The Star World Championship this year attracted 103 competitors from 25 nations including 11 former world champions and seven different nations in the top eight places. To say that the fleet was deep is and understatement. The class is stronger than ever and the promise of beautiful California weather guaranteed a large turn out in Marina del Rey. For the first time that I can remember the highest placing American was fourth. This speaks to the internationality of the class. The new weight limit has changed things a bit. The last two Star World Championships have been won by former Finn Champions, Freddie Loof and now Ian Percy. Is there a message here?
Walking around the boat park in the morning is an interesting experience. Many of the crews who have been sailing stars for 20 years are not recognizable. Most have lost 10-30 kilos due to the weight limit. Not having been one of the proponents of the weight limit, I have to admit: Star sailors in general look a lot more athletic than five years ago and they probably should thank Alex Hagen for prolonging their life by 10 years. The Star is still a very powerful boat and given the lower weights of the crews, both skipper and crew have to hike harder. Enter the Finn sailors. If any group of people knows how to hike it is Finn sailors, right?
Ian Percy, Finn Gold medallist from Sydney 2000, and Steve Mitchell put on a clinic in Marina del Rey. Both were straight-leg-hiking most of the windward legs. Both were extremely fit and once again the bar has been raised on Athleticism in sailing. After a 19th in the first race, they found their stride and never finished out of the top 5. They were in that magical grove where you know you are fast, you relish the conditions, it seems you can