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7 October 2006, 08:30 am
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Wells Fargo Private Bank Star World Championship 2006
San Francisco, California, USA

In a classic nail biting finish where one small wave would have made a difference to the points standing between those fighting to take home a gold star in San Francisco yesterday, New Zealand won its first ISAF Grade W Star World Championship, with Hamish PEPPER and Carl WILLIAMS (NZL) taking the title.
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The trophy went to skipper PEPPER and WILLIAMS, with 19 points on the board. Racing started just after noon in cold, gray and cloudy conditions, with the breeze a steady westerly of ten to twelve, with occasional puffs to 15 knots.

Peter SZASZ, St Francis Yacht Club Regatta Chairman, commented, 'We're thrilled to congratulate Hamish and Carl on their victory today. It's been an extremely demanding week on the water and our accolades go out to every competitor.'

SZASZ continued, 'With the 2008 Olympics just around the corner, this has been one of the most exciting events ever hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club. With the unusual weather delivered to us this week, the Berkeley Olympic Circle proved it's worth as a world class course location, providing demanding conditions that have kept this international fleet of sailors focused and challenged throughout this six day series. We know that this is an excellent sailing venue to host a future summer Olympics event.'

Brazil Second

Brazilians Robert SCHEIDT and Bruno PRADA took second place with 22 points, while defending champions Xavier ROHART and Pascal RAMBEAU (FRA) took third place just one point back. Andy HORTON and Brad NICHOL (USA) came in fourth, with Fredrik LÖÖF and Ander EKSTRÖM (SWE) fifth.

For a country that has not won a World Championship in an Olympic class since 2002, today's win was a huge victory for New Zealand. Dockside at the St Francis Yacht Club, the Blue Angels buzzing the club overhead with ceremonious good timing, an ecstatic PEPPER said, 'We're absolutely excited, it's fantastic! It's been our week and we're fortunate that it's the world champs. They are great boats - an old design that have come through the years well and are challenging to sail. The people involved in the fleet are fantastic to be with and it's a great atmosphere.'

PEPPER is a relative newcomer to this fleet deep in talent and has only been sailing the Star since January. WILLIAMS has had a grand total of 35 days in the class but with Australian David GILES coaching the team they have come a long way in a short time.

The other Kiwi team Rohan LORD and Miles ADDY, also relatively new to the class, performed tremendously taking sixth place overall in the 66 strong highly qualified fleet.

Alternative Ending For REYNOLDS

The venerable Mark REYNOLDS (USA), two-time Olympic gold medalist in the Star, and competitor of well over 20 Star World Championship events, had a somewhat different ending to the regatta as his crew Hal HAENEL left at 0400 to join his wife who gave birth to a 9lb baby boy this morning.

Stepping in for HAENEL today was Magnus LILJEDAHAL, with whom REYNOLDS won the Olympic gold in 2000.

'We were doing great this morning, crossing tacks with Iain PERCY [(GBR)] at the top of the fleet when three quarters of the way up the first beat we broke our headstay and so were done for the day. We were looking forward to a top ten finish but you win some and lose some, that's why we sail so many of these!

'Like other Olympic sports it's getting tougher and tougher to do well in this fleet but we've been lucky with the Star in that we have talented people coming in from other classes - the Finn, the Laser, the 49er - and they are all champions in those classes so the depth just keeps on going.'

For St Francis Yacht Club members Steve GOULD and Greg SIECK (USA), this was not the week where local knowledge paid off out on the race course. Commented SIECK, 'We had fun up but our performance has been up and down as it's been tough, not the usual San Francisco conditions. We've been at this a long time, our boat's wonderful but we don't have a full programme. We did make the first mark in first position on the first day which was great, we improved daily with today being our best. It was fantastic to be close to home and the club did a great job.'

Top Ten Results

Pos Nation Helm Crew R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Pts
1 NZL Hamish PEPPER Carl WILLIAMS 1 (20) 4 1 5 8 19
2 BRA Robert SCHEIDT Bruno PRADA 6 4 (13) 5 3 4 22
3 FRA Xavier ROHART Pascal RAMBEAU (14) 5 5 2 8 3 23
4 USA Andy HORTON Brad NICHOL 2 9 1 (32) ZFP 9 9 30
5 SWE Fredrik LOOF Anders EKSTROM (33) 13 12 13 1 1 40
6 NZL Rohan LORD Miles ADDY 3 2 10 11 (46) 14 40
7 SUI Flavio MARAZZI Martin KOZACZEK 4 1 14 (15) 12 15 46
8 POL Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ Dominik ZYCKI 17 10 (67) OCS 21 ZFP 4 7 59
9 USA Jim BUCKINGHAM Mike DORGAN 13 23 19 4 2 (49) 61
10 GER Marc PICKEL Ingo BORKOWSKI (43) 35 2 9 20 5 71

For all the news from the Wells Fargo Private Bank Star World Championship CLICK HERE.

Jodie PERKINS (As Amended by ISAF). Image, World Champions Hamish PEPPER and Carl WILLIAMS:© Jan PEHRSON/
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