A fleet of 114 boats from 26 countries, sailed by 11 former class champions, four Olympic gold medalists and several America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race campaigners, will compete in the Nautica Star Class World Championships next week on Santa Monica Bay.
Sailing will begin Sunday from a base at the California Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, and will run through Friday.
The two-person boats will start on a divided starting line and sail twice-around courses stretching from 2 to 2.6 nautical miles, depending on wind conditions. One race is scheduled each of the six days starting at 1 p.m. about a mile off the beach. Each boat may discard its worst result.
The defending champion is Fredrik Loof of Sweden, who prefers stronger winds than are normally found on Santa Monica Bay. When he won at Medemblik, the Netherlands, last year, his best races were in double-digit breezes.
Two young Irishmen, 12th-ranked Maxwell Treacy and crewman Anthony Shanks, finished 32nd in their first worlds a year ago but became dark-horse favorites by winning last weekend's 74-boat King of Spain Regatta.
Also not to be overlooked is three-time world champion--1961, '70 and '85--and 1984 Olympic champion Bill Buchan of Seattle. Although 67 and not a regular class competitor anymore, Buchan and crewman Mark Brink won a race and finished ninth in the King of Spain behind another former champion, Ross Macdonald of Canada, who won in 1994.
Other top contenders figure to be former champions Reynolds, '95 and 2000; Hagen, '81 and '97; Torben Grael, '90, and Alan Adler, '89, both from Brazil; Colin Beashel, Australia, '98; Paul Cayard, San Francisco, '88; Eric Doyle, San Diego, '99, and Joe Londrigan, Springfield, Ill., '93.
Eighteen of the 19 top-ranked Star sailors will be competing.