Regatta Reports
Star Worlds Racing Reports - Final
By Lynn Fitzpatrick,
Jan 21, 2010, 18:05

Photos by Fried Elliott
Photos by ICRJ

Aerial photo of the first race by Hector Echebaster.

January 21, 2010 Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson Win 2010 Star Worlds
Iain Percy and Andrew “Bart” Simpson (GBR) were crowned 2010 Star World Champions today. The reigning Olympic Gold Medalists continue to add treasures to war chests. Percy’s sterling collection of championship titles includes the 2002 Star World Championship and an Olympic Gold Medal in the Finn in 2000.

Percy and Simpson are in the TeamORIGIN afterguard and began sailing Stars together in 2007. They were persistent in getting every ounce of boat speed out of their Mader Star and won the Olympic Gold Medal in the most exciting Medal Race of all of the Olympic Classes.

Following the Olympics, they took a breather from Star sailing and have been doing a lot of match racing. Their last Star regatta was Sail for the Gold in Weymouth, where they won the Gold. They did not compete in the 2009 Star World Championship nor did they compete in the Taca Royal Thames and South American Championship earlier this season. They had two practice sessions leading up to this regatta. Percy commented at the pre-regatta press conference, “Sometimes short, sharp training sessions can work in your favor.”

This victory places Percy in the rarified company of Mark Reynolds, Bill Buchan, Jr., Lowell North, and Agostino Straulino as a Star skipper who has won an Olympic Gold Medal and multiple Star World Championship titles.

Flavio Marazzi and Enrico De Maria (SUI) entered the 2010 Star World Championship ranked #1 by ISAF and hoping to find the Holy Grail after their second place finish in the Taca Royal Thames Regatta and victory in the South American Championship. This second place finish matches their second place finish at the 2004 Star World Championship. They were fourth in 2008.

Marazzi/DeMaria’s doggedness in trying to close the point spread between them and Percy/Simpson kept the World Championship title up for grabs through the final race of the series. Percy went into the race, “holding all of the cards” and knowing that Marazzi/DeMaria would have a difficult time accomplishing two very difficult feats: placing first or second in the race and having the Brits finish eight or more points behind them.

“The start did not quite go as planned,” explained Simpson. “We thought that we were pushing them to the wrong end of the line and a big shift came through in their favor. They did a great job.”

The Brits’ miscalculation put the Swiss more than two dozen boats ahead of them at the top mark and trading places with Lars Grael and Ronald Seifert (BRA) and Johannes Polgar and Markus Koy (GER) and Fernando Echavarri and Fernando Rodrigues (ESP), all talented light air sailors. Said Percy, “We had a nervous moment at first when they crossed the fleet, but we continued to play the shifts and make gains.”

Mark Mendelblatt and John Von Schwarz led around the first windward mark. They, like many others, had problems with the current after tacking for the offset mark, they slipped back to fifth. “We jibed to get clear air, and it turned out to be a good decision,” said Mendelblatt who went on to win his first race in a Star World Championship. He continued, “It was a good way to end the regatta.”

Percy/Simpson made a huge gain half way up the second beat and, “got quite close to them, and actually enjoyed the last lap,” said Percy.

In the end, Flavio Marazzi and Enrico DeMaria slipped from being in contention for first or second to 12th and Iain Percy and Andrew “Bart” Simpson had recovered to 16th place.

Said Percy, who was pleased to win another important sailing title with his best mate, “The race didn’t quite go as planned and was a good reminder that you can’t rest on your laurels especially in the Star Class.”

Alexander Schlonski and Frithjof Kleen (GER) matched their Race 1 second place finish with another second place finish today. Torben Grael and Marcel Ferreira (BRA) followed them across the finish line in third.

Grael/Ferreira claimed third place in the regatta. Lars Grael and Ronald Seifert (BRA) followed their third place finish at the 2009 Star World Championship with a fourth in Rio. Alan Adler and Guiherme Almeida (BRA) finished fifth.

Torben Grael said, “I am very glad with our performance. It was a wonderful way to get back into the Star with a third at the South Americans and a third at the Worlds. There is such a high level of competition locally and it is fun for all of us. The races are always difficult and we are always pushing one another. We have talented newcomers, like Andre Mirsky. It is good for the Class.”

