Standout performace rewards Diego Negri/Sergio Lambertenghi (ita) with 2022 Star World Championship win
Standout performace rewards Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi
A solid third place in the final race from Italy's Diego Negri/Sergio Lambertenghi was more than enough to reward them with gold at the 2022 Star Worlds.
For Negri, winning the 100th Anniversary Championship marks a successful defense of his 2021 Worlds title, while Lambertenghi debuts his hands on the trophy. A return to light shifty conditions for the final day was the perfect conclusion for Negri/Lambertenghi.
"It was really a tough Championship," said Negri, "and today, these tricky conditions for the last race. It was not easy, waking up at 0600 to be ready for the regatta. I knew that in these conditions we are the best in the world," continued Negri on this morning's race expectation.
"We played this from the beginning... stay calm and we are going to win the Championship. It was great fun, a lot of intensity, I thank Sergio who was with me the last few years, always supporting me. He has been great, today especially, so I am very, very happy."
Negri already has a bucket full of Star World Championship medals, adding gold in 2022 and 2021 to his three silvers (2016, 2014, 2008) and bronze (2015). A Star Worlds victory has until today proved elusive for Lambertenghi, after two silvers (2016, 2014) and a bronze (2015).
"We started to sail together in 2013," reflected Lambertenghi. "In 2014 we lost the Championship by just one point, and we were so close for the next two or three years. But I thought, this is not enough and I will keep continuing. I knew that last year was the right time, but I was in Kiel in '93 and I had enough," Lambertenghi said in reference to the 1993 Star Worlds. In Lambertenghi's absence, last year Diego sailed to gold with Frithjof Kleen (USA).
"This year we planned to come here for a holiday," Lambertenghi laughed. "But then when you get into the competition you start playing hard and everything was perfect. We are super happy, no words."
The final race was finely balanced with four teams in contention for the podium. The final race was a battle of the big names jockeying for position. While out of contention for a medal, Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL)/Bruno Prada (USA) led to the first mark, chased by Negri/Lambertenghi, and Croatia's Tonci Stipanovic/Tudor Bilic, who had their work cut out to close the points needed for a podium finish.
Negri overhauled Kusznierewicz/Prada by the downwind gate, with the Croatians holding on to third. All changed at the finish with the win going to Kusznierewicz/Prada, the Croatians in second to secure silver and Italians in third to get gold.
A few boats further back Paul Cayard/Frithjof Kleen were gunning for the bronze, and with their podium rivals, Eric Doyle/Payson Infelise (USA) struggling and back in 31st, their quest was secure as they crossed the line in eighth.
Stipanovic/Bilic competed at their first Star Worlds last year, wrapping up with silver, so, as Bilic said, "This year we had to win the silver again!"
Going into the final race in fourth overall, 6 points behind the leaders, they were hoping for light breeze to have the opportunity to attack and challenge the teams ahead,
Commenting on the challenge of racing in Marblehead, Stipanovic added, "It was really nice, we had all kinds of conditions."
Last night Cayard/Kleen did their research on the expected current and sea breeze, seeking advice from local sailor Jud Smith and the feeling was, the left would be favored. Ashore after racing, Cayard commented, "We started three-quarters of the way down the line and went left and unfortunately the wind went right a lot and we found ourselves pretty deep on the first beat, which has been a little bit of the theme for us this regatta, as we have been on the wrong side of the first beat a little too much. We have made amazing comebacks, but it is hard to beat guys like Diego and Sergio if you are on the wrong side of the first beat all the time. We are satisfied, we got third in a very competitive fleet," Cayard concluded.
Today's bronze medal represents the seventh time Cayard has stood on the Star Worlds podium, and it was thirty-four years ago in 1988 that he won gold with Steve Erickson. More recent glory days for Kleen saw him secure top spot last year with Diego Negri, and previously in 2014 with Robert Stanjek.
A win in the last race was never going to be enough for Kusznierewicz/Prada to make it to the podium, after their dismasting in Thursday's race 4 and Friday's 26th place finish saw them out of contention with an insurmountable points mountain.
"We took that hard," reflected Kusznierewicz, as at the point of dismasting, they were in 2nd or 3rd place, which would have been enough to place them on the podium. "It is always nice to win the last race of the Championship. We are very happy."
"It is good to finish after a week that we took a lot of bad decisions and maybe some bad luck. To finish winning gives us some hope for the future," concluded Prada.
Final Top 10 Results Overall
1. Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA 2021) - 16 pts
2. Tonci Stipanovic / Tudor Bilic (CRO 1991) - 21 pts
3. Paul Cayard / Frithjof Kleen (USA 1988) - 25 pts
4. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise (USA 1999) - 27 pts
5. Jack Jennings / Pedro Trouche (USA 8464) - 45 pts
6. Eivind Melleby / Joshua Revkin (NOR 2017) - 45 pts
7. Mateusz Kusznierewicz / Bruno Prada (POL 2019) - 46 pts
8. Jørgen Schoenherr / Markus Koy (DEN 8532) - 47 pts
9. Tomas Hornos / Mauricio Bueno (USA 1981) - 56 pts
10. Hubert Merkelbach / Kilian Weise (GER 8446) - 58 pts
The medal ceremony and prize giving celebrations will run long into the evening this evening at Eastern Yacht Club, with trophies also presented to the winners of the age categories:
U30 (skipper aged under 30) - Antonio Carvalho Moreira/Ubiratan Matos (BRA) – 26th overall
Senior (skipper aged 30-49) - Tonci Stipanovic/Tudor Bilic (CRO) – 2nd overall
Master (skipper aged 50-59) - Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA) – 1st overall
Grand Master (skipper aged 60-69) - Paul Cayard (USA)/Frithjof Kleen (GER) – 3rd overall
Exalted Grand Master (skipper aged 70 or over) - John Dane III/Tim Ray (USA) – 16th overall