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Croatia Takes Early Lead at 100th Star Worlds

12th September 2022
Tonci Stipanovic and Tudor Bilic (CRO 1991) lead the Star Worlds
Tonci Stipanovic and Tudor Bilic (CRO 1991) lead the Star Worlds

The 2022 Star Class World Championship was officially declared open by Tom Londrigan, International Star Class President, on the morning of Sunday, September 11, accompanied by a parade of nations and gun salute at Eastern Yacht Club in the United States. 

The opening day was plagued by a light and shifty breeze, with a major left shift forcing the race committee to postpone the start and reset the course, with the second attempt abandoned. At 1530 hours, race 1 got underway with a 2.2 mile upwind leg, featuring breeze of around 4 knots and big shifts. The leading pack read the course well, but it was a dice roll for many of the 84 teams in the fleet with the changing pressure, dropping to 2 knots and up to 6 knots at times, with a strong current proving tricky.

Getting settled into their lane straight away and holding the advantage skillfully to the windward mark were Paul Cayard (USA)/Frithjof Kleen (GER), with defending Star World Champion Diego Negri racing with Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA) in second, and Tonci Stipanovic/Tudor Bilic (CRO) in third. After the front third of the fleet rounded, the wind shifted and dropped leaving the rest with nowhere to hide as they struggled to make gains towards the mark.

By the second windward mark, it was the same three boats controlling the lead but a different order, with Stipanovic/Bilic gaining a critical edge in front, Negri/Lambertenghi close behind and Cayard/Kleen in third. A change of course for the final downwind leg, saw Stipanovic/Bilic remain focused with their eyes on the finish to take the first win of the Worlds.

Hugely experienced, the partnership convincingly won the 2022 Star European Championship in July, and three-time Olympian Stipanovic owns silver medals in the Laser Standard from Tokyo 2020 and Rio 2016.

“It was very hard to decide where to choose to start,” commented Stipanovic. “It was a really huge starting line, and then the wind was changing all the time. I had some feeling that if the wind were to start to drop, it would move to the left, and in the end, it happened like that, so we had a good start and played with the pressure all the time. It was for us just important to stay in the pressure, and then in the end, on the left side, there was more pressure. On the second upwind, we were just a bit more patient than Diego and Paul. They tacked immediately on the first shift, and we proceeded just a little bit to catch some more pressure and then it was game over”.

Three-time Bacardi Cup Champions Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada worked hard to turn round their start, riding their luck in the unpredictable conditions to work through from around 20th to finish 10th – not a position they are used to.

Provisional Top 10 Results – after Race 1
1. Tonci Stipanovic / Tudor Bilic (CRO 1991) - 1 pt
2. Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA 2021) - 2 pts
3. Paul Cayard / Frithjof Kleen (USA 1988) - 3 pts
4. Marin Misura / Tonko Barac (CRO 1952) - 4 pts
5. Jim Buckingham / Phil Toth (USA 1958) - 5 pts
6. Augie Diaz / Brad Nichol (USA 8509) - 6 pts
7. David Watt / William Siemers (USA 1992) - 7 pts
8. Ingvar Krook / Christoffer Thunberg (SWE 1928) - 8 pts
9. Joshua Powell / Mark Strube (USA 8522) - 9 pts
10. Mateusz Kusznierewicz / Bruno Prada (POL 2019) - 10 pts

The day’s racing transitioned to the Formal Opening Ceremony at the Eastern Yacht Club. Race 2 is scheduled to get underway at 1230 hours on Monday, September 12.

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.

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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