SSL Finals-Final

Nassau

Today was the final day of racing here in Nassau. The quarter finals, followed by the semi finals and the final race, was the card.  The wind was 14-18 knots from the south and the race course was tucked in Montague Bay so that made for some big wind shifts and the breeze passed over the eastern end of New Providence.

Phil and I made the quarter finals by finishing 4th in the qualification series during the past four days.  In the quarterfinal race, we found ourselves to be fast upwind and led the fleet around the first mark.  Unfortunately, we found ourselves to be slow downwind, a theme that plagued us all week.  We managed to hang on to 5th and qualify for the semi final.  The two Italians and Ben Saxon (GBR) with Steve Mitchell were eliminated from this round.

Six teams raced in the semi final. The wind shifted to the right soon after the start, and Phil and I    were to the left of the fleet, so we were behind immediately.  Our speed was good but we never managed to find an opportunity to get back into the race.  British Laser Gold Medalist, Paul Goodison with crew Frithjof Kleen, sailed very fast down the final run and just managed to beat the German Team at the finish line to qualify for the final. Cayard/Trinter (USA) , the Polish team and the German team were eliminated from this round.

The final featured four teams: Mark Mendelblat(USA) who won the qualification series, Robert Scheidt(BRA), Xavier Rohart (FRA) and Paul Goodison (GBR).  The conditions hadn’t changed.  Mendelblat started to right of the fleet and controlled the first intersection. That small lead evaporated pretty quickly due to the wind shifts.  At the first mark Goodison, Scheidt and Mendelblatt were all bow to stern.  Rohart was not far behind. The group stayed in these positions the whole way around the track and once again, Goodsion won by just two meters.  He who caught and surfed the last wave would have made the difference.

This was the toughest of the five SSL finals.  The competitors were deeper than ever and the reasonably strong wind conditions required a lot of physical output.  I, for one, am pretty tired after racing 13 races in 5 days.  There are 11 Star World Champion skipper here.  Only four qualified for the racing today.  That tells me that the younger sailors coming from the smaller boats are very talented and sharp.  They are picking up the particularities of the Star rather easily and their talent is pulling them ahead.  I am very happy that the Star has been chosen to be the boat for this Allstar event.  I think it is the perfect boat for the task.

I had thought of not coming this year as I was concerned about where I would finish. In finishing 7th,  I exceeded my expectations.  I feel extremely lucky and honored to be able to race against all the sailors in this fleet.

As competitors we all owe a great deal of gratitude to Michel Niklaus for his passion and vision in creating the Star Sailors League.  His vision for the next 5 years is to have 4 “Grand Slam” events followed by the Finals each year.  He is purchasing 100 Stars and setting up bases in various venues around the world to make this vision come true.  He is continually upgrading the coverage of the event and the online following is growing exponentially.  This is one of the brightest events to come along in our sport in a long time.

Phil and I  want to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season.

Paul

 

SSL Finals Day 4

Celebrating 100 with Sir Durward Knowles

Nassau

Three races were held today on Montague Bay of the east end of New Providence.  All 25 teams were ready for the all important final day of qualifying.

The winds were challenging today ranging from 4 knots to 20 knots with 30 degree wind shifts. The US team of Mark Mendelblat and Brian Fatih continued to be the class of the regatta with scores of 4, 2, 4 seriously dominating the competition.  They are fast and always on the correct side of the race track. Behind them, the British team of Paul Goodison and Frithjof Kleen sailed well to move into 5th place at the end of the day. The top four didn’t change through the day.

Phil and I  sailed a bad first race…. never seemed to be able to get on the correct side of the course.  In the second race, we sailed very well and even had a large lead at the first. The wind was very light on the first downwind leg and filing from behind. This caused the fleet to close in on us by the end of the leg.  We got passed by 2 boats and finished 3rd.  That finish was good enough to guarantee our place in tomorrows quarterfinal.  In the third and final race of the day, we finished 13th.  Again, there is no one who is easy to beat out there!

