US claim Star Worlds

George Szabo and Rick Peters come out on top on final day of racing in Varberg, Sweden

Saturday August 8th 2009, Author: Lynn Fitzpatrick, Location: United Kingdom
George Szabo and Rick Peters (USA) won the 2009 Star World Championship with a third place finish in the final race of the series. Lars Grael and Ronald Seifert (BRA) won the race by a country mile and the Junior team from Argentina, Alejo Rigoni and Juan Pablo Percossi were second in the race.

Szabo/Peters won the Star Worlds with an average score of six points for the five races in their scoreline. The American team started to the left of a group of contenders for this year's title and played the shifts in the breeze that swung right as it faded. They bore away on the run in sixth place. After they sorted out their sheets and the whisker pole they could look around for their competition. They weren't trailing right behind. They weren't even in sight. US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics’ Szabo/Peters merely had to stay clean for the rest of the race. Instead, they bettered their score and pulled into third place by the second windward mark.

Peters, who is always one for great lines said of their performance for the day and the week, "The other guys just haven't been to Varberg International Speedway enough. We were 54th the first day and we went the same way every day. We didn't change a thing."

As Szabo peeled off his spray top and guzzled down some water on the way back into the harbor, the accomplishment sunk in. Three weeks after he was born his parents had him in a Star boat and he started steering the boat when he was 16 years old. The Quantum sailmaker form San Diego said, "I've looked at all of the names on that trophy over the years and thought, 'how am I ever going to do that?'"

The team did not change their strategy over the week, nor did they change their sails. "Z4, P2," said Szabo. "Some people find their grove with other sails, but they don't find it across all wind conditions. We sailed with the same sails for the entire regatta and it worked just fine."

It was quite a comeback for the duo climbed their way back up from a dismal first day. For some sailors, knowing the first race would become their drop score can wreak havoc on their mental endurance, but Szabo and Peters persevered and grabbed a bullet in the second race

“Back on the dock after that first race, we joked that we could still win the regatta,” said Szabo. “But we just wanted to finish in the top ten.” Szabo and Peters hadn’t finished in the top ten since their first World Championship together in 1994 when they finished seventh. “We just kept plugging away,” he said.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “It’s a real treat to be on that trophy with the names of other World Champions, like [Sweden’s Fredrik] Lööf, [USA’s Mark] Reynolds and [USA’s] Magnus Liljedahl.” Reynolds and Liljedahl won the Star World Championship nine years ago in 2000, and an American has not won the title since. The last time an American medaled was in 2001 when Vince Brun and Mike Dorgan finished third.

This week, patience was their virtue: Szabo said he and Peters just focused on trying to sail well every day and didn’t focus on where they were in the standings. Since it wasn’t very windy, Szabo said they focused on their boat speed and tactics. After the first two races, they grabbed three third places and a 20th. Peters described racing as the “Varberg International Speedway,” because they tacked in the same direction every race.

“They never gave up,” said Coach Mark Ivey (Tiburon, Calif.) “Their good decision-making in the first beats of the races put them in single digits this week. They didn’t have to battle back from a deep place in the fleet, except for the first race.”

Lars Schmidt Grael and Ronald Seifert sailed as if they were leading everyone down to the 2010 Star World Championship in Rio de Janeiro. Talented in light air, Grael steered Seifert, with whom he has been sailing for only a few weeks, to a victory the likes of which are rarely seen. They were well over two minutes ahead of the young Argentineans, who clinched the Junior Champion title with their second place finish for the day.

Many of those who were in contention for the regatta sailed their discard race today. Peters had another message for them, "I can't believe they sailed themselves out of the race. They didn't go to last night's trophy presentation and they go what they deserve. I'll give them a hug anyway." Anticipating that all of the races for the World Championship would have been completed yesterday, VSS held a wonderful trophy presentation and dinner last night in which those collecting trophies also collected a lot of hugs from all of the club's junior volunteers who were on stage to present the awards.Anders Ekström, who had the week of his life sailing with Pelle Petterson, was the first to say how elated he was that Rick Peters won the Star World Championship. "I'm really excited for Rick. He deserves it. He has spent so many years driving Star boats around the world for everyone and has done such a great job at helping to develop his fleet. It's about time. Of course, I'm happy for George too. It has been a long time in coming for both of them."

Hamish Pepper and Craig Monk (NZL) sailed their discard in the final race and finished the regatta seven points behind Szabo/Peters. By winning today's race, Grael/Seifert moved into third place on a countback, tied with Alexander Schlonski and Firthjof Kleen (GER). "It's a good day for SDYC," said Andrew Campbell (USA), who like Szabo sails out of San Diego Yacht Club. Campbell sailed the regatta with Magnus Liljedahl. Campbell/Liljedahl were fifth for the series. Freddy Lööf and Johan Tillander (SWE), local favorites finished a respectable 6th and will have plenty of opportunities to go after Lööf's third Star World Championship title once again.

