Poles hold their nerve in the black flag starts

Mateusz Kusnierewicz and Dominik Zycki approaching the finish of the first race of the 2008 Star Worlds

Mateusz Kusnierewicz and Dominik Zycki (POL) had a game plan and they stuck to it. During each of the starts before the black flag went up during the first race of the 2008 Star World Championships hosted by Coral Reef YC, they were right near the boat. As they set up for the start under the black flag, Kusnierewicz/Zycki timed it perfectly so that they were right on the money.

The Polish team took a quick hitch onto port, realized that they were in control of the right side and flipped back onto starboard to head for the left side of the course. Their game plan put them in third around the top mark behind Marc Pickel and Ingo Borkowski (GER) and Kunio Suzuki and Daichi Wada (JPN). It was only a matter of time before the Polish team was able to reel in the Japanese on the 10.5 mile course.

The race started under mostly sunny skies with clouds building over the mainland. Winds were out of the southeast at 130 degrees at 10-12 knots. The 104-boat fleet looked spectacular as it lined up for the start. The top guns were fairly evenly dispersed down the line, but those who could keep clear air in such a large fleet and get left were rewarded on the first beat. The fleet was all too eager to make sashimi out of the Japanese leaders.

Although they held the lead to the first leeward gate, they chose the right hand gate. As Mateusz Kusnierewicz put it, 'we had a smile on our face as we set up to round the left gate. They were dead at the mark.' Mark Mendleblatt and Mark Strube (USA) rounded the left gate just behind Kusnierewicz/Zycki while Pickel/Borkowski, Ian Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR) went to the right gate. The leaders played the left and middle left up the second beat.

Kusnierewicz/Zycki rounded the second weather mark a couple of boat lengths ahead of Mendleblatt/Strube and Pickel/Borkowski trailed by the distance between the weather mark and the offset mark. Flavio Marazzi and Enrico de Maria (SUI), in fourth, were the first among the teams and countries that have not yet qualified for the Olympics. While the teams set off on the second run, the wind had shifted to 120 degrees and had slackened off to 8.5 to 9 knots with white caps here and there and nothing to surf.

Star - Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR)
© Rolex / Dan Nerney
Kusnierewicz/Zycki went into the left gate ahead of Mendleblatt/Strube by six boat lengths The Americans had extended their lead on the Germans by eight boat lengths. Flavio Marazzi and Enrico de Maria (SUI) had closed the gap on Pickel/Borkowski to be within two boat lengths, Diego Negri and Luigi Viale (ITA) and Ian Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR) were nipping at the heels of the Swiss.

Kusnierewicz/Zycki got to sail their own race all the way up the final beat. They played the middle of the course and kept an eye on Mendleblatt/Strube and Pickel/Borkowski who were slightly to the right of them during the leg. It’s difficult to claw your way back in this fleet, just ask reigning World Champion, Robert Scheidt or the 2003/05 World Champions Xavier Rohart and Pascal Rambeau. That said, there was some excitement to the finish as Diego Negri and Luigi Viale (ITA) and Marc Pickel and Ingo Borkowski (GER) shot the pin end of the finish line together (and finished in that order).

There are five more races to go before we find out which countries will be the final four to win the right to go to the Olympics, but after today’s results, Peter Bromby and Lee White (BER), Flavio Marazzi and Enrico de Maria (SUI), Max Treacy and Anthony Shanks (IRL) and Kunio Suzuki and Daichi Wada must be happy with their top ten performances.

Star World Championships – Leading Results following the completion of one race

1   POL   Kusznierewicz, Mateusz/Zycki, Dominik   1pts
2   USA   Mendelblatt, Mark/Strube, Mark   2
3   ITA   Negri, Diego/Viale, Luigi   3
4   BER   Bromby, Peter/White, Lee   4
5   GER   Pickel, Marc/Borkowski, Ingo   5
6   SUI   Marazzi, Flavio/De Maria, Enrico   6
7   IRL   Treacy, Max/Shanks, Anthony   7
8   GBR   Percy, Iain/Simpson, Andrew   8
9   JPN   Suzuki, Kunio/Wada,Daichi   9
10   USA   Dane, John/Sperry, Austin   10
11   AUS   Murray, Iain/Palfrey, Andrew   11
12   NZL   Pepper, Hamish/Williams, Carl   12
13   USA   Horton, Andy/Scott, Andrew   13
14   AUT   Spitzauer, Hans/Nehammer, Christian   14
15   USA   MacCausland, John/Murphy, Kevin   15
16   BRA   Adler, Alan/Seifert, Ronald   16
17   USA   Reynolds, Mark/Haenel, Hal   17
18   GER   Stanjek, Robert/Koy, Markus   18
19   IRL   O'Leary, Peter/Milne, Stephen   19
20   NOR   Melleby, Eivind/Pedersen, Petter   20
21   POR   Domingos, Afonso/Santos, Bernardo   21
22   ITA   Santoni, Silvio/Natucci, Dodo   22
23   RUS   Shevtsov, Sergey/Sadchikov, Roman   23
24   ITA   Modena, Luca/Lambertenghi, Sergio   24
25   CAN   Macdonald, Ross/Mitchell, Steve   25
26   FRA   Rohart, Xavier/Rambeau, Pascal   26
27   SWE   Loof, Fredrik/Ekstrom, Anders   27
28   ESP   Bermudez, Roberto/Ferreira, Marcelo   28
29   CRO   Lovrovic Jr., Marin/Mikulicic, Sinsa   29
30   IRL   O'Connell, Maurice/Cooke, Ben   30
31   USA   Buchan, Carl/Buchan, Jamie   31
32   ITA   Chieffi, Enrico/Colaninno, Nando   32
33   ARG   Rigoni, Alejo/Gonzalez, Gustavo   33
34   SUI   Dannesboe, Henrik/Morey, Edward   34
35   CAN   Lowden, Hunter/Wilson, Brett   35
36   DEN   Anderson, Benny/Just, Mogens   36
37   BRA   Scheidt, Robert/Prada, Bruno   37
38   GRE   Pelekanakis, L/Stylianos, George   38
39   USA   Szabo, George/Peters, Rick   39
40   CRO   Lovrovic, Dan/Lovrovic Sr., Marin   40
41   USA   Brethorst, Rick/Anderson, Scott   41
42   USA   Watt, Dave/Martin, Dave   42
43   GER   Wilhelm, Peer/Hollweg, Nils   43
44   GER   Fritz, Werner/Seeberger, Uli   44
45   NED   Haakman, Sjaak/Zetzema, Weitze   45
46   DEN   Svendsen, Joegen/Jurlander, Jens Christian   46
47   CAN   Cramer, Brian/Bjorn, Tyler   47
48   SUI   Stegmeier, Daniel/Stegmeier, Beat   48
49   USA   Diaz, Augie/Trinter, Phil   49
50   ARG   MacGowan, Fabian/Engelhard, Federico   50