FOUR RACES COMPLETED AND A NEW PROVISIONAL LEADER AT THE 2023 STAR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Day Five of the 2023 Star World Championship started with another couple of hours’ wait ashore. The 200 sailors feared the morning would follow the same dreaded pattern of the previous days. The Race Committee went out early on the water to monitor the wind. The easterly breeze was expected to shift to allow the anticipated and more reliable northerly breeze on the racecourse, and indeed, it did.
The fleet was called out at about 1 PM with the wind blowing at 13 knots from 310 degrees. Race three of the Championship started with one general recall followed by a Black Flag start. At the first top mark, it was again the U30 German team with Max Kohlhoff / Ole Burzinski in the lead, followed by Eivind Melleby / Joshua Revkin (NOR/USA) and Hubert Merkelbach / Kilian Weise (GER), with the Norwegian team later disqualified as one of the eight BFDs. The Grand Master skipper and former ISCYRA president went on to be the first to round the downwind gate with a comfortable margin that increased by the finish line. Merkelbach / Weise won race three, Kohlhoff / Burzinski were second, followed by yet another U30 German team, Jan Borbet and Jesper Spehr, then Diego Negri / Alessandro Sodano (ITA) and Piet Eckert / Frederico Melo (SUI/POR). The last two teams were closely matched on points at the top after three races.
“With 100 boats, we have many friends here, and it was nice to catch up with all of them in the past few days. Great facilities, good services—it was all great. But we were delighted to go sailing today after a few days of no racing and a bad first day for us. It was even better to claim the win; it was my first one at a World Championship, so it makes it even more special!” commented a very satisfied Kilian Weise. “I like it windy, and it was about time to win another race at the Worlds for me. It feels very good! We had a very good start, we went full speed on the right side, the boat was fast, so we kept the lead and got the bullet,” added skipper Hubert Merkelbach.
Shortly after the end of race three, PRO Giancarlo Crevatin began the race four starting procedure, with a breeze of up to 15 knots from 330 degrees and choppy seas. The eager fleet ended up in yet another general recall, leading the Committee to another Black Flag start. Melleby / Revkin were the first at the weather mark, followed by another World Champion and Bacardi Cup winner, Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise (USA), then the Swiss/Portuguese duo Eckert / Melo. The first two teams maintained their positions at the gate, with Manu Hens / Joost Houweling (BEL/NED) coming in third. The finishing order saw Doyle / Infelise claiming the bullet and climbing to fourth overall, followed by Melleby / Revkin, who were stuck in 33rd overall due to the BFD and a 40th place in race two, and Hens / Houweling.
“We liked the last race because it was windy; we like it when it is windy!! We finally had the conditions we hoped for here; we know the place has it. We had nice waves; waves are fun downwind. It was a little bit shifty, and we like that too. We worked hard for it, and we are happy we were able to pull it off. It is great,” commented Eric Doyle. “The bigger the waves, the better! We were kind of hoping we could get at least a race in yesterday. Today it was just fun; we had a good shot at the weather mark in the first race, we didn’t quite make it, and we ended up sixth, so we are happy to have won the last one. It felt like the boat was fast, and we tuned it really well,” added crew Payson Infelise.
Piet Eckert with Frederico Melo finished Race Four in fourth position, and their solid scorecard allows them to be the overall leader before the final two races tomorrow and the discard. Max Kohlhoff with Ole Burzinski are second, and Diego Negri with Alessandro Sodano fell to third with a 15th place in the last race.
The plan for tomorrow is to have two more races with the first start scheduled at 10:30 AM. The forecast calls for a north breeze of up to 15 knots.