Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Star Worlds 2010: Another Gold Within Reach for Percy/Simpson

Photos by Fried Elliott
By Lynn Fitzpatrick - http://www.worldregattas.com/

January 19, 2010 (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) –Iain Percy and Andrew “Bart” Simpson continued to dominate the 2010 Star World Championship.With today’s first place finish the 2008 Olympic Gold Medalists stretched their lead to 19 points over 1989 Star World Champion, Alan Adler and Guilherme Alemeida (BRA) by winning Race 4. The 2008 North American Champions Rick Merriman Phil Trinter (USA) had a solid command of second place throughout the race and Andre Mirsky and Marcelo Jordao (BRA), bettered their 6th place finish in Race 2 by finishing third today.

Percy/Simpson came off the water today in great spirits and reported.“We had lovely conditions.It was the first real day of sailing with 6-8 knots in the beginning and 12-14 for the last part of the race.” Careful not to jinx their run away lead and knowing that another stellar performance in Race 5 could give them a Gold Star to pair with their Olympic Gold, Percy said, “It’s about avoiding disasters in an 80-boat fleet.”

Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Petterson (NOR) continue to hang tough and are now in third place overall. Two points behind are Flavio Marazzi and Enrico DeMaria (SUI). Race 5 is scheduled for tomorrow.Following the completion of five races, teams can discard their worst race score. Johannes Babendererde and Timo Jacobs (GER) recovered from yesterday’s 39 and lowered their average with their eight place finish today.

The breeze outside of Guanabara Bay and miles off of Copacabana circulated a bit more today than it did during Race 3 and according to 1993 Star World Champion crew, Phil Trinter, “It’s nice that the Race Committee favored the boat. It made it fair across the line.”Merriman/Trinter started on the upper end of the line, yet according to Trinter, “Within 10 minutes, we were in different current and they (Percy/Simpson) shot up next to us. ”Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR) continued their outstanding performance and were clear leaders around the first windward mark and extended as the wind picked up, the conditions grew more to their liking and those immediately behind them focused on gaining an advantage over one another rather than the low odds possibility of catching the Brits.

Percy/Simpson were in good company around the first weather mark with Rick Merriman, 2008 North American Champion, and 1993 World Champion crew, Phil Trinter, Mirsky/Jordao, Dan Lovrovic and Sinsia Mikulicic (CRO), Max Treacy and Anthony Shanks (IRL), Alejo Rigoni and Juan Pablo Percossi (ARG) Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA), Alan Adler and Guilherme Alemeida (BRA), Torben Grael and Marcel Ferreira (BRA) and Alessandro Pascolato and Henry Boening (BRA). Merriman/Trinter and Mirsky/Jordao had enough of a jump to round the rest of the marks in second and third place.

To prepare for this event, Mirsky/Jordao sailed major international regattas such as the 2009 Star World Championship, the North Americans and the November regattas in Rio. Said Mirsky after the race, “I am very happy. It is the third time that we were in the top five at the first mark. The first and second time we were there we lost some positions. We had a little more speed upwind today. We were not happy with the way we had the boat tuned yesterday and made changes.”

The Brazilians fared very well today with Mirsky/Jordao finishing third, Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA) fifth, Torben Grael and Marcelo Ferreira (BRA) seventh, and Lars Grael and Ronald Siefert (BRA) rounding out the top ten.

There are many teams who have one finish in their scoreline that they would like to discard and tomorrow’s race is likely to reshuffle the deck. Among those teams that had a top-10 race today and have a history of coming out on top by the end of a regatta are: Marazzi/DeMaria (SUI), who finished 4th today; 2007 World Champions and Silver Medalists at the Qingdao Olympics, Scheidt/ Prada; Italian Olympian Diego Negri and Nando Colaninno, who finished 6th; Grael/Ferreira (BRA), with a team record of one win, five seconds and two third-place finishes in Star World Championships; and Lars Grael and Ronald Seifert, who were third at the 2009 Star World Championship.

Stay tuned. The 2010 Star World Championship title could be determined tomorrow.