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Star Western Hemisphere Championship - Overall

by San Diego Yacht Club 25 May 23:03 PDT 22-25 May 2019
2019 Star Western Hemisphere Championship © Cynthia Sinclair

The Star boat is often seen as one of the finest, most challenging classes to compete in. It requires dedication and hard work to be successful. This weekend, 26 sailors made their way out to the Pacific for the Star Western Hemisphere Championship, where a handful of sailors proved just how dedicated they really were.

By the end of day three, the majority of the top five sailors on the scoresheet were already determined. On the final day, day four, the order barely budged. Carl Buchan, sailing with his son Jamie Buchan, won the last race and the series overall. Following in second was Brian Ledbetter sailing with Magnus Liljedahl. In third place was Eric Doyle sailing with Payson Infelise.

First place finisher Carl Buchan commented on his success. "It was a hard fought series. The last couple of breaks went our way and being consistent was our main strategy. The first race today we took off after the start and then just couldn't get out of our own way. The second race we needed to pass a couple of boats and thankfully we did. Both races had a lot more position changes today and the racing was really close."

Conditions on the Star Western Hemisphere Championship ocean venue were quite unreliable. The shifting wind direction, spotty clouds at sea, and a cool 5-8 knot breeze made it challenging for many of the sailors to hold their position.

"The races are always challenging, but this week was interesting because each day was different. I try to look at the variety of conditions as a benefit. You have to take each challenge and try to make the best of it, looking at it like an opportunity. In the Star, everybody is pretty even in the different conditions," Buchan continued.

All of the top three skippers have an extensive sailing resume and the final results of the Star Western Hemisphere Championship really show it. However, they were not alone. Several other sailors with World Champion titles and Star boat successes were not far behind. George Szabo sailing with Guy Avellon was one of them. Szabo started off the regatta with a 6, 10, 9 and an 8 before taking two bullets and a third, bringing him into fifth overall.

Szabo explains his finishes today in the last day of the regatta. "We got up to speed and hit some shifts in the first race, finishing first. We finished third in the second race. It was a lot of fun with a few battles going on between the boats on the course... a 'who beat who' match race. We got over our jet lag, got used to tuning the rig again and setting the boat up. It took us a little more time than we wanted to."

All 26 boats this week saw extremely tight competition and intense racing. According to third place finisher Eric Doyle, there are a lot of components that help make you a successful Star sailor - the two most important being dedication and hard work.

After the races, sailors gathered for beer and sandwiches before heading to the Front Deck for prize giving. First, second and third place competitors were awarded duffel bags by sponsor, North Sails. Thank you to our sponsors North Sails, Downwind Marine Sailing Supply, Ketch Brewing, and Scripps.

For more information visit 2019whc.starchampionships.org

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