USA. US Sailing’s Mendelblatt & Strubb win gold medal at Star European Championship Print E-mail
Monday, 14 August 2006
Marni Lane:


Skipper Mark Mendelblatt (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and his crew, Mark Strube (West Palm Beach, Fla.), won a gold medal at the 2006 Star European Championship Saturday, part of Rolex Baltic Week in Neustadt, Germany. In an unprecedented performance at a major Star championship, Mendelblatt and Strube scored three consecutive bullets in the first three races and finished with only 10 points, a 15 point lead over three-time Laser Olympic medalist Robert Scheidt and crew Bruno Prada of Brazil. Fellow US Sailing Team members Andy Horton (Newport, R.I.) and Brad Nichol (Lake Sunapee, N.H.) claimed the bronze medal, at only two points behind the Brazilian team.

While the Florida-based duo held a consistent lead, the conditions deteriorated. Light and shifting wind conditions on the Bay of Lübeck caused racing to be postponed for three consecutive days. With only five out of the planned eight races sailed, there was initial debate whether it officially constituted a European championship. However, after consulting the Star Class rule book, race committee officials verified the event was valid and called the regatta on Saturday, cementing Mendelblatt and Strube’s win.

“We are very happy to win the regatta,” said Mendelblatt, “but it was a tough one, mentally, because we had to sit around with the lead for three days waiting to race. We knew that if we did race, it would be a very light, shifty one, so we never felt comfortable with our lead. Once the last postponement flag went up, it was a huge relief.”

“We were loose and had no expectations, and I think that allowed us to sail as well as we did,” added Mendelblatt. “Not to mention a bit of well-timed luck.”

In addition to luck, Mendelblatt and Strube depended on upwind and downwind speed under the light conditions of 6 to 15 knots. Mendelblatt said they are always learning the same lessons: “Do not ever let the boat get slow, try to stay positive no matter how bad things look and keep fighting for every inch around the racecourse. You learn by making tactical decisions, based on the risk versus reward, in shifty conditions and try to play the percentages.”

In June, Mendelblatt and Strube won their first gold medal together at a major European regatta, at the 2006 Kiel Week in Germany, again beating their long-time rivals Scheidt and Prada. They finished second at the Star Eastern Hemisphere Championships this past April in Naples, Italy. In March, 2005, they won the 2005 BACARDI Cup, a six-race series sailed annually in Biscayne Bay, Fla. Mendelblatt and Strube first sailed together in the 2003 America's Cup in New Zealand on One World.

Horton and Nichol, who are ranked the number one US SAILING Star team, seized the bronze medal, after winning a bullet in the fifth and last race. “The only thing you can be sure of here in Germany is that it’s always changing,” they said, referring to the wind shifts. “Luckily we were on top of it this time.”

The Star European Championship, ranked by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) as a Grade C1 event, attracted more than 93 Star boats from 26 countries. This is the third annual Rolex Baltic Week.

For complete results and photos from the 2006 Star European Championship, including results from US Sailing Team members who competed in the event, please visit the event website at www.rolex-baltic-week.com.

About US SAILING

The United States Sailing Association (US SAILING) is the national governing body for sailing and sailboat racing. Headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, the organization's mission is to encourage participation and promote excellence in sailing and racing in the U.S. US SAILING offers training and education programs, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including the US Sailing Teams and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Teams. For more information, please visit www.ussailing.org.


Last Updated ( Monday, 14 August 2006 )
< Prev   Next >