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 yesterday. Irish Olympic campaigners Peter O'Leary and Dvid Burrows finished an impressive fourth overall in the 27-boat fleet.
Photos on the Afloat Gallery by Gareth Craig HERE.
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