This past weekend, the Star Class World Championship ended in a riveting come-from-behind win for Americans George Szabo and Rick Peters of US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. Despite a discouraging “throw-away” first race (54 of 86 boats), Szabo and Peters persevered and sailed to victory in the second race, earning themselves the gold and the title of Star Class World Champions.
“Back on the dock after that first race, we joked that we could still win the regatta, but we just wanted to finish in the top ten,” said Szabo in a press release. The last time Szabo and Peters finished in the top 10 was at the 1994 World Championship, the first time they competed in the race together.
Before this unexpected win, the last time Americans emerged victorious in the Star Class World Championship was in 2000 with a boat sailed by Mark Reynolds and Magnus Liljedahl. Since then, the only time an American boat has medaled was in 2001, when Vince Brun and Mike Dorgan snagged bronze.
But Szabo and Peters weren’t the only ones representing US Sailing at the Star Class World Championships. “In the Star Class, the U.S. has teams with different sails and different hulls, and yet we all work together,” said High Performance Director Kenneth Andreasen in a press release. “Our boats lined up to speed test before every start, which shows great teamwork. That’s the way we’re going to win medals.” A second boat from the US Sailing Team manned by Andrew Campbell and Liljedahl captured 5th place, and the two other boats from the team placed 14th and 15th in the race. Hopefully the team will continue its success, because the last thing anybody wants is another eight-year Star-class drought.