62 teams from 16 nations are on the entry list for the Eastern Hemisphere Championship. A specially watched participant will be Poland's Mateusz Kusznierwicz in his first appearance at an ISCYRA championship event. With the Finn gold medal 1996 and silver medal 2004, he is another Finn champion who will without doubt make his way in the Star class as have done the Lööf's, Percy's and Rohart's in the past 5 years.
The 2005 Eastern Hemisphere Championship, a Silver Star event, formerly known as Spring European Championship, will be organised by the 80-years-old Thunersee Yacht Club (TYC), one of the mostactive sailing clubs in Switzerland with a strong boat policy direction on Olympic and international classes.Surrounded by alpine mountains, the Lake of Thoune offers stable, mostly thermics-driven winds of 3 - 4 Bft, and is considered one of the best sailing venues in this country.Star sailing has a long tradition in Switzerland.
The Swiss Star Class, the fourth-largest grouping of fleets world-wide, is by far the most active keel-boat class in this country. The total number of ranked boats in the 2004 Swiss Grand Prix events is 86; at the largest event, the Swiss Championship, 55 boats were on the starting line.
Many internationally successful Swiss Star sailors have their roots within the organising Thunersee Yacht Club. The most successful one is without doubt Flavio Marazzi, 25-years old, Vice-World Champion 2004 and fourth at the Athens Olympic Regatta 2004. His crew from last year, Enrico de Maria, has rejoined the Alinghi Team, but at this Championship, he has more than a substitute with Magnus Liljedahl, Olympic Gold and Gold Star 2000 on Mark Reynold's Star, crewing for him on the Lake of Thoune.
No doubt that Flavio will do his utmost to reach for the Silver Star at this event. In addition to Mateusz Kusznierwicz from Poland, Hans Spitzauer from Austria, he too a former Finn World Champion, will definitely also be one of the favorites at this event.
As usual in a post-Olympic year, some Olympic campaigners from the past Olympiad are capitalising on their skills, sailing as professionals mostly on big boats, or are engaged in America’s cup activities or have reduced their competitive activities. On the other hand, many new teams will show up with the intent to run a campaign for 2008.
Especially to mention here is the complete new generation German team, the young Danes Monberg/Leifelt, the Irish O’Connell/Peel, the French Sevestre/Berengier to name but a few.
We sailed the practice race for the European Spring Championships yesterday on Lake Thun in Switzerland. The lake is incredibly beautiful with 7500 ft mountains all around the lake and crystal clear water.
We sailed a course three (windward-leeward, five legs) in 5-12 knots at a heading of 295 at 2.2 nautical miles. Apparently this is an unusual direction and was very shifty through thirty degrees and the pressure was very localized. Arie and I had a good start at the boat third and were able to burn off the boat to weather and sail over the boat to leeward. I felt the wind would go right so once we had a clean lane we went for the right side of the course. We did not get all the way over before the shift came and we worked the right middle.
At the weather mark we ended up getting beat by both sides and rounded in 14th. On the run it was a gybe set and everyone could fetch the mark. We worked low in a good lane of pressure and moved up at the leeward gat. On the second beat we worked the right again and despite the wind going 30 degrees to the right we lost out to the left. Most boats headed for the harbor after the second beat and only 10 of the 52 boats finished the practice race.
Race 1 goes to Robert Stanjek/Markus Koy GER
The German newcomers Robert Stanjek / Markus Koy are the winners of race 1 of the Star Class 2005 Eastern Hemisphere Championship on Lake of Thoune/Switzerland. The race was was sailed in a steady 12 – 15 kn NNW-wind. The two young "Hamburgers" belong to the German Nixdorf Sailing Team, which has hadd its training camp for many years at Palma de Mallorca. The camp is now headed by the successful Danish multiple past-European Star Champion Christian Rasmussen. The late Heinz Nixdorf (Computer Manufacturer) Foundation for the promotion of Olympic sailing contributes once more to the development of new talents.
Rain during the whole day and a lake flat as a mirror did not create much enthusiasm early in the morning. Sailors trying hard to loose their last grams to make the weight limit were the only attraction in the first hours of the grey day. (Everybody passed finally.) Many participants spent their time surfing thru the Internet, the majority attaching their notebooks over the WLAN-hot spot of the Thunersee Yacht Club, some others using the PCs especially installed by the club. The organising club also had an "Internet Cafe" until late at night!
