New Star champion

Freddie the Swede takes Star European title in Italy

Saturday October 12th 2002, Author: Sasha Oswald, Location: Italy
It was an exciting finale at the Star Europeans in Genoa as the points were close going into the final days racing and with two races expected to be sailed anything could happen, especially in the shifty breezes that were on offer.

Two races were sailed on the final day but the second race was cancelled as the wind was shifting through 180 degrees and exceeded the Star class limit. This was unfortunate for RYA team GBR sailors and current world champions Iain Percy/Steve Mitchell who finished the race in first place.

Scoring a sixth place in race five of the championships was enough for Finn class Olympic bronze medallist and 2001 Star world champion, Fredrik Loof, sailing with Andres Ekstrom of Sweden, to take the European title from triple Olympic medallist Mark Reynolds and crew Austin Sperry of America. Reynolds/Sperry scored their worst result of the championship, a seventeenth place, but still managed to hold on to the silver medal. The bronze medal went to Niklas Holm/Martin Leifelt of Denmark.

With only five races, Percy/Mitchell had their work cut out to get back into the championships, after suffering gear failure on race one. However a fifth place finish overall, ensures that they are the most consistent boat on the circuit, having not scored out of the top five in any regatta they have sailed in their first year in the Star class.

Percy summed up their day and their first year in the Star, "it was a tricky final day today, in the first race the conditions were very shifty and we unfortunately dropped to fourteenth. We came back in the second race in the gusty conditions, and crossed the line in first place, but luck was not on our side and the race was abandoned due to the 180-degree shifts and winds exceeding 30 knots.

Although we finished fifth we are still pleased, as we are the only boat this year to finish in the top five at every regatta. It has, without a doubt, been a great year for us with the worlds being the highlight, we have now spent a year in the boat and every regatta we learn something new about this class and how to sail the boat. We will now enjoy some time off before getting back into training in January."

RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park commented, "When you are watching a world champion race you always expect them to win, unfortunately sport is not like that and following gear failure on the opening race and a low number of races due to the light winds, it was not to be this week. However, I am sure that Iain and Steve will come bouncing back at their next regatta."

See page two for full results

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