Alejo Rigoni and Juan Pablo Percossi (ARG) were the top Junior team in the regatta and finished 9th. Andy Macdonald and Brian Fatih (USA), the top Masters, placed 14th; one point ahead of Mats Johansson and Leif Möller (SWE). Ingvar Krook and Henrik Hasselgren (SWE) topped the five other Grand Master teams. Pelle Petterson and Anders Ekström (SWE) beat out Sune Carlsson and Dan Anders Carlsson (SWE) for the Exalted Grand Masters title.

Results:

Pos Helm Crew Nat R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Tot Net
1 George Szabo Rick Peters USA -54 1 3 20 3 3 84 30
2 Hamish Pepper Craig Monk NZL 11 9 1 11 5 -25 62 37
3 Lars Schmidt Grael Ronald Seifert BRA -30 6 14 14 12 1 77 47
4 Alexander Schlonski Frithjof Kleen GER 9 17 11 5 -32 5 79 47
5 Andrew Campbell Magnus Liljedahl USA 14 14 4 8 8 -37 85 48
6 Fredrik Lööf Johan Tillander SWE 2 5 15 23 7 -54 106 52
7 Mateusz Kusznierewicz Dominik Zycki POL 1 12 -50 18 6 21 108 58
8 Flavio Marazzi Enrico De Maria SUI 3 3 -35 1 20 35 97 62
9 Alejo Rigoni Juan Pablo Percossi ARG 16 16 -38 15 16 2 103 65
10 Johannes Polgar Tim Kroeger GER -31 22 7 4 2 31 97 66
11 Robert Scheidt Bruno Prada BRA 26 2 -33 13 15 11 100 67
12 Afonso Domingos Frederico Melo POR 38 7 10 10 -50 4 119 69
13 Diego Negri Valerio Chinca ITA -22 11 19 22 9 9 92 70
14 Andrew Macdonald Brian Fatih USA 17 13 -64 17 10 13 134 70
15 Mark Mendelblatt Mark Strube USA 8 4 2 26 -35 34 109 74
16 Mats Johansson Leif Möller SWE 10 20 -44 2 21 22 119 75
17 Max Treacy Anthony Shanks IRL 12 -32 24 12 13 14 107 75
18 Xavier Rohart Pierre Alexis Ponsot FRA 43 15 -46 3 14 6 127 81
19 Robert Stanjek Markus Koy GER 35 19 13 -39 1 17 124 85
20 Marin Lovrovic Jr Sinisa Mikulicic CRO 18 26 27 6 11 -30 118 88
21 Nicola Celon Edoardo Natucci ITA 7 21 8 25 27 (87 DNF) 175 88
22 Matthias Miller Benedikt Wenk GER 5 24 31 7 -45 36 148 103
23 Peter O'Leary Tim Goodbody IRL 15 10 22 -53 22 38 160 107
24 Horacio Carabelli Ubiratan Matos BRA 20 30 9 37 -76 18 190 114
25 Benny Andersen Mogens Just DEN 32 25 6 28 -74 29 194 120
26 Dan Lovrovic Antonio Arapovic CRO -59 8 45 30 23 20 185 126
27 Johannes Babendererde Timo Jacobs GER 4 34 34 9 (87 BFD) 48 216 129
28 Juan Kouyoumdjian Steven Erickson ARG 29 43 29 29 -47 8 185 138
29 John Gimson Ed Greig GBR 19 27 12 21 -70 62 211 141
30 Alberto Barovier Nando Colaninno ITA 21 42 20 40 -62 23 208 146
31 Silvio Santoni Fabio Toccoli ITA 6 -54 26 27 42 49 204 150
32 Manuel Voigt Paul Sradnick GER 24 39 16 -46 36 40 201 155
33 Paul Mckenzie Philip Toth AUS 45 18 32 60 -77 7 239 162
34 Flemming Sorensen Niels Trysoe-Hansen DEN 23 -82 58 19 31 33 246 164
35 Lars Edwall Henrik Ljungdahl SWE 48 -52 36 36 30 15 217 165
36 Alexander Hagen Kai Falkentahl GER 47 31 40 44 4 (87 DNF) 253 166
37 Andre Mirsky Marcelo Jordao BRA 60 23 51 -63 19 16 232 169
38 Ante Razmilovic Brian Hammersley GBR 28 38 23 41 -72 39 241 169
39 Kunio Suzuki Daichi Wada JPN 41 59 21 24 33 -68 246 178
40 Brian Cramer Matt Johnston CAN 51 28 -63 62 17 26 247 184
41 Tibor Tenke Miklos Berezeti HUN 25 37 18 52 -53 52 237 184
