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This Article Last Updated: Jul 29th, 2014 - 13:12:54 

2014 World Championship - Final Report
By Star World Championship
Jun 30, 2014, 13:32

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Preview of Event
Official website: www.starworld2014.com
Live streaming: live.starsailors.com


Introductory Video
Day One Report - Day One Video
Day Two Report - Day Two Video
Day Three Report - Day Three Video
Day Four Report - Day Four Video
Day Five Report - Day Five Video
Final Report / Race Six - Day Six Video
Awards Ceremony Video

Beginning Monday, June 30 until Saturday, July 5, Star Sailors from across the world will come together in Malcesine, Italy at Fraglia Vela Malcesine to compete in the 2014 International Star Class World Championship on the infamous waters of Lake Garda.

90 teams will participate in the 6 race series, all fighting to become the next International Star Class World Champion, one of Sailing’s most prestigious titles. This year the Star Class World Championship regatta's media coverage will include Virtual Eye tracking and for the first time ever will be accompanied by LIVE online broadcasting and commentary provided by the Star Sailors League.

Anticipation and expectations for this year's 2014 International Star Class World Championship are high and the competition within the Star fleet has already proven to be fierce with the attendance of over 20 of the International Star Class's most successful members, making up a total of 15 teams.

Within 10 of the top 15 Star teams racing this week, 11 of the individual sailors have competed in the Olympics, 4 of which won medals, and 7 are International Star Class World Champions. Olympic competitors Include: skippers Torben Grael (BRA), Alex Hagen (GER), Flavio Marazzi (SUI), Eivind Melleby (NOR), Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE), Mark Reynolds (USA), Xavier Rohart (FRA), and Robert Stanjeck (GER) as well as crews Bruno Prada (BRA), Antonis Tsotras (GRE), and Frithjof Kleen (GER).

Among the Olympic competitors, Torben Grael won Gold Medals in 1996 and 2004 as well as Bronze Medals in 1988 and 2000, Mark Reynolds won Gold Medals in 1992 and 2000 as well as a Silver Medal in 1988, Xavier Rohart won a Bronze Medal in 2004, and Star crew Bruno Prada won a Silver Medal in 2008 and a Bronze Medal in 2012. International Star Class World Champions present at this year's event include skippers Roberto Benamati (ITA), Torben Grael (BRA), Alex Hagen (GER), Mark Reynolds (USA), Xavier Rohart (FRA), and George Szabo (USA), as well as crew Bruno Prada (BRA).

Other notable Star sailors in the top 15 Star teams are Lars Grael with crew Samuel Goncalves (BRA), Hubert Merkelbach with crew Gerrit Bartel (GER), Diego Negri with crew Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA), Johannes Polgar with crew Markus Koy (GER), and Augie Diaz with crew Arnis Baltins (USA).

The Star Sailors League's live Virtual Eye with broadcasting and commentary is scheduled to begin Monday June 30, at 12:20 (CET) just before the 12:30 Start of Race 1 of the 2014 International Star Class World Championship.

Quote of the Day:

Lars Grael, International Star Class Yacht Racing Association President: “We are going to have a very nice event with 90 Stars. We’re going to have quantity of boats and quality, lots of famous sailors, many World Champions, European, North American, South American Champions of the Silver Star, and a very nice place, which is a paradise, Lake Garda. The Championship so far has been very well organized so we have very good expectations about the Championship.”


Race One Report
Race One win for Robert Stanjek
Race One - Foto Prandini

It was a long Monday here at Fraglia Vela Malcesine on beautiful Lake Garda for the start of the 2014 International Star Class World Championship. A ferocious storm during the previous night hindered the afternoon wind. After an hour and a half delay, a stable Ora developed, but the over-eager fleet of 87 teams required two general recalls and a Black Flag before the fleet got away. Even then Race One was festooned with disqualifications.

At the finish, the German pair of Robert Stanjek and Frithjof Kleen took the gun after a tremendous battle with the Greek team of Emilios Papathanasiou and Antonis Tsotras. Hubert Merkelbach & Garrit Bartel sailed consistently well during the five legs to take third.

