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23 August 2010, 03:43 pm
Szabo and Kleen Show Light Wind Form To Win 2010 Star North Americans
George Szabo and Frithjof Kleen
George Szabo and Frithjof Kleen win 2010 Star North Americans

2010 Star North American Championship
California, USA

2009 Star World Champion George Szabo (USA) sailing with Frithjof Kleen (GER) has won the ISAF Grade 1 2010 Star North American Championship after a solid series in California.
In seven to eight knots of breeze, 2009 Star World Champion George Szabo has been almost untouchable. He logged straight bullets on the first day of racing in those conditions, and finished second in race three on day two in identical conditions. However, for the second race on day two the Santa Monica Bay was covered with small white caps, and Szabo dropped into double digits - twelfth place.

Lars Grael and Ronald Seifert (BRA) took advantage of the open door who won race four and with straight single digit scores the two Brazilians moved four points ahead of Szabo into the lead for the championship.

Former Star World Champions and multiple Olympic medalists Mark Reynolds and Hal Haenel drew a flag from the judges for "rocking" in race four. Reportedly this was Reynolds first kinetics violation ever. Although they did a 360 degree penalty turn they still were able to finish second in that race for their fourth consecutive single digit finish. Unfortunately - the penalty for rocking the boat is a 720 degree turn - not a 360, which led to their disqualification, and moved Carl Buchan and Jamie Buchan (USA) into third place.

While Reynolds and Haenel were out of contention after four races, after six races are completed they will be able to discard that DSQ, so no one will be ignoring their shiny new silver very fast PStar.

On Saturday, Szabo and crew Frithjof Kleen were incredible in the light stuff. On the first beat of the day in five - maybe six knots of breeze - they rounded well in front of the pack. They protected that advantage for an easy win. Meanwhile, the regatta leader Lars Grael did everything wrong and wound up deep - 24th. It was Grael's only double digit finish of the regatta.

For the second race of the day it was breeze-on with the bumpiest race course that many of the competitors have ever seen. Local knowledge would encourage a skipper to go right, but that was absolutely wrong. The breeze died, the bumps remained and the left paid. Grael was launched and won easily with Szabo five boats further back.

Now that six races had been completed, a discard kicked in which shook things up a bit. Szabo was back in the lead with a slim three point advantage over Grael. John Maccausland (USA), Mark Reynolds and Carl Buchan 14 or 15 points further back - tightly bunched, and dueling for the remaining spot on the podium.

The final race of the ISAF Grade 1 Star North American Championship was a match race, pure and simple. While the two leaders - 2009 Star World Champion George Szabo and Brazilian Lars Grael - did not engage before the start, after the first cross it was match racing 101. Szabo and Kleen controlled that match race throughout as both boats moved steadily backwards in the fleet. The pair finished deep - it was the throwout for both - but Szabo was smiling. He'd done what was necessary to win his third North American Championship. Szabo also beat his boss, Mark Reynolds, who took second place. The podium was completed by John MacCausland and Rick Peters on countback from Carl and Jamie Buchan.

Final results

Event Website

Event Media (As Amended by ISAF)
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