Augie Diaz claims Star Midwinters Lead

Published on January 10th, 2014

Miami, FL (January 10, 2014) – Shifty Easterly breeze continued to frustrate many in the Star Midwinter Championship fleet on Biscayne Bay on Friday, though Miami local Augie Diaz and crew Arnis Baltins picked their way around the course to grab a tenuous 1-point lead over day 2 standout Jack Jennings. A win for Diaz during this week’s double-points scoring Midwinters would clinch his overall championship for the Star Winter Series Presented By EFG.

Things didn’t look good at all for Diaz halfway through the second race; both he and yesterday’s leader Lars Grael caught themselves out on the far right as Jack Jennings and Brian Cramer led on the left side with more pressure and a slight shift. “We stayed with Lars out on the right side for a while as we kept seeing Jack and Brian moving forward through the mainsail window,” said Baltins. “It was great to see those guys doing so well, and ultimately we chose to leave Lars and get back in touch with the fleet.” Diaz/Baltins were in double digits for much of the race, though they would ultimately claw back to 4th in the performance of the week, giving them a one-point lead over Chicago’s Jennings, with one further back to San Francisco’s Paul Cayard.

Jennings and crew Brian Sharp were the clear standout on Friday with a 3,1 scoreline, including a near ‘horizon job’ victory of more than one minute over the rest of the fleet, led by second place Vasyl Gureyev from Ukraine. “We were lucky that Brian Cramer gybed out from directly behind us on the first run,” said Jennings. “That really freed us up, and with such a tight fleet with so much disturbed air, having a little freedom can translate into some real gains.” Jennings says he’s a little surprised to be battling up with multiple World Champs and Olympians like Augie Diaz and Paul Cayard for the Championship lead, but explained that he’s been working hard in the Star class for a full five years now. “Having good starts helps and having great crew and a good line sight is imperative,” said Jennings. “We just need to keep managing our expectations and sailing conservatively with solid results – you don’t need to hit one out of the park to do well.”

While Jennings did indeed ‘hit one out of the park’ in Race 4, Cayard quietly continued to perform well with Aussie crew Rodney Hagebols, scoring a 2,5 on Friday and closing to within 2 points of leader Diaz. “We worked on our rig a little last night and found a little more boat speed, and had a pretty good one today,” said Cayard.

California’s Jim Buckingham avoided a dire result in the final race of the day, clawing back from near last to take 6th place, while Brazil’s Grael could never quite dig himself out of the teens in Race 4. Grael finished 14th, dropping him back to 5th overall. 25 year-old Thomas Hornos had another consistent day, and leads the Junior championship over Philip Carlson by 5 points.

Racing continues daily in the 7-race series through Sunday.

Day Two Results (Top 10 of 26)
1.  Augie Diaz / Arni Baltins , USA – 2, 2, 7, 4, ; 15
2. Jack Jennings / Brian Sharp , USA – 4, 8, 3, 1, ; 16
3.  Paul Cayard / Rodney Hagebols , USA – 6, 4, 2, 5, ; 17
4.  Jim Buckingham / Magnus Liljedahl , USA – 3, 6, 6, 6, ; 21
5.  Lars Grael / Samuel Goncalves , BRA – 1, 1, 8, 14, ; 24
6.  Peter Vessella / Phil Trinter , USA – 14, 3, 1, 9, ; 27
7. Brian Cramer / Cam Lymburner , CAN – 5, 9, 12, 3, ; 29
8. Tom Loefstedt / Jesper Sundman , SWE – 15, 5, 4, 8, ; 32
9. Vasyl Gureyev , UKR – 16, 7, 10, 2, ; 35
10. Arthur Anosov / Vaentin Veytsman , USA – 11, 11, 5, 12, ; 39

Click here for complete results.

Note: Edited version of event press release.

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