2021 Star World Championship in Kiel, racing starts today
The curtains of the 99th Star World Championship have been officially lifted with the Opening Ceremony, tonight at the legendary 1972 Olympic Village in Kiel, Germany. A parade of the sailors with a flag bearer for each of the 18 nations represented by the 83 teams marked the opening of the Gold Star event, that was to take place last year but, as many other international regattas, got postponed. Everyone is eager to race and most of the large fleet hit the water today in 15knots northerly breeze, sunshine and the typical 'Kiel chop'.
"I am so happy we were able to organize this event, we've been waiting for it for a long time because of the pandemic" said Star Class President Hubert Merkerlbach. "I am thankful it's happening in Kiel, Germany's sailing city where we had four World Championships before this one: in 1939, 1966, 1977 and 1993. And I am pleased to see 83 teams showing up, with so many young sailors too, it is fantastic – and possibly my last World Championship as President. The Star Class and Kiel have a long story, linked to its Olympic past".
Lots of memories are indeed brought back among the sailors by being in Kiel during Kieler Woche, the traditional Olympic classes regatta. Normally sailed in June, it has always been one of the key events of the season, often being appointed by the national Federations for the Olympic Games selection.
"The first time I sailed here I was 19 years old, and I was sailing the Finn" remembers Xavier Rohart (FRA), sailing here with Ante Sitic (CRO). "We were here for a sailing exchange between France and Germany and I liked it immediately. Since then, I have come many times in Finn and Star class and it is quite nostalgic to be here, lots of memories".
"Last time I was here I was in 470 with my brother Tommaso" said European Champion Enrico Chieffi, with his crew Nando Colaninno. "It is such an epic place to have the Star World Championship, I remember it as a tough and scary place, with rain, cold wind and chop, very different from what we are experiencing today. I am here with Nando as European Champions, but it doesn't give us any advantage, it is a tough fleet, and we will just take one day at a time trying to do our best".
Among the many great names racing in Kiel for a spot on the 2021 Star World Championship podium, there are indeed the defending World Champions, Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Bruno Prada (BRA). "It's been long since the last Worlds, two whole years" said Matesuz and Bruno, whose win at this event will make him the most ever winning Star sailors with six titles under his belt. "We will give it all to defend the title, but we will not focus too much on the numbers and records. It is true that we had a great Bacardi Cup last March with an all-bullets scorecard, but it is much a larger and stronger fleet here and we will just sail like we know and we love".
Start time for the first race tomorrow is at 1300, the forecast is for very light wind which always opens the games, and the entire week will be affected by a big high-pressure over Europe, bringing unlikely warm weather and gentle breezes.