The 2022 Star Worlds featured six days of intense racing where the final and deciding gold medal win went to the team of Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi of Italy.
The epic battle took place in Marblehead waters and featured 85 boats from 13 countries, with many of the sailors either former world champions, Olympians or otherwise among the best racing in the world today.
During some of the toughest sailing conditions in recent memory, sailors and race management overcame daily challenges ranging from light air and very choppy seas to strong, gusty, and cold winds to complete the championship.
For the Italians, a third-place finish on the sixth day was more than enough to reward the Italians with gold.
“It was really a tough championship,” said Negri, who defended his 2021 Worlds title and won the 100th anniversary championship. “We played this way 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.”
Saturday’s final race featured a large spectator fleet and despite a number of Marblehead sailors on the water, including Jud Smith and Remi Hutchens (15th overall) and Tomas Hornos (ninth overall), the battle for the top three came down to the final race.
Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Bruno Prada (USA) led to the first mark, chased by Negri/Lambertenghi, and Croatia’s Tonci Stipanovic and 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 (USA)and Frithjof Kleen (GER) were gunning for the bronze, and with their podium rivals, Eric Doyle and Payson Infelise (USA) struggling and back in 31st, their quest was complete as they crossed the line in eighth.
“It was a beautiful week, and although conditions were unpredictable at times, it was great fun to sail here in Marblehead, beautiful place,” added Sergio Lamberthenghi.
Negri already has six 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).
Commenting on the challenge of racing in Marblehead, Paul Cayard said, “I was very happy to get third, but at this level it is very hard to be in the position to win on the last day. But we were there, as was USA sailor Eric Doyle. Being in that position, we started three-quarters of the way down the line and went left, and unfortunately the wind went right. Diego (the winner) relies a lot on his boat speed and always stays in the middle of the course, and this has paid off for him. He sailed a great regatta. 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.”
This is the second time Cayard has been to the Star Worlds in Marblehead, having also competed here in 1994.
“It is great being here in Marblehead, and all the yacht clubs have done a wonderful job,” Cayard said. “We are celebrating a good year and a great season of racing, ending with this event here.”
This sentiment was shared by Firthjof Kleen, who noted, “It has been special to me sailing with a legend like Paul Cayard. This is an epic event and a very challenging series. We really enjoyed being here in Marblehead.”
Today’s bronze medal represents the seventh time Cayard has stood on the Star Worlds podium, and it was 34 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.
The 100th anniversary of the Star World championships was open to all Star sailors with no qualifying event. This meant that many U.S. Star sailors had a representative from their fleet as well from our region, with key divisions including Exalted Grand Master (over 80), Grand Master Division (over 60), where Paul Cayard placed first and Jud Smith placed fifth.
In the Under 30 division, Marblehead sailor William Hundahl and Jack Garrard placed eighth.
“For us, it was more about participating in this 100th anniversary event,” said Hundahl, who is in his mid 20s.
He and Garrard were given the opportunity to race in one of the most decorated and historic fleets in sailing and seized the opportunity.
“We have so much to learn, and allowing us to participate at a reduced cost — virtually one tenth of the cost for under-30s — has helped us to be here,” Garrard said. “Also, all of the members of the class have been so helpful, and we are getting so much great advice from them. It has been an amazing experience.”
An Olympic boat for over 80 years, the Star boat is one of the most technical small boats on the water, and many former Olympians, America’s Cup and world-class sailors still fill its ranks. Yet it also has regional fleets in Sunapee, New Hampshire and Winthrop, as well as around the Midwest and West Coast, where multi-generations compete, forging special bonds to the boat and the classes that keep these sailors together.
“Over the past 100 years, the role the Star Class has played in international sailing cannot be overstated,” commented Tom Londrigan, Star Class president. “The Star has led with innovations, not least modernizing itself, while retaining its distinctive one-design hull shape. The Star’s popularity continues, spanning generations.
Londrigan continued, “The International Star Class Yacht Racing Association is beyond proud to be celebrating this historic achievement, the first by any international class. Beloved by all ages, the youngest sailor competing here is Vincent Schrader (of Germany), 23 years old, with the oldest, John Chiarella (of the United States), at 85 – all thrilled to be competing.”
Londrigan thanked the Eastern Yacht Club, which hosted the event, volunteers, and the Star Class sailors.
Final Top 10 Results Overall
- Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA 2021) – 16 pts
- Tonci Stipanovic / Tudor Bilic (CRO 1991) – 21 pts
- Paul Cayard / Frithjof Kleen (USA 1988) – 25 pts
- Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise (USA 1999) – 27 pts
- Jack Jennings / Pedro Trouche (USA 8464) – 45 pts
- Eivind Melleby / Joshua Revkin (NOR 2017) – 45 pts
- Mateusz Kusznierewicz / Bruno Prada (POL 2019) – 46 pts
- Jørgen Schoenherr / Markus Koy (DEN 8532) – 47 pts
- Tomas Hornos / Mauricio Bueno (USA 1981) – 56 pts
- Hubert Merkelbach / Kilian Weise (GER 8446) – 58 pts
The medal ceremony and prize giving included:
- 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