Poles hold their nerve in the black flag starts
by Lynn Fitzpatrick on 12 Apr 2008
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.
Mateusz Kusnierewicz and Dominik Zycki approaching the finish of the first race of the 2008 Star Worlds Fried Elliott © http://www.friedbits.com
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.
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
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