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22 September 2009, 01:35 pm
Horton and Erickson Win Star North Americans
Andy Horton (r) and Steve Erickson
New North American Champions Andy Horton (r) and Steve Erickson

Star North American Championship 2009
Westport, Connecticut, USA

The US team of Andy Horton and Steve Erickson were in command of the 2009 Star North American Championship and kept the upper hand on the 47-boat fleet right through the final race of the series.
This is Andy Horton's second North American Championship and second Silver Star victory and Erickson's first North American Championship. Steve Erickson won numerous of championships in the 1980s and 1990s sailing with skippers Bill Buchan and Paul Cayard, and is not sure how many Silver Stars he has in his collection.

"What a regatta. We had a bit of everything," said Horton as he hoisted hull 8156, a Lilia, out of the water on a sunny afternoon.

The fleet left the dock in the morning, a 12-15 knot westerly was sweeping white caps and rollers out Long Island Sound from Manhattan. Before leaving, Horton joked with Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn (CAN) that the Canadians should win the North Americans this time. In 2007, Horton and Bjorn went into the final day of the North American Championship in Vancouver with one point separating them. As it turned out, Horton and Brad Nichol won the day and the series over Canadians Ross MacDonald and Kai Bjorn. This time, on US soil, Horton and Erickson proved impossible to catch.

Alberto Zanetti and Gustavo Warburg (ARG) were on fire in their favourite conditions during the first race of the day. They won and Horton and Erickson were right on their tail. The rest of the fleet never really came within striking distance of them. Some considered today's conditions to be perfect while others ended up doing chicken jibes around the offset mark. "The waves were just right for surfing downwind and staying in control," said Horton. While Horton and Erickson had great starts, rounded the first weather mark in the lead or in second and pulled away from those behind them, Clarke and Bjorn were busy picking their way through the top of the fleet one boat at a time, particularly on the runs in their P Star.

2009 Star World Champions George Szabo and Rick Peters (USA) and Peter McChesney and Shane Zwingelberg (USA) were tied with 23 points apiece going into the final two races. Szabo and Peters beat McChesney and Zwingelberg in both of Friday's races and took third in the regatta.

John MacCausland and Kevin Murphy (USA) took fifth on a countback to Eivind Melleby and Petrus Eide (NOR).

An awards ceremony was held at Cedar Point Yacht Club on Friday evening. With all of their first, seconds and thirds, Horton and Erickson and Clarke and Bjorn had quite a trophy haul of half models made by longtime Star Class and local fleet member, Bill Watson and framed racing photos supplied by member and sponsors Allen and Daniella Clark of Photoboat.com.

Results - click here

Lynn Fitzpatrick of World Regattas
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