Star Sailor League – Day 3

Nassau,

Two races were held today in 10-12 knots out of the east. Austin and I went into todays races at the back of the leader board, but had a good day and managed to climb up a few positions.

We got off to a great start leading race 1 around the first lap, losing the lead to Mark Mendleblatt at the second windward mark, and then regaining the lead only to be finally overhauled by the king, Robert Scheidt, on the final run.

At that point we were in 11th place, 5 points out of 10th, which we needed to be in in order to move on to tomorrows racing.

We had a decent start in the second race but didn’t do so well up the first beat and were near the back after the first lap. We tightened things up on the second lap and came home with a 13th.

That put us 12th overall, 8 points off the cut for the semi finals tomorrow. Honestly, I don’t deserve to be better than 12th in this fleet right now and I didn’t deserve to beat Robert in race 1 today. He works very hard to be as good as he is. There is no way a guy who hasn’t sailed in 4 years should be able to walk into this class and win a race in this fleet. That’s why I race Stars.

Since concluding the Cup last summer, it has been my plan to get back into the Star. I was thinking of starting out with some regattas in Miami this winter and working up to the Bacardi Cup in March. But I jumped in to the deep end instead and I am leaving Nassau better for it. I feel energized to be out competing again and looking forward to more soon.

I think the SSL is a great concept and Michel Niklaus has made an innovative step forward in sailing at the highest level. The format, having several “cuts” is exciting and tomorrow’s semi-finals and finals races will be a first in sailing. Robert is definitely the torch bearer at the moment, however as the points get zero’d out at every stage, it will take just one good race by someone else to take the top prize of $40k.

For complete results, videos, etc. go to www.starsailors.com

Forecast for tomorrow is the same…more perfection in paradise.

Paul

Star Sailor League – Day 2

Nassau-

Three races were held today in perfect conditions, once again. East winds of 10-14 knots and bright sunshine made for another postcard day in Nassau.

Austin and I got off to a good start with a fourth place in the first race of the day. We had a great start, good speed upwind so we were able to stay a head of the heavy traffic.

In the next two races we made mistakes of various types and finished near the back each time. Those races were humbling.

The German team that was last after yesterday’s racing had a 5, 5, 1 and moved up to 7th.

We are 17th overall, 9 points out of 10th place. It is all very tight.

We have to put together two good races tomorrow and just see where the points fall.

It has been “jumping into the fire” for me to race in this elite regatta after a four year hiatus from the Star. But the upside is I am getting one hell if a tune-up for the Star regattas I plan on sailing next spring.

For complete results and some great video on pictures go to www.starsailors.com and starsailors on FaceBook.

The forecast for tomorrow is more of the same. I am pretty fortunate to be down here in the Bahamas competing with all these great sailors!

Paul

Star Sailor League – Day 1

Perfect Star sailing conditions were delivered in Nassau today. 8-12 knots from the east and sunshine made the sailing spectacular for this elite fleet.

Four races were held on Montague Bay at the east end of Nassau, each about 40 minutes. With just 18 boats on the track, and all of them very good, the racing was very tight.

For Austin and me it went about as predicted. We struggled at the corners and shifting gears. We had some good starts and decent speed at times. But we aren’t consistent yet. Often it is just a matter of inches at the top mark that separates 4th from 12th. Same as it ever was.

We are currently 16th and need to be in the top 10 after Friday’s racing. No doubt we will get better each day as I scrape a little more rust off.

Robert Scheidt (BRA) and Bruno Prada were at the top of the field today and that is really no surprise. The Italians, Diego Negri sailed well to hold second overall and Mark Mendleblatt, the USA Star representative the London Olympics in 2012, sailed very consistently and is in 3rd.

When we hit the dock, Robert Scheidt says to me, “Four races was a bit too much, don’t you think!” I said, “Did you just say that to me?” For those who don’t know, Robert is the epidomy of fitness and just won the laser worlds last week for the 9th time. Anyway, after a few minutes I decided it made me feel good to hear even Robert say that, it was a long day!

For complete results go to www.starsailors.com.

To view a live stream of the races, go to http://live.starsailors.com

Forecast for tomorrow is 10-14 knots from the east.

Paul

Nassau, December, 2013

I have spent the past three months decompressing from a difficult Americas Cup for me. Sometimes things go well and you are oblivious to those struggling. Fortunately, my previous America’s Cups and Around the World campaigns have been above average and ultimately very satisfying. This time was a struggle. We had early technical set backs which burned precious time. We were on the wrong design path and we waited too long to acknowledge it and convert. The result was a painful last 6 months as reality hit us squarely in the face. The tragedy of May 9th was the worst sailing disaster I have been involved in and something I will never forget. Needless to say, it was a stressful and hugely disappointing time.

After a couple of months away from it, I feel rested, but I have that lingering frustration that goes with a poor result like that. I am sure the cure is to move on to a new challenge and I am open minded as to what forum that me be in.

For now, I am looking to have some fun in sailing. I have been invited to the inaugural Star Sailors League (SSL) Season Final. When I explain this new event, you will see that I really have no business racing in it. The concept is that this is a league for the top sailors in the world who are ranked through the competitions they attend during that year. At the end of the year, there is a final championship with prize money. This year, the Final is in Nassau and there will be 18 competitors racing for a total purse of $200,000. They are the highest ranking sailors in the World plus a couple of wild card invites. You can check out the participants and the results at www.starsailors.com.

SSL is the creation of Swiss Star sailor Michel Niklaus. His passion for the class and this event is impressive. The SSL team are making a huge effort to run a top quality event. They have a team of 30 people doing everything from television production, to GPS tracking for live internet tracking while we race. SSL are handling everything logistical with the competitors presence here. It seems to truly be a first class operation.

I am heading into the event skinnier than ever not to mention I haven’t sailed a Star in 4 years. Logically, a little humble pie seems to be on order for me. However, I love Nassau’s wind and waves and have raced here plenty over the past 30+ years. I do have one of the best crewing for me, Austin Sperry. Austin, aka Hoss, came to Athens to help Phil Trinter and I train for the ’04 Olympics and then he went to the ’08 Olympics, crewing for John Dane. So if I have a prayer out there this week it is due to Hoss.

So its time to get back to basics and enjoy some Star sailing in the best place on earth to sail!

Paul