July 24, 2003

Rockport duo captures championship

Staff writers

A local sailing duo captured the 2003 District 1 Star Class Championship.

The race, composed of 26 teams that competed for the Blue Star honors last weekend off Sandy Bay Yacht Club, was won by the Rockport team of Jake Fiumara and Joe Chambers.

For Chambers, it was his fifth championship as a crewman. Fiumara is another veteran sailor who won the event in 2001. The Star Class Championship was a qualifier for the World Championships.

Different colored stars are awarded according to different levels of sailing success, beginning with red, green, blue, silver and gold. The latter is awarded once a year to the Star Class World Champion. Skippers display the different colored stars on their sails to honor their achievements.

A Green and Blue stars were awarded in Rockport this weekend.

Needing to finish one race to officially complete the series, an early start was scheduled for Sunday. The overall series stood with Rockport's John Safford and Patrick Bodden in first, followed by Fiumara and Chambers and Peter Costa and Sergey Leonidov from Boston Harbor.

With only five points separating the top five places, it shaped up to be a competitive battle for the series. There were many lead changes throughout the day. As the boats turned for the finish line, defending champion Ben Cesare and Peter Manion led. Fiumara and Chambers were second, Boston Harbor's Mike Kalin and Greg Dolan were third, Josh Phypers and Dave Timberlake were fourth and Safford and Bodden were fifth.

If the positions held, Fiumara and Chambers would be winners. If a boat passed them or if Safford and Bodden passed two boats, they would win. With 200 yards to the finish, it looked like it was anyone's race. Safford and Bodden passed a boat and Kalin and Dolan were gaining on Fiumara and Chambers. However, it was too little too late as the Rockporters held on by half a boat length to take second place in the race and win the overall series.

Fiumara and Chambers edged fellow Rockporters Safford and Bodden in a tiebreaker for their second Blue Star. Ben Cesare and Peter Manion were third overall and Kalin and Dolan took the Green Star division.

Friday, the first day of racing, had some difficult weather, and the first race was canceled as thunderstorms and 30 mph winds came through the course in the afternoon. Finally, the Race Committee canceled all races, and everyone sailed to Sandy Bay Yacht Club without getting a race in the books.

The fleet was more optimistic Saturday morning as three races were scheduled. However, light and variable winds made it a difficult and long day. The first race saw Rockport's Jim Kubik and Mason Browne battle for first against Kalin and Dolan. In the end Kalin and Dolan were able to secure the victory.

The second race saw more of the same conditions. Fiumara and Chambers put together an impressive display. They got out to a huge lead at the midpoint and were able to maintain their position to take the race. Tony Rey and Doug Brophy, of Newport, R.I., finished second, and Safford and Bodden took third.

The third race of the day was canceled. Soon, a thick fog rolled in, and the many support boats towed the fleet into the harbor from the race course about three miles off shore.