Nearly 50 boats are expected to take part in the six race Keane North American championship series for the Olympic keelboat.
Sailing from the docks of St. Francis Yacht Club, will be local sailing favourites Paul CAYARD, presenter of the ISAF Rolex World Sailor Of the Year Award, and software titan Phillipe KAHN, as well as four-time Star boat Olympian racing legend Mark REYNOLDS.
The Star is one of the most prolific and enduring racing sailboats in the world. Designed in 1911, it boasts a large, powerful sail plan and sleek, light weight hull that can accelerate on the faintest breeze or manhandle the Bay's 25-knot winds. It is the oldest Olympic sailing class, first used in Los Angeles, 1932, and now part of the forthcoming Olympic Games in Greece, 2004. The Star class is widely regarded as one of the best organised in sailing with over 7,500 boats built over its 80-year history and more than 2,000 actively racing today.
Many of the world's top sailors have been involved in the Star class. Its list of former World Champions reads like a who's who of yacht racing. These include Colin BEASHEL, Mats JOHANSSON, Hans VOGT, Benny ANDERSON, Rod DAVIS and Bay Area favourite Mark REYNOLDS, who last Year bested a 52-boat fleet in the 2002 Keane Star North American championship held on Lake Sunapee, N.H.
This year's 2003 Keane Star North Americans will feature an estimated 48 boats from four countries. Prizes will be awarded to the top five finishers overall and daily prizes will be awarded to the skipper and crew finishing first place in each day's racing. Sailing within the fleet will be a 'Master's Division' of veteran skippers, aged 50 to 59, who will compete for additional honours.
One of the favourites for the championship will be Sweden's Freddie LOOF, the currently number one in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings for the Men's Keelboat event, and concentrating his efforts on training for the Olympic Games in Athens next year - Freddie commented on what this event means in preparation for 2004.
"I have come fifth twice and picked up the bronze once, in Finn. In sailing Star the conditions are different, but I have never before felt so charged and self confident as I do now"
, says Loof, 33, who collected the silver medal in the Keelboat Men, Star Class at the ISAF World Championship in Cadiz, Spain, a month ago.
"The performance from me and my crew Anders EKSTRÖM the last two years have been good and we are in very good shape, both physically and mentally. That sets a good platform for the tough time ahead,"
Further details of the the event can be found on the event website at the address below.