Hammish Pepper and Craig Monk lead Star World Championship
[Source: Lynn Fitzpatrick] It was Robert Stanjek's and Markus Koy's (GER) turn to lead the 86-boat 2009 Star World Championship fleet around the race course. The fleet started under a black flag, lots of sunshine, flat water and wind that clocked right, right, right throughout the afternoon. Stanjek and Koy were on pins and needles trying to protect their position against fellow German teammates Jojo Plogar and Tim Kroeger; two-time Star World Champion, Alexander Hagen and Kai Falkentahl. Americans George Szabo and Rick Peters and Kiwis Hamish Pepper and Craig Monk were also a threat throughout the race.
Hamish Pepper and Craig Monk lead the Star World Championship. Varberg, 6 August 2009. Photo copyright Juerg Kaufmann / www.go4image.com
The rest of the fleet was well behind the leading cluster of five, but some of the boats that took a couple of hitches to the left up the final beat threatened to scramble the standings. Big gains and big loses were the story of the day. The most significant come-backs on the day were made by the teams with gold stars who had placed extra emphasis on light air training last year in preparation for the Olympics in Qingdao, China. Swedish favorites, Freddy Lööf and Johan Tillander recovered from a low teens first mark rounding to seventh place. Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki (POL) were barely in the top quarter of the fleet and recovered to sixth, and Xavier Rohart and Pierre Alexis Ponsot (FRA), who could easily count the boats behind them during the first weather mark rounding, pulled out a 14th.
"We are so happy," said Robert Stanjek following the race. "We didn't have any extra special speed. It was a very tactical race and we were fortunate that there was only one way to go on each upwind and downwind." Stanjek was also very happy for Jojo Polgar who finished second in the race and is in sixth overall going into the final race. "It was just like ideal Tornado sailing conditions," said Stanjek. "You hit the corner and do one tack. You can't afford to make unnecessary tacks in conditions like these."
Flavio Marazzi and Enrico de Maria are second placed, a mere point behind the leaders. Varberg, 6 August 2009. Photo copyright Juerg Kaufmann / www.go4image.com
The 2009 Star World Championship will be decided in the last race. The 2006 Star World Champion, Hamish Pepper and his crew, Craig Monk have a single point advantage over Americans George Szabo and Rick Peters and Swiss sailors, Flavio Marazzi and Enrico De Maria. Three points behind the Kiwis are the Swedes, Lööf/ Tillander. Andrew Campbell and Magnus Liljedahl (USA) and Polgar/Kroeger are less than 10 points behind the leaders. Pepper/Monk go into the final race with the most consistent scores and the lowest discard (11 points) and are assured of a finish of seventh or better overall.
Throughout the regatta, the Americans have shown strength as a team. They will line up for the deciding race in the series in third, fifth and eighth place overall. Andy Macdonald and Brian Fatih (USA) will have to have an exceptional race to make it into the top 10, but are in a close race against Mats Johansson and Leif Möller (SWE) to win the Masters Trophy.