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This Article Last Updated: Sep 9th, 2011 - 21:20:28 

2011 European Championship Reports
By European Championship Staff
Sep 4, 2011, 19:05

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Fleet gathers for Star European Championship on Dublin Bay

All 32 boats for the Star European Championship (2nd-10th September) have arrived in Dun Laoghaire (Co. Dublin, Ireland) and are busy training on Dublin Bay prior to Sunday’s first race. Current world champions and double Olympic Gold medallists Iain Percy (GBR) with Andrew Simpson top the entry list while defending title-holders Johannes Polgar (GER) with Markus Koy are also competing.

Percy will be seeking to improve on his second place at the recent London Olympic 2012 test-event at Weymouth while the championship will also be an indicator of form before the ISAF Sailing World Championships at Perth in December.

“This fleet is certainly an example of quality rather than quantity,” commented Martin Byrne, Commodore of the Royal St. George YC, organising host club. “Looking at the entry-list, a large number of boats could form a typical world top ten and are capable of winning this championship. We expect Dublin Bay will live up to its reputation as a great racing area and deliver good conditions for the seven races.”

Five Star world champions or Olympic medallists are included in the line-up while several more are also former champions in other Olympic classes. Polgar and Koy won last year’s championship in Viareggio (Italy) in a record turn-out for the Star class. Second-placed runner-up Andrew Campbell (USA) from 2010 is also in Dun Laoghaire, this time with Ian Coleman and are up against 2009 world champion George Szabo (USA) with Mark Strube in the lead-up to selection for next year’s Olympics.

Tornado class Gold medallist Fernando Echavarri (ESP) with Fernando Rodriguez Rivero will be competing along with double world champion and Olympic bronze medallist Xavier Rohart (FRA) and Pierre Alexis Ponsot. Former Finn Gold medallist and 2008 world champions Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Dominik Zycki are also certain contenders next week.

The fleet also includes two Irish crews: Beijing 2008 helm Peter O’Leary along with veteran Olympian David Burrows will be in the hunt for a top three place on home waters while Max Treacy and Anthony Shanks will be competing from their home club for the first Star class event in Ireland.

Updates and results will be posted daily at: http://www.rsgyc.ie/stareuro2011/.

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Day One Wet And Wild Conditions Delay Start To Star
European Championship On Dublin - September 04
2011

Winds gusting above gale force have delayed the start to racing in Star European Championship (2nd-10th September) where 27 boats have gathered from 17 nations. The forecast conditions had already altered the schedule with two races instead of one intended to be sailed. However, as winds freshened to 25 knots, Principal Race Officer David Lovegrove opted to send the fleet ashore ahead of the gale that was followed by torrential rain and squalls. This decision was met with the approval of the competitors.

Fresh to strong conditions are expected to continue for the early part of the week and further disruption to the programme cannot be ruled out. However, more moderate conditions should arrive by Wednesday and a spare day of next Saturday is included in the event schedule.

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Day Two Weather window allows racing to commence at Star European Championship on Dublin Bay

After gales delayed the start of the Star European Championship (2nd-10th September) at Dun Laoghaire (Co. Dublin, Ireland) on Sunday, a lull allowed two races to be sailed today (Monday 5th September) that saw Italians Diego Negri and Enrico Voltolini deliver two consistent results of a race win and a second place in the 27-boat fleet from 17 nations.

The Italians leaders were the 2006 European champions and overcame challenging post-frontal weather conditions that delivered 20-degree wind-shifts at times on an otherwise smooth race course off Seapoint on the south shore of Dublin Bay.

France’s Guillaume Florent and Pascal Rambeau also had a consistent day with a second and third while the home fleet delivered a strong showing as Olympic veterans and contenders for London 2012 Peter O’Leary and David Burrows placed third and sixth to lie third overall on countback, ahead of France’s Xavier Rohart Pierre and Alexis Ponsot at this early stage in the regatta.

A return to stormy conditions is expected for Tuesday with 40 knots forecast for the morning.

Star European Championship 2011 at Royal St. George YC, Dun Laoghaire, Ireland

(Provisional overall standings after two races):

1st ITA Diego Negri & Enrico Voltolini
2nd FRA Guillaume Florent & Pascal Rambeau
3rd IRL Peter O'Leary & David Burrows
4th FRA Xavier Rohart Pierre & Alexis Ponsot
5th CAN Richard Clarke & Tyler Bjorn
6th POR Afonso Domingos & Frederico Melo

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DAY Three Strong gale conditions rule the waves and the Star European Championship

High winds once again dictated the racing schedule at the Star European Championship (2nd-10th September) at Dun Laoghaire (Co. Dublin, Ireland) on the third day of the series that has had two races out of the original eight-race programme completed.

