Where to put all that power?

They are the role models of sailing: the players in the Finn and Star Class. Their dilemma: since the world federation removed the Star Class for 2016 and now also the Finn for 2024 from the Olympic programme, they have lost their top sporting base. While the Finn class still has to find its way away from Olympic status, the Star Class has already created new events with the Star Sailors League (SSL), attracting top athletes from other classes to the keelboat. The SSL finals have thus become a ’who’s who’ of sailing in recent years. But the starlings don’t just reach for the top shelf; in Germany, the build-up also succeeds through the young talent.

Arnd Glunde (right) with some of the international juniors for the World Championships, from left: from left: Jake Lilly, Chas Beek, Daniel Fritz, Marcel Vockel, Vincent Schrader, Bennet Schüttke, Christopher Engel, Jolanda-Lene Engel-Müller. Photo: segel-bilder.de

The list of high-sounding stars is getting longer every year. In addition to the established aces of the class, highly decorated athletes from the single-handed classes keep coming along. Britain’s Ed Wright, 2010 Finn World Champion and a five-time World Championship medallist in Finn until 2014, is pulling strings with Italy’s Mario Borroi at this Worlds. Jake Lilley sailed to seventh place in the Finns at the Tokyo Games and is now piloting the Australian star with Alexei Selivanov over the World Cup course. And two-time Olympic silver medallist in the Laser, Tonci Stipanovic (Croatia), is one of the very hot favourites at the Starboat World Championships during Kiel Week with his coxswain Tudor Bilic.

"The top Laser sailors know immediately how to steer the Star. There are many similarities. Philipp Buhl already proved that in the SSL," says Germany’s top crew Frithjof Kleen, who has made a perfect start to the World Championships with Diego Negri. "Tonci Stipanovic is also already very experienced in Star boats. And you don’t have to explain sailing in a star class to an Ed Wright either."

For Arnd Glunde from Flensburg, it is always a blessing to see new faces in his class - especially when the young starlings end up at the front. "It’s great to see them racing around our ears." The Star class enthusiast from Flensburger SC and NRV Hamburg has started a project in northern Germany to bring youngsters into the Star. "The Star is a brilliant boat, trains the complete sailor. I was once the youngest competitor in the German Championship as a 14-year-old on my father’s foresheet. And my father has trained many Star boat sailors. I try to continue this initiative of my father’s now."

Having a small Star Class park of his own helps him do that. "When I lived in London, I had two boats based in Germany - one in Hamburg and one in Munich. I could then use them to get to regattas quickly when I flew from England to Germany." This was followed by the purchase of two more boats. Originally, it was a business idea to be able to charter the boats to teams from overseas at world championships in Europe. However, Arnd Glunde abandoned this idea. Now he awards the boats to the German youngsters. "One Star is a pure beginner’s boat, the other three are newer and absolutely race-ready."

The youngest of them is skippered by Max Kohlhoff from Kiel, to whom Glunde has also given his regular foreship Ole Burzinski. The duo has high hopes of being among the top contenders in the special World Championships for Juniors (U30). The second boat is sailed by the young Flensburg couple Jolanda-Lene Engel-Müller/Christopher Engel, and the third is sailed by Glunde himself with junior forescoter Bennet Schüttke.

The junior idea also exists in western Germany. Jörg Mellis of YC Ruhrland Essen can lure youngsters with the strong Star class fleet on Lake Baldeney. "We inspire the youth not only with the boat, but also with the people. Because we also look after them, we don’t shy away from providing a boat sometimes. In spring there is a training camp in Heeg in the Netherlands with cometogether in the holiday home. That’s how the next generation grows together in the Star." Ex-420 sailor Jan Borbet with Jesper Spehr on the foresheet is one of the hopeful Star boat talents from the West. The Möhne Lake crew with Vincent Schrader/Marcel Vockel and the young Chiemsee sailor Daniel Fritz are also integrated into the German junior group.

With the youth project, however, the ideas of the Star class sponsors are not yet exhausted. "We want to establish a series of three lighthouse events in the north, west and south. The working title is Big-Three. It’s much nicer to sail with 30 or 40 boats on the course than always with just ten at the small regattas. The venues for the events could move," says Glunde. And Mellis adds: "Kiel’s 50th Olympic anniversary next year would be a great occasion. And the World Cup now is a perfect platform to keep promoting our cause." (hel)

Model athletes at the start: Finn aces like Ed Wright like to find their way into the star class. Photo: segel-bilder.de

Event Website: https://2021worlds.starchampionships.org
Entries: https://2021worlds.starchampionships.org/entry/entry-list/2021_worlds
Results: https://2021worlds.starchampionships.org/results


Friday, 10 September:

10.00 hrs.: 1st start of the day.
After the races: End of the day with snacks and beer

Saturday, 11 September:
10.30 hrs.: 1st start of the day
14.30 hrs.: last start of the day
After the races: Award ceremony and farewell ceremony

Low Point Scoring, Discard after five races sailed

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