Sunday, 17 January 2010

2010 Star World Championship: Practice Race Around the Bay Won by Brun and Kunze

Stars racing around Guanabara Bay, Rio. Image copyright Fried Elliott/

by Lynn Fitzpatrick

Rio is spectacular. Almost no matter where you are in Rio, if you look up, you will see Christ the Redeemer, with arms outstretched, looking down on Rio's exotic landscape and seascape.

Today, sailors had a special treat. Just as if they were sailing a big boat in the Caribbean, Asia or Europe, they sailed an irregular racecourse that provided them a tour of Rio's most famous waterfronts - Copacabana and Ipanema.

The course went something like this.

The starting line will be in front of "Morro da Viuva" point,
Leave the bay on either side of Large Island
Round the mark in front of the Copacabana Palace Hotel leaving it to port,
Round the mark near the Copacabana Fort leaving it to port,
Re-enter the bay on either side of the Large Island,
Finish at the entrance of the Club's inner harbor.

Gastao Brun and Gustavo Kunze (BRA) won the Practice Race of the 2010 Star World Championship. More importantly, they won the Taca Darke de Mattos, the longest running sailing regatta in South America.

Brun/Kunze had an early lead in light and shifty conditions. Julio Labandeira and Valentin Thompson (ARG) passed them as the shrinking fleet headed back from Copacabana. Labandeira/Thompson lost the lead under the lee of Sugarloaf.

Branislav Erac and Ozren Tosic (SBR) were neck and neck with Labanderia/Thompson as they played the final shifts through the mooring field in front of Rio de Janeiro Yacht Club. The new Serbian crew finished third.

The last boat to cross the line, Gerardo Della Torre and Guillermo Latour (ARG) win a very special trophy – a gilded gold shoe with a well-worn heel. Sailing legends have won this cherished trophy in this very traditional race.

What they said:

Gastao Brun - Winner

“Patience. We were more patient than the others.”

“We recovered on the run by staying out of the Sugarloaf’s wind shadow and remaining in the air that funnels through the two mountains for as long as possible.”

Julio Labandeira - Second Place Skipper who also sailed the event in 2004

“We sailed it as if it was an ocean race. We were in the top six or seven all of the time. It was best when we were in first, but Gastao passed us in the shadow of Sugarloaf.”

Branislav Erac – Third Place Skipper who has spent 62 hours in a Star
(The Serbians Facebook Fan Club is mushrooming. Become a fan of Erac Branislav and Ozren Tosic)

“It is the first time ever for any Serbian crew to be in the Star World Championship and we are here with our Slovenian coach.”

“Including this race, we have sailed 62 hours in a Star. Every hour on the water is really precious, and of course, this was a unique opportunity to sail in front of Copacabana.”

Statue of Christ the Redeemer overlooks a cloudy Guanabara Bay, Rio. Image copyright Fried Elliott/

Race 1 of the 2010 Star World Championship is scheduled to be a race inside Guanabara Bay. Only one race of the six races in the series may be sailed inside the Bay. This subjects the fleet to variable wind and current conditions as opposed to more steady conditions offshore.

Saturday's weather forecast is for light air. According to Nelson Ilha, PRO, "It is forecast to be very light inside, but even lighter outside. Saturday's forecast calls for better conditions inside than outside, so if we have to sail a race inside, tomorrow is the best day."

Ilha also explained that he has permission to close the Bay again on January 22nd, should the first race not materialize. Stopping commercial shipping and ferry traffic in the Bay is a difficult process during the week.

2010 Star Worlds

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