There are 11 Star World Champion skippers in this 25 boat fleet.  Only 4 of them qualified for the quarter finals tomorrow.  This says a lot about the skill and talent of the skippers coming from other classes who are invited to compete in the Star Sailors League.  This is exactly the idea of the league, to have a champion of champions competition.  The Star is proving to be the perfect boat for the job.

After sailing, Star Legend Sir Durward Knowles came down to the club to meet the sailors. As Sir Durward just turned 100, the Star Sailors League payed homage to him through a few short speeches and then we all sang happy birthday to him.  Amongst many records and accolades, Durward is now the oldest living Olympic Champion.

Racing starts tomorrow at 11:00 EST and the forecast is for fairly breezy conditions out of the south,

Remember to follow the racing live on StarSailors.com.  You can find full results, articles and photos there.

Paul

SSL Finals 2017

SSL Finals – Day 3

Nassau

Very light wind made today very challenging for the 25 teams competing in the SSL Finals here in Nassau.  It was a balmy 84 degrees with 4-6 knots of wind from the southeast out off  the track today.  The Italians were on fire!

Francesco Bruni of Palermo posted a 4, 1 while his countryman Diego Negri scored a 3, 3 in these light conditions. Meanwhile Mark Mendleblatt and Brian Fatih maintained their consistency with a 1, 2 taking over the lead in the qualification series while Robert Scheidt slipped to second place with scores of 2, 19.  Beyond that, there was plenty of mixing.  Phil and I had an decent day with a 14, 9.  We were never at the front of the fleet having gone the wrong way on the first legs of each race.  In race 2, we hit the right side hard on the third leg and made a nice comeback from about 15th.  We managed to stay in 4th place which is a pleasant surprise and testament to the “trading” of positions that is going on in this fleet.

Three races are on the cards for tomorrow and the forecast is for 13-15 knots from the south southeast.  This will make for shifty racing as the wind will be coming over the island and onto the race course.  The seaway should be fairly flat.

I can’t tell you how much fun Phil and I are having racing against all these great sailors.  There is no other event in sailing that brings Olympic champions, World Champions, Round the World Record holders, Round the World Race winners and America’s Cup winners, together in a one design sailing contest.  Then to hold the races on the waters off the east end of Nassau, which is in my opinion the best sailboat racing waters in the world, makes the SSL Finals even more exceptional.

Finally, I want to say that it is an honor to be on the same race track with these athletes who have put a lifetime of effort, passion and commitment to achieve all that they have!

Remember to follow the racing live at StarSailors.com.

Looking forward to racing tomorrow!

Paul

SSL Finals 2017

PreRace Rig Tuning

SSLFinals2017-BOW #86-SAIL USA 8506-Paul Cayard/Phil Trinter

SSL Finals Day 2

Nassau

Day 2 was very good to Phil and I.  With scores of 1, 2, 20, 1 we jumped up to third place in the standings.  We were very fast upwind in the 8-10 knots of wind and able to hold our own downwind.  It has taken a lot of work for us to narrow our deficit downwind but very rewarding.

Our 20th place shows just how easy it is to get a bad score in this fleet.  Once you are back in the pack, the bad air and chopped up water makes life difficult.  There are no soft competitors out here!

We tied Robert Scheidt with 24 points on the day while Diego Negri of Italy had the best day with 22 points.  Phil and I made some adjustments to our rig which suited today’s conditions perfectly.

Tomorrow we will most likely have 3 races and the forecast is for less wind again.  Downwind is scorching hot with all the kinetics we are allowed to do in the 80 degrees temps.

SSLFinals2017-BOW #86-SAIL USA 8506-Paul Cayard/Phil Trinter

I hope you are enjoying the live coverage in the internet.  if you haven’t seen it, tune in at 11:00 EST tomorrow at www.starsailors.com.  There is also a feed on Facebook under the same name.  Complete scores can be found there too,

We check our weight everyday, morning and after racing as we are required to stay under a weight limit.  Interestingly, I lost 3 pounds today.  I  am working hard to rehydrate now and stretching to keep my lower back loose.  Needless to day, I will sleep well tonight!

