Star World Champs return to Germany

Published on May 5th, 2021

The Star, designed in 1910 as an open two-man keelboat by William Gardner and Francis Sweisguth, experienced a rapid rise from the start: an international association of interests was founded in 1911 and a world championship was held almost annually from 1922.

As early as 1932, the 23-foot Star was selected as an Olympic boat class, making it the first one design class to compete at the Olympic Games.

From 1968 onwards, the success story of the two-man keelboat was rather undulating. In 1968, the Tempest replaced the Star, but thanks to its great popularity and recognized lobby, the Star regained its Olympic status after the 1976 Olympic Games. However, the second and final Olympic out followed after London 2012.

Today, the Star is experiencing its second renaissance. In many nations, competitive sailors are rediscovering the two-man keelboat for themselves in advance of the 2021 Star World Championship in Kiel, Germany.

Always popular in the south of Germany, Flensburg has now become one of several youth bases in Central Europe. Four Star boats are available for youth teams on the Baltic Sea and training weekends were already held in 2020 under the direction of German Star Olympian and world silver medalist Robert Stanjek.

This interest will be to the benefit of the Junior Star World Championship (August 31 to September 3) which expects 40 boats and for the Star World Championship (September 4 to 11) in which no less than 80 of the two-man keelboats are expected. This will be the fifth time for the World Championships to be in Kiel after 1939, 1966, 1977 and 1993.

The German fleet has good memories of the World Championship in the German waters. In 1939, Walter von Hütschler and his crew Edgar Bern won the title, and Peter Hansohm/Christian Blankenburg won bronze. In 1966, Germany went without a win in Kiel, but in 1977, Uwe von Below/Franz Wehofsich (NRV) won bronze.

Incidentally, the gold medal in 1977 went to America’s Cup legend Dennis Conner (USA) with his crew Ron Anderson. In 1993, Alexander Hagen/Kai Falkenthal (NRV) also took third place. And for 2021, the German fleet is again looking to its home advantage in the class that has produced top sailors like no other.

With a strong history after 111 years, and an honor roll that includes two-time Star World Champ Paul Elvstrøm (DEN), two-time Olympic and World Star Champion Mark Reynolds (USA), five-time Olympic medalist Torben Grael of Brazil, and Britain’s Iain Percy, who also won gold in the Star after winning gold in the Finn and secured the Star World Championship title twice, the Star Class approaches the future with optimism with over 8500 boats built.

For information about the 2021 Worlds, click here.

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