Top Junior
Tomas Hornos and Luis Hornos (USA) - the top Junior skipper at the 2010 Star World Championship is Tomos Hornos. Tomas sailed with his father, Luis, the District 1 Secretary. Tomas is the 2007 Snipe World Champion. Luis’ brother, Carlos, joined them in Rio. Tomas sailed his first Star regatta in New England years ago at his uncle’s suggestion. Tomas is in his final semester at Tufts University, where he is the Jumbo’s A Division skipper. The father and son combination finished 44th overall.

Top Master
Peter Ficker and Urbirtran Oliviera (BRA) – The 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist in the Flying Dutchman teamed up with the 2005 Brazilian Star National Champion crew for this regatta and topped the group of eight Masters teams in the 2010 Star World Championship. They finished 38th overall.

Top Grand Master
Gastao Brun and Gustavo Kunze (BRA) – The 2010 Star World Champion Regatta Chair, and his family have been working around the clock helping to make the regatta perfect. Brun is the 2008 South American Champion and the 1990 North American Champion, and a lengthy list of other victories. Brun won the warm-up regatta and had two races in the top ten, including on Wednesday, the day that half of the top ten teams to cross the finish line were Brazilian. Gustavo Kunze sailed Optimists and Lasers and started crewing with Brun in 2007. They finished 16th overall, ahead of all of the Junior, Master and Grand Master teams. Said Brun, “It is great to be sailing with all of these guys. It is so much fun. It makes you feel alive.” Brun has won many races in these waters, said, “You need to be calm and can’t go to the extremes.”


January 20, 2010 - Merriman & Trinter Win Race 5 of Star Worlds
Phil Trinter and Rick Merriman
Rick Merriman and Phil Trinter (GBR) snatched the lead from Lars Grael and Ronal Seifert (BRA) on the first run of Race 5 of the 2010 Star World Championship in Rio de Janeiro and followed up yesterday’s second place finish with a bullet. "We’re smoking downwind,” said Merriman. The pair watched regatta leaders Iain Percy and Andrew "Bart" Simpson (GBR) jibe off inside them during the initial part of the first run and lose boats. "That was the signal to continue on without jibing," said Trinter.

Percy/Simpson have to wait another day to see if they will bag the 2010 Star World Championship title. The Brits had climbed into fifth place by the second weather mark and saw Flavio Marazzi and Enrico De Maria round in ninth place. To win the World Championship title today, their job was to try to pass more boats than the Swiss, which is not an easy feat when Lars Grael and Ronald Seifert (BRA), Torben Grael and Marcelo Ferreira (BRA) and Juan K. and Alejandro Colla (ARG) are your only options, because the Americans were far in the lead. Marazzi/DeMaria’s job was equally difficult with Olympians Marin Lovrovic and Sinisia Mikulicic (CRO), Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA) and Gastao Brun and Gustavo Kunze (BRA) between them and the Brits. Olympians, World Champions and fast young Germans were immediately on their tail.

Percy commented on the point separation throughout the second half of the race, “We always had an eye on them. We knew that we could get fourth comfortably. We were going fast and they were fast on the runs, especially when the wind lightened."

Delighted with the day, Percy said, “I haven’t thought about tomorrow’s strategy. We hold all of the cards and will decide how to approach it. If the breeze is up, we’ll probably yacht around and try to win the race.” It’s up to Marazzi/DeMaria to win or take second and be eight points ahead of the 2002 Star World Champion and his partner in winning the 2008 Olympic Gold Medal.

To celebrate the special holiday in Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian Star teams put on a dazzling show on the water. There were five Brazilians in the top 10. Lars Grael and Ronald Seifert, who finished second, led the Brazilians. Toben Grael and Marcello Ferreira were third, Scheidt/Prada were fifth, Brun/Kunze were eighth and Alan Adler and Guilherme de Alemeida finished tenth.

Lars Grael remarked, “With Torben and Marcello right behind us, I knew that I had to push hard all of the time.” He took special pride in his and Torben’s consecutive finishes. “When we crossed the line, I saw both of my uncles (Axel and Erik Schmidt Grael) watching us from their boat and they were crying. They taught us how to sail and won the Snipe Worlds together three times, won a Gold and Silver medal in the Pan Am Games and represented Brazil in the Soling and the Star in the 1968 and 1972 Olympics.”

