Bow: 21 // Sail: BRA 8391 // Skipper: Jorge Zarif BRA // Crew: Bruno Prada BRA, Bow: 89 // Sail: GBR 8232 // Skipper: Nick Thompson GBR // Crew: Steve Mitchell GBR,

Star Sailors League-Day 4

Nassau, Bahamas

Today was the final day of the Qualification Series at the SSL Final and it didn’t go as well as Josh and I hoped for.  We ended up where we started the day… in 15th.  We had glimpses of upward movement; leading at the first mark of the first race. But I forgot to go back to the well on the second windward leg and ended up 8th in a race that we led in.  That just means we didn’t sail well enough and here you have to sail very well in order to move on.

Ironically we had a poor start in the first race today and got to the first mark first.  That wasn’t all speed.  That was a bit of luck! In the second race, we had a great start and got to the first mark 20th.  The wind was a light northeasterly starting at 7 knots and fading to as little as 4 knots.  In the first race the right side was favored and in the second race the left side was favored.  Tricky!

Tomorrow, the top 10 teams from the qualifying series will race.  8 teams (3-10) will race the quarter final, while the top 2 from the qualification series are qualified into the later rounds. The winner of the qualification series, Diego Negri (ITA), has a spot in the final and the runner up, Mark Mendelblatt(USA), has a spot straight into the semi finals. From the quarter final race, 6 will move onto the semi final where they will be joined by Mendelblatt and from that race, 3 will move onto the final where they will be joined by Negri.  The winner of the SSL Final will be the boat that crosses the finish line first in the final race.

I think this format is very good for big events like the Olympics.  Trying to explain to the public that the winner of the “Medal” race isn’t the Gold Medalist because some other guy sailed really well for 6 days before the grand finale, is tough.

The Star Sailors League is great for our sport.  The format is right on the money. The Star is the perfect platform for creating a level playing field for athletes as diverse, physically, as Laser, Finn, Star, Soling,  and 470 sailors.   This event is becoming a true “World Championship” in sailing as it pits the best of the best against each other. There is a lot of enthusiasm around this event; the young guys are really excited to be racing the “legends” and the legends are just happy to still be out there.

My next event will be the Star Mid Winter Championship in Miami, January 5-8, 2017.

I wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season!

Paul

STAR SAILORS LEAGUE FINALS 2016

STAR SAILORS LEAGUE
FINALS 2016

STAR SAILORS LEAGUE
FINALS 2016

Star Sailors League Finals

Nassau, Bahamas

Three races were held today on Montague Bay for the Star fleet. The southeasterly winds were considerably lighter than the previous days at 8 knots dropping to as little as 4 knots by the end of the day.

Mark Medleblatt and Brian Fatih sailed very consistently to take the lead in the series while Robert Scheidt, Diego Negri and Xavier Rohart each had at least one bad race.

Josh and I had a better day with all three races in the top 10.  Contrary to what one might think, light air is very difficult. A little wind shift or change in wind velocity makes a huge difference.  The turbulence off the sails produces relatively more impact than in stronger winds so managing your position on the race course and relative to the fleet is critical. And finally, you have to sit very still and concentrate which is exhausting in the heat here in Nassau.

One other feature for the second and third races of the day was that rule 42 was in effect as the wind lightened. This eliminated the downwind gymnastics that were employed in the first 7 races. The on the water umpires were very attentive and penalized a few boats for violating rule 42. To not violate rule 42 (pumping, rocking and ouching) in these conditions you pretty much have to sit motionless downwind unless you are gybing.

With our better performance, Josh and I moved up to 15th overall but we are still 14 points out of the critical 10th place to qualify for the quarter finals on Saturday.   The forecast for tomorrow is for very light winds again. Two races are scheduled to finish the qualification series.

For complete results go to www.results.starsailors.com

Paul

Star Sailors League Finals

Nassau, Bahamas

Four races were held today outside Montegue Bay offf the east end of New Providence Island.  The wind was easterly at 14 knots for the first race dropping to 7  knots for the fourth race.  There was a 15 degree persistent shift to the southeast as the day went on.

Josh and I didn’t have a great day.  We didn’t seem to have speed upwind and I am not going to win the sail fanning contest downwind against the Laser and Finn Sailors.  In this regatta, it is open season on pumping, rocking and ouching so it is like a gymnastics competition downwind.

Our worst race is a 17th yet we slid in the overall standings down to 19th. The discard kicked in today and we don’t have any top 10 races.  Hopefully there will be enough wind tomorrow and on Friday to race five more races and finish the schedule.  We are just 4 points out of 12th so plenty of vertical movement is possible for us.

We took our mast down tonight after sailing to check it and found a few things slightly off so we adjusted it for more power and put it back up in the dark. We will use our light air mainsail tomorrow also.

Robert Scheidt took over the lead in the series today. He and Mark Mendelblatt seem to be the fastest to me. Obviously they are sailing well too.  Diego Negri of Italy has good speed and is in second overall.  The top three are in a league of their own so far.

For complete results go to www.finals.starsailors.com

Paul