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12 May 2005, 03:50 pm
KUSZNIEREWICZ Makes The Star Switch
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Star Eastern Hemisphere Championship 2005
Thun, Switzerland

62 teams from 16 nations are on the entry list for the ISAF Grade C1 Star Eastern Hemisphere Championship due to take place from 12-21 May in Thun, Switzerland.
A specially watched participant will be Poland's Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ, in his first appearance at an International Star Class Yacht Racing Association (ISCYRA) championship event. He will be sailing with his new crew Dominik ZYCKI (POL). The pair have been on Lake Garda, Italy this week at their first ISAF Graded event in the Star, the ISAF Grade 2 Expert Olympic Garda.

With the Finn Olympic gold medal in 1996 and silver medal in 2004, he is another Finn champion who will surely make his way in the Star class, as have done the current top three in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings' for the Star. Rankings' number one, Fredrik LÖÖF (SWE) won the bronze medal in the Finn at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Rankings' number two, Iain PERCY (GBR), went two better and won the gold medal in the Finn in Sydney 2000, whilst Rankings' number three, Star 2004 Olympic bronze medallist and current Star World Champion, Xavier ROHART (FRA) came fifth in Sydney in the Finn. As their records show, all three have successfully made the switch to the keelboat in the past five years.

The 2005 Eastern Hemisphere Championship, a Silver Star event, formerly known as Spring European Championship, will be organized by the 80-years-old Thunersee Yacht Club (TYC), one of the most active sailing clubs in Switzerland with a strong boat policy direction on Olympic and International classes.

Surrounded by alpine mountains, the Lake of Thoune offers stable, mostly thermics-driven winds, and is considered one of the best sailing venues in the country. After having organized a considerable number of World, European and Swiss Championships of many international and national classes, this is the TYC's first Continental event to be run for an Olympic class. A team of over 100 experienced volunteers, working within a proven club infrastructure will do everything to make this event a success.

Star sailing has a long tradition in Switzerland. The Swiss Star Class, is the most active keelboat class in the country. The total number of ranked boats in the 2004 Swiss Grand Prix events is 86; at the largest event, the Swiss Championship, 55 boats were on the starting line.

Many internationally successful Swiss Star sailors have their roots within the organizing Thunersee Yacht Club. The most successful one is without doubt Flavio MARAZZI (SUI), 25-years old, runner up in the 2004 World Championship and fourth at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. His crew from last year, Enrico DE MARIA (SUI), has rejoined the America's Cup Defenders, Alinghi, but at this championship, he has more than able substitute in Magnus LILJEDAHL (USA), Olympic and Star World champion in 2000 with helm Mark REYNOLDS (USA).

As well as KUSZNIEREWICZ, Hans SPITZAUER (AUT), another former Finn World Champion in 1995, with crew Volker MOSER (AUT) will be one of the favorites at the event.

As usual in a post-Olympic year, some sailors are capitalizing on their skills sailing as professionals mostly on big boats, or are engaged in America's Cup activities, or have reduced their competitive activities. On the other hand, many new teams will show up with the intent to begin their campaign for Beijing 2008. These include the young Danish team of Christian MONBERG and Martin LEIFELT, the Irish duo, Maurice O'CONNELL and Ed PEEL, and France's Paulo SEVESTRE and Vincent BERENGIER, to name but a few.

Measurement will take place from 13-15 May. The practice race is scheduled for the afternoon of 15 May. Championship races will start on Monday 16 May. Six races are on the programme.

Beat Stegmeier (As Amended By ISAF). Image, KUSZNIEREWICZ is leaving the Finn for the Star:© Getty Images
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