There are only a few hours to go to the start of the 2014 International Star Class Eastern Hemisphere Championship, which takes place at the Sailing Club Urnersee (SCU) between August 10th and 13th.
Just a month after the hugely successful 2014 International Star Class World Championship in Malcesine, Italy, Star fans will be able to follow Star sailing LIVE again over the next few days via streaming here or directly on the YouTube Channel.
Scheduled unusually late on the calendar this year, the 2014 Star Eastern Hemispheres is being held after the Europeans at Lake Balaton, which were won by Hubert Merkelbach and Markus Koy, and the Worlds at Malcesine, where victory was claimed by Robert Stanjek and Frithof Kleen. But the success of the event planned for Brunnen, the pearl of the Lake of the Four Cantons, is guaranteed by the presence of an impressive 49 crews, 16 more than competed last year at Torbole. The crews hail from 13 different nations and have gathered in Switzerland for a regatta that looks set to be very tightly-fought with the weather looking highly unstable too.
An unusual summer and rain forecast for the upcoming days do not augur well for the entire event as the class rules state that at least four of the seven scheduled races must be completed over the four day Championship for the much-sought-after Silver Star to be awarded. Unstable weather conditions might, however, work to the advantage of the teams from Central Europe who are more expert in lake racing. These include the reigning European Champion who took the third step on the podium in this event last year. There will be strong competition too from crews used to grappling with difficult conditions such as Greeks Emilios Papathanasiou and Antonis Tsotras (GRE 8434) who, unsurprisingly, dominated the 60th Urnersee Star Trophy with two firsts. The celebratory event for the Luzern-Vierwaldstattersee Star Fleet, which was brought forward to act as a prelude to the important Silver Star event, was originally classified as a 100-pointer for the Star Sailors League, but thanks to the fact that it attracted more than 30 Star teams was upgraded to the higher category becoming a 250-SSL point regatta.
The teams to beat will clearly include the reigning champions, Negri and Kleen, who, however, are competing separately this year: Diego Negri is paired with Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA 8491), while newly-crowned World Champion Frithjof Kleen will be on the bow of SWE 8446 with Tom Lofstedt. Other serious contenders include 2014 European Champion Hubert Merkelbach with Gerrit Bartel (GER 8450) and World Champion George Szabo with Serge Pulfer (USA 8320).
Brunnen is renowned internationally as the best sailing location on the entire lake and, despite it having a marina, the organisers have brought the boats into the very heart of this splendid town, temporarily converting the little tourist port into a Star base by moving 100 tons of material between rocks, mooring gear, floating jetties and other equipment designed to allow the holidaying public discover the boats and explore the race village against a backdrop that will be remembered for its beauty and comfort.
The first start signal and the start of live broadcasts is scheduled for 12.00, tomorrow Sunday, August 10th.