100TH ANNIVERSARY STAR WORLDS – RACE 5

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ERIC DOYLE/PAYSON INFELISE SEIZE RACE 5 WIN AT 100TH ANNIVERSARY STAR WORLDS

Patience aplenty has been the pattern at the 100th Anniversary Star Worlds, as every day has featured postponements, general recalls and unpredictable conditions. Friday’s race 5 was no different, with a postponement and general recall, followed by a black flag start to put the eighty-four boat fleet in restrained mode for the start of the 10.3 nm race.

Race 5, the penultimate battle of the 2022 Star Worlds, saw the 12 knot breeze easing and scoreboard pressure rising, as teams eyed each other at the start, hoping they had each chosen the optimum end. The left side of the course seemed clearly favoured, but the wind turned what seemed an unequivocal advantage on its head, as it shifted to the right.

Many of the leading teams were outwitted by the breeze, racking up double-digit finishes to escalate their scorecards in the wrong direction. Reading the conditions perfectly to strategically manage better than anyone else were Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise (USA), the 2019 Bacardi Cup winners, who took the race win.

“A tricky day,” concluded Doyle. “It started out quite windy, coming offshore, very shifty, big changes in pressure. It looked like there was a lot more wind to the left, and I kind of screwed up the start a little bit. I was being very cautious, black flag start, so we had to just hold back a little bit and we kind of got burned off. Then the breeze was going right quite dramatically so we played that to the right side predominantly on the first beat.”

Doyle/Infelise kept their pace downwind, passed a few teams and on the second upwind followed the pressure to the left and accelerated ahead to second at the mark. Going round the final downwind gate, they again pursued the breeze as it went left to take the advantage and the win.

The 2022 European Champions and 2021 Star Worlds silver medalists, Tonci Stipanovic/Tudor Bilic (CRO), who were second overall going into race 5, thought they had the race strategy nailed by choosing the left.

It wasn’t too be, as Stipanovic explained, “We had a good fight with Mateusz for the pin end start. It was looking good after the start, the wind started to drop and slowly shifted to the left, it was what we were thinking would happen, and the right guys didn’t look so good. We were quite happy with the position but then after 4 or 5 minutes it was just slowly going to the right and I think we had a 50 degree shift.”

The duo found themselves in the mid-50s by the windward mark, and pushed extremely hard to get their heads and boat back into the game, concentrating on every puff and taking risks, secure in the position of holding a worst score of 8th. So, whatever their race 5 result, they knew it was discardable. An impressive passage of play saw the pair gear up to finish 18th overall, still in podium contention going into Saturday’s decider.

The race win to Doyle/Infelise propels them into 2nd overall from 3rd going into the day, just 3 points off the leaders Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA).

An impressive second place for Scott Mason/Charles Nankin (USA), who as weekend enthusiasts found themselves at the front of the fleet in a massive upgrade from yesterday’s DNF after hooking rigs with Doyle/Infelise, and jump to 28th overall. Hubert Merkelbach/Kilian Weise finished in third and move up to 11th overall.

“We started a little above the middle boat,” said Mason, “and then we saw boats on the right of us wheeling up and then we tacked and ducked a whole bunch of sterns and got to the right of them and just rode that righty all the way up the leg.”

The pair converted their advantage to lead fleet around the downwind, upwind and final downwind leg, before eventually conceding to Doyle/Infelise.

The question now is how to fathom an advantage going into the podium deciding final day. Theoretically any of the top five teams can claim a podium spot and victory. In practice, based on form to date and with just six points’ separation, the contenders are the top four: Diego Negri/Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA), Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise (USA), Paul Cayard (USA)/Frithjof Kleen (GER) and Tonci Stipanovic/Tudor Bilic (CRO).

The deciding race 6 for the 100th Anniversary Star World Championship title and podium places is scheduled to get underway at 1200 hours Saturday, September 17.

Provisional Top 10 Results – after Race 5
1. Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA 2021) – 13 pts
2. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise (USA 1999) – 16 pts
3. Paul Cayard / Frithjof Kleen (USA 1988) – 17 pts
4. Tonci Stipanovic / Tudor Bilic (CRO 1991) – 19 pts
5. Jack Jennings / Pedro Trouche (USA 8464) – 26 pts
6. Jørgen Schoenherr / Markus Koy (DEN 8532) – 37 pts
7. Eivind Melleby / Joshua Revkin (NOR 2017) – 41 pts
8. George Szabo / Guy Avellon (USA 2009) – 42 pts
9. Mateusz Kusznierewicz / Bruno Prada (POL 2019) – 45 pts
10. Jim Buckingham / Phil Toth (USA 1958) – 47 pts

Spanning generations
The Star Class is a heritage boat, with the thrill of racing often passed through generations of the same family. Uniquely for the 100th Anniversary Star Worlds, teams were invited to choose a sail number personal to them and we caught up with Bob Lippincott whose mainsail carries 1950.

“It is my grandfather’s sail number from when he won the worlds in 1950,” commented Lippincott in reverence to Robert Lippincott who won with Robert Levin. “It is really cool to be sailing under his number and it means a lot to myself and my family.”

For Danny Cayard, Star Class history throws further back, with both his father Paul Cayard and grandfather accoladed as Star World Champions. Cayard Jnr is competing with sail number 1969, representing the year his grandfather, Pelle Pettersson won the Worlds in San Diego, USA. Danny’s father, Paul, has stepped onto the Star Worlds podium an incredible six times, winning gold in 1988 in Buenos Aires.

For Danny’s crew, Jamie Buchan, Star Class success also extends to his grandfather Bill, who won the 1961, 1970 and 1985 Star Worlds and Olympic Gold in 1984, and his father Carl who won the 1992 Star Worlds and gold at the 1984 Olympics in the Flying Dutchman.

Full Results:
https://yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=15430
For more info:
https://2022worlds.starchampionships.org/