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Startling finale at the end of race 5 of Star World Championship

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Startling finale at the 2021 Star World Championship
Startling finale at the 2021 Star World Championship

The 2021 Star World Champions who won the event yesterday at the end of Race 5, Diego Negri (ITA) and Frithjof Kleen, have sailed a flawless series and topped everyone else in the 83-boat fleet. They opted for not racing today and left the field free to the teams fighting for the Star Worlds podium. And it proved to be quite a battle, first of all with their nerves.
 
18 boats were spotted over the starting line early in the second general recall of race six with a black flag hoisted, and for this they were disqualified. A heavy burden for a few, already discarding a high result in their scorecard. They all presented a request for redress, but the jury rejected all but one. Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Bruno Prada were granted redress by the International Jury but due to their first UFD, it didn't help much in their hunt for a place in the spotlight.
 
On the water, the fight for the medals was decided between the Austrians Johann Spitzauer and Hans-Christian Nehammer (AUT) and Olympic silver medalist Tonci Stipanovic with Tudor Bilic (CRO). The 2017 Star World Champion Eivind Melleby (NOR) with Guy Thomas Avellon (USA) and Denmark's Jörgen Schönherr, who had three-time European Champion Markus Koy (GER) onbord, were also still in the game.
 
While Schönherr and Melleby got off to a good start in the race, Spitzauer and Stipanovic had to work their way through the field after a slow start. By the second lap however, the Austrians and Croatians had caught up to such an extent that they were already on course for the medal. Schönherr/Koy led the field ahead of Melleby/Avellon and crossed the finish line in the same way, but the points gap in the overall standings was too high to make it onto the podium.

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Spitzauer/Nehammer would have needed a top result directly behind the Croatians to win silver in the final race. And for a long time they had the best cards in their hands. But then Laser ace Tonci Stipanovic, in his first World Championship appearance in the Star boat, pulled off a winning move on the final cross. While Spitzauer/Nehammer went to the left side, Stipanovic/Bilic tacked to the right in the middle of the finish and found the right wind to pass the Austrians. The Americans Benjamin Sternberg/Stuart MacIntosh tipped the scales: they were also overtaken by Stipanovic, but had Spitzauer in their wake. Exactly this result was enough for the Croatians to win silver ahead of the Austrians. Behind them in the overall standings were Jörgen Schönherr/Markus Koy, Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada and Eivind Melleby/Guy Thomas Avellon.
 
To top the day, after his win in the last race, Jörgen Schönherr received the prize for the top Master Star skipper, while the top placing junior team, presented with the new Ding Schoonmaker Trophy, are 25-year-old Jan Borbet and his one-year older crewmate Jesper Spehr in twelfth place overall. "This is our first real Star boat season and we didn't expect the award. It was all about getting the best out of it for us. It's a pity that the real junior world championship had to be cancelled," said Jan Borbet. "We definitely want to stay in the Star class. After finishing our studies, we both started our careers and now have a bit more time."
 
The Prize Giving ceremony, held right in the middle of the crowded Kieler Woche Festival, sealed the 99th Star World Championship in Kiel, Germany's sailing city. The class effort moves now on to the Centenary World Championship, scheduled to happen from September 10th to the 17th, 2022 in Marblehead, Massachusetts, the cradle of US sailing, very close to where the 1st ever Star World Championship took place in 1922.

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