Paul

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Star Sailors League Finals

SSL Finals Day 1

Nassau

The Star Sailors League got underway today with two races in 12 knots from the east. The competition has never been tougher here, or maybe anywhere.  No other sailing event puts 25 World Champions Olympic medalists, offshore champions together in one fleet on one race track.  See the entry list on www.StarSailors.com.

Phil and I had a decent day with a 8, 13.  We had very good speed upwind and struggled a bit downwind.  We are working hard on our downwind speed and have improved since Saturday when we first starting training.  There are a few Gold Medal Laser and Finn sailors here and they can really go downwind! There is plenty of sailing left so hopefully we can continue to improve through the week.

Robert Scheidt had the best day while Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih (USA) also had a good day and had it not been for a foul at the top mark in the second race, they may have been in the lead having won the first race easily.  I    cant tell you how deep this fleet is.  Just look at the scores. It wouldn’t be hard to finish last in one of these races.

Four races are on the cards for tomorrow. The forecast is for 15 knots from the east-southeast which makes for perfect sailing in this 78 degree water.

The format for the SSL Finals is four days of “qualifying” followed by the quarter finals, semi finals and finals on the 5th day, Saturday.  The races are lived streamed.  Follow the SSL finals on www.starsailors.com and Starsailors on Facebook and Twitter.

I am really happy to be here sailing with my Olympic team mate Phil Trinter, to be amongst this great group of sailors, fighting for every inch on the race course.  These are the good old days!

Paul

Vintage Gold Cup-Final

Gull Lake MI

On Saturday, two races were scheduled for the final day of racing. A beautiful, clear blue sky greeted us that morning but not much wind.  In fact, the little bit of wind that did arrive on Gull Lake swung around wildly in direction, and never amounted to more than 5 knots.  The Race Committee postponed the start at the scheduled staring time of 13:00.  Nothing material ever developed so at 15:00, racing was cancelled for the day.

The results of the 5 races held on Thursday and Friday determined the standings in this first Vintage Gold Cup.  Brian and I won the regatta, in Gem IX, the ‘64 Olympic winning boat of Sir Durward Knowles, ahead of Arthur Anosov and David Cesare and their boat Magic. Two time Olympic Gold Medalist, Mark Reynolds with Michael Brundage crewing, rounded out the top three.

Complete results can be found at www.yachtscoring.com

The Vintage Gold Cup is a celebration of the history of the Star Class which is over 106 years of age.  It will be an annual event with more restored boats participating. Twelve vintage boats competed, all of them wooden and more than 50 years old and expertly restored.  The event and the boats are the creation of Don Parfet and Jon Vader Molen. 10 years ago, Vader Molen created the P-Star.  The P-Star was a fast design, and built with the highest technology and processes allowed in the class.  At the 2012 Olympics, 15 of the 16 competitors used Vander Molen’s P-Star.  About 25 were built.  There is a long history of Stars on Gull Lake and in both the Parfet and Vader Molen families.

Check out the Vintage Gold Cup on Facebook.  There are many videos of the event there.

Across the street from the Gull Lake Yacht Club is the Gull Lake Country Club.  Sailing and gold go well together, but never has it been more convenient than at Gull Lake.  I am told that when there is a lack of wind, the sailors play golf until they hear the cannon sound, which means the wind is in and the race will start one hour later.  Thats plenty of time to launch the boats and get out the the starting line which is all of a 5 minute sail.

I am off to Italy tonight to join the One Ocean Forum in Milano, October 3-4.  Yacht Club Costa Smeralda has taken the leadership role in gathering a very qualified group of people from business, the marine sciences, as well as people who enjoy the sea.  I am very much looking forward to the presentations, discussions and hearing about various projects to restore our oceans to the pristine state they were a relatively short time ago.  The Oceans not only provide us a great field to enjoy our sport but they are, along with oxygen, our most important natural resource.

Visit www.OneOceanForum.com  or follow @oneoceanforum on Twitter and Facebook.

Paul

Vintage Gold Cup

Gull Lake, Michigan

Three races were held today in 8-15 knots of wind.  At times, the gusts were up to 17 knots which is a lot of wind for these restored, 50 year old, boats.  There were a few breakdowns today.  Brian and I gingerly sailed the last lap of race three with a broken backstay attachment.