42 Erik Dahlén Krister Carlsson SWE 13 46 25 33 (87 DNF) 72 276 189
43 Konstantin Datsenko Bazurin Ilya UKR 36 57 -80 43 34 19 269 189
44 Fredrik Ljungkvist Daniel Alm SWE 40 -79 37 58 18 41 273 194
45 Herluf Joergensen Lars Wegener DEN 39 49 30 51 (87 BFD) 32 288 201
46 Andrew Landenberger Beat Stegmeier AUS 33 (87 DSQ) 5 47 58 59 289 202
47 Andrea Fornaro Laurent Bernaz ITA -65 60 65 34 37 10 271 206
48 Mate Arapov Ivan Misura CRO 37 -72 59 31 26 55 280 208
49 Calle Schröder Stefan Hemlin SWE 27 (87 DNF) 42 35 54 53 298 211
50 Roman Juchli Philipp Juchli SUI -77 51 52 66 25 24 295 218
51 Hans Oskarsson Håkan Lundgren SWE -69 67 39 48 28 42 293 224
52 Vasyl Gureyev Volodymyr Korotkov UKR 53 -74 70 42 49 12 300 226
53 Henrik Dannesboe Vincent Hagin SUI 34 65 43 38 -80 47 307 227
54 Kurt Scheidegger Markus Scheidegger SUI 46 -66 54 45 40 50 301 235
55 Philip Carlson Benjamin Peterson SWE -70 63 17 70 29 60 309 239
56 Henrik Jörhov Karl Kristensen SWE 44 35 61 50 60 (87 DNS) 337 250
57 Tomas Franzen Pontus Gabel SWE -78 45 41 64 38 64 330 252
58 Sander Jorissen Erik Veldhuizen NED 56 36 82 16 63 (87 DNS) 340 253
59 Joni Leeve Asko Salminen FIN 58 64 55 49 -68 28 322 254
60 Gerhard Weinreich Alexander Kagl AUT -82 40 53 56 79 27 337 255
61 Pelle Petterson Anders Ekström SWE 50 29 75 -78 67 46 345 267
62 Ingvar Krook Henrik Hasselgren SWE 62 47 -72 57 41 69 348 276
63 Christian Paucksch Christian Knoll GER 63 -73 60 68 24 67 355 282
64 Sune Carlsson Dan Anders Carlsson SWE 74 44 28 -76 65 73 360 284
65 Johnny Jensen Claus Lauritsen DEN 55 55 78 55 43 (87 DNS) 373 286
66 Jan Strömbeck Stefan Jacobsson SWE 75 61 69 32 51 (87 DNS) 375 288
67 Claude Bonanni Richard Burgess USA 52 -62 62 59 61 57 353 291
68 Juerg Wittich Christian Trachsel SUI -72 50 68 72 59 43 364 292
69 Hubert Rauch Chris Conrads GER 49 (87 BFD) 49 77 75 44 381 294
70 Olle Johansson Dag Hansson SWE -73 33 71 67 55 70 369 296
71 Fredrik Fransson Tomas Åkerman SWE -81 77 56 71 39 58 382 301
72 Arkadiusz Wierzbicki Krzysztof Pawlowski POL 61 80 -84 61 44 56 386 302
73 Peter Van Veen Paul Goeist NED 57 68 48 -74 73 65 385 311
74 Andrey Berezhnoy Sergey Masalov RUS 67 71 -85 82 48 45 398 313
75 Roberto Tomasini Grinover Gunnar Bahr AUT 71 69 67 54 57 (87 DNS) 405 318
76 Daniel Wyss Urs Joss SUI 68 58 74 (87 DSQ) 69 51 407 320
77 David Tabb Tom Peyton GBR 66 70 73 69 46 (87 DNS) 411 324
78 Regis Berenguier Laurent Bernaz FRA 76 53 57 73 66 (87 DNS) 412 325
79 Anders Hoagland Gunnar Faernert SWE 79 41 -81 75 71 63 410 329
80 Benny Nilsson Stefan Fagerlund Nilsson SWE -83 78 47 80 56 71 415 332
81 Jochen Diercks Herbert Braasch GER 64 -81 66 65 78 61 415 334
82 Dierk Thomsen Philip Behn GER 80 75 -83 83 52 66 439 356
83 Gösta Eriksson Björn Beskow SWE 84 56 77 (87 DNF) 64 75 443 356
84 Florian von Linde Tobias Steffens GER 42 76 76 79 (87 DNF) 87 DNS 447 360
85 Börje Larsson Carl-Fredrik Larsson SWE -85 48 79 81 81 74 448 363
86 Mariusz Modrzynski Sebastian Moras POL (87 DNF) 83 86 84 82 76 498 411

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