The start scheduled for 11.00 hrs was finally given at 14.10 hrs. After a general recall, the whole fleet started perfectly under black flag. Teams from 9 different nations finally made the top ten. Following Stanjek/Koy, with an excellent start and consistent sailing, in the first three places were the Marin Lovrovic Jr. and Sr. (CRO) and Paulo Sevestre / Vincent Bérengier (FRA), currently the French number 2 Starboat after World Champion Xavier Rohart who is taking a break until next fall, according to some media.
In his first season on the Star, the Finn Olympic Gold and Bronze medal winner Mateusz Kuznierewicz with crew Dominik Zycki, after a rather prudent start, fought through the fleet to finally finish in 4th place in the race.
Bad luck for local hero and co-pretender for the title, Flavio Marazzi / Magnus Lilljedahl, who had a mast failure leading to a DNF while racing around 8th place on the second down-wind. Best Swiss team were the Stegmeier brothers in 6th, closely by Johnny Jensen / Martin Petersen (DEN).
Race 1 Competitor Report - by Brad Nichol
We arrived at the club at 8am for the daily weigh in to find cold rain and no wind whatsoever. The competitors had a lovely morning inside with many spending the time on their laptops. A collective groan was heard when the wind came up and the race committee sounded the harbor start.
Race one was sailed on a course three, 10.2 nautical miles at 350. After a general recall under the I flag, the second start went off under the black flag. Arie and I had a dreadful start and got bounced around before finally bailing out to the right. At the weather mark we had recovered to mid-fleet. Downwind everyone jibe-set with many reaching well high of the mark for the right shore. In the end, the farther right (looking upwind) you were the better but most boats seemed to make it to the leeward mark at the same time.
The second beat most boats worked the right side while Arie and I found some nice gains on the right middle avoiding a light patch half way up the beat.
As everyone headed back towards the leeward mark the wind picked up to 12-15 knots and the fleet compacted again. On the last beat most boats played the right and Arie and I worked the middle moving all the way to 10th place before the wind died and went hard right. We were caught by four boats in the last 100 meters and finished 15th. Decent for the team and great considering the start we had.
After the competitors had made it ashore and warmed up the clouds finally broke at 7pm local reveling a new layer of snow in the mountains, dangerously close to the race course.
At today's skippers meeting the race committee announced in the brilliant morning sun that we would hold on shore until it started raining and then we would run two races. (?)
Race Two: Different sailing conditions, same winner: Robert Stanjek/Markus Koy GER.
Two races sailed and only two teams remaining with two one-digit ranks!
Finally, the wind did the expected 180° turn, offering a light and difficult to read NW-pattern of 5 to 10 knots. Not easy to position the line under these conditions. After a general recall, a successful start under the black flag rule was given at 14.35 hrs, which had Salani / Lillia (ITA) and Miller / Kleen (GER)leaving the course as BFD -victims.
Half way up the first beat, it was evident, that the "bad starters" had the better end compared to the favourites’ group which after having taken the right side of the course was easily passed by a number of teams which did not show up in the top ranks in race 1. However, race 1 winner Stanjek / Koy (GER) and yesterday’s third, Lovrovic Jr. and Sr. (CRO) did the right tacks to start chasing the surprising leader, the organising club’s Scheidegger brothers (SUI), ranked 31 in race 1. The Swiss successfully defended their lead over almost the whole course, finally finishing 2nd in the GER – CRO "sandwich". Behind these constantly leading three boats, Sevestre / Berengier (FR), O’Connell / Peel (IRL), Merkelbach – Meissner (GER), the Gereben brothers (HUN) and Dannesboe – Fayzullin (SUI) added some low numbers to their race 1 results and are now within 7 points after 2 races, 9 points behind the leading duo.
The local favorite, 2004 Vice World Champion Flavio Marazzi – Magnus Lilljedahl, clear leader immediately after the start, had to work hard to get through the fleet to finally reduce the damage, finishing 13th. No doubt not satisfied as they hoped to do better after yesterday’s bad luck with a DNF.
Not very much amused are obviously Mateusz Kurznierewic / Dominick Zycki (POL) and Garcia de Soto / Elarze (ESP) who got a DNE (disqualification not excludable) for finishing the race after having been blackflagged.
Race 2 Competitor's Report - by Brad Nichol
Tuesday we woke up to brilliant sun and a nice southeasterly breeze upping everyone's excitement to go sailing. At the skippers meeting the race committee put a damper on the mood when they announced that we would stay ashore until it started raining and then we would run two races. It turns out that the wind we had was a draining breeze from the heavy air over the new snow in the mountains. In the end the wind filled from the west as clouds creeped over the mountains.
Everyone left the harbor at 1pm and sailed to the end of the wind line and waited for another hour for the wind to fill completely.