Marazzi/DeMaria pulled into second place overall in the regatta and are the only team who have a chance to beat Percy/Simpson. Adler/de Alemeida are in third place, 14 points behind the Swiss with 31. Johannes Babendererde and Timo Jacobs (GER) are tied with Scheidt/Prada, the 2007 Star World Champions, just one point behind. Rounding out the top ten are the Grael teams, Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Pedersen (NOR), Kouyoumdjian/Colla and Diego Negri and Nando Colaninno (ITA). You can bet everyone will have their decks marked with grease pencils to help them with quick calculations during Race 6, the final race of the 2010 Star World Championship in Rio de Janeiro.


January 19, 2010 - Iain Percy and Andrew "Bart" Simpson continued to dominate the 2010 Star World Championship.
Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson
– With today’s first place finish the 2008 Olympic Gold Medalists stretched their lead to 19 points over 1989 Star World Champion, Alan Adler and Guilherme Alemeida (BRA) by winning Race 4. The 2008 North American Champions Rick Merriman Phil Trinter (USA) had a solid command of second place throughout the race and Andre Mirsky and Marcelo Jordao (BRA), bettered their 6th place finish in Race 2 by finishing third today.

Percy/Simpson came off the water today in great spirits and reported."We had lovely conditions.It was the first real day of sailing with 6-8 knots in the beginning and 12-14 for the last part of the race." Careful not to jinx their run away lead and knowing that another stellar performance in Race 5 could give them a Gold Star to pair with their Olympic Gold, Percy said, "It’s about avoiding disasters in an 80-boat fleet."

Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Petterson (NOR) continue to hang tough and are now in third place overall. Two points behind are Flavio Marazzi and Enrico DeMaria (SUI). Race 5 is scheduled for tomorrow. Following the completion of five races, teams can discard their worst race score. Johannes Babendererde and Timo Jacobs (GER) recovered from yesterday’s 39 and lowered their average with their eight place finish today.

The breeze outside of Guanabara Bay and miles off of Copacabana circulated a bit more today than it did during Race 3 and according to 1993 Star World Champion crew, Phil Trinter, "It’s nice that the Race Committee favored the boat. It made it fair across the line." Merriman/Trinter started on the upper end of the line, yet according to Trinter, "Within 10 minutes, we were in different current and they (Percy/Simpson) shot up next to us." Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR) continued their outstanding performance and were clear leaders around the first windward mark and extended as the wind picked up, the conditions grew more to their liking and those immediately behind them focused on gaining an advantage over one another rather than the low odds possibility of catching the Brits.

Percy/Simpson were in good company around the first weather mark with Rick Merriman, 2008 North American Champion, and 1993 World Champion crew, Phil Trinter, Mirsky/Jordao, Dan Lovrovic and Sinsia Mikulicic (CRO), Max Treacy and Anthony Shanks (IRL), Alejo Rigoni and Juan Pablo Percossi (ARG) Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA), Alan Adler and Guilherme Alemeida (BRA), Torben Grael and Marcel Ferreira (BRA) and Alessandro Pascolato and Henry Boening (BRA). Merriman/Trinter and Mirsky/Jordao had enough of a jump to round the rest of the marks in second and third place.

To prepare for this event, Mirsky/Jordao sailed major international regattas such as the 2009 Star World Championship, the North Americans and the November regattas in Rio. Said Mirsky after the race, "I am very happy. It is the third time that we were in the top five at the first mark. The first and second time we were there we lost some positions. We had a little more speed upwind today. We were not happy with the way we had the boat tuned yesterday and made changes."

The Brazilians fared very well today with Mirsky/Jordao finishing third, Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA) fifth, Torben Grael and Marcelo Ferreira (BRA) seventh, and Lars Grael and Ronald Siefert (BRA) rounding out the top ten.

There are many teams who have one finish in their scoreline that they would like to discard and tomorrow’s race is likely to reshuffle the deck. Among those teams that had a top-10 race today and have a history of coming out on top by the end of a regatta are: Marazzi/DeMaria (SUI), who finished 4th today; 2007 World Champions and Silver Medalists at the Qingdao Olympics, Scheidt/ Prada; Italian Olympian Diego Negri and Nando Colaninno, who finished 6th; Grael/Ferreira (BRA), with a team record of one win, five seconds and two third-place finishes in Star World Championships; and Lars Grael and Ronald Seifert, who were third at the 2009 Star World Championship.