In the first race of the day, race 3 of the regatta, Brian and I led wire to wire keeping things rolling from yesterday.  In race 4, we got out of phase with the wind shifts early and got in traffic.  On the second windward leg we went left which the locals have been telling us all week, is the favored side here.  The only time we didn’t win the race is when we went left.  We finished 5th in race 4 while are closest rival, Arthur Anosov and Julius Caesar won the race.  Andy Mac sailed very well to get second in that one with Mark Reynolds and Johnny Mac rounding out the top 4.

The Start.    Images from the Vintage Gold Cup 2017
Gull Lake, MI

Race 5 saw Brain and I get back on our form.  We were third to the first mark, and stayed in third at the bottom gate.  Arthur rounded the right hadn’t gate and headed off the the left while we went back to our favored right side behind Andy Mac who was having another great race.  We played the right and worked the shifts to lead at the top mark and held our lead down the final run to take race 5.

I called Durward Knowles, Gold Medal winner in Gem IX in 1964, after racing. I actually Face Timed with him so he could see the boat and some of the guys. We used his care takers phone.  He is 99, soon to be 100.  I told him he could see us in the phone.  He said: “No Mon! Not in the phone.”  Imagine what its like to be 100! He really enjoyed seeing his boat and all his old friends.   Oldest living Gold Medalist in the World!

After racing , there was a concours de elegance, with 20 judges all viewing the boats and asking us skipper why our boats are special.  Mine, 4789, is the only Gold Medal winner in the feet and the only varnished hull.  The keel is painted gold so I told the judges it was made of gold since the boat was a gold medal winner.  Some of them bought that.

I am not sure who won the concours de elegance but I do know that Brian and I are leading the sailboat race with 4 points after a discard and Arthur and Julius are in second with 8 points.

Images from the Vintage Gold Cup 2017
Gull Lake, MI

Of utmost importance, tomorrow morning at 08:00 we will play the back 9 of the golf tournament. My partner, Jim Babel, and I are tied with Reynolds & Reynolds for first place.  I played better than usual Thursday so I am a bit worried about tomorrow’s expectations.

The wind forecast for tomorrow is light winds.  This could be the great equalizer as it is very easy to get big shuffles in the fleet with light and shifty winds.  Two races are scheduled beginning after golf.  This is civilized sailing!

You need to go to Vintage Gold Cup on Facebook and see the great video’s of these cool boats. A big thanks to Don Parfet and Jon Vader Molen for getting these boats together, out on the track and inviting us all here to sail them!!!

By the way, there are more awesome wooden boats out here in the midwest.

Go Irish!

Paul

Vintage Gold Cup

Gull Lake, Michigan

Twelve incredibly well restored Stars are racing in the first Vintage Gold Cup here in Michigan. The boats and the creation of this event, are the passion and dream of Jon Vander Mullen and Don Parfet.  Most of the boats are over 50 years old and all are wood.  They have been updated with Aluminum masts and currents sails.

The regatta will take place from today through Saturday September 30.

I am sailing Gem IX, Sir Durward Knowles Gold Medal winning boat from the ’64 Olympics in Tokyo with Brian Fatih crewing. Obviously Durward tuned her up pretty well for us because we won the first two races.  This was such a great day for me. Durward has been a mentor for me in the Star Class since 1982 when I first stayed at his home during the Western Hemisphere Championships that were held down in the Bahamas every even numbered year. I won my first major championship in Nassau in 1984 and repeated that three more times over the following 20 years, always while staying in Durwards home.

Arther Anosov, sailing Magic, with Dave Julius Ceasar,  is in second over all with a 3, 2

Jon Vander Molen sailing his Heather, with Rick Burgess crewing, are in third place with a 2, 7.

Mark Reynolds, in Flapper, with Michael Brundage are in fourth.

There races are scheduled for tomorrow and two on Saturday.  To say the winds were shifty is an understatement.  Today, things just went our way.  I am quite sure tomorrow will be a different story.  So I am enjoying the moment!

