Italy's Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi have won the 100th Anniversary Star World Championship, held in Marblehead, USA, with a superbly consistent regatta in a range of conditions. While they didn’t win a race, they only once finished outside the top five, and their final race third place ensured they secured the title with a comfortable five points margin over their nearest rival.
For SSL Gold Cup Team Italy sailor Diego Negri this marked a successful defence of the title he won in 2021, but for Lambertenghi this was his first-ever win, after coming so close in 2014, losing the championship by a single point. Sergio summed up his thoughts with, “We are super happy, no words."
Diego Negri said, "It was really a tough championship and today, these tricky conditions for the last race. It was not easy, waking up at 0600 to be ready for the racing. I knew that in these conditions we are the best in the world."
SSL Gold Cup Team Croatia’s Tonci Stipanovic and Tudor Bilic took the second step on the podium, keeping the pressure on to the last with a second place in the final race, but an 8th and 18th in races 4 and 5 respectively meant they had too much to do on the final day to overhaul the Italians.
The final spot on the podium went to the powerhouse team of SSL Gold Cup Team Captains Paul Cayard (USA) and Frithjof Kleen (Germany), who rued their choices on the first beat throughout the regatta, but clearly had superb boat speed.
Cayard commented after the final race, "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.”
The charge of SSL Gold Cup Team Poland Captain Mateusz Kusznierewicz, sailing with Bruno Prada, came to an abrupt end in strong winds during race 4 when they lost their mast. There was consolation for them with a final race win, which moved them up to seventh overall, but they were left to reflect on what might have been a great event if things had gone differently.
“We took that hard,” said Kusznierewicz on this dismasting. “But it is always nice to win the last race, so we are very happy.”
Preparations now focus on the SSL Gold Cup itself, taking place in Bahrain from October 28th to 20th November, where many Star sailors will be joining their all-star national teams in the ultimate showdown in the event which is like the football World Cup… in sailing.
First up will be the 1/32 Finals (October 29 – November 2), where the top two teams from each of the Qualifying Series events (May 19 - July 17), will battle it out in groups of four to reach the 1/16 Finals (November 3-7) where they will meet the first seeded teams in the event.
Once again, the top two teams from each group will go through to the 1/8 Finals (November 8-12), to face off against the next tier of seeded teams for a place in the 1/4 Finals (November 14-18), where the final tier of seeded teams await.
This is where the final sixteen teams are whittled down to just eight, to compete in the one-day 1/2 Finals (November 19) and then just a day later (November 20) the final four will battle it out for the title.
Will the seeded teams with their Olympic-medal laden crews make it through, or will the experience gained in the early rounds give the teams who have made it through the Qualifying Series the edge? This intrigue and suspense is what is going to make the SSL Gold Cup the must-watch event of 2022!