Brazilian youth wins Star Worlds
Published on October 13th, 2018
Oxford, MD (October 13, 2018) – The 2018 Star World Championship faced weather delays and disruption, but ended on schedule with Jorge Zarif and Guilherme de Almeida (BRA) remaining patient through it all to claim the World title.
After five days, the 60 boat fleet had sat for three of them, but suitable weather on the sixth and final day saw the Brazilians close the 6-race series with a 5-point winning margin. At 26 years old, Olympic Finn sailor Zarif is the youngest World Champion since 1981 when Alex Hagen (GER) won as a skipper at the same age.
The morning began with two races scheduled, the discard coming in play after Race 5, and a very windy forecast. Zarif and de Almeida had an eight point lead over the second place team Paul Cayard (USA) and Arthur Lopes (BRA), and even more over the third place Class President Hubert Merkelbach and Markus Koy (GER).
But after a DNF in Race 5 for Cayard/ Lopes, and a discarded DSQ for 2017 World Champions Eivind Melleby (NOR) and Joshua Revkin (USA), the window of opportunity opened back up for either of the three teams to take the Championship title at the start of a thrilling Race 6.
The Brazilians fought a tough battle, always sailing within top 10 boats, losing some points in the second upwind beat, then regaining them in the last downwind to finish fourth behind race winner Tomas Hornos and Pedro Trouche (USA), just meters before Melleby/ Revkin, Eric Doyle and Payson Infelise (USA) in third. The Brazilians narrowly clinched the fourth spot from George Szabo (USA) and Roger Cheer (CAN) by half boat length.
Jorge Zarif was understandably pleased with the outcome. “I feel really happy! The Star is such a traditional Class full of good people and good sailors. It feels really good to have the opportunity to put my name on that trophy.”
“It’s a wonderful experience to sail with Jorge,” said crew Guilherme de Almeida. “He is amazing. I started sailing with his father when I was 14. He took me to the club and he got me sailing Stars and now I am here winning with Jorge at the World Championship, which is a dream!”
Eivind Melleby and Joshua Revkin started strong with two wins in the first day but their run for the title was derailed after a DSQ in Race 3.
“We wanted to defend the cup of course,” said Melleby. “So it is a bit disappointing that we finished in second. But we are pleased with the week because we had two 1st places and a 2nd and all top 10 finishes otherwise. So we are very happy with the results and the sailing. This was a very tough week to sail with light wind and then today with pressure that was up and down and very shifty.”
Paul Cayard sailed in his first Star World Championship 40 years ago as a crew in his hometown, San Francisco. He won the prestigious trophy back in 1988 in Buenos Aires, and remains active in the class, competing this week with Brazilian crew Arthur Lopes.
“We had great results and of course we hoped to win,” said Cayard, Vice President of the Star Class. “But Arthur and I won a race and had a second, and 3rd is a great place overall. We are always excited to have the youth in the Class, Jorge is the son of a Star sailor and Josh [Revkin] and Arthur [Lopes] are both young. What we are most interested in is seeing the next generation coming along, so to see Jorge Zarif win the Star World Championship is fantastic. It says a lot for the Star Class.”
The week has not been easy, with the weather being greatly affected by Hurricane Michael, but in the end we had an epic last day.
While the schedule had two reserve days on October 14 and 15, the fleet began early this morning in an effort to complete all scheduled races on time. The fleet embarked on the most challenging day of racing yet and battled 40 degree shifts, an 8-10 knot breeze that built to over 20 knots by the end of the day, and the heaviest current they have seen all week.
Race 5, originally scheduled to begin at 11:00 EDT, took over three hours to begin due to remnant unstable wind conditions. With a now 15-20+ knot north westerly breeze, a heavy ebb current on the course, and an aggressive fleet at the start, 9 teams were forced over the line early and earned a black flag penalty.
Greek team Emilios Papathanasiou and Antonis Tsotras took a commanding lead early on but after two major right shifts and a hard fought effort downwind, Italians Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi worked their way into first place and won Race 5.
After Race 5 was completed, all teams dropped the worst finishing place from their scoreline and for many of the regatta leaders that was their Race 5 finish. The leaderboard and the point spread between them had officially become unclear and the fleet began the 6th and final race in the 2018 Star World Championship blind.
With the great unknown scoreboard in mind, the top teams took a conservative approach to Race 6, started at 16:00 EDT, and kept to the center of the race course. Hornos/ Trouche took an early lead on the first weather leg with reigning Star World Champions Melleby/ Revkin hot on their trail. Race 6 was the ultimate showdown between Hornos/ Trouche, Melleby/ Revkin, and Szabo/ Cheer fighting every inch around the race course with Zarif/ de Almeida tailing behind them.
Hornos/ Trouche took the final race win of the 2018 Star World Championship in a photo finish with Norwegian team Melleby/ Revkin. Zarif/ de Almeida finish in 3rd, narrowly beating Szabo/ Cheer across the line, and solidifying their 2018 Star World Championship win.
Final Results (Top 10 of 60; 6 races, 1 discard
1. BRA, Jorge Zarif/ Guilherme de Almeida, – 2 – 3 – 1 – 4 – (14) – 4 ; 14
2. NOR, Eivind Melleby/ Joshua Revkin, – 1 – 1 – (DSQ-61) – 9 – 6 – 2 ; 19
3. USA, Paul Cayard/ Arthur Lopes, – 8 – 2 – 7 – 1 – (DNF-61) – 6 ; 24
4. ITA, Diego Negri/ Sergio Lambertenghi, – 6 – 6 – 10 – (19) – 1 – 9 ; 32
5. USA, George Szabo/ Roger Cheer, – (14) – 4 – 13 – 8 – 3 – 5 ; 33
6. DEN, Jørgen Schönherr/ Jan Eli Gravad, – 3 – 13 – 2 – (24) – 17 – 10 ; 45
7. USA, Tomas Hornos/ Pedro Trouche, – 25 – 9 – 8 – 3 – (BFD-61) – 1 ; 46
8. GER, Hubert Merkelbach/ Markus Koy, – 9 – 20 – 5 – 2 – (24) – 14 ; 50
9. USA, Eric Doyle/ Payson Infelise, – 10 – 15 – 16 – (26) – 9 – 3 ; 53
10. USA, Peter Vessella/ Phil Trinter, – 7 – 11 – (20) – 5 – 19 – 13 ; 55
Source: Rachele Vitello