The starting signal found Greek pair Emilios Papathanasiou & Antonis Tsotras flying off the pin end. Starts are key in this championship, and their strategy was to head left up the course, which was a winning tactic all day.

Germans Hubert Merkelbach & Garrit Bartel also went left, battling with American Mark Reynolds and Italian Beppe Oggioni. The Greeks set the pace for much of the race, before being overhauled by Robert Stanjek & Frithjof Kleen at the very last bottom mark, when Stanjek & Kleen forced Papathanasiou & Tsotras round the unfavoured gate mark.

Stanjek & Kleen reached the better pressure on left and took the lead, which they held all the way up the final beat to the finish, always under attack by the Greek pair.

This spectacular italian location, is a world class venue for sailing and paragliding, thanks to the cableway of Monte Baldo. The Star Sailors League broadcasted live, online with race commentary and Virtual Eye’s 3D video, a first for a Star Class World Championship.

Quotes of the day from Robert Stanjek: "Just before the downwind gate, we took up a smart position to Emilios and blocked him from the right mark, so we were able to round to the right and won the left side, which was more favoured. It gave us a very good lead but it became very close at the end. Emilio was underneath us, parallel with good speed and he could climb up, but at the end I think we beat him by almost two boat lengths."

Race Two Report: Lars Grael Victorious

Foto Prandini

Race 2 of the 2014 International Star Class World Championship came to an thrilling end today after an intense battle between the top three boats and a near photo finish where only five seconds separated first and second place. The beauty, sophistication, and power of the Star boats racing on Lake Garda this afternoon was only matched by the lake's breathtaking scenery. The 87 boat fleet completed today's race with great success beginning with a clean start, where Croatians Mate Arapov and crew Ante Sitic in CRO 7287 lead the fleet across the line at the pin end.

During leg one of the five leg course, Italians Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi in ITA 8491 secured the second place position behind Arapov and Sitic and were closely followed by two Brazilian teams: BRA 8398 Marcelo Fuchs with crew Ronald Seifert, and International Star Class Yacht Racing Association President in BRA 8474, Lars Grael with crew Samuel Goncalves. Former International Star Class World Champions Mark Reynolds (USA 8335) with crew Beppe Oggioni and George Szabo (USA 8320) with crew Edoardo Natucci also pushed hard off the line into leading positions in the top ten.

Similar to yesterday in Race 1, the Star fleet largely favored the left hand side of the race course. Shortly after the start, the Brazilian team BRA 8474 Grael/Goncalves, with great boat speed and confidence in their strategy, crossed below the Croatian team CRO 7287 Arapov/Sitic on a mission to find a clear lane on the left side and easily took the lead.

At a very crowded first mark rounding, Brazilian team BRA 8474 Grael/Goncalves dug in deep to secure their first place position and began their fight to both maintain their place in the fleet and try to extend their lead. During the first downwind leg the top three teams, BRA 8474 Grael/Gonvalves, CRO 7287 Arapov/Sitic, and ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi, quickly pulled away from the rest of the fleet.

Brazilians Lars Grael and crew Samuel Goncalves held their nerve as they rounded the bottom mark in first place with a 60 second lead, holding off CRO 7287 Arapov/Sitic and ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi who were putting up a tough fight to top the podium in today's race. Brazilian team BRA 8398 Fuchs/Seifert was the first of the chasing pack, 35 seconds off third place.

The top three boats maintained their positions for the remainder of leg 3, through leg 4, and on into the beginning of leg 5, but as they approached the last 1/3 of the race ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi began closing in on BRA 8474 Grael/Gonvalves and CRO 7287 Arapov/Sitic. ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi caught up 100 meters to the top two teams but at the final seconds of the race as all three approached the finish line, BRA 8474 Grael/Gonvalves crossed in first and received the winning gun. ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi managed to edge out by a mere two meters to finish second, leaving CRO 7287 Arapov/Sitic to finish third.

