Tightening at top of Star Europeans
Published on May 17th, 2019
Rival del Garda, Italy (May 17, 2019) – Very light winds with patchy cloud coverage made for tough conditions on the third day of the Star European Championships and SSL Breeze Grand Slam which saw many top teams suffer a big score
The Race Committee briefly tried for a second race today, but with the wind slowly dropping from around 10 knots at the start of the only race, to 4 knots at the finish it was quickly called off and the fleet returned to the dock on glassy waters. Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Frederico Melo (POR) made up for their bad fortune yesterday, when they broke their mast, to take the win in today’s only race. But it will be one that many will wish to forget.
Kusznierewicz and Melo were delighted with their victory. This new pairing has been strong all week and despite their rig breakage yesterday, they started the day in third position, tied on points with second placed, Diego Negri (ITA) and Frithjof Kleen (GER).
“It was especially stressful because we started at the [committee] boat end, but the pin was really favoured,” Kusznierewicz explained. “I’m not sure if I should really say this, but the plan was not to start at that end. We had gone a long way upwind [after a general recall] and by the time we were back at the startline there was not the time to get down to the pin. I said to Federico ‘just don’t look up’ because it looked pretty bad early on. But we did a good job of controlling and getting some gains on the right.”
The pairing is now solidly up to second overall with Negri and Kleen third.
After a general recall, the Race officer elected to fly the U flag on the second attempt to get the start away, but many were still early on the heavily port-biased line, with fully seven boats picking up a UFD for being over at the start. Many of those caught were top names, including series leaders Robert Scheidt (BRA) and Henry Boening (BRA). Scheidt was sanguine about their misfortune, perhaps reflecting the impressive series he has put together so far, leaving him top of the leaderboard after he discards today.
“It’s really tricky with this kind of line. We were in the middle with a bunch of boats and they sheeted in and went. If you don’t go with them then for sure you will have a bad race,” he reflected. “It was such a difficult race and it was very easy to pick up a big score. I’m happy they didn’t try to do another race in this weather, but now we have a big drop too and so the regatta is really open.”
Also scoring a UFD were: George Szabo (USA); Eric Doyle (USA); Guido Gallinaro (ITA); Hubert Merkelbach (GER); Tibor Tenke (HUN); and Davide Leardini (ITA).
Even those who escaped the flag suffered, including another finish outside the top 20 for Paul Cayard (USA) and Arthur Lopez (BRA) whose 28th today sees them drop to sixth overall.
While the first two days had been dominated by strong breezes and a one-way track, the single race today saw some big holes and it was a case of staying calm and managing risk.
While many of the top names had a bad day, it was a moment to shine for some of the less well-known sailors competing alongside the legends at this first combined SSL Grand Slam Breeze and European Championship. The strength-in-depth in this fleet is impressive, so perhaps it was not a surprise to see Austrian lake sailors, Florian Raudaschl (AUT) and Michael Fischer (AUT) leading the fleet by a decent margin at the end of the first lap, reveling on the more familiar conditions.
They were certainly looking stronger today having picked up a 67, 35, 27, 40, DNC in the breezier weather to date. However, a single mistake, overstanding the final windward mark, saw them slip back and finish fourth – they will almost certainly be a happy team tonight, though and may well move up the rankings.
Racing is planned from May 15 to 19 with the forecast tomorrow for cloudy and unstable conditions. The qualifying series continues to determine the top ten overall that advance for the final elimination series on May 19 to be crowned Star European and Sailors League Grand Slam Breeze champion.
Day Three Results (Top 10 of 90; 6 races, 1 discard)
1. BRA Robert Scheidt/ Henry Boening, 14
2. POL Mateusz Kusznierewicz/ Frederico Melo, 16
3. ITA Diego Negri/ Frithjof Kleen, 27
4. USA Eric Doyle/ Payson Infelise, 30
5. SWE Fredrik Lööf/ Brian Fatih, 32
6. USA Paul Cayard/ Arthur Lopes, 41
7. ITA Roberto Benamati/ Alberto Ambrosini, 46
8. FRA Xavier Rohart/ Pierre-Alexis Ponsot, 48
9. NOR Eivind Melleby/ Joshua Revkin, 57
10. ITA Silvio Santoni/ Sergio Lambertenghi, 61
The 2019 Star European Championship, held in conjunction with the Star Sailors League (SSL) Breeze Grand Slam, has attracted 94 teams to complete on May 15 to 19 in Riva del Garda, Italy.
With 22 nations represented, the field will be vying for not just the European title but also motivated by the 2,500 SSL Ranking points and the lion share of the $100,000 US prize pot. The ranking points determine the competitors that advance to the SSL Finals which last year offered a $200,000 US prize pot.
The format will follow the SSL template with a qualifying series that advance the top ten to a knock-out series that determines the champion.
Day Three – May 17
Source: Rachele Vitello