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Regatta Reports

This Article Last Updated: Dec 17th, 2011 - 09:56:50 

2011 Star World Championship Report
By Jacqueline Campbell
Dec 16, 2011, 11:10

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ISAF Worlds regatta live blog is at: perth2011.com/live-blog

Racing results

December 11th - 2011 ISAF Worlds Star Day 1 – Light Races 1 and 2

The 2011 ISAF World Championships (December 3-18, 2011) held in Perth, Western Australia begun in earnest for the Star class today. Many of the sailors attended the Opening Ceremony that took place in warm downtown Perth on December 2nd and have been training in the area since. Today 42 Star teams from 24 countries descended upon the Leighton Course, located north of the mouth of the Swan River on the Gage Roads, for the first two races of their 10-race series.

This world championship is important not only because it’s the first Star World Championship to be held in 22 months (with the last having been raced in January 2010 in Brazil) but also because it's a major qualifier for countries vying for a berth in the London 2012 Olympics. In addition, many teams are putting it all on the line here in Perth to qualify their individual team for the single Olympic spot within their respective countries, putting extra pressure on those squads.

This morning the Stars launched out of the Royal Perth Yacht Club, which will host them all week. After a short postponement at the scheduled 12:30 start time, the first race began with breeze in the 9-13 knot range out of the south, a bit of small wave action, and thin cloud cover. The second race, shortened to 4 legs from the previous race’s 6 legs, saw similar conditions with a steadier breeze direction at about 13-15 knots. Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki of Poland led around each mark of the course in race 1 and went on to win it while Afonso Domingos and Frederico Melo of Portugal took the win in race 2. Consistency won the day for the top two teams overall and Robert Stanjek and Frithjof Kleen of Germany, who sit in 2nd at the end of the day, concluded that “It was more or less about the start, the pin end was favored so it was really important to get off the line and find a clear lane.” They also mentioned “there was not as much wind as we had expected.”

“The Doctor,” as the local and usually powerful Fremantle sea breeze is called, certainly didn’t come in today. The weather forecast for tomorrow suggests there may be rain in the morning with southeast wind at 10-13 knots and the possibility of thunderstorms as the day continues. More to come from the Star race course tomorrow!

December 12th – 2011 ISAF Worlds Star Race Day 2 – Races 3 and 4 in Thunderstorms and Building Breeze

Day 2 of Star racing at the ISAF World Championships in Perth dawned cloudy, with a 12-knot southeasterly breeze, but none of the morning rain that had been forecasted. After completing their daily morning weigh-in, Star sailors headed out to the Leighton course for a 1pm start. Race 3 began as scheduled, with 3 boats scored OCS, 12-17 knots of breeze, and a 4-leg course that took about an hour and 20 minutes to complete. After rounding each mark of Race 3 in the top three, Norway’s Elvind Melleby and Petter Morland Pedersen went on to win it.

The Race Committee attempted to roll right into Race 4, but a general recall and a course change due to shifting breeze from thunderstorms in the area amounted to a 25-minute delay. When Race 4 did get started, choppy waves and increasing breeze made for a great hour and 10 minute race. Frederick Loof and Max Salminen of Sweden, who won that race, concluded that “In the first race [today], you really had to commit to the corners and we didn’t quite do that. We got stuck in the middle and, probably being too conservative, started in the middle of the line.” They added, “We had done a test sail of the first beat before the race and felt more strongly about the right, but the left really came in.” When talking about their win in Race 4, Loof and Salminen said “We actually played a little bit of the middle again, but it worked because the breeze was up and we sailed really well on the downwind legs.” Loof and Salminen moved from 10th overall at the beginning of the day to 5th by the end of it. When asked about racing the Worlds here in Perth so far, Loof said “It’s hard racing. I hope I found a turning point today. Tomorrow’s my birthday, so I’m hoping we’ll have a good one!”

After what turned out to be more like a typical summer day in England today than in Australia, the rain is supposed to continue through the night and the forecast for tomorrow suggests we may have clearing sun around noon.

December 13th – 2011 ISAF Worlds Star Race Day 3 – Big Changes At the Top of the Leaderboard

Day 3 of Star racing at the ISAF Worlds began with an earlier than expected break in the rain and dark clouds. Race 5 began on time at 1pm under thin cloud cover, in 11 to 15 knots of very shifty breeze, (including a 50-degree left shift) and small choppy waves. Mateusz Kuszierewicz and Dominik Zycki of Poland, who won the first race of the event, won Race 5 handily. When talking about what the conditions have been like here in Fremantle, Kuszierewicz and Zykci said “Yesterday and before, the wind was more from the left and that caused the shore to be in play. Today it was more from the right, more steady, and the waves built up, making for better racing.” When asked about their win in Race 5, they explained, “We had a good start and good speed. Then a big shift came in from the left. We weren’t quite there, but tacked with everyone and managed to gain a bit. Then we tacked back and rounded the top mark in first and held the lead until the end.”