January 18, 2010 - French Horizon Job in Race 3 at Star Worlds
Xavier Rohart and Pierre Alexis Ponsot
Xavier Rohart and Pierre Alexis Ponsot (FRA) fought like attack dogs against a pack of 144 wolves for the choice filet mignon from Porcão. They won the pin and the left hand side of the course during the start of Race 3 of the 2010 Star World Championship in Rio de Janeiro. Renato Cunha and Marcel Mascarenhas (BRA), Iain Percy and Andrew “Bart” Simpson (GBR), Gustavo Lima and Charles Nankin (POR) and Diego Negri and Nando Colaninno (ITA) led the attempt to hunt down the French, but didn’t have the stamina to get the job done. The 2003 and 2005 Star World Champion, Rohart, and Ponsot won the light air race under cloudy skies with a margin that matched Lars Grael and Ronald Seifert’s horizon job during the final race of the 2009 Star World Championship in Varberg, Sweden.

Rohart/Ponsot have been struggling for speed for nearly a year following a cycling accident that Rohart had last spring. Said a very pleased Rohart following the race, “We worked hard for that! We were especially fast downwind.”

The key to their win was the start. Rohart commented on their determination to be at the pin during each attempted start of Race 3 in the light air and current, “Yes. We were there. There were a lot of boats down there.”

Their sensational start and great first beat up the left hand side of the course gave them a comfortable lead at the first weather mark, and they extended from there.

Percy/Simpson made good on yesterday’s promise to perform better today. With their second place finish, Percy/Simpson move to the top of the leaderboard. Alan Adler and Guilherme Alemieda (BRA) finished 11th. Their three-race total of 22 points places them 6 points behind the 2008 Olympic Gold Medalists. The Brits and Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Pedersen (NOR) made the biggest gains at the front of the pack. The Norwegians’ fourth place finish today raises them to third overall in the regatta.

The surprises in the race came from the newcomers to Star sailing. Cunha/Mascarenhas had practiced one day together and Cunha has only been in the boat this season. His advantage is that he has been a local harbor pilot for 15 years and knows what to expect during different tidal and wind conditions. The pair hung with the big boys, even during the final beat when the wind came up and all of the crews were hiking. Percy/Simpson crossed the finish line at the pin end on starboard and Cuhna/Mascarenhas dipped the Brits stern to take third place. Lima/Nankin showed remarkable poise by rounded the first weather mark in fifth place, holding on for a long while and finishing in ninth, right behind Juan K. and Alejandro Calla (ARG).


January 17, 2010 - Marazzi & De Maria Win Race 2 of Star Worlds

Flavio Marazzi/Enrico De Maria.
Photo by Fried Elliott.
Flavio Marazzi and Enrico de Maria (SUI) are a step closer to their dream after winning Race 2 of the 2010 Star World Championship. With everyone starting conservatively, the Swiss positioned themselves in a line sag during the start under the black flag and had clear air during the first beat. Their start did not win them the race, but it put them among the leaders at the first windward mark.

Marazzi/DeMaria and Alexander Schlonski and Frithjof Kleen (GER) made their gains during the second beat and Marazzi/DeMaria stepped into the lead. They extended during the remaining windward-leeward while Schlonski/Kleen mixed it up with Alan Adler and Guiherme Almeida (BRA), Andrew Campbell and Brad Nichol (USA) and Jojo Polgar and Markus Koy (GER). Schlonski/Kleen edged out Campbell/Nichol on the finish line to take second and third place, respectively.

With today’s eighth place finish, Johannes Babenderede and Timo Jacobs (GER) remain low point in the regatta. Two points back are Adler/Guiherme, who have shown consistency during the first two days of sailing. They followed yesterday’s sixth place finish with a fifth today. Olympic Gold Medalists, Iain Percy and Andrew Bart Simpson (GBR) are two points behind Adler/de Almedia and are in third place overall with 13 points. Andrew Campbell and Brad Nichol (USA) moved into fourth place overall by passing boats on the final beat and pulling into third at the finish line.

Out on the ocean, the wind was light and the current was strong enough to push the stern of the race committee boat upwind. The 73-boat fleet got off to a clean start under the black flag. According to Adler who rounded the weather mark first, “We saw a left shift two minutes before the start and moved down the line. We went left too hard. We were so far ahead and lost so much, because we overstood the windward mark.” More than half of the fleet overstood the port tack layline to the mark.