Quotes of the day from Lars Grael: "We firmly believed that the left would pay well because that happened yesterday when the current was on the opposite direction so even more so today. So that was our strategy and it worked very well. We got a big lift on the left to put us in a strong position, top three, and we stayed closer to the shore, where the current was very affective. So we rounded the mark in first and the Croatian boat was always close. But in the end Diego Negri came with amazing speed and it was very hard to control him on the last upwind leg. In the end we managed to win by just a little. It is just a pity we have the Black Flag from yesterday in the race that had more than 40 boats over the line by the GPS and the Race Committee didn’t do a General recall but it happens. We have to look forward, that’s the way it is."

Day Three - Frustrating Day on the Water Rocks the Star Fleet and Racing Schedule

Foto Prandini

Race Day 3 got off to a rough start today with two separate postponements, one onshore and one on the water at the race course area, due to the unusual light Northerly wind this afternoon. After only a 1 hour delay, the Race Committee was able to begin a sequence and send the Star fleet on the four leg "Course 4" for Race 3.

All but International Star Class Yacht Racing Association President Lars Grael and crew Samuel Goncalves in Star BRA 8474, got off the starting line successfully. Brazilians Grael/Goncalves were unfortunately called over early at the start at the pin end of the line and therefore were forced to restart by rounding the pin boat. French team FRA 8237 Xavier Rohart with crew Sergio Lambertenghi, Greek team GRE 8434 Emilios Papathanasiou with crew Antonis Tsotras, and Brazilian team BRA 8210 Torben Grael with crew Guilherme De Almeida all started at the pin end as well and headed straight to the left side of the course.

The three leaders Rohart/Pulfer, Papathanasiou/Tsotras, and Grael/DeAlmeida, with sixteen Olympic Games between them, pulled away immediately after the start in clear air and continued to extend on the rest of the all the way fleet through the first leg than onto the second. Near the last quarter of leg two, Brazilian team BRA 8172 Marcelo Bellotti with crew Arthur Lopes had caught up to the top three.

Proving again why he is one of the world’s best sailors, Torben Grael with crew Guilherme De Almeida launched ahead of the fleet by an impressive 300 meters on the third leg and holding his position on the fleet as he headed downwind on leg four to the finish line. As the wind neared speeds as low as 2.5 knots, the Race Committee decided to abandon Race 3, much to the frustration of Brazilian team Grael/De Almeida. Shortly after, the Race Committee cancelled racing for the day and postponed Race 3 until tomorrow.

Due to the lack of racing today, the current standings in the 2014 International Star Class World Championship will remain unchanged and the racing schedule for tomorrow has been rearranged to include two races. Tomorrow racing will begin at 8:00 a.m. and sailors will arrive at Fraglia Vela Malcesine as early as 6:30 am to begin preparing for a long Race Day 4. Racing early morning, will probably expose the 87 boats to a stronger Peller wind from the North, adding yet another dimension to a fascinating International Star Class World Championship.

Controversial fourth day for Lars Grael with a win and BFD; Szabo takes the second race of the day

The fourth day will be remembered as the longer, until now, of this 92nd edition. Two races were on schedule due to yesterday’s cancellation of race number 3 in order to catch up with the program.

The first flight initially planned at 8.00 AM was delayed for two hours waiting a safe reduction of Garda’s famous southbound Peler wind. Around 10 o’clock race 3 had a great and clear start in good breeze with 5 Italian teams among the top 10. GRE 8434 Emilios Papathanasiou/Antonis Tsotras led the fleet with an apparently safe advantage of 48” to ITA 8491 Diego Negri/Sergio Lambertenghi, 52” on GER 8442 Johannes Polgar and Markus Koy and 55” on BRA 8474 Lars Grael with Samuel Goncalves, when the rest of the fleet rounded already after 1 minute and more delay. At the first downwind mark of the day position 1 and 2 were unchanged, but BRA 8210 Torben Grael overlapped GER 8442 Polgar/Koy and became 3rd in the second leg of the race.

Afterwards race 3 was characterized by a thermal wind switch of 180 degrees from northerly to southerly and ended with the second Brazilian Lars Grael & Sam Goncalves wins in a row in the series only 20 minutes prior to the time limit of a Star race in a World Champion.

After a quick lunch break, race 4 start was really aggressive and needed four start sequences. It was the beginning of the second half of this championship, so the the pressure was on. Recalls, postponements and black flags took 17 boats out of race 4, including BRA 8474 Lars Grael, who received a second bfd for the series, taking him potentially off challenging for the podium.

