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3 May 2004, 02:03 pm
Fight to the End
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© F Taccola

Star World Championship and Olympic Qualification Regatta
Gaeta

Star sailors were lucky to complete the final race of the World Championship. The wind filled in just half an hour before the time limit to start the last race and in a light seabreeze the fleet got off at the first (black flag) start.
It was down to just one point on who would be the World Champion of 2004. The Skandia sponsored Ian PERCY and Steve MITCHELL (GBR) in second place, got a clean start in the middle and led away to the right side of the course where less current and better pressure could be expected.
But at some stage the left side of the fleet was lifted and the British wanted to play it safe and tacked.

Meanwhile the Swedish team LÖÖF and EKSTRÖM didn't have such a brilliant start and sailed with lots of courage (or desperation) into the far right corner, came out perfectly right and closed up to the British. Shortly before the windward mark they overtook them and started to sail them back.

Percy tacked, Lööf tacked on him and gave him bad air, Percy tacked away, Lööf repeated the dose and so on.
The gloves-off treatment raced the Britons down the fleet.
Their eventual 27 and 28 places hurt the British pair more as they finished third overall while the Swedes added the world title to their recent European crown.

Nevertheless with a third in Gaeta, Italy, to add to the third in Cadiz last September and a first in California in 2002, the British pair's recent results in the Star class worlds are unmatched.

'I guess Freddy and I have opened a bit of a gap for now over the rest of our Athens rivals,' Percy said. He conceded that Lööf's tactics 'may have been a bit of payback' for similar treatment Percy meted out in the 2000 Olympics to secure the gold medal when they were rivals in the Finn class.

Percy and Mitchell's engagement with Lööf and Ekström cost them dearly as they lost not just the championship but also lost second place to Marazzi and De Maria from Switzerland who scored fourth today.

Overall Results - Six races

Pos Nation Helm/Crew R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Pts
1 SWE Frederik LÖÖF/ Anders EKSTRÖM 3 2 7 3 8 -27 23
2 SUI Flavio MARAZZI/ Enrico DE MARIA 4 -56 8 13 3 4 32
3 GBR Iain PERCY/ Steve MITCHELL 1 22 2 9 4 -28 38
4 NED Mark NEELEMAN/ Peter VAN NIEKERK 10 1 1 19 11 -29 42
5 USA Paul CAYARD/ Phil TRINTER (103\"1) 8 14 15 2 3 42
6 BER Peter BROMBY/ Lee WHITE 16 3 5 11 10 DNS 45
7 DEN Stig WESTERGAARD/ Vann NEERGAARD 9 12 17 -36 20 2 60
8 FRA Xavier ROHART/ Pascal RAMBEAU OCS 26 20 2 9 6 63
9 NED Roy HEINER/ Alex BREUSEKER -20 11 13 12 13 15 64
10 IRL Mark MANSFIELD/ Killian CollIns 2 16 -37 6 19 22 65
Andreas Hanakamp and Tim Jeffreys (Source: Sail-world.com)
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