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4 August 2005, 04:46 pm
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Ringhals Star European Championship 2005
Varberg, Sweden

76 teams representing 22 nations are set to contest the ISAF Grade C1 Ringhals Star European Championship in Varberg, Sweden.
Not unexpectedly Swedish entries are dominating in numbers closely followed by Germany and with few exceptions the entry list shows competitors from all of Europe as well as developing sailing nations such as India and Columbia.

'We are indeed happy to host a highly qualified fleet of this size; an interest which is both inspiring and confirms the trust put in our club as a championship organizer for the Star Class. As long as winds and weather may co-operate I am confident that we will carry out a successful championship series,' said H- P HYLANDER, the international regatta manager of the organizing club Varbergs SS.

Among the five World and four European champions on the entry list are defending champions Frederik LÖÖF and Anders EKSTROM (SWE). The pair have three European title to their name and have held the top spot in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings for over two years. However with their points lead at the top narrowing, the pressure is on LÖÖF and EKSTROM to perform on their home waters or lose their longheld lead of the Rankings.

Iain PERCY and Steve MITCHELL (GBR) are right behind LÖÖF and EKSTROM in the Rankings and will be looking to outdo their rivals in Sweden. Xavier ROHART and Pascal RAMBEAU (FRA) also look set to be principle challengers and lie at number three in the Rankings after winning their second World title earlier this year.

When Star Europeans were last sailed in Varbery in 1997 the Championship title was captured by Olympic gold medallists to be, Mark REYNOLDS and Magnus LILJEDAHL (USA). This time USA's representatives will be former North American Star and Snipe Champion George ZABO, sailing with Swedish 2001 World Championship crew, Christian FINNSGÅRD as well as 2004 US Olympic Laser representative, Mark MENDELBLATT, sailing with ZABO's regular crew, Mark STRUBE.

Among the many Swedish entries are 70 year old Star veteran, Sune CARLSSON who won his first, out of a total of six national championships, in 1954 and who has been racing the Star faithfully since, a 1977 World Championship silver medal being the pinicle of his success.

Another senior competitor is Swedish veteran Börje LARSSON who has been racing the Star for almost half a century and who captured the European title in 1969. Both CARLSSON and LARSSON were among the competitors when the Stars Europeans were first hosted by Varbergs SS back in 1966.

The first out of six races of the Championship series will be sailed on Monday 8 August with the series planned to be completed on Friday 12 August.

Lars Lantz (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Frederik LÖÖF and Anders EKSTROM on their way to victory in last year's Europeans:© star.nauticescala.com
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