Top teams line up for the start of the Star world championship in Buenos Aires tomorrow

The Star class has returned to Buenos Aires in the Argentinean summer for the first World Championship of 2005 in the Olympic Classes. The last time the Stars in BA was in 1988 when a young Paul Cayard took away the trophy, and this World Championship follows on from a successful South American Championship held here in January and won by Lars Grael.

The line up is, as always very strong, even in a post Olympic year, with a 65 boat entry list. The current world number one and world champion Loof/Ekstrom (SWE) have returned to defend their trophy, teams looking to take their title include Athens Gold medalists Grael/Ferreria (BRA), 2003 world champions Rohart/Rambeau (FRA), 2002 world champions Percy/Mitchell (GBR), 2000 Gold medallist Mark Reynolds, who has teamed up with former world champion crew Phil Trinter (USA) and a few new faces including Laser legend and Athens gold medalist Robert Scheidt (BRA) who has teamed up with Bruno Prada, who sailed for Brazil in the Finn in Athens.

Conditions are expected to be hot, 30?C plus, and this should drive south-easterly sea breezes of 12-18 knots, perfect Star weather. The venue is on the south side of the River Plate, which at this point is about 80 miles wide, and 100 miles from the sea, so the water is fresh, although a slightly brown colour, similar to the Thames in London! The River is also pretty shallow providing a SPA regatta type chop. The schedule of races starts tomorrow with a practice race, and continues with one race per day starting at 3pm (when the sea breeze has established) finishing on Friday 18 with a lay day on Wednesday.

Skandia: Star – Team Percy Mitchell – Report

Athens seems a long time ago to us now, a distant memory, and after a long break we have been itching to get back in the boat. Iain has been away with the Italian America’s Cup team, 39, sailing over the winter in Sicily, while Steve has been getting the boat ready for this event and managing the campaign, spending some time match racing, and taking some much needed rest.

Our campaign was given a massive boost with the commitment of Skandia, our sponsors from 2002 until Athens, who have renewed their partnership with us for another four years until Beijing in 2008. This is great news for any Olympic campaign, but to have such a strong commitment, four years out makes planning and funding our campaign much easier.

The main change for us has been a full re-branding of the boat and it looks great in its new livery of turquoise and navy, certainly different from the boat park full of white stars; let’s hope it starts a new trend back to coloured boats. The boat is the same one that we used in Athens, built by Lillia in Italy, with some new sails from North UK, so is fully sorted and tuned, which should enable us to come back in close to where we left off. We have had a few sails out on the River Plate, and speed has been good, we have won a couple of practice races, and it certainly feels good being back in the boat together. We will keep you updated each day with how we are going and what news there is from the event.