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5 September 2003, 10:08 am
Day One
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Star European Championship

In the first race of competition, the typical conditions of Cascais, with the wind blowing north, exactly from north-west, between 12-16 knots, allowed a promising start of the Stars.
As in the Pre European Race, the Race Committee selected course 3, with three upwind and two downwind legs, with about ten nautical miles, and at the right time, 14h05m, the start was given. Since the beginning, two separate groups sailed upwind to the first mark. A first group chose a wider course, near the shore, and a second one more through the centre.

Mark NEELEMAN (NED), the winner of the first race, started very well and in the first round mark was third, while Michael KOCH (GER) was first, followed by Torben GRAEL (BRA). The first downwind leg showed decisively the progress of the boats: the dutch crew was the first to round the mark and afterwards kept the leadership, having increased the distance over their opponents. Koch/ Koy fell to the second position and in third was an italian crew - Roberto BENAMATI AND Filippo DOMENICALLI - after a remarkable recovery, as in the first leg they didn't appear in the top ten. The brazilians couldn't find their rhythm in the first downwind leg, getting far from the top places, finishing seventh. Till the end, there were no changes in the first three positions: Neeleman was first, with almost two minutes advantage over Koch, the second, and Benamati (third).

Mark NEELEMAN, 44 years old, revealed the tactics that allowed them to finish first: "a good start and the selection of the best side of the course (leeward), with few boats." Yesterday the Dutch showed that they have a superior pacing when comparing to their opponents. However, when questioned about his goals, he said he doesn't think about the European title: "finishing in the best ten European" is the target.

Today the race will start an hour earlier than what was initially scheduled, at 13h00, because the Race Committee intends to sail two races.

Overall Top Ten

Place Nation Helm Crew Points R1
1 NED Mark Neeleman Peter Van Niekerk 1 1
2 GER Michael Koch Markus Koy 2 2
3 ITA Roberto Benamati Filippo Domenicali 3 3
4 BER Peter Bromby Martin Siese 4 4
5 DEN Nicklas Holm Llaus Olesen 5 5
6 AUS Colin Beashel David Giles 6 6
7 BRA Torben Grael Marcelo Ferreira 7 7
8 AUS Ian Walker Nick Willians 8 8
9 GRE Leonidas Pelecanalus George Kontogouris 9 9
10 GBR Iain Percy Steve Mitchell 10 10
Event Media (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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