The final race of the day, with a stable Ora until the end, showed probably one of the highest numbers of matches during this week, with several lead changes. Husband and wife team of SUI 8364 Flavio and Anouk Marazzi from Switzerland lead for most of the race: a really great performance, considering the pressure from GER 8340 Stanjek/Kleen, and USA 8320 Szabo/Natucci. A little more than one leg prior to the end, Szabo with the italian crew Natucci took the lead and kept it until the finish line.

The 2014 International Star Class World Championship has 2 more races to go. Overall leaderboard shows USA 8465 Augie Diaz and Arni Baltins three points clear of ITA 849 Negri/Lambertenghi, followed by NOR 8317 Melleby/Prada, GER 8442 Polgar/Koy and BRA 8398 Fuchs/Seifert.

Robert Scheidt, the legendary Brazilian sailor, will be our guest tomorrow to comment on the races live from the Fraglia Vela Malcesine press office.

Quote of the Day:
George Szabo, winner of Race 4: "It was a long day. We woke up at 6 in the morning and there was too much wind when we got to the yacht club after breakfast. A long postponement on land and then one very long race, the first race, it went close to the time limit so yeah, it's a good feeling to have a win in the second race."

Happy 4th of July for American team Augie Diaz and Arnis Baltins

Foto Prandini

Today, July 4th, American team Augie Diaz with crew Arnis Baltins in USA 8465 have more to celebrate than the American Independence Day. In the pivotal, and ultimately dramatic Race 5, USA 8465 Diaz/Baltins won their first race of the 2014 International Star Class World Championship and after the calculation of a drop race, maintain a position in the top five of the overall standings.

As the 12:30 pm scheduled first warning time for Race 5 neared, the Northerly Peler wind began to die and the Race Committee was once again forced to postpone the Star fleet onshore. After one short hour, the Southerly Ora breeze had completely filled in and for the first time during this event, the fleet was all clear at the start. The intense battle for victory in Race 5 had begun with a drag race to the left shoreline of Lake Garda to avoid a foul tide. Italian team ITA 8491 Diego Negri with crew Sergio Lambertenghi and Greek team GRE 8434 Emilios Papathanasiou with crew Antonis Tsotras were the most successful in utilizing the favored, left side of the course and consistently exchanging the lead for the whole first leg.
Greek team GRE 8434 Papathanasiou/Tsotras edged out ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi and rounded the weather mark in first place, however their lead was short lived.

American team USA 8465 Diaz/Baltins, with incredible speed and keen understanding of the current and wind patterns, attacked from behind and took a commanding lead. Throughout the following two legs, USA 8465 Diaz/Baltins continued to control the fleet until an unforeseeable 100 degree right shift shortly after rounding the leeward gate mark for the last time.

Several other competitors including, NOR 8317 Eivind Melleby with crew Bruno Prada and GER 8340 Robert Stanjek with crew Frithjof Kleen, received the new breeze just before rounding the gate and were able to take advantage of the right shift early by heading up the middle of the lake immediately after rounding. USA 8465 Diaz/Baltins lost all of their once 200 meter lead in a matter of seconds and fought hard to cover chasing teams NOR 8317 Melleby/Prada and BRA 8474 Lars Grael with crew Samuel Goncalves as the group sailed toward the finish line.

On their approach to the finish, NOR 8317 Melleby/Prada lead USA 8465 Diaz/Baltins by just a boat length on the port layline to the pin end of the line. Within the final three feet of the race course, NOR 8317 Melleby/Prada made an error in calling the location of the finish line marks and ended up missing pin end of the line entirely, allowing USA 8465 Diaz/Baltins to sneak in and take the winning gun at the last second. NOR 8317 Melleby/Prada was forced to circle back in order to cross the finish line properly, and luckily still managed to place second. Brazilian team BRA 8474 Grael/Goncalves finished in a respectable third place.

