Star Sailors League Press

Nassau

Here is the official SSL press release from the first day of racing.

SSL Finals 2016
November 28th – December 4th
Nassau, Bahamas

BATTLE COMMENCES AT SSL FINALS 2016

The 4th edition of the Star Sailors League Finals kicked off in earnest today with two qualifying races. The early exchanges confirmed the amazing quality and depth in the fleet, which contains no less than 16 Olympic medallist among the skippers alone. The trade winds have been consistently blowing for days before the regatta and the sea state was a significant factor, especially as the racecourse was at the very top of Montagu Bay. Squall activity affected both the wind speed and direction, with the breeze ranging from 10 to 20 knots and oscillating 30 degrees.

After two races, Italians Diego Negro & Sergio Lambertenghi showed consistency and speed to lead the Qualifying Rounds by a single point without winning a race. Americans Mark Mendelblatt & Brian Fatih finished a solid second and Brazilians Robert Scheidt & Henry Boening, finished the day in third.

Diego Negri:
It was a great day, not an easy first one though, lots of wind changes and waves. We had a good start on the first race, we were on the left, fought among the top five at the top mark and finished third. For the second race the wind increased a little bit, we decided to start more in the middle of the fleet and we were leeward to the fleet, got a big righty and it looked good, we had a nice fight and with a great downwind leg we finished second.”

Robert Scheidt is back at the SSL Finals having missed out last year due to his Olympic Laser campaign. Sailing with Henry Boening, the Brazilians were first to the top mark and were never overtaken, winning the first race of the regatta. Americans Mark Mendelblatt & Brian Fatih, were never out of the leading pack and finished second. Italians Diego Negro & Sergio Lambertenghi showed good speed and consistency to take third.

Robert Scheidt:
The first race was very good, it was a good fight with Mendelblatt and Negri. We are happy we were able to hold them off and won the first race. The second race wasn’t so good, we made some technical mistakes but we finished within the top 10 and that was our goal.”

Race Two got underway after the top mark was moved to accommodate a big wind shift, and it was a blanket start, with virtually the entire fleet hitting the line on the start gun. SSL City Grand Slam champions, Xavier Rohart & Pierre-Alexis Ponsot copped a turning penalty in the first race of the regatta but the Frenchmen came back fighting in Race Two, taking the gun ahead of Negri & Lambertenghi. Jorge Zarif & Bruno Prada sailed intelligently upwind, and showed great technique downwind, to claim third.

After two races, the top VIP team was Jonas Høgh-Christensen & Stevie Milne, with two sixth place finishes. Putting the Danish/Northern Ireland combination in seventh place. Høgh-Christensen is a phenomenal Finn sailor representing Denmark at three Olympic Games, winning the Silver Medal at the London Olympic Games after an epic battle with Ben Ainslie. However this was the first time the Great Dane has even raced a Star.

Jonas Høgh-Christensen:
“We had a very good feeling with the boat, we tried to keep it simple and stay our of trouble. We had a couple of bad starts but managed to recover quite quickly after and sailed fast, both up and downwind, especially downwind we are fast. It was super fun and we really enjoyed it!
I love the Star, it’s tough, it’s technical, but with the free pumping it really comes in handy being a Finn sailor. The conditions couldn’t be better, it’s sailing in paradise.”

The youngest skipper taking part in the 2016 SSL Finals is the 22 year-old Argentinian VIP Facundo Olezza, racing with Portuguese Finn and Star sailor, Federico Melo. The rookie notched up a fifth place in the first race and ended the day in 8th position in the fleet.

Facundo Olezza:
“It was unbelievable to finish fifth in the first race! I personally try not to think about all of the names of my competitors, if I think of what they have achieved in their careers I would be more respectful than what I should be. So I just try to do my best, go out and sail. On top of everything try to enjoy it. The opportunity to race among these champions is one in a million. I am really happy to be here and I am learning a lot from Federico Melo. I love the Star, I don’t know what I was doing when I was sailing the other boats, from now on I will try to do some races on the Star along with my Finn Olympic campaign”.