With race five out of the way, all teams scored a drop. Halfway through Race 5, regatta leader Ian Percy of Great Britain (sailing with Andrew Simpson) received a 2nd yellow flag penalty, giving them an automatic last place. Percy suffered a back injury during that same race, forcing them to sail in for the day. According to Percy’s Twitter feed, the injury will likely require rest and medical attention, so they may be unable to race the rest of the event. Even if they can continue, two last place finishes will be hard to overcome and this leaves the top of the leader board open for the taking.

Race 6 started after a long delay while the Race Committee waited to see what would happen with the breeze under approaching rain clouds. The breeze was briefly up to 25 knots between races and Race 6 began after one general recall. Frederick Loof and Max Salminen of Sweden built on their momentum from yesterday and went on to win Race 6.

Another highlight of Race 6 was when Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada came from around 24th place at the first mark to finish the race in 2nd. Scheidt and Prada said about their comeback: “In the second race, we tacked too much and didn’t sail the shifts well on the first beat. Our downwind speed was really good though. For the first time, we really used the compass. [On the second beat,] the compass told us it was time to keep going to the right because we were really lifted and then we saw nice pressure coming in from the right, so we went all the way to it and it paid.” Scheidt and Prada ended the day leading the regatta overall, with both Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Domink Zycki of Poland and Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih of the United States only one point behind.

A low-pressure system has been hanging over Western Australia and may mean that tomorrow’s racing conditions will continue to be moderate: 10-15 knots of shifty breeze from the East-Southeast with small wave action.

December 14 race day 4 report by the event:
Brazilian duo’s tight sailing helps extend their lead

Brazilians Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada have extended their overall lead to six points on Day 12 of the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships thanks to two good results on Wednesday and the failure of their closest competitors to place well.

Scheidt and Prada won Race 7, the first for the day, 40 seconds clear and recovered from seventh early in Race 8 to finish third. The Brazilians are now on 30 points, six points clear of Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Faith (USA) who are second overall.

"We did really well, one and three on this very shifty day, as there was a lack of wind in the racing area. We are very happy with the results for sure", said Bruno Prada.

The Star fleet has two races on Friday before Saturday’s Medal Race.

“We are pretty happy, we have one more day and we have to do good regattas because we have the German and the American not far. Now we can start to think about which two or three guys we have to sail close to”, Prada added.

Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki from Poland were ranked second on overall points after Tuesday’s competition, but were forced to quit Wednesday’s first race after receiving a second yellow flag. It was a really unlucky situation for us as it was our third penalty for the regatta. It means disqualification without discard. I can’t believe what happened today, but it was really tough for us", said Zycki.

In third place overall is the German duo, Robert Stanjek and Frithjof Kleen, on 43 points.

December 14th – 2011 ISAF Worlds Star Race Day 4 – The "Fremantle Doctor" Evades the Fleet Again

Day 4 of Star racing at the Perth 2011 ISAF Worlds dawned with the first sunshine in two days and high hopes for the “Doctor” to make an afternoon appearance. Race 7 got underway 20 minutes later than its scheduled 1pm start after a course reset and a general recall. The beginning of the race was sailed in a building 12 knot southwesterly sea breeze, however, the last run saw the leaders finish on a tight reach in a light easterly, while the rest of the fleet sat in 3 foot chop, essentially becalmed. In a fleet where the leader had been finishing, on average, about 4 minutes ahead of the last boat, in Race 7, the last boat finished almost 8 minutes behind Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada of Brazil, who won. Poland’s Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki, who were sitting in 2nd overall at the start of the day, received a 3rd yellow flag penalty halfway through Race 7 and had to retire from the race, taking a DNF they won’t be able to drop.