As the 92nd edition of the International Star Class World Championship progresses to Race Day 6 tomorrow, the final race day in the series, German team Robert Stanjek and Frithjof Kleen in GER 8340 lead the event by 10 points over second place USA 8465 Augie Diaz and Arnis Baltins. Eivind Melleby with crew Bruno Prada in NOR 8317 currently sit in third place overall with 24 points total, and Italian team Diego Negri with crew Sergio Lambertenghi in ITA 8491 and Brazilian team Marcelo Fuchs with crew Ronald Seifert in BRA 8398 are tied for fourth place with 26 points total.

Quote of the Day:
Augie Diaz, Race 5 Winner “We are fast at the moment and that means everything in this fleet.” commented Augie Diaz. “It is difficult to put a plan in place when there are so many well sailed boats but when you get out in the front, you can stick to your game plan a lot easier. We will see how fast we are tomorrow but it is going to be tough to catch up Robert and Freda (nickname for Frithjoff Kleen). We will just try to have a good start and take it from there."

Final Report: Germans Stanjek and Kleen win Star World Championship

The International Star Class World Championship was decided in dramatic style on the last leg of the last race. GER 8340 Robert Stanjek with crew Frithjof Kleen led by ten points going into the last race and held on in a nervy final race to become the new world champions and the first German world champion for seventeen years.

Clouds above The Dolomite Mountains and clear blues skies above Lake Garda provided classic Ora conditions, with 12 knots of warm breeze pumping from the south. The first Saturday in July meant plenty of windsurfers and kite boarders out on the lake and sky divers forming arial acrobatics riding the thermal wind from Mount Baldo. Hundreds of spectators watched the drama unfold from the pristine Lake Garda beaches and thousands more watched the action, via Virtual eye, broadcasting the event live for the first time.

Once again, the first start resulted in a general recall and the race committee hoisted the Black Flag for restart. Nine boats were still over, resulting in their disqualification and yet another general recall. Third time lucky, the fleet got away clear with ITA 8491 Diego Negri with crew Sergio Lambertenghi making the best start showing great pace on the first upwind leg. GER 8340 Stanjek/Kleen made a conservative start but failed to get into good pressure and slipped back to 16th position.

GRE 8434 Emilios Papathanasiou with crew Antonis Tsotras rounded the first windward mark with a significant lead. In second place at the top mark, ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi played the shifts well to take the lead at the first bottom mark, as did NOR 8317 Eivind Melleby with crew Bruno Prada. By the end of the third leg three teams were in the hunt for the world championship. ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi. NOR 8317 Melleby/Prada and GER 8340 Stanjek/Kleen.

In clear air, ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi extended their lead on the water and finished the race well ahead of the fleet but a win in the last race was not enough. NOR 8317 Melleby/Prada showed spectacular speed on the last downwind leg, overtaking GRE 8434 Papathanasiou/Tsotras and attacked SUI 8364 Flavio Marazzi with crew Anouk Marazzi. The two teams crossed the line overlapped but the Marazzi husband and wife team was just ahead by barely one metre.

Meanwhile GER 8340 Stanjek/Kleen were in a desperate struggle to secure the world championship title and with a last gasp effort, the German team moved up to 12th, enough to win the International Star Class World Championship by two points. ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi were second on countback from NOR 8317 Melleby/Prada.

GER 8340 Stanjek/Kleen became the fourth German pair to lift one of sailing’s most prestigious trophies after: Kuhweide/Meyer in 1972, Hagen/Hoesch in 1981 and Hagen/Ferreira in 1997.

"We made a mistake on the first beat and put ourselves under a lot of pressure,” admitted Frithjof Kleen. “The first downwind leg was very one sided and we had little opportunity to make any gains but a good second beat put us back in contention but we really didn’t know the overall position on the final downwind leg, so we concentrated on taking 12th position, which we thought would be enough. We dared not believe it when we crossed the line but when were told that our provisional result had been enough, we were so delighted. We came second in 2011, so to win this year has finished that feeling."

The official Prize Giving was held at the Fraglia Vela Malcesine, shoreside at Lake Garda, which had provided a stunning venue for the regatta, which will go down in history as one of the closest contests in the 92 editions of the International Star Class World Championship.

Awards Ceremony Video

Live coverage at: live.starsailors.com

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