Racing at the SSL Finals 2016 continues tomorrow with the second day of the Qualifying Rounds. A maximum of four races are scheduled for tomorrow with live coverage starting at 1100 (GMT-5).

Full coverage of all four days of action will be streamed live on the Internet with expert commentary from special studio guests, including America’s Cup four time winner Dennis Conner and Olympic silver medalist in London 2012 Luke Patience. On the water, the latest in hi-tech camera technology, as well as Virtual Eye 3D Graphics, will provide thrilling viewing.

Since our audience is present in all parts of the globe, Internet will be our stadium. From November 29th to December 4th, regattas will be streamed live on http://finals.starsailors.com. A complete live video stream of the races as well as additional insights provided by the state-of-the-art tracking system developed by Virtual Eye for the America’s Cup will allow people from over the world to follow their favorites and to cheer for them. Many prestigious sailing websites around the globe will also share our live broadcast on their homepage.

For more information visit
finals.starsailors.com

Nassau, Bahamas, November 29th, 2016

__________________________

Press enquiries to:

Rachele Vitello
SSL Media and Communication
rachele.vitello@starsailors.com

 

Star Sailors League

Nassau, Bahamas

We are back in Nassau for the 4th Star Sailors League Final. The Star Sailors League (SSL) is the creation of Michel Niklaus, a Swiss Star sailor who has a dream.  Michel’s dream is to bring together the best sailors in the world and have them compete against each other.  The boat that seems best suited for this is the Star. So far, beyond the 3 Finals of the years past, there have been two “Grand Slam’s”, one in Berlin this year and one in Grandson, Switzerland in 2015.

For this years Final, the fleet has been increased to 25 competitors.  The 25 teams are composed of the top Star sailors in the world, most of the Olympic medalists from the Laser and Finn classes in Rio, the World Match Race Champion. You can check the sailing resumes at www.starsailors.com.

 

I am sailing with Josh Revkin at this years final. Josh is not only a very keen Star sailor but he is very accomplished at the young age of 26.  He finished third at this years’ Star World Championship crewing for Brian Ledbetter and recently won the Star North American Championship in Chicago crewing for Eivind Melleby.  Josh wanted to use his boat here, (his fathers boat) which is identical to mine.  But Josh is trying  new mast made by Burton and  some sails cut specifically for that mast, by Doyle.  It is all a bit new to me but we have had good speed the last three days so it seems to be working.

Today was Day 1 and two races were held in 12-15 knots from the East.  The conditions were typical of Nassau…nice rolling waves, warm water, and moderate winds. In both races, we got caught on the wrong side of the first shift and ended up in the high teens at the first marks.  In the first race we made some good moves and got up to 13th.  In the second race we again made up some ground to round the final mark about 13th but sailed slow down the final run and lost four boats.  Those scores put us in 14th place overall.  Everyone is very good here so there are no easy point to be had.

Diego Negri(ITA) and Sergio Lambertenghi has the best day with a 3, 2 and Mark Mendelblatt(USA) with Brian Fatih had a solid 2, 4 for second place.  Robert Scheidt(BRA), the winner of the first SSL Finals in 2013, is in third place.

The format is for the entire fleet to race together through Friday, with up to 4 races per day.  On Saturday morning, the top 10 will move forward to the finals portion of the regatta.  The winner of the fleet racing will be qualified straight into the final while the runner up will be qualified into the semi final.  The remaining 8 will race the quarter final with the top 5 meeting the runner up in the semi final.  The top three from the semi will meet the fleet race winner in the final, a single race, winner takes all.

The forecast for the week has been quite windy but today was 3 knots less than forecast and tomorrow looks lighter than today at about 12 knots from the east southeast.

The racing is very well covered with Virtual and live shots on the SSL website.

For complete result and live streaming of the racing, go to: http://finals.starsailors.com