Finally we got going in a nice 10-12 knot northwesterly and the sun held through the race. It took three tries to get the start off as the line was favored as much as 35 degrees to the pin. Four boats were black flagged in the second start and the third start was clean.
The wind kept everyone on their toes shifting 30 degrees making the left favored on the first beat, the right on the second beat, and back to the left on the third.
The controversy of the day lay in the protest room where two black flag boats were scored Disqualification Not Excludable (DNE) after being black flagged and continuing to race. Also after talking with the jury I decided to try standing downwind for the race drawing much criticism from competitors but no flags from the jury. Four teams lodged protest against us but the jury again found no problem of my standing in front of the mast. This has raised a stir and I am sure you will here much more about it in the future.
Race Three Report: Mateusz Kusznierwicz demonstrates his talents in the Star
He scored a clean win controlling the whole race 3 right from the beginning!
The weather forecast was right: drizzle, 10°C cold, but most important, a nice 8 – 15 kn NW-wind. No problem to start the race on time at 11 hrs.
Having lost their protest against the RC to correct his DNE in race 2, Mateusz Kusznierwicz/Dominik Zicky (POL) demonstrated their strength on the water today. Right from the beginning, they took the lead and had a clean win. ("Finn gang" Lööf, Percy, Rohart, Presti watch out ... there’s another one coming!)
Behind Matheusz, another blackflagger from yesterday, Miller / Kleen (GER), together with Sevestre / Bérengier (FRA) and Marazzi – Lilljedahl (SUI) had a close fight during the whole race, finishing in this GER/FRA/SUI order, but when it goes for the title, Miller and Marazzi have the handicap of a BFD and a DNS on their score card. Sevestre confirmed his 3rd overall and still has all the options to do even better.
The Lovrovic family (CRO) 8th and O’Connell / Peel (IRL) 9th today showed another solid performance and consolidated their 2nd and 4th overall ranks. Only minor changes for the remaining top-12 teams with the exception of local club member Dannesboe/Fayzullin (DEN/RUS) who missed to be on the starting line on time and scored a DNS, which made them fall from 7 to 24. Another one badly waiting for race 5 to get a discard to look better again!
Race 4 is scheduled for 11 hrs tomorrow Thursday. The weather should improve for the rest of the week, and hopefully, we shall have the remaining three races under normal Lake of Thoune conditions with around 3 – 4 bf.
Race 3 Competitor's Report by Brad Nichol
The cold rain returned on Wednesday but it brought wind along with it providing for some more exciting racing. We again raced course three at 320 degrees in 15-18 knots of breeze. The line was heavily favored to the pin but the competitors were more subdued keeping back from the line.
We started six boats from the pin and just missed being able to tack and cross the fleet. The six boats up the line were able to cross us and the rest of the fleet and head up to the right. The Polish Finn sailors led the charge taking a huge lead up the beat and holding it to the finish after a tough day yesterday swallowing a DNE.
The wind held all day with plenty of pressure differences and shifts on the mountain lake providing for many changes of position within the fleet.
Tonight we have a party on top of one of the mountains (in picture) at the edge of the lake, 7500 feet above the lake!!! I hope the sky clears so I can enjoy the view and send some pictures.
Race Four: Danish victory and solid Swiss performance
For the first time during this championship, the classic Lake Thoune thermic wind with 10 – 15 knots was blowing on this sunny Thursday afternoon. Usually, the right side of the course is favoured, but wind shifts must be observed very carefully to stay in the race. Local experience has therefore been of advantage as shown by the seven Swiss teams in the top-ten.
Winners of race 4 were the young Danes Christian Monberg / Martin Leifelt, who, after a 30 second lead at the first windward mark had finally to defend their lead in a fight with Philipp Rotermund / Nils Hollweg GER. With an attack on the opposite side of the course, Arie van Harwegen NED with his US-crew Brad Nichols climbed from rank 6 to 3 at the finish.
The day was difficult for the three overall leading teams. At the first windward mark, they found themselves amongst the backmarkers. Whereas the leaders Stanjek / Koy GER could reduce the damage by fighting through the fleet up to place 13 and could maintain their overall lead, Lovrovic/Lovrovic CRO in 20th and Sevestre /Bérengier FR in 22nd will not be satisfied at all as their podium places are at risk now. Kusznierewicz / Zycki, so brilliant yesterday, never mastered the tactics today and finished in 26th.
