Iain Percy and Steve Mitchell finish second at the Star Spring Champs
The Star Spring Championship of the Western Hemisphere was hosted by the Davis Island Yacht Club, Tampa Bay, Florida from the 25-30 April 2002.
An impressive entry of 38 Star boats took part including names such as Olympic Gold Medallists Mark Reynolds and Magnus Liljedhal, Oracle America’s Cup team members Paul Cayard and Phil Trinter, not forgetting RYA team GBR sailor and Olympic Gold Medallist in the Finn Class, Iain Percy sailing with Steve Mitchell.
The first race started in drifting conditions and after an hour and a half no boats had reached the first mark, so sensibly the race committee cancelled the race. When the sea breeze came in at 1500 racing got underway, but the shifts were so big that places were easily lost round the course. Percy and Mitchell finished in eighth place as a result of dropping out of some shifts on the last leg, Paul Cayard and Phil Trinter won the race.
Day two brought better conditions and enabled two races to be sailed, the race was won by Van der Ploeg/Marique from Spain, with Percy/Mitchell finishing in 11th place. A better result in the second race of the day saw Percy/Mitchell secure their first race win of the championship, playing the maze of shifts correctly and sailing away from Cayard in second place and George Szabo in third.
Two races were sailed again on the third day, Percy/Mitchell came back from a poor start and first leg to take fourth place and then secure another race win in the second race after a tussle with George Szabo/Austin Sperry of America. These results put Cayard/Trinter (USA) first overall, Percy/Mitchell (GBR) in second and Merriman/Bennet (USA) one point behind in third place. For Percy/Mitchell to win the championship, they would have to have won the last race and for Cayard/Trinter to finish in seventh place or worse, but the wind failed to appear on the last day and the results stood.
Mark Reynolds and Magnus Liljedhal, Bacardi Cup winners and Gold Medallists, failed to feature in this regatta, making some mistakes and ending up 17th overall after only posting one top ten result.
This is Percy and Mitchells’ best regatta result so far, proving that the hard work and training is paying off for them to hold their own in this highly competitive class that they have only been sailing in for less than a year.
1, Paul Cayard/Phil Trinter USA 8pts
2, Iain Percy/Steve Mitchell GBR 14pts
3, Rick Merriman/Bill BennettUSA USA 16pts
4, Augie Diaz/Christian Finnsgard USA 18pts
5, George Szabo/Austin Sperry USA 22pts
6, Mark Mansfield/Killian Collins IRE 30pts
7, Douglas Schofield/Robert Schofield USA 31pts
8, Jose Maria Van Der Ploeg/Domingo Marique ESP 36pts
9, Peter Vessella/Brian Fatih USA 38pts
10, Roberto Bermudez de Cas/Juan Pinacho ESP 40pts