Two bullets on the very last day of the 2022 Star European Championship delivered the continental title unquestionably to Tonci Stipanovic and Tudor Bilic. It was a hard fought battle for the Croatian team who right after they christened their new Star boat here in Copenhagen, had a very bad day to start the Championship. A little disheartened, they began the climb to the top on day 2, when they finished first and third, to finalize the work today with two wins to undoubtedly earn the right to engrave their name on the 40-year-old Star European Championship Trophy.
“That was the only good option for us so we really pushed hard today and the plan was to do 2 bullets and really have a good first downwind, which we managed to do that in the first race. In the second race I said to Tudor, OK let’s do a good start and go left and then strike as hard as we can… and again we had a really good downwind. After that we were covering the group and trying to finish first so we we managed that and we’re really happy. After the first day we were thinking that we don’t have any any chance for the podium and then in the end with a good day we managed to win the gold”.
A day to remember for them indeed, but a great day for the whole 51 boat fleet who had the chance to sail two amazing races with winds going from 10 knots in the first start to above 20 in the last downwind of the second race. A big shift to the right had the Committee work hard to reset the course, with the wind coming from the North substituted the tedious chop with big waves to be happily surfed by the almost 700kg keel boats. A smooth start in the fifth race, was followed by three general recalls in the last one, but the sun was shining, and the soaked sailors all had smiles on their salty, weary faces.
After race five the overall ranking had already drastically changed due to the discard coming in place, Hubert Merkelbach and Kilian Weise (GER) were leading – a great achievement for them after loosing a race for a broken mast on day two – followed by Jack Jennings with Pedro Trouche (BRA) and only two points behind Stipanovic/Bilic. The sixth and last race confirmed the same three teams on the podium, but the Germans slipped in third after a ninth place.
“We were a bit unlucky in the second day, we broke the mast in the third race and that cost us a DNF but we managed to go back ashore, change it very quickly in between the races rushed out and for the fourth race and finished second, so that was great!! Today another second place in the fifth race after which we were actually the overall leaders, but we didn’t do well in the last race so in the end we finished third. We are very happy with this bronze medal”.
Only happiness for the silver medalists, Jack Jennings and Pedro Trouche who seem to be liking to step on the Continental Championship podium after winning the North Americans just a month ago, their eyes are already set to the Western Hemisphere on Lake Sunapee and eventually to the 100th Anniversary Star World Championship in Marblehead in September.
2nd Place skipper Jack Jennings commented, “It’s going well for us, we wanted to just come into this regatta and have a shot to win on the last day and that’s what we did and we fought hard, we had to fight during every leg. But Tonci sailed amazing today, he had two firsts so it’s hard to keep up with that and I think he got us by a point and it’s well deserved for him, he’s definitely a champion sailor obviously, so we’re very happy with second place. It was great, and it was great competing with Pedro again, we had some great downwinds and some hard hiking upwind and a fantastic last day, fast is fun!”.
A very well managed 2022 European Championship by the Royal Danish Yacht Club whose management got also involved in helping two Ukrainian teams to have a license to join the fleet and be able to forget about the bombings for a week of just sport among friends.
The Star class fleet will meet again in a little more than a month on Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire, for the 2022 Star Western Hemisphere, before the long awaited 100thAnniversary 2022 Star World Championship in Marblehead, Massachusetts in mid September.
1 Tonci Stipanovic Tudor Bilic
2 Jack Jennings Pedro Trouche
3 Hubert Merkelbach Kilian Weise
4 Marin Misura Tonco Barac
5 Piet Eckert Frederico Melo