There is an award for a combined gold/sailing score so some of us golfed in the morning today and will play the back 9 on Saturday morning.

The evening events are pretty spectacular too.  Last night was a big dinner for 150 on the lawn at Don and Anne Parfet’s home on the lake and tonight is a dinner and visit at Gilmore Car Museum which is amongst the best car museums in the world with over 450 vintage cars in pristine condition. I even drove a ’58 Corvette and they have my first car, a ’70 Chevelle SS in the same color!

Paul

 

Star World Championship 2017

Eivind Melleby and Joshua Revkin, 2017 Star World Champions

Troense, Denmark

The final race was held in a 8 to 16 knot Westerly under sunny skies. The showdown between Eivind Melleby and Lars Grael materialized as Grael took the early lead and Melleby struggled to stay in the top 10.  Hubert Merkelbach, Diego Negri, Reinhard Schmidt and Johannes Polgar all over took Grael while Melleby moved up to 8th. In the end the math worked in favor of the 45 year old Norwegian and his 27 year old crew Josh Revkin of the USA.  They are the new Gold Star winners.  The also won the newly awarded Paul Elvstrom trophy for the team that won had the best score without a discard. Trine Elvstrom, daughter and Olympic crew in Los Angeles in the Tornado class, presented the trophy.  Paul Elvstrom won his second Star World Championship 50 years ago in Copenhagen.

Danny and I had a decent race finishing 31st.  Our combined weight (390lbs) is just too light to be competitive.  There is a reason there is a maximum weight limit (about 440lbs) in the Star Class.  Weight is fast!  We were slow upwind and that is especially tough on the first leg of the course right after the start.  Danny had us going very fast downwind but not enough to compensate. Our goals for the week were to sail together, have fun and get Danny some big fleet Star racing experience…in that order.  We did all that.  We spent a bit more money on masts than we hoped to, but that’s racing! I think Danny truly likes sailing the Star and will be racing for years.  I think I may have done my last race as a Star crew.  Putting it politely, my body is a little bit sore.

After racing, it was the big pack up of the boat and all the equipment then the prize giving dinner which was held in a local gymnasium….not the most Scandinavian of experiences.  The local fleet put in a huge effort with 80 volunteers to put the regatta on.  The fleet in Denmark has been small in recent years and hosting the Worlds grew the fleet to 15 boats.  Part of awarding World Championship venues is fleet building for the longevity of the class. Next year’s World Championship is in Oxford, Maryland.

Then (1989) and now.

Danny and his girlfriend Evan are driving the boat we chartered back to Berlin and then will go to Gothenberg to stay with his grandparents and cousins.  I am on my way back to San Francisco which I am really looking forward to. I have been living out of a suitcase since May 25.  That’s long even by my standards.

Paul

Star World Championship 2017

Danny Cayard, September 1989

Troense Denmark

Today was a rest day and rest I did. Slept til 10:00. Must have been tired. Later, Danny and I went down to the club (Sailors don’t know what to do with a day off!) and we raced in a fun race in the harbor that the event organizers held for their sponsors. About 20 of us participated to say thanks. There was little to no wind unfortunately but everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Tomorrow will be the last race and final day of our adventure. And it has been quite an adventure! I have shown Danny all the things not to do as well as a few good things. All of it has been a fantastic experience…even the ones that were not so pleasant at the time.  Life is that way…you need to appreciate all of it. It is your adventure.

The forecast for tomorrow is for 15 knots of wind. The Gold Star (awarded to the winner of the World Championship) is still up for grabs. Eivind Melloby of NOR is looking for his first gold star while Lars Grael is in hot persuit, 5 points back, looking for his second gold star. There are a couple other contenders but their hill is steep and it starts with them winning the race and nothing less.

I thought I would put some different pictures in today’s report. The one up top is of Danny sitting in the World Championship trophy, at nine months of age, while I was the current champ. Now I am crewing for him! It’s a great story for our family. Danny’s grandfather, Pelle Petterson is also a past world champion from 1969.

The other pictures are from the hotel at breakfast and dinner. Not a bad spot when it isn’t raining. Unfortunately, it rained a fair bit today.

Paul