Winning the Star Worlds may well be one of the most difficult tasks in the yacht racing arena, but Britons Iain Percy and Steve Mitchell almost made it look easy, taking the six-race series with a very strong (19)-4-1-3-2-1 scoreline. This was the second year in a row that a class rookie has walked off with the world championship. Last year it was Sweden’s Freddie Lööf, sailing with Christian Finnsgård, who won the trophy after sailing the venerable keelboat for six months. Percy and Mitchell have been in the boat for less than a year. The one strong connection between Percy and Lööf is that they are both former Finn champions. Percy won the gold in Sydney while Lööf had won three Finn Gold Cups before switching to the Star.
The stage was set for an upset on the first day of racing, when light, fluky breezes gave many of the top-rated competitors catastrophic finishes–Paul Cayard-40, Mark Reynolds-78, Peter Bromby-33. No matter how good you are, starting a series with a throwout means that youve got to sail perfectly for the rest of the regatta and in a 103-boat fleet, that isnt easy. Brazilians Torben Grael and crew Marcelo Ferreira, who never had a finish worse than ninth, were the biggest threat on the final day of racing, but Mitchell and Percy rose to the occasion, starting cleanly, and avoiding any altercations by being the first at every mark.
For the complete results, see www.starworlds2002.com
With the deep viola bass from the movie Jaws playing ominously in the background, Team New Zealand’s latest ACC boat, the Clay Oliver-designed NZL-81 was towed to her christening ceremony today in Auckland. Whether for secrecy or psychological warfare, NZL-81 was shrouded from the deck down, and even Lady Pippa Blake, the designated patron and bottle-smasher, wasn’t given a view. “We’ve got a big responsibility to the country and we have got a lot of good ideas,” said Oliver in an interview in the New Zealand Herald. “We are going to try and keep those protected as long as we can.”
The newest team to challenge for the Cup, Italy’s Mascalzone Latino, had a tough week last week when one of the cables on their Travelift broke, dropping one of the team’s boats back into the water with minor damage. Initial reports claimed that the dropped boat was their one and only current generation boat, Mascalzone Latino XII, but the team has since announced that the dropped boat was ITA-55, the former USA-55 Stars and Stripes, and that there was only minor damage.
Seeming to confirm the team’s claim, Mascalzone Latino XII was sailed last Saturday, the first venture on the Hauraki Gulf for ITA-72. Mascalzone Latino is the only AC team sailing only one current generation ACC boat in Auckland this go-round.
Victory Challenge, still in mourning for syndicate head Jan Stenbeck, who died suddenly last week in Paris, are reporting that their second boat SWE-73, Orm (snake in Swedish), has passed all structural tests. Sailing in a 17-knot breeze on Saturday morning, Orm is almost through with its work-up and will be sailing against the team’s other boat Örn (Eagle) sometime this coming week. “It’ll be exciting to see the two boats against each other in competitive conditions”, said team coach Skip Lissiman.
In last week’s report about the Vineyard Race and the Northern Ocean Racing Trophy, we neglected to mention that there are actually two winners recognized each year. In addition to the IMS racing champion, an IMS racer/cruiser winner will be selected as well. Leading that previously unrecognized class is Skip Sheldon’s Zaraffa, a 66-foot Reichel/Pugh design that was the top IMS racer/cruiser in this year’s Newport Bermuda Race.
The final race for this years NORT will be the Vineyard Race, which begins this Friday afternoon. For complete results, see www.stamfordyc.com
The Farr 40 East Coast Championships were held Aug. 23-25 in Newport, R.I. and even though the event didn’t boast big numbers, the competition was still hot and heavy. “It was the same furball you see at every mark rounding with the Farr 40s,” said Brad Read of Sail Newport, which hosted the event. Steve Phillips’ Le Renard, took first, followed by Jim Richardson’s Barking Mad, and Takashi Okura’s Sled. No results are posted yet, but keep an eye on www.Farr40.org for more details.
Sixth-ranked match racer Karol Jablonski, of Poland, won the ISAF World Match Racing Championship, sailed off Stockholm last week and hosted by KSSS (Royal Sweden YC). This is the first time that a Polish sailor has won the event and it marks an auspicious beginning for Poland’s challenge for the 2006 America’s Cup, in which Jablonski is involved.
Ninety flights were sailed during the five-day event. Denmarks Jes Gram Hansen (ranked fourth in the world) was second, and Bjorn Hansen, of Sweden was third. For full results, see www.ksss.se/citymatch2002
Hannah Swett, Joan Touchette, and Melissa Purdy were the top United States team at the Olympic Test match event in Greece, which ended Sunday. Scoring third in the Yngling class, behind Melanie Danson’s Australian team (first place), and Shirley Robertson’s British squad, Swett’s team scored a credible 1-9-3-7-2-21-5-11-(23)-2 scoreline in the week-long event. One test event for each sport and discipline at each Olympic facility is scheduled in order to test all critical parameters of competition, venue, and technological systems. www.athens.olympic.org
Blind sailor Sengil “Inky” Inkiala, of Watertown, Mass., and his team took the first place trophy home in the 12th Annual Sail Newport Blind National Sailing Championship. In what was the only day of racing, Inkiala, with team members Harry Berman of Hull, Mass., Larry Mangini of Boston, Mass., and sighted guide Ken Legler, of Medford, Mass., won four out of seven races and finished with 11 points overall.
In second place was Jim O’Laughin, Linda Moores, Mike Little, and Thomas Rogers of Texas with 17 points. Boston’s Duane Farrar took third. All of the competitors from the Sail Newport Blind National Sailing Championships in Newport are currently training and preparing to compete in the Blind World Sailing Championships in Italy in September.
Hometown favorite Nick Adamson won the Vanguard 15 Nationals, sailed out of St. Francis YC in San Francisco Aug. 23-25. Adamson went in to the final day of the three-day event with a 12-point lead, but with three races scheduled, and a fleet full of talent, nothing was written in stone until the final gun was fired.
Despite a strong run by former College Sailor of the Year Bill Hardesty, who won the first race of the day, and tussled with the regatta leader in all three final races, Adamson was able to hang on and take the title. This regatta marked the first time that the Vanguard 15 Nationals were held on the West Coast. For the full story, see www.stfyc.org