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6 July 2014, 11:34 am
Fight To The Finish
Robert Stanjek and Frithjof Kleen (GER)
Robert Stanjek and Frithjof Kleen (GER)

Star World Championship
Malcesine, Italy

The International Star Class World Championship was decided in dramatic style on the last leg of the last race, Robert Stanjek and Frithjof Kleen (GER) held on in a nervy final race to become the first German champions for seventeen years.
Clouds above The Dolomite Mountains and clear blues skies above Lake Garda provided classic Ora conditions, with 12 knots of warm breeze pumping from the south. Hundreds of spectators watched the drama unfold from the pristine Lake Garda beaches and thousands more watched the action, via Virtual eye, broadcasting the event live for the first time.

Once again, the first start resulted in a general recall and the race committee hoisted the black flag for restart. Nine boats were still over, resulting in their disqualification and yet another general recall. Third time lucky, the fleet got away clear with Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA) making the best start showing great pace on the first upwind leg. Stanjek and Kleen made a conservative start but failed to get into good pressure and slipped back to sixteenth position.

Emilios Papathanasiou and Antonis Tsotras (GRE) rounded the first windward mark with a significant lead. In second place at the top mark, Negri and Lambertenghi played the shifts well to take the lead at the first bottom mark, as did Eivind Melleby and Bruno Prada (NOR). By the end of the third leg three teams were in the hunt for the world championship, Negri and Lambertenghi, Melleby and Prada and Stanjek and Kleen.

In clear air, Negri and Lambertenghi extended their lead on the water and finished the race well ahead of the fleet but a win in the last race was not enough. Melleby and Prada showed spectacular speed on the last downwind leg, overtaking Papathanasiou and Tsotras and attacked lavio Marazzi and Anouk Marazzi (SUI). The two teams crossed the line overlapped but the Marazzi husband and wife team was just ahead by barely one metre. Meanwhile Stanjek and Kleen were in a desperate struggle to secure the world championship title and with a last gasp effort, the German team moved up to twelth, enough to win the International Star Class World Championship by two points. Negri and Lambertenghi were second on countback from Melleby and Prada.

Stanjek and Kleen became the fourth German pair to lift one of sailing's most prestigious trophies after: Kuhweide and Meyer in 1972, Hagen and Hoesch in 1981 and Hagen and Ferreira in 1997.

"We made a mistake on the first beat and put ourselves under a lot of pressure." Admitted Kleen.

"The first downwind leg was very one sided and we had little opportunity to make any gains but a good second beat put us back in contention but we really didn't know the overall position on the final downwind leg, so we concentrated on taking twelth position, which we thought would be enough. We dared not believe it when we crossed the line but when were told that our provisional result had been enough, we were so delighted. We came second in 2011, so to win this year has finished that feeling." Finished Kleen.

The official Prize Giving was held at the Fraglia Vela Malcesine, shoreside at Lake Garda, which had provided a stunning venue for the regatta, which will go down in history as one of the closest contests in the 92 editions of the International Star Class World Championship.

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