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11 January 2010, 12:42 pm
Over 80 Teams Prepare For Star Worlds In Rio
Torben Grael and Marcelo Ferreira of Brazil
Multiple World and Olympic medallists Torben Grael and Marcelo Ferreira are amongst the star names gathered in Rio

Star World Championship 2010
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The 2010 Star World Championship, which will be held for the fourth time in Brazil, brings together a record number of 81 teams, representing 20 countries with racing set to start on 16 January.
All events will take place at the Yacht Club of Rio de Janeiro. The number of participants exceeds even the most optimistic expectations of the organizers, who had hoped for approximately 60 registrations. The World Championship will be held from 12-23 January, at a race course outside of Guanabara Bay.

As expected, Brazil will have the greatest number of participants, with 24 boats entered to compete, including top teams such as multiple Olympic medallists Torben Grael and Marcelo Ferreira, Beijing silver medallists Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada, Lars Grael and Ronald Seifert, and Alan Adler and Guilherme De Azevedo.

For Grael, the only sailor to have one five Olympic medals and the 2009 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, the aim will be a ninth podium finish at the Star Worlds. As always, he will be sailing with his trusted crew Ferreira. Grael is anticipating a very tough competition, "We didn't sail for quite a while and even though we returned to the competition by the end of 2009, we still haven't gotten our rhythm back", says Brazil's five-time Olympic medallist: two gold, one silver and two bronze.

After Brazil, the second largest team registered in the race is Italy, with 12 boats, followed by Argentina, with eight teams, and the USA and Germany, each with six boats.

The World Championship will be technically very strong with participants such as British sailors Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson, the Olympic Champions in Beijing; US duo George Szabo and Rick Peters, 2009 World Champions in Sweden; Swiss participants Flavio Marazzi and Enrico De Maria, currently the top ranked sailors in the world; and past World Championship winning skippers Xavier Rohart of France and Freddy Loof of Sweden with their respective crews, Pierre-Alexis Ponsot and Johan Tillander.

The following countries will be represented in the tournament: Brazil (24), Italy (12), Argentina (8), Germany (6), USA (6), Portugal (3), Switzerland (3), Great Britain (3), Canada (2), Chile (2), Sweden (2), Croatia (2), Georgia (1), Spain (1), Serbia (1), France (1), Norway (1), Greece (1), Ireland (1) and Austria (1).

Brazil is very pleased that 81 teams have registered so far, considering the distance from Europe and the USA and the logistical efforts involved in transporting the boats. Last year, in Varberg, Sweden, 86 boats participated. In 2005, in Buenos Aires, only 52 teams battled for the title, as opposed to 66 in São Francisco, in 2006, and 63, in Cascais, in 2007.

Many teams have already started training on the site of the race course, close to Cagarras Island, making final adjustments to their boats, testing equipment and fine-tuning the synergy of the crews. The official World Championship events kick off on 12 January, starting with general registration of the teams and measuring of the competing boats. This phase will continue until Thursday. On Friday 15 January there will be a training regatta for all participating teams and the official opening ceremony of the competition.

There are six races scheduled to take place on 16, 18, 18, 20, 21 and 22 January 19 and 23 January are reserved days in case of any cancellations). The competition requires at least four races to be completed. If more than four races take place, each team's worst result(s) will be discarded. Until Thursday, all sailors will have to go through mandatory weighing and, depending on the jury, they may be weighed again during the competition.

Race jury - the tournament organizers have announced the names of the event's jury members and race officials. The Chairman of the Jury will be John Doerr (GBR), an International Judge from Britain who has worked at the America's Cup and served as on the International Jury in the last four Olympic Games. The Jury also includes American Kirk Brown and Brazilians Ricardo Lobato, Flavio Naveira, Bruno Lício Marques (vice-chairman) and Christine Völkein.

The Race Officers are Brazilians Nelson Ilha (head), Ricardo Navarro and Pedro Paulo Petersen.

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).
Joao Pedro Nunes
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