After a cold trip into the clouds on Neissin mountain Wednesday night, Thursday morning turned out to be bright and beautiful. The schedule was delayed an hour on account of the party the night before and we left the harbor at noon. We started race four in a nice 8-12 knot northwesterly under mostly sunny skys. The start line was heavily favored to the pin end again and the first start under the I flag was a general recall with most of the fleet over the line. The second start under the black flag was equally as pin favored and Arie and I decided to start at the pin, tack as soon as possible and hit the right corner which seemed to have more pressure. We made a port tack approach and made room for ourselves in front of a large pack crowding the pin. We struggled to hold our position and stay behind the line and were able to accelerate before the other boats enabling us to tack three seconds after the gun and cross the fleet.
The Irish team of Prof and Ed were able to do the same thing just up the line from us and the two of us looked like rock stars out in the clear. Prof burnt Arie and me off in the first three minutes and we decided to foot below the Irish and head for the right. Prof and Ed though they saw nice pressure on the left and tacked out into what turned out to be oblivion.
Arie and I worked the right side and rounded the top mark in sixth place. Everyone jibe-set and headed for the right. Arie and I with the Swiss boat skippered by Daniel with Eric Monroe as crew were the first to jibe for the leeward mark and ended up laying while the pack of leaders went five minutes further to the right before making their jibe. For a while it looked like we had made huge gains but in the end the right side had more pressure and the leaders went around first.
Up the second beat we worked the right again and the positions did not change much. Arie and I rounded in fifth just behind Marazzi and Magnus.
It was the same game plan on the run, jibe out to the right and try to find a balance between sailing more distance and getting more pressure. Arie and I were the first to head for the marks again and this time were able to stay in the pressure and round third at the leeward gate, first around the right mark.
Up the last beat the two leaders went hard right and we covered from just to the left. A third of the way up the beat we got a 15 degree header and took it towards the middle of the course. The wind came back and when we tacked
the two leaders looked very small in the back of our main window. It was a play that I told Arie would net us first or fifth but we decided it was worth the risk. We played the left side of the course and watched the leaders march up the course along the right shore in good pressure. At
times we looked good and at times we looked very bad but in the end we crossed the line in third.
It was Arie's first top three in a silver event and it moved us to sixth overall.
The weather looks even nicer today and we should get underway between 1 and 2pm local when the thermal kicks in. After today's race we will have a drop and the score board will change dramatically with boats dropping BFDs
and DSQs. The debate on standing continues with only two crew standing (myself and Eric Monroe) and drawing no yellow flags. There were two flags yesterday for boats rocking downwind, neither of the crews were standing.
After a long wait, the thermal wind finally arrived very late in the afternoon. The Race Committee decided to start Race 5 shortly after 18 hrs as soon as the race area was filled with a light 1 –2 bft NW-wind. Two general recalls delayed the start further. After the first upwind leg the wind disappeared more and more, and on 19.45 hrs, the RC abandoned the race and decided to resail it Saturday morning at 8.00 hrs, hoping that the usual southerly morning wind will stay long enough to allow for a good race.
In his initial season on the Star, the 24-year old former Laser sailor Robert Stanjek from Berlin, together with Markus Koy from Hamburg, who already did an Olympic Star campaign for Athens, scored his first big success, winning the Silver Star Eastern Hermisphere Championship 2005 on Lake Thoune / Switzerland. Winning two of the four races, they clearly dominated the strong fleet of 52 boats from 15 nations.
Unfortunately, the unstable weather situation of the past two days did not allow to sail the full program of 6 races. According to the new ISCYRA rules, the Championship can be validated with 4 races, but no discard is allowed. The local favorite Flavio Marazzi with the US-crew Magnus Lilljedahl would have badly needed a fifth race to throw out his DNF in race 1, caused by a gear failure. After three good races, they finally ended on rank 12.
Not very happy in their second international Star event will obviously be the famous newcomer to the Star, Mateusz Kuznierewicz, multiple Olympic medal and Championship winner in the Finn Class, with crew Dominik Zicky POL, who scored a brilliant win in race 3 and clearly demonstrated his skills during the other races. A black-flag DNE in race 2 killed all hopes for a top final result and let them finally finish on rank 21.
With a solid series, Marin Lovrovic jun. / Marin Lovrovic sen. CRO achieved an excellent 2nd place, whereas the third on the podium, the young Danish team Christian Monberg / Martin Leifelt, winning race 4, improved their performance day by day, beating reigning Swiss Champion Philipp Rotermund / Nils Hollweg GER and Paolo Sevestre / Vincent Bérenguier FRA by mere 2 points.
The organising authority, the Thunersee Yacht Club, has been extremely happy and honored to have this group of top Star sailors as guests, and is very pleased about all the positive reactions and compliments received.
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