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Small Star Fleet Compete for European Honours on Lake Garda, Italy

1st November 2020
18 Stars from ten countries are competing for European honours on Lake Garda, Italy 18 Stars from ten countries are competing for European honours on Lake Garda, Italy

With lots of Europe countries in COVID lockdown, it is no surprise this year's Star European Championships at Lake Garda in Italy has drawn only 18 competitors.

As regular Afloat readers will know, Ireland's Peter O'Leary and Robert O'Leary from Baltimore Sailing Club and Royal Cork Yacht Club are regular International attendees but the sole Irish Star duo are not competing this year. 

The O'Leary brothers finished 14th overall in a fleet of 90 at the 2019 European Championship in Italy.

While this year's entry is low, the strength of the class is shown in the wide spread of ten European countries competing at Lake Garda.

Yesterday, two more extraordinary races sailed today in Riva del Garda, Italy, on the third day of racing. A strong wind from the North allowed the fleet to keep the schedule and close today Race Five and Six in the morning, granting the teams to throw out their worst score.

European Champion Diego Negri with crew Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA) were on fire yesterday, after a very slow start of the championship, winning both races with a huge margin over the rest of the fleet, and by discarding a 10th they jump up to fourth place, two points away from the podium. In third place, Croatian duo Tonci Stipanovic and Tudor Bilic, in second the Austrian team comprised of Hans Spitzauer and Christian Nehammer and on top, after four days leading, Piet Eckert (SUI) and Frederico Melo (POR) who discarded today their worst score so far, a seventh.

One more day today, and only one more race allowed to reach the maximum of seven races scheduled by the Notice of Race. If Negri/Lambertenghi can still aim for podium, the mission looks almost impossible for the team in the provisional rankings, 2017 Star World Champion Eivind Melleby with Martin Hejlsberg (NOR), eight points away from third. Nonetheless, we might still see some changes among the top teams, and the fight for the title of 2020 European Champion will be fierce tomorrow on the water.

Full results here

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The Star keelboat is a 6.9 metres (23 ft) one-design racing keelboat for two people designed by Francis Sweisguth in 1910.

The Star was an Olympic keelboat class from 1932 through to 2012, the last year keelboats appeared at the Summer Olympics at which Ireland's representatives were Peter O'Leary and David Burrows.

Ireland has performed well in the class internationally thanks to some Olympic campaigns including a bronze medal at the Star World Championships in 2000, won by Mark Mansfield and David O'Brien.

The boat is sloop-rigged, with a mainsail larger in proportional size than any other boat of its length. Unlike most modern racing boats, it does not use a spinnaker when sailing downwind. Instead, when running downwind a whisker pole is used to hold the jib out to windward for correct wind flow.

Early Stars were built from wood, but modern boats are of fibreglass and carbon construction.

The boat must weigh at least 671 kg (1,479 lb) with a maximum total sail area of 26.5 m2 (285 sq ft).

The Star class pioneered an unusual circular boom vang track, which allows the vang to effectively hold the boom down even when the boom is turned far outboard on a downwind run.

Another notable aspect of Star sailing is the extreme hiking position adopted by the crew and at times the helmsman, who normally use a harness to help hang low off the windward side of the boat with only their lower legs inside.

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At A Glance – Star Specifications

Designer Francis Sweisguth
Year 1910
Crew 2 (Skipper + Crew)
S + 1.5 C ≤ 250 kg (550 lb)[1]
Draft 1.016 m (3 ft 4 in)
Hull Type keelboat
Hull weight ≥ 671 kg (1,479 lb)
(including keel)
LOA 6.922 m (22 ft 9 in)
LWL 4.724 m (15 ft 6 in)
Beam 1.734 m (5 ft 8 in) at deck
1.372 m (4 ft 6 in) at chine
Hull appendages
Keel/board type bulb keel
401.5 ± 7 kg (885 ± 15 lb)
Rig
Rig type sloop
Mast length 9.652 m (31 ft 8 in)
Sails
Mainsail area 20.5 m2 (221 sq ft)
Jib/genoa area  6.0 m2 (65 sq ft)
Upwind sail area ≤ 26.5 m2 (285 sq ft)

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