Following a long day of waiting and false hopes on race day one of the 2014 International Star Class Eastern Hemisphere Championship, the Star sailors endured an even longer day today, race day two, filled with on and off rain, inconsistent wind pressure, and shifty wind direction. However, despite the difficult conditions today, the 2014 Star Easterns is now well on its way with three of the seven scheduled races completed.
2014 Star Eastern Hemisphere Championship
Race day two got off to a slow start this morning with an onshore and on the water postponement of the original 11:00 am First Warning signal time, but the pace quickened as the first rain storm of the day took over the race course on the Gersauer Becken race area. The wind picked up from the previously NW 4-6 knot breeze to a stable 8-10, and Race 1 was successfully started at 11:45.
The first day of actual racing was dominated by the Italian crew of ITA 8491 Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi. The duo finished the opening race in sixth place but then followed that result up with two authoritative wins. Behind them in the overall rankings are USA 8320 George Szabo with crew Serge Pulfer, GRE 8434 Emilios Papathanasiou with crew Antonis Tsotras, GER 8450 Hubert Merkelbach with crew Gerrit Bartel, and SUI 8274 Christoph Burger with crew Renato Marazzi.
The Race Committee also had to ensure the maximum number of races went ahead today to keep the programme on schedule and did so with some difficulty. A search for steadier wind during the morning saw the first race held in Race Area 2 (the western one, known as Gersauer Becken), while in the afternoon, after something of a wait and heavy rain, the fleet moved to the main course which looks south to the Canton of Uri.
Conditions were very unpredictable indeed in Race 1. American team USA 8320 Szabo/Pulfer took an immediate lead and held it until the first gate, followed by BRA 8390 Pascolato/Boening, GRE 8434 Papathanasiou/Tsotras and SUI 8274 Burger/Marazzi. Nonetheless, the Greek team GRE 8434 Papathanasiou/Tsotras fought their way back on the upwind leg to snatch leadership. But in the end, Swiss team SUI 8274 Burger/ Marazzi staged a stylish pass as GRE 8434 Papathanasiou/Tsotras struggled through a hole on the course, and stole the victory. USA 8320 Szabo/Pulfer followed SUI 8274 Burger/Marazzi’s lead and also finished ahead of the unfortunate GRE 8434 Papathanasiou and Tsotras.
SUI 8274 Burger and Marazzi - 2014 Star Eastern Hemisphere Championship
After an hour’s transfer between the Gersauer Becken and Urnersee courses, conditions stabilised despite the incessant rain.
However, Race 2 did not start immediately as there was a general recall. On the second attempt, with the Black Flag and after a start very close to the Race Committee boat, GRE 8434 Papathanasiou/Tsotras, ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi, and USA 8320 Szabo/Pulfer, at the halfway line, all shot to the front. It quickly became clear that the best side would be the port one. Despite choosing to remain to starboard of the group, however, ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi’s speed meant they were able to keep ahead of their rivals and round the marks in the lead. As happened with ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi in the first race, the Jury intervened in the second race, slapping the Greek team GRE 8434 Papathanasiou/Tsotras with a penalty for pumping. They then fell back three positions behind USA 8320 Szabo/Pulfer, SUI 8274 Burger/Marazzi and GER 8298 Philipp Rotermund and crew Nils Hollweg. At that stage, the results looked certain once again but shortly afterward ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi shot away from USA 8320 Szabo/Pulfer by 10 boat lengths and the American team USA 8320 Szabo/Pulfer then took a good lead over the first group of chasers in which SUI 8274 Burger/Marazzi of Switzerland had moved up to third. The latter eventually went on to finish the race on the podium.
USA 8320 Szabo and Pulfer - 2014 Star Eastern Hemisphere Championship
The third and final race of the day was much more unpredictable and varied. A jump to starboard in the first phase of the upwind leg worked to the advantage of a group of four boats which immediately broke away from the rest, thanks to a very courageous strategy. However, this daring choice proved very costly indeed for SUI 7947 Boris Kulpe and crew Ronald Roeseler. Nonetheless, the Swiss team still had the incredible satisfaction of rounding the first and second mark ahead of the entire fleet. A memorable day too for SUI 8316 Marc Trinquart with crew Christian Meylan, who rounded third around the first windward mark immediately behind ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi. The same goes for GER 8416 Hubert Rauch and Kilian Weise who were third and just a whisker ahead of the expert Greek GRE 8434 Papathanasiou/Tsotras duo.
Tomorrow racing is scheduled to start once again at 11.00 and up to three races can be held. The 2014 International Star Class Eastern Hemisphere Championship will be able to award the Silver Star only when four races have been completed while five valid races is the threshold to see the worst result discarded.