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Selden 2020 - LEADERBOARD

2023 Star World Championship at Marina di Scarlino, Tuscany, Italy - Overall

by ISCYRA 24 Sep 12:26 PDT 17-24 September 2023

Dreams come true when you work hard for them. Max Kohlhoff and Ole Burzinski won the 2023 Star World Championship today in Marina di Scarlino, Tuscany, after three years of dedication, training, and passion for sailing and for the Star boat.

They started the Championship with a bullet and ended it with a golden star affixed to their mainsail, a lifelong dream for the 200+ Star sailors in Scarlino. For some, this was their 20th attempt. This year, it was Max and Ole's turn to win.

"Since we started three years ago, our goal was always to win the gold star to put on the mainsail. We believed it was possible, but it was definitely hard work... and doing it here, on our second attempt, is unbelievable!" commented Max Kohlhoff right after coming off the water. "It's hard to find words for this special moment, achieved here in Scarlino. We had some great regattas this year, always finishing second, but finally, this time it clicked, and it was the reward for our hard work."

The final day of the 2023 Star World Championship started with a different breeze from the north. The first race of the day started around 11:15 AM with 7/8 knots of wind speed, but it varied throughout the four legs, with a gentle but constant shift to the right. The 30-year-old German team Max Kohlhoff and Ole Burzinshi and the Belgian/Dutch team Manu Hens and Joost Houweling had a great start and rounded first and second at the top mark. Kohlhoff / Burzinski took over Hens / Houweling on the last downwind leg, won the race, and became the provisional overall leaders due to a poor race by the Swiss Pete Eckerd with the Portuguese crew Frederico Melo and an even worse one by Diego Negri and Alessandro Sodano (ITA). After Race Five, the discard rule came into play, so all three teams were still in the hunt for the title ahead of Race Six.

For the last race, the wind came even more from the right, 050 degrees, and the wind speed varied from as little as 5 knots to as much as 13. The best at reading it were the Irish Peter O'Leary and Steve Milne, even though the first at both the top mark and the gate were the Americans Doug Smith and Brian O'Mahony. Negri / Sodano and Eckert / Melo finished eighth and 12th, respectively, which was enough to keep them both on the podium: the Swiss/Portuguese team won silver, and the Italians took bronze.

"We had a terrific week, we sailed really well, very consistently, but today was our worst day, a very difficult day, very shifty. It always looked good, I never had bad feelings, but it was either no wind or gusts coming from the other direction. We just had something missing, so yes, it's bittersweet, but also so good!" said Piet Eckert. "It's a tricky day, a little disappointing, of course, after starting the day as leaders, but our goal was to make the top 10. We had never made the top 10 in our previous three World Championships, so finishing second is fantastic, even though we came out today to win. Congratulations to Max and Ole; they did amazing today!" added Frederico Melo.

"Last year, I started the World Championship without sails, this time without my crew... Sergio Lambertenghi had a little accident to his foot, and the day before coming here, he called it off. Luckily, Alessandro was ready to step in after just a couple of days of training together this summer. This week was racing but also training at the same time, as I was teaching him how to do things for the first time on the boat. So, finishing third feels even more amazing, and it makes me think that I really know this boat well!" commented Diego Negri. "Many thanks to Diego for giving me this opportunity. It came at the very last minute, and I was so excited to join him and join the Star Class," added Alessandro Sodano.

With the prize-giving at the Yacht Club Isole di Toscana, the 2023 Star World Championship comes to a close. It will be remembered for the crazy weather, the long waits, the frustration, and the fear of not making it. Still, it will also be remembered for the excitement of having two new young Star World Champions, emerging from a successful U30 program run by Arnd Glunde in the North of Germany. This is a sign of hope for a Class that's more than 100 years old, which has seen great legends of the sport raise the 100-year-old trophy and can continue to produce champions.

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