After a 2 hour wait for the breeze to settle and build, the Race Committee began a starting sequence for Race 8 around 4:20pm. An AP flag went up before the completion of that start and the next start resulted in a general recall. Race 8 eventually began under a black flag start. The race was sailed in a building easterly, increasing from around 10 to 15 knots by the end of the race. Poland’s Mateusz Kusnierewicz and Dominik Zycki duked it out for several legs of the race with Portugal’s Afonso Domingos and Frederico Melo to take the win, their third of the event. Brazil’s Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada finished the race 3rd remain in 1st overall at the end of the day. The United States’ Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih, the only team with no finishes outside of the top ten, sit in 2nd overall, followed by Germany’s Robert Stanjek and Frithjof Kleen, who sit in 3rd overall after 8 races.

Thursday, December 15th) will be a lay day for the Star class, so it will all come down to Friday’s races 9 and 10 to see who will get into the medal race on Saturday. As the week of racing continues here in Perth, it will be interesting to keep an eye on which countries are putting themselves in contention to qualify for the London 2012 Olympics. The country qualification system for the 16 spots available in the Star fleet at the upcoming Olympics allows countries to qualify in three ways. First, as the host country, Great Britain, is automatically ‘in,’ taking one spot. Second, the top 11 countries at the 2011 ISAF Star Worlds in Perth will be given a spot and third, the top 4 countries at the 2012 Star World Championship in Hyeres, France (in May 2012) will take the final four spots. As you can tell by glancing at the results here at the 2011 Worlds, a few countries have several boats in the top 11, so some of the countries that qualify here could potentially end up coming from 12th place and below (outside of the medal race).

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Injury forces British champions out of the ISAF Worlds
British Olympic Champions Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson withdrew from Tuesday’s races due to injury and say they may not sail again at the Perth 2011 ISAF World Championships.

Percy had been suffering back pain after Monday’s races but was determined to finish the first race Tuesday. However, when he and Simpson received their second yellow flag of the regatta and were forced to resign, Percy was brought to shore for treatment.

Simpson said: “We had an okay run, but Iain hurt his back and was in tears. It looks like it’s his lower back, but we don’t know yet. No way could we have raced the second race.”

"It’s frustrating; sadly this is the second event in a row Iain has injured himself. He injured his ankle last time," he said. "I guess we won’t be sailing, but we never rule anything out."

Shortly after the race, Percy said on his Twitter account: "My back fully went today half way through the first race. Unfortunately the end of the championships and the beginning of a few weeks of physio."

On the penalty that ended their race, Simpson said: "Sadly we picked up a yellow flag and we don’t know why – we’re still confused."

December 15th – Iain Percy Injury Update
Many of you in the Star class may be wondering (and concerned) about what’s happening with Great Britain’s Iain Percy, who suffered a regatta-ending back injury in Race 5 of the 2011 ISAF World Championships that he was winning. We caught up with him via email and here's what he had to say:

"I strained my lower back on the 1st run on race 5 which caused it to spasm. Basically I have been resting ever since but able to go for short walks. Pain should be gone in 2-3 weeks and then I will need to work with the RYA sports science team for the next 8 months to avoid a repeat at the Games. Quite frustrating watching the racing going on in our absence but wish all the boys well with the rest of the competition and Olympic qualification. Next event for myself and Andrew will be Palma regatta." - Iain Percy

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December 16th – 2011 ISAF Worlds Star Race Day 5 – Great Sea Breeze for Races 9 and 10
Day 5 of Star racing at the Perth 2011 ISAF Worlds began with bright sunshine and a well-rested Star fleet after yesterday’s lay day. The Fremantle Doctor finally came in for this make-it-or-break-it day of racing! Race 9 began on time and was sailed in 15-17 knots of steady southwesterly breeze and small waves. Poland’s Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki won the race, followed closely by Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada of Brazil, who solidified their overall lead in the regatta by a few more points.

Race 10 began around 3pm, after one general recall, and was sailed in 14-17 knots of slightly more left-trending breeze and building waves. Frederik Loof and Max Salminen of Sweden battled it out to beat Poland’s Mateusz Kuszierewicz and Dominik Zycki for their third race win of the event. The Swede’s win put them into 4th overall going into the medal race, only 5 points behind 2nd place team Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih of the United States.

Loof and Salminen said about their day: “Today the Doctor finally came in and it was nice sailing. You didn’t have to go to the hospital to get the Doctor. In the second race today, we had a good start and the boats to windward couldn’t keep up with us. We had Mateusz, the Polish sailor, to leeward of us and he had a perfect lane and he’s fast. We were as fast, maybe faster upwind. We were a little bit more to the right and at the top mark we were 2nd or 3rd and sailed well throughout the rest of the race. So did the Polish and the Norwegians. We struggled a bit downwind, but it was nice to hold on during the last run to win the final race of the series. [For the medal race tomorrow] second, third, and fourth are all really close, then we have a little jump, so it’s going to be a good one.”

