Day 2 of the 2014 Star World Championship came to a thrilling end today after an intense battle between the top three boats and a near photo finish where only five seconds separated first and second place. The beauty, sophistication, and power of the Star Boats racing on Lake Garda this afternoon was only matched by the lake's breathtaking scenery. The 87 boat fleet completed today's race with great success beginning with a clean start, where Croatians Mate Arapov and crew Ante Sitic in CRO 7287 lead the fleet across the line at the pin end.
During leg one of the five leg course, Italians Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi in ITA 8491 secured the second place position behind Arapov and Sitic and were closely followed by two Brazilian teams: BRA 8398 Marcelo Fuchs with crew Ronald Seifert, and International Star Class Yacht Racing Association President in BRA 8474 Lars Grael with crew Samuel Goncalves. Former International Star Class World Champions Mark Reynolds (USA 8335) with crew Beppe Oggioni and George Szabo (USA 8320) with crew Edoardo Natucci also pushed hard off the line into leading positions in the top ten.
Similar to yesterday in Race one, the Star fleet largely favored the left hand side of the race course. Shortly after the start, the Brazilian team BRA 8474 Grael/Goncalves, with great boat speed and confidence in their strategy, crossed below the Croatian team CRO 7287 Arapov/Sitic on a mission to find a clear lane on the left side and easily took the lead.
At a very crowded first mark rounding, Brazilian team BRA 8474 Grael/Goncalves dug in deep to secure their first place position and began their fight to both maintain their place in the fleet and try to extend their lead. During the first downwind leg the top three teams, BRA 8474 Grael/Gonvalves, CRO 7287 Arapov/Sitic, and ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi, quickly pulled away from the rest of the fleet.
Brazilians Lars Grael and crew Samuel Goncalves held their nerve as they rounded the bottom mark in first place with a 60 second lead, holding off CRO 7287 Arapov/Sitic and ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi who were putting up a tough fight to top the podium in today's race. Brazilian team BRA 8398 Fuchs/Seifert was the first of the chasing pack, 35 seconds off third place.
The top three boats maintained their positions for the remainder of leg three, through leg four, and on into the beginning of leg five, but as they approached the last 1/3 of the race ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi began closing in on BRA 8474 Grael/Gonvalves and CRO 7287 Arapov/Sitic. ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi caught up 100 meters to the top two teams but at the final seconds of the race as all three approached the finish line, BRA 8474 Grael/Gonvalves crossed in first and received the winning gun. ITA 8491 Negri/Lambertenghi managed to edge out by a mere two meters to finish second leaving CRO 7287 Arapov/Sitic to finish third.
Quotes of the day from Lars Grael: 'We firmly believed that the left would pay well because that happened yesterday when the current was on the opposite direction so even more so today. So that was our strategy and it worked very well. We got a big lift on the left to put us in a strong position, top three, and we stayed closer to the shore, where the current was very affective. So we rounded the mark in first and the Croatian boat was always close. But in the end Diego Negri came with amazing speed and it was very hard to control him on the last upwind leg.
In the end we managed to win by just a little. It is just a pity we have the Black Flag from yesterday in the race that had more than 40 boats over the line by the GPS and the Race Committee didn’t do a General recall but it happens. We have to look forward, that’s the way it is.'