Sardinia is one of the most beautiful places on the planet to sail. Deep blue water, gorgeous scenery and varying wind conditions make it a great venue for a regatta. On June 17, 62 teams from 20 nations lined up on the starting line of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda for race 1.
A moderate 10 knot Mistral was on the cards and going left was the right choice for victory. The win went to Ernico Chieffi, 1996 World Champion, who started at the pin and went hard left. Mateusz and yours truly were on the right side of the first leg and rounded the first mark around 50th. While we both worked through the fleet, the Pole and eventual winner started his remarkable week by getting up to 6th place by the finish. After a rapid recovery on the first run and second windward leg, Arthur and I languished in 19th on the final run. Tough way to start a series.
Race two was a very light wind affair, still from the westerly Mistral direction but about 5-7 knots, crews in the boat most of the time. Augie Diaz, 2016 World Champion started to demonstrate his light air skills to take the win in this one while Mateusz and Bruno were 2nd and leading the series. Arthur and I finished in 5th which, got our spirits up.
Race three was the first of the south easterly breezes. This was tricky because the shift favored the right but the pressure was often more on the left. The final run featured a large shift which 2017 World Champions Eivind Melleby and Josh Revkin played perfectly to take the win. Augie Diaz had a great race finishing 5th while Mateusz and Bruno finished 11th. Arthur and I had a horrible start and were forced to the left side on the first windward leg. This turned out to be good and we rounded the first mark in 12th and finished 9th.
Day 4 was a non event with no wind. The mid-week party was a lovely affair, upstairs around the pool at the YCCS. Augie Diaz and Henry Boening won the Bud Vanderveer trophy for leading at the halfway point.
Day 5 was deemed a two-race day with a south easterly wind 7-12 knots. Race 4 featured the most unusual start I have ever heard of let alone participated in. After a 1 hour wait for the breeze to settle, and receiving the warning signal, we had one postponement, one recalled start under Uniform, 4 recalled starts with the Black Flag and one final start with the black flag. 22 boats were sifted out of the fleet. For the first few starts, the pin end was 15 -20 degrees favored. The Race committee eventually squared the line, but 10 boats had already been disqualified. This was very unfortunate. The right was hugely favored in this race and the Croatian team Misura/Barac won this race with Juan Kouyoumdjian in second. Augie Diaz and Mateusz worked their way up through the fleet after rounding the first mark in the 20’s to finish 3rd and 4th. These two were really starting to separate from the group. In one of the starts, Melleby got a hole in his boat and went in for repairs. He returned to race in race 5 finishing 12th.
In Race 5 it was more of the same southeasterly winds. Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi showed the way, followed by, the Croatians bringing home 3rd place to culminate a great day and a big move up the leaderboard which would leave them in 4th at the end of the Championship.
Going into Race 6, Diaz/Boening had a 4-point lead on Mateusz/Prada. Melleby and Revkin had been awarded redress after racing the night before, and so much to everyone’s surprise, they were tied with Mateusz. Just in case, Augie Diaz lodged a protest before leaving the dock for the final race. The race was delayed from noon to 1400 while waiting for the Mistral to settle which included 40 degrees shifts. Peter Reggio did a good job of displaying patience to get a solid race in. It was a windy race in the end as the Mistral really settled at about 20 knots. In this condition, it is a one-way race track in Porto Cervo…left is king. Mateusz and Bruno got out to an early lead and Augie and Henry were not even in the top 10. Arthur and I had a great start and got into second at the first mark. The pecking order was set and the leaders seemed to stretch on every leg. Mateusz and Bruno won the race and the World Championship. 2nd for Mateusz and an impressive 5th for Bruno Prada. Ironically, on the very same day in San Diego, a memorial service was held for Star Sailing legend Lowell North, whom Prada had been tied with for most World Championship victories at 4.
Melleby and Revkin finished third in the race and were scored in second preliminarily. The Jury decided to reopen its own redress hearing from the night before and reduce the redress for Melleby to just the race they actually could not sail in, race 4. They were given a 5th for that race and 12th in race 5 which put them in 3rd for the Championship. Therefore, Augie Diaz and Henry Boening finished 2nd in the Championship. Misura, Negri and Cayard rounded out the top 6.
The winning team as well as myself, used a Doyle M14+ main and J6R jib. Diaz used the M14+ every day and had the J6R in his rotations of jibs. I had heartburn several times about not using the more powerful J8 jib. I think I should have had the courage to do so on the 4 light air days. The sea in the light air was fairly smooth and I am just so happy with the J6R as soon as there is 8 knots that I am leery to change. Melleby and Revkin used the J8 the whole series. The new J8 will include a radial bottom section which will make it more versatile.
Already looking forward to the next Star World Championship to be held in Nassau in February 2020.
Watch the video highlights below from World Sailing