, the sun was shining and everyone from competitors to volunteers at the Star World Championships was in good spirits for the first race today.

The top ranked Star Class team in the world, Mateusz Kusznierewicz and crew Dominik Zycki of Poland, was in the top three from the start line and won Day One. In second place was Mark Mendelblatt and crew Mark Strube of St. Petersburg, FL, and the number two ranked team in the world, Italians Diego Negri and Luigi Viale, were in third place.

Marc Pickel and crew Ingo Borkowski of Germany were first around the weather mark, followed by the Japanese team of Kunio Suzuki/Daichi Wada and Kusznierewicz/Zycki.

Marazzi/de Maria and Negri/Viale. Photo by Marco Oquendo/imagesbymarco.com.
At the first leeward mark, the Japanese duo took the wrong gate and Kusznierewicz/Zycki seized the moment and moved into second place. Mark Mendelblatt/Mark Strube of St. Petersburg, FL, moved up to third place at the same mark.

“We were very relaxed this morning and sailed a good race,” said Mateusz Kusznierewicz. “Seeing Mark right behind me made me a little nervous, but we kept our focus on sailing.”

At the second weather mark rounding the Polish team captured first place with Mendelblatt still on their tail and Pickel dropping to third place. As Mendelblatt put it, “We had good speed today and it got down to us and the Polish team. We expect to do well here, if we don’t make any mistakes.”

This is the first time the two Marks have sailed Stars together since the 2006 Star Worlds in San Francisco. Mendelblatt said other sailing commitments have kept them apart until now. “I knew I would always come back to the Stars,” he said. “The America’s Cup was a side trip.”

John Dane/Austin Sperry of Gulfport, MS, the US Star Class team headed to the Olympics, finished in 10th place. Defending Star World Champion Robert Scheidt and crew Bruno Prado finished in 37 place.

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