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22 August 2005, 11:59 am
SZABO And MUNROE Defy Rig Failure And Ominous Start To Win!
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Keane Star North American Championship 2005
Marina Del Rey, California

Despite an inauspicious beginning when George SZABO and Eric MONROE took 42 points for an OCS in the first race, the San Diego duo went on to win the Keane 2005 Star Class North American Championship in a tightly-fought battle.
The four-day regatta came down to the final race on the final day, and a battle between several top contenders hailing from coast to coast.

The California Yacht Club Race Committee had to wait until the fog cleared as well as the overly-eager racers who prompted a general recall to begin Race Six just after 13:00 Sunday August 21.

John DANE III, sailing with his son-in-law Austin SPERRY, was in fourth place going into today's race and noted, 'We saw on the way out that the wind was shifting 20 to 25 degrees and decided that, instead of picking one side, we would play the shifts.'

DANE said they were following frontrunners like Olympic Medalists Mark REYNOLDS and Hal HAENEL, and regatta leader SZABO and MUNROE, when they tacked out on a lift. 'The others kept going right, because the thought is, 'You go right here.' But we sailed on starboard away from them, then got a big header and a puff, and the next thing we knew we were in first place.'

DANE and SPERRY's only heat on the 10.5 nm course came from Argentines Julio LABANDEIRA and Enrique de la TORRE, who caught up on the runs. 'But we were much quicker upwind,' DANE told, and he triumphed to win Race Five, as well as the Masters Champion trophy for sailors age 50-59.

SZABO was still in contention for first overall though, and he admitted to 'a bit of math and discussion' throughout the race.

With a slight three-point lead over world-class competitors, SZABO conceded, 'The weather was pretty shifty and that made it even more stressful.' Adding to that, on the last downwind run the fitting that held the lower shroud on, broke. 'We had to jury rig something for the last beat [to the finish] to hold it together. A broken mast isn't going to come down right away, but we had to figure out how to fix it and get some speed.' On the last beat SZABO noted that rivals MERRIMAN and PETERS took 'a huge flyer to the left.'

'We considered covering him but we had to keep this race … if it didn't work, we had to worry about our place in the regatta as well, about the fleet,' SZABO said. 'It could have worked for him … but fortunately not quite well enough.'

MERRIMAN and PETERS finished third and SZABO and MUNROE sixth. With equal points of 16, it came down to SZABO and MUNROE's two bullet record of 1-2-1-6-6, over MERRIMAN and PETERS' 3-3-4-3-3.

SZABO and MUNROE were named Star Class North American Champions for 2005 at the Sunday evening prize-giving at California Yacht Club. DANE and SPERRY's first place finish in Race Six shot them to third overall in the 41 boat fleet, acing out close contenders Eric LIDECIS and Michael MARZAHL, who earned fourth place with 29 points.

Top Ten Results

Pos Nation Helm Crew R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Pts
1 USA George SZABO Eric MONROE ( 42) 1 2 1 6 6 16
2 USA Rick MERRIMAN Rick PETERS 3 3 4 3 ( 10) 3 16.1
3 USA John DANE III Austin SPERRY 5 2 7 ( 7) 4 1 19
4 USA Eric LIDECIS Michael MARZAHL 1 12 1 2 ( 20) 13 29
5 AUS Iain MURRAY Andrew PALFRAM 2 6 9 17 5 ( 22) 39
6 USA Mark REYNOLDS Hal HAENEL 15 4 10 4 ( 22) 7 40
7 USA Eric DOYLE Brian SHARP 10 11 3 6 ( 17) 11 41
8 USA Arthur ANOSOV Dave CAESAR 12 7 5 ( 18) 7 10 41.1
9 USA John MACCAUSLAND Robert SCHOFIELD 4 9 ( 24) 13 9 9 44
10 ARG Fabian MACGOWAN Valentin THOMPSON 13 ( 21) 6 15 3 8 45
Betsy Crowfoot (As Amended By ISAF). Image:© Event Media
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