If there were any questions about New Orleanian Andy LOVELL'S place among the top sailors in the world, he answered those Sunday by winning the Star Championship of the Western Hemisphere at the Southern Club in New Orleans.
Lovell and crew Magnus LILJEDAHL held off three-time Olympic Medalist Mark REYNOLDS and crew Will STOUT to finish second in the sixth and final race of the series, winning by one point.
"The race came down to the wire,"
Lovell said. "At the very end we tacked the boat about 15 times to try to cut them off and push them off to the side. They stayed about 20 feet behind us the whole final leg, and I knew that the southeastern wind would be coming in, and luckily we read it right and got a 20-degree shift."
Reynolds and Stout had passed Lovell on the downwind several times this week, but Lovell returned the favor to win his first Silver Star, which is awarded for continental championships. The only higher accomplishment in the Star Class is a gold star, awarded for a world championship.
"Our accomplishment today definitely validated all of the training we did for the Olympic Trials (last month). Finishing second in the Olympic Trials was like kissing your sister, but today the training paid off and helped us to a very big accomplishment."
"It was an incredible race for me and anyone who appreciates sailing,"
Liljedahl said. "Andy cemented his name in the Star Class category for a long time today. Andy proved that he's a winner, winning the race today under a lot of pressure."
George SZABO and Darin JENSEN, who were tied for the lead Saturday, finished third overall, a point behind Reynolds and Stout.
Full results are available on the event website at the address below.