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Eckert & Melo Crowned 2020 European Star Champions

1st November 2020
The Star podium at Lake Garda, Italy The Star podium at Lake Garda, Italy

Piet Eckert (SUI) and Frederico Melo (POR) are the 2020 Star European keelboat Champions thanks to a great week of sailing in Riva del Garda, Italy, that translated into a winning scorecard. The silver medal goes to Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA), who didn’t start the week at their usual pace but were able to come back winning yesterday’s two races and finishing second in today’s final race. Sitting in third the Austrian duo Hans Spitzauer and Christian Nehammer, after a very consistent week in which they have always been among the leading pack of the fleet.

“It’s been a very fun week of sailing – says European Champion Piet Eckert – we sailed well but mostly we had a good time finally sailing altogether here in Riva del Garda, we want to thank everyone who made this possible in such difficult times!” Eckert was here with young Portuguese crew Frederico Melo, who has been sailing the Star Class for years and his great experience is very valuable for any skipper he sails with.

2020 Star Europeans
In today’s final race the wind from the North blown from 12 to 15 knots and the Fraglia Vela Riva Race Committee, with PRO Giancarlo Crevatin, set yet another flawless course, the fleet was too eager to start though and after a general recall, three boats were over the line early, and only one team, Flavio Favini and Nicolas Serravalle, managed to come back inside. In the first beat, Enrico Chieffi and Nando Colaninno (ITA) were the first to round the mark, followed by Juan Kouyoumdjian and Fernando Rivero (ARG) and Hubert Merkelbach / Kilian Weise (GER). Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi rounded in fourth but were able, with Merkelbach/Weise, to improve over the following legs and finished the race first and third, with Chieffi/Colaninno between them in second. It was just another exciting and unpredictable race, like the six previous ones this week.

Piet Eckert is also winner in the Master category, Jorgen Shoenherr (DEN), sailing here with Markus Koy (GER), is the Grand Master winner – seventh overall – while young German Finn sailor Philip Kasueke is the best Junior skipper, and 13th overall.

The one and only Star Class Continental Championship was closed today in Riva del Garda, Italy, and everyone is already looking forward to a full schedule of racing for 2021, if the global pandemic will allow it. 

Full results here

Published in Star
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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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