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This Article Last Updated: Oct 14th, 2010 - 15:13:49
Kunio Suzuki is not unlike many of the Star sailors at the 2008 Star World Championship. He sailed Lasers for years. He has participated in a number of world championships. He has represented his country in the Olympics, not once, but twice in the Laser. However, one of the unusual things about Suzuki is that if he holds it together, this could be the best performance that he has ever had in a Laser or Star World Championship regatta and it could win him a ticket to the 2008 Olympics in Qingdao.
|Japanese Star sailors Kunio Suzuki and Daichi Wada. Photo by Lynn Fitzpatrick. |
Suzuki, Wakayama Sailing Club's hero and harbor master, started sailing Lasers at ISAF Grade 1 and Grade 2 regattas such as Sail Melbourne, Sail Auckland and Spa over ten years ago. He persistence on the Laser circuit enabled him to represent Japan at the Olympics in Sydney and in Athens where he was 27th and 35th, respectively. He's had some coaching along the way from the likes of Rodney Hagebols, one of the coaches of the Dane/Sperry Olympic campaign effort. He also sails on the Japanese IMS circuit... as a grinder. (He's no Lilliputian, but he wouldn't be considered grinder material elsewhere in the world).
Suzuki and crew, Daichi Wada, jumped into the Star at the 2005 Rolex Miami OCR. Their next big Star regatta was the 2006 Star North Americans where they ended up mid-fleet. At last year's ISAF World Championships, they mustered up a 50th place finish. Here's an interesting thought. Over 60 of the 104 boats that are sailing in the 2008 Star World Championship are from countries that already have qualified for the Olympics. A mid-fleet finish at this World Championship may just be enough to qualify for the Olympics. It's unlikely, but possible.
It takes two to sail a Star and Daichi Wada, Suzuki's crew is no new comer to sailing either. Wada is a big boat sailor who, like many of the top level crews at the 2008 Star World Championships had done a fair amount of match racing before trying on a harness and droop hiking from a Star. During the most recent part of his 23 years of sailing, Wada has been ...the bowman for Team Siesta, the Japanese J/24 National champions. Wada is also a Snipe helmsman and does the bow when he match races. (He's no Lilliputian).
Hang in their guys. At five kilos under max weight, you may be the only team on their way to Qingdao that doesn't have to think about adjusting your weight.
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