Marazzi/DeMaria, Polgar/Koy and Adler/Guilherme went down the run in different lanes, and as they approached the first leeward gate, Marazzi/DeMaria crossed behind the other two leaders. Schlonski/Frithjof Kleen, Percy/Simpson, Campbell/Nichol, Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Pedersen (NOR) and Gastao Brun and Gustavo Kunze (BRA) were intent on climbing to the front. Said Babandererde, "We overtook boats on the 2nd upwind leg. We did not go left like the others because there was less wind there. We caught Iain Percy on the second run because he had a problem with the jib. From then on we shortened the distance to the leaders, but there were no gains to be made."

The white caps made random appearances during the final beat and the leading edge of an offshore cloud that had had a defined edge all afternoon finally became ragged.

It was a race to the finish for the top seven boats and Andrew Campbell, who came out of the fray with a third place finish for the day described the top-place American team’s final beat, “We went to the right gate and made a big gain immediately. We split with the four boats ahead of us and caught three of them. We sailed to the right of the group and knew that we had to catch Alan Adler on boat speed.”

On a sad note, Marcoa Lagoa (BRA) was taken to the hospital after a shackle on a lifting bridle failed and the boat fell off of the hoist. Logoa's toes were injured and the boat was damaged.


January 16, 2010 - Young Germans Win Race 1 of Star Worlds

Johannes Babendererde and Timo Jacobs (GER)
Johannes Babendererde and Timo Jacobs (GER) won Race 1 of the 2010 Star World Championship, a tricky race around Rio de Janeiro’s harbor. They beat the rest of the 73-boat fleet to the first windward mark and swapped positions with Juan Kouyoumdjian (“Juan K”) and Alejandro Colla (AGR) during the first four legs of the five-leg course. Once the wind came up and they took the reins shortly after rounding the final leeward gate, they held on and fended off 2008 Olympic Gold Medalists, Iain Percy and Andrew “Bart” Simpson (GBR); Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA), 2008 Olympic Silver Medalists; Kouyoumdjian/Colla; and World Sailor of the Year, Torben Grael and two-time Star World Champion crew, Marcelo Ferreira (BRA). In fact, past Star World Champions took six out of the top ten positions in Race 1. Ross Macdonald (CAN), sailing with Andre Lekzycki (BRA), was the top North American skipper.

The cumulous clouds obscured Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado at times throughout the afternoon, but the famous statue peeked through the clouds and presided over the start of Race 1 of the 2010 Star World Championship. It was crystal clear out on the water and the sea breeze built from a light 5-7 knots at the start of the race to 8-10 during the fifth and final leg toward the finish below Sugarloaf and Laje, a low island with a lot of current circulating around it.

The leaders around the first weather mark had good starts, played the right hand side of the course and tacked at the right points in an eddy near Rio’s shore. The young German team of Babendererde /Jacobs were the first to round the windward mark. Whether it was nerves or the current, the 25 and 27-year-olds hit the mark. Said Babendererde of the incident, “We were happy that we rounded the weather mark first, but we touched it and lost two places when we did our circle. We were confident that we could stay with the top group because we had good speed.”

Kouyoumdjian/Colla held the lead down the first run, with Babendererde /Jacobs and Percy/Simpson, Scheidt/ Prada and Fernando Echavarri and Fernando Rodriguez (ESP) and Grael/Ferreira breathing down their necks. Juan K. commented after the race, “It felt really good to be in the lead, but you don’t have time to enjoy it. Once the wind comes up and they start to hike they are like monsters.”

When the wind came up and by the third and final beat toward Sugarloaf, the hiking machines ground Kouyoumdjian/Colla down. Portugal’s newest Star sailing team comprised of Olympic Laser sailor, Gustavo Lima and Charles Nankin had a strong showing in their first Star World Championship. Not familiar with fine tuning adjustments, they slipped to seventh during the last beat, but according to their coach, Andy Zawieja, “wait until a windy day outside, they will put on a show.”

During the five-leg course sailors and spectators pointed their bows in the direction of beaches, forts, oil rigs, islands, gondola cars strung between mountain tops, former castles, military colleges and high-rise office buildings. Andrew “Bart” Simpson, who was extremely happy with his second place finish, commented on the ups and downs of sailing an important race in an area that presents so many variables, “I wouldn’t want to do that every day.”

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