Regatta Reports
2009 Eastern Hemisphere Championship Final Report
By Lynn Fitzpatrick,
May 23, 2009, 13:58

Racing results

Day Four: O’Leary and Goodbody surf into their First Silver Star Championship Victory

O'Lear and Goodbody. Photo by Lynn Fitzpatrick.
It came down to the final set of waves during the eighth race of the 2009 Star Eastern European Championship to determine that Irishmen Peter O’Leary and Tim Goodbody would be awarded their first Silver Star.

No one could have predicted today’s interesting developments. The breeze filled in from 100º on Saturday and the Star Eastern European Championship fleet set out for the windiest races of the regatta. It was no too windy, however, for four-time Olympian, Xavier Rohart, who suffered injuries in a cycling accident last week, to execute a perfect pin end start and hit the starboard tack layline to the first weather mark just ahead of Lars Grael and Renato Moura. George Szabo and Rick Peters had managed to keep a loose cover on Flavio Marazzi and Enrico DeMaria, who went into the seventh race one point ahead of him in the overall standings, to round the first weather mark in third place. Andy Macdonald and Brian Fatih and Marazzi/ DeMaria were in hot pursuit.

Rohart/ Ponsot took the low road with Grael/ Moura and then surfed their way up to lead O’Leary/Goodbody, Dan Lovrovic and Marin Lovrovic Jr. and Szabo/Peters around the right-hand gate at the bottom of the leg. Grael/Moura, in third, led around the left gate.

Rohart/Ponsot held their lead throughout the second beat. They bore away to take the low road while a battle for second ensued between Grael/Moura and O’Leary/Goodbody behind and to windward of them. The Irish prevailed down the run and finished second in the race.

Going into the seventh race, O’Leary/Goodbody were winning the regatta. Their second place finish had launched them four points ahead of Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada, who had OCS’ed in the seventh race. Szabo/Peters had pulled ahead of Marazzi/DeMaria and Rohart/Ponsot had closed the gap, but were in a distant fifth place going into the final race.

The waves were steeper and there were more white caps for the final race in 15-18 knots. The same teams dominated the top of the fleet during the second race of the day and the deciding race of the regatta. Going into the first leeward gate, the Brazilian coach was lamenting and the American coach complimented the PRO, “this couldn’t be a nicer day.” The situation that precipitated those comments was that Szabo/Peters led around the slightly favored right gate and Scheidt/Prada were giving it their all to grind through the fleet, yet rounded the left gate in third overall. Rohart/Ponsot, O’Leary/Goodbody and Marazzi/DeMaria rounded the right gate in 2, 4, 5, respectively.

Racing stayed tight all the way through the end. Scheidt/Prada surged across the finish line in first. Rohart/Ponsot won the day with their second place finish in the race and O’Leary/Goodbody nipped out Szabo/Peters. Marazzi/DeMaria followed within seconds and then came Grael/Mouro.

Sorting through the points, O’Leary/Goodbody claimed the title and their first Silver Star. Commented O’Leary on the Irish victory, “We’re coming along. All of the work in the gym is starting to pay off and it is nice to sail at the weight as everyone.” Goodbody sailed the Finn at the Olympics and has been working out an gaining muscle weight for his
the pair’s Star efforts.

Scheidt/Prada missed out on winning their fourth Silver Star by two points and George Szabo and Rick Peters took the final rung on the podium. In addition to their keeper trophies, the podium finishers were awarded bottles of French wine. Andy Macdonald and Brian Fatih also won a trophy and a bottle of wine as the top Masters team. Most of the sailors packed up and prepared for the dash up to Medemblik, Holland and the Delta Lloyd Regatta. COYCH, Ville D'Hyeres and the over 40 volunteers were thanked by the Star Class for their efforts and Rick Peters presented the club with a half model of a Star boat for their efforts at hosting the championship.


Day Three: Swiss, Americans and Brazilians are Consistent during Day 3

Flavio Marazzi and Enrico De Maria (SUI), George Szabo and Rick Peters (USA) and Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA) posted strong results in both races today at the Star Eastern European Championships in Hyeres, France. Scheidt/Prada, who have posted all top-10 finishes are leading the regatta and the Irish, Swiss and Americans are within striking distance.

The energy was different this morning as crews tightened their settings in anticipation of heavier breeze. Sailors didn’t get a Mistral for the first race, but they did get to stretch their legs and use their harnesses in the 8-10 knot winds from ESE. With the breeze on, Peter O’Leary did what he seems to do at least once in every major regatta. He took the lead on the first leg and proved to be a stubborn Irishman. He and Tim Goodbody won the first race. George Szabo and Rick Peters (USA) had a solid second throughout the final three legs of the double sausage, and Flavio Marazzi and Enrico DeMaria worked their way up the left side of the course during the second beat to pass a handful of boats and post a third place finish.