The Star Medal Race is scheduled for 14:55 local Western Australian time tomorrow, December 17th, and will be televised across Australia as well as online. Brazil’s Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada have a solid grasp on the gold medal going into the medal race, with an 18-point lead over the current 2nd place team, the United States’ Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih. The teams in 2nd through 4th place overall, only 5 points apart, will be duking it out for the medal stand. With the 5th place (and below) teams at least 16 points behind the top group, they will be unable to reach the podium, but will be fighting for the best finish possible. The top five teams and their point totals going into tomorrow’s medal race are: 1. BRA Scheidt/Prada 35, 2. USA Mendelblatt/Fatih 53, 3. GER Stanjek/Kleen 55, 4. SWE Loof/Salminen 58, 5. POL Kusznierewcz/Zycki 74.

As of today, barring any unforeseen changes due to any protests, etc, Brazil, the United States, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Norway, France, Canada, Ireland, Portugal, and Switzerland have all qualified themselves for the London 2012 Olympic Star regatta! Great Britain, being the host country, is already in and four spots remain to be taken at the 2012 Star Worlds in Hyeres, France in May 2012.

December 17th – ISAF Worlds Star Medal Race Day – Brazil's Scheidt and Prada Bring Home the Gold

The Perth 2011 Worlds Star Medal Race took place on the Centre Race Course at Bather’s Bay in sunny Fremantle, Australia with 13 knots of southwesterly breeze and 1-2 foot waves. A large seawall and grandstand running along the left side of the course near the starting line/leeward gate/finish line provided an obstruction as well as great spectating during the racing. The medal race began on time, with the majority of the fleet favoring the committee boat half of the line, leaving Polish team Kusznierwicz/Zycki to win the pin and sail out to the left side essentially alone. Sweden's Loof/Salminen and Germany's Stanjek/Kleen were the first to tack onto port after the start, while Brazil's Scheidt/Prada tacked to cover USA's Mendelblatt/Fatih when they tacked out.

At the first windward mark rounding, the Polish team had a solid lead, which they held on to throughout the remainder of the race. They were followed into the rounding by Germans Polgar/Koy, Norwegians Melleby/Morland Pedersen, and Brazilians Scheidt/Prada. Canadians Clarke/Bjorn spun one or two circle(s) during the first half of the first downwind leg, potentially for a Rule 42 infraction, and continued racing. Germany's Stanjek/Kleen kept close to USA's Mendelblatt/Fatih on the left side of the course downwind.

The four teams leading the race, Poland, Germany (Polgar), Norway, and Brazil, went on to round the leeward gate in the same order that they had the first windward mark. As the second windward leg developed, the two French boats kept close and the Brazilian team loosely covered the Americans. Nearing the second top mark rounding, USA's Mendelblatt/Fatih held Sweden’s Loof/Salminen out left under a tight cover. As they neared the layline together and began to luff up, the Americans essentially match raced the Swedes as far back into the fleet as possible to ensure themselves a medal finish (a crucial move because Germany's Stanjek/Kleen, the only other team close points-wise, were already ahead of them). Both teams eventually tacked for the windward mark and rounded 1 minute and 28 seconds behind the race leader, Poland.

The United States’ Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih kept a close watch on Sweden’s Frederik Loof and Max Salminen all the way downwind to the finish, where they finished 9th and 10th respectively, securing the Americans a bronze medal for the event. Sweden's Frederick Loof and Max Salminen finished 5th overall after losing a tie breaker with Poland's Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki for 4th place overall. Germany’s Robert Stanjek and Frithjof Kleen finished 3rd in the medal race, moving them up to win a silver medal in the event. Brazil’s Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada, now two-time Star World Champions (previously in 2007), finished the medal race in 5th to win the gold medal with a 16-point lead. Congratulations to Robert and Bruno!

Top Ten Stars at the 2011 ISAF World Championship in Perth:

1. BRA Robert Scheidt/Bruno Prada
2. GER Robert Stanjek/Frithjof Kleen
3. USA Mark Mendelblatt/Brian Fatih
4. POL Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Dominik Zycki
5. SWE Frederik Loof/Max Salminen
6. NOR Elvind Melleby/Petter Morland Pedersen
7. FRA Xavier Rohart/Pierre Alexis Ponsot
8. GER Johannes Polgar/Markus Koy
9. FRA Guillaume Florent/Pascal Rambeau
10. CAN Richard Clarke/Tyler Bjorn



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