The overnight offshore gale eased slightly during the morning and a two-hour postponement by principal race officer David Lovegrove offered some hope of racing for the 27 crews waiting at the nearby Royal St. George YC. However, gale force gusts continued and the programme was abandoned for the day leaving the sailors free to take the 20-minute train ride into the historic Dublin city-centre offering the famous Book of Kells at Trinity College, the Jameson Irish Whiskey centre and other attractions.

Wednesday's forecast does appear more hopeful though the unsettled frontal conditions are set to continue towards the weekend and racing is certain to be testing for the fleet and race management team alike. However, if winds do ease during the day, three races will be sailed to get the championship back on schedule.

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DAY Four No change in leaderboard as weather permits one race at Star European Championships

Race three of the Star European Championship (2nd-10th September) at Dun Laoghaire (Co. Dublin, Ireland) was successfully started on Dublin Bay this morning as gales finally abated for the 26-boat fleet gathered at the Royal St. George Yacht Club. Double Olympic Gold medallist Iain Percy (GBR) has been forced out of the event due to an ankle injury.

The 2006 European champion Diego Negri (ITA) with Enrico Voltolini remain as overalls leaders after their second win of the series while local interest hinges on Peter O’Leary and David Burrows in third overall after their second third place of weather-hit event.

However, the plan to sail three races to catch-up on the programme was scuppered by the weather once again.

Although the strong winds had eased to less than 20 knots, barely half an hour after starting shortly before mid-day, a 30-plus knot squall swept across the fleet that was already dealing with a short, choppy seaway. Three boats suffered mast damage and retired while there were two reports of separate man-overboard incidents that were successfully recovered.

Thursday’s forecast offers better hope of completing a minimum number of races for a championship as well as a single discard with light to moderate winds expected leading to an early morning start to racing.
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Day Five Italian domination as leaderboard closes ranks at the Star European Championships

The weather gods finally allowed a full day of racing at the Star European Championship (2nd-10th September) at Dun Laoghaire (Co. Dublin, Ireland) on Dublin Bay as a moderate westerly breeze allowed Principal Race Officer David Lovegrove and his team to deliver three races. It is hoped to have two races tomorrow ahead of the forecast for heavier winds.

With their form unchanged since Sunday, Italians Diego Negri and Enrico Voltolini extended their overall lead in the 26-boat fleet, counting one win plus a third place while discarding their eighth place in race six.

Polish 2008 World champion and past Finn Olympic Gold medallist Mateusz Kusznierewicz with Dominik Zycki also showed good pace, with a fifth place and a win yesterday while discarding a ninth in the hunt for the overall lead. Canada’s Richard Clarke with Tyler Bjorn also moved up a place to third overnight as the final two races are slated for Friday – weather permitting.

In local interest, a slip in form for Peter O’Leary and David Burrows saw the Cork/Dublin pair drop to fifth place while Max Treacy and Anthony Shanks failed to find their form today.


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Day Six Light and shifty conditions for Italian victory at Star European Championships

Another first place in the penultimate race for Italians Diego Negri and Enrico Voltolini sealed their series-long domination and overall victory at the Star European Championship (2nd-10th September) at Dun Laoghaire (Co. Dublin, Ireland) on Friday. Light and shifty conditions followed by a sea breeze completed the regatta that delivered a full range of conditions for the 27-boat fleet from 18 nations.

Negri and Voltolini kept their form for a fourth race win and typically enjoyed a comfortable lead at the finish of race seven. For the crews chasing the runner-up podium positions, the breeze proved as challenging as it has been all week, this time dying to a near calm on the final run before filling gently on the left hand-side side of the course catching the unwary, notably Guillaume Florent and Pascal Rambeau who had been vying with the Italian leaders for first place.

A wait followed for the eighth and final race of the week but only after a long wait for the sea breeze to build and settle. This took the fleet away from the now familiar area off Dun Laoghaire’s West Pier and southwards towards this historic Dalkey Island side of Dublin Bay. After starting in ideal conditions of 18 knots, halfway through the race the breeze died completely to be followed by a 90-degree wind-shift that saw 2008 World Champion Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki emerge with a substantial lead on the water and, having led from the outset were confirmed as second overall runners-up. Negri and Voltolini had already retired as their position was no better than their already discarded eighth in race six and were busy packing their boat as the final ended.

Irish hopes of a podium result on home waters were denied to London 2012 Olympic contenders Peter O’Leary and David Burrows who placed fourth in the last race but a ninth earlier in the day left them fourth overall as Canada’s Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn took third place.


Star European Championship 2011 at Royal St. George YC, Dun Laoghaire, Ireland

(Final overall after eight races):

1st ITA Diego Negri & Enrico Voltolini
2nd POL Mateusz Kusznierewicz & Dominik Zycki
3rd CAN Richard Clarke & Tyler Bjorn
4th IRL Peter O'Leary & David Burrow
5th NOR Eivind Melleby & Petter Morland Pedersen
6th POR Afonso Domingos & Frederico Melo














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