The sixth race of the series started in 8-10 knots and by the end of the first run it looked as if it might shut down. Some enormous gains were made on the run by a few teams who resorted to desperate measures and decided to split with the fleet and go high on the run. Maciej Grabowski and Arek Ornowski pulled from mid-fleet to fifth and Szabo/Peters recovered from doing penalty turns and moved into 15th at the leeward gate. The Americans continued to roll the dice. Keeping an eye on the western shoreline, clouds, boats, birds (everything), they banged the corner and catapulted themselves into fifth by the top mark. They were in familiar company with the Swiss, Brazilians, Irish and Xavier Rohart and Alexis Pierre Ponsot. The group chased each other down the run and Marazzi/DeMaria won their second race of the series, Scheidt/Prada finished second and O’Leary/Goodbody and Rohart/Ponsot had a photo finish that went to the Irishmen.

Lars Grael in congratulating Szabo on his day said, "I go right in the first race and come up with rocks in my pocket and you go right during the second race and come out smelling like roses. I don't understand."

With the discard factored in the following are the results following the completion of six of the scheduled eight races in the 2009 Star Eastern European Championship hosted by COCYC Hyeres. The Race Committee hopes to fire off two races on Saturday.


Day Two:Marazzi/DeMaria win the Day, Scheidt/Prada lead the Series

As Hyeres, France heads toward its tourist season, the days are longer, the water is warmer and the winds are lighter than they were just three weeks ago during the ISAF World Cup regatta. While common wisdom in Hyeres is that the wind goes right during the day, it has done everything but go right during the first two days of racing during the Star Eastern European Championship.

Today’s conditions resembled those of Qingdao’s Olympic test events – hazy skies, barely a breath of air and a little chop. Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada’s consistency at the top of the fleet has them in the lead and Flavio Marazzi and Enrico de Maria are performing well in their Wilke Star. Among the differences – there was a fleet of about 70 PHRF boats on another race course on to windward and there are some other names and faces making it into the top of the fleet during each and every fluky race.

Switzerland’s Flavio Marazzi and Enrico DeMaria gave each other a congratulatory hand shake and broke into smiles after four legs of intense concentration during the first race. They crossed the finish line over two minutes in front of Australia’s Andrew Landenberger and Simon Reffold. Landenberger/Reffold excelled on the runs in the light air, probably because Landenberger, an Olympic medalist in the Tornado, is used to sailing wide angles. Spain’s Fernando Garcia Lago and Juan Alvarez Desotomayo, sailing hull number 7384, a boat that the US considered using in the 1992 Olympics, finished third in the first race.

Italians, Nicola Celon and Edoardo Natucci grabbed the lead well before the first weather mark of the second race and held onto it. Celon is very familiar with conditions in Hyeres. He won the Melges 24 World Championship in Hyeres two years ago. The Greeks, Aiuilios Papathanasiou and Apostolos Karnoutsos rounded each mark about a minute behind Celon/Natucci and finished second. Marazzi/DeMaria held off Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada, Lars Grael and Renato Moura and George Szabo and Rick Peters and Landenberger/Reffold, to take third place in a close finale for the day.

A discard will be factored in following the completion of more than 4 races. Scheidt/Prada have a six point lead over Szabo/Peters and the young Frenchmen are in third.


Day One: Local Newcomer Leads Eastern Hemisphere Championship

Jean Baptiste Bernaz and Vincent Berenguier of COYCH Heyrois shot right to the top of the leaderboard at the Star Eastern European Championship during their second regatta together and their third time sailing together. Sailing one of the FFV Stars used by Xavier Rohart and Pascal Rambeau during their 2008 Olympic medal bid, the young pair placed third in the Star Christmas Race in Nice, France, practiced one other time before this championship and posted a 2, 4 in the first two races of this Silver Star championship event.

Bernaz is no stranger to stress. He made it through to the Medal Round in the Laser in Qingdao in 2008. The Laser sailor needed a hefty and experienced crew so he asked Berenguier to crew for him. Berenguier campaigned a Star as a crew for the 2004 Olympics and races with his father in local Star regattas. When Berenguier abandoned his father, Regis Berenguier, Jean Baptiste’s father, Laurent, hopped in the bow, so there are two Berenguier/Bernaz teams sailing together at this regatta. The sons are not only beating up on their fathers, they are teaching some tricks to the rest of the fleet.

Is it beginners’ luck that has the youngsters in the lead? “No,” said Bernaz, the younger. “We think it is because we are from here. This is our home club.” One thing is for sure they were able to anticipate the right hand shifts better than everyone else throughout the lazy afternoon in which the breeze never topped 7 knots.

Ireland’s Peter O’Leary and Tim Goodbody, who are sailing their first season together in the Star despite having sailed together since infancy, are one point behind the leaders.

2007 World Champions and 2008 Olympic Silver Medalists, Brazil’s Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada started the day by going right and staying right. At one point they were ahead of the fleet by nearly a minute and a half. They rumbled through the fleet during the second race and recovered to an eighth.

George Szabo and Rick Peters are in fourth. The pair passed O’Leary/Goodbody on the first run of the second race and posted at 10, 1 for the day. Peters showed up at the regatta with one of his favorite shirts – a gold T-shirt that the two sported for their 1996 Olympic campaign. Szabo and Peters have been on again, off again since they started sailing together in 1994, but have been sailing together during this Millennium and are the top-ranked Star pair on the US Sailing Team Alphagraphics.

Swiss brothers Daniel and Beat Steigmeier had a stellar day and are perched in fifth.

The Star Eastern European Championship is an eight-race regatta that runs through Saturday.

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