The cumulous clouds obscured Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado at times throughout the afternoon, but the famous statue peeked through the clouds and presided over the start of race one of the 2010 Star World Championship. It was crystal clear out on the water and the sea breeze built from a light 5-7 knots at the start of the race to 8-10 during the fifth and final leg toward the finish below Sugarloaf and Laje, a low island with a lot of current circulating around it.
The leaders around the first weather mark had good starts, played the right hand side of the course and tacked at the right points in an eddy near Rio's shore. The young German team of Johannes Babendererde and Timo Jacobs were the first to round the windward mark. Whether it was nerves or the current, the 25 and 27-year-olds hit the mark. Said Babendererde of the incident, "We were happy that we rounded the weather mark first, but we touched it and lost two places when we did our circle. We were confident that we could stay with the top group because we had good speed."
Kouyoumdjian and Colla held the lead down the first run, with Babendererde and Jacobs and Percy and Simpson, Scheidt and Prada and Fernando Echavarri and Fernando Rodriguez (ESP) and Grael and Ferreira breathing down their necks. Juan K. commented after the race, "It felt really good to be in the lead, but you don't have time to enjoy it. Once the wind comes up and they start to hike they are like monsters."
When the wind came up and by the third and final beat toward Sugarloaf, the hiking machines ground Kouyoumdjian and Colla down. Portugal's newest Star sailing team comprised of Olympic Laser sailor, Gustavo Lima and Charles Nankin had a strong showing in their first Star World Championship. Not familiar with fine tuning adjustments, hey slipped to seventh during the last beat, but according to their coach, Andy Zawieja, "wait until a windy day outside, they will put on a show."
During the five-leg course sailors and spectators pointed their bows in the direction of beaches, forts, oil rigs, islands, gondola cars strung between mountain tops, former castles, military colleges and high-rise office buildings. Andrew "Bart" Simpson, who was extremely happy with his second place finish, commented on the ups and downs of sailing an important race in an area that presents so many variables, "I wouldn't want to do that every day."
Results - click here
Star World Championship Page
Get all the news, photos and more on the 2010 Star World Championship on our dedicated regatta page via the link below.
The Star World Championship 2010 is sponsored by Banco do Brasil, Transpetro, Governo Federal, Gol Linhas Aéreas, Santa Constanza, Wollner and Secretaria Estadual de Turismo, Esporte e Lazer do Rio de Janeiro. The event is organized by Iate Clube do Rio de Janeiro, International Star Class Yacht Racing Association (ISCYRA), Confederação Brasileira de Vela e Motor (CBVM) and Federação de Vela do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FEVERJ).