Photos Marco Oquendo

Coconut Grove

Only one race was held today on Biscayne Bay and it was trying.  The race committee postponed ashore again today waiting for wind and finally around 13:30 a feeble southeasterly breeze filled in at 5 knots. The wind died throughout the race to less than 1 knot at the finish.

Josh and I had a good start and sailed well to lead at the first mark.  The wind was getting spotty on the first downwind leg and Augie Diaz found good pressure off the the right side and moved from 6th to a close second.  Josh and I held the lead at the second windward mark with Augie and Arnie right in our tail but with a huge gap back to third by this time.

The wind dropped to 2 knots at this point. 3/4’s of the way down the  final run to the finish, Augie gybed away, again to the right, and it was too light to cover (match). The little wind that there was then shifted 60 degrees in his favor and he won the race. Jack Jennings passed us as well. We were lucky to get 3rd as the wind kept shifting and we almost could not get to the finish line.

We finished 6th over all for the Walker Cup and are in that position going into the final two days of the Mid Winter Championship.

Star Winter Series

Star Winter Series-Thursday

Tomorrow’s forecast is for 12-15 knots from the South Southwest. We should be able to get three races in. Sundays forecast is for strong wind. Unfortunately I have to leave tomorrow night so Sundays forecast doesn’t really matter to us.

For complete results go to www.yachtscoring.com

Paul

Coconut Grove

Josh and I are back at it here in Miami in the Star Mid Winter Championship, four days of racing with up to 8 races in total.  The first two days races will count for the Bob Levin Memorial trophy.  Today’s racing was delayed while the race committee waited for the northwesterly wind to die and the southeasterly sea breeze to fill.  This made the start of race 1 around 13:00 in 7 knots.  The sea was flat and the maximum wind of the day was about 15:00 at 8 knots.

In the first race, Josh and I sailed pretty well and got up into the lead half way up the first leg. But  a couple mistakes that kept us from winning.  We finished 4th behind George Szabo in first, Charlie Buckingham in 2nd and Jack Jennings in 3rd.  Buck senior was 5th.

In race 2, we were in a group of four boats called over early at the start down at the pin end of the line.  The race committee took about 45 seconds to make the call (which they are not required to do but do regularly within 10-15 seconds).  This put us and the other three boats about 1:30 behind the 26 boat fleet by the time we started.  There was nothing remarkable about either race today so making a comeback in the second race was tough.

George Szabo leads the regatta with 6 points, Jack Jennings in 2nd with 7 and Augie Diaz, the current World Champion, in 3rd with 10 points.  Josh and I got back to 15th in the 2nd race so we are in 10th overall with 19 points.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for light sea breeze to fill in the afternoon again.  Saturday is supposed to be 14-16 knots from the south and Sunday is forecast to be 22-26 knots with gusts well over 30 knots from the north northwest.

Four complete results go to; http://www.yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=2926

Paul

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Cascais, Portugal

We had a very rough day today on Phoenix.  We actually finished last in both races! I can’t remember ever doing that.  The conditions were 8-11 knots from the south which is a bit more wind than previous days.

In the first race today, I tried to win the pin end of the line at the start.  The current was sweeping us right to left and we had to tack to port just before the gun sounded and cross behind everyone heading right.  Normally this isn’t too bad if you do it early and get all the way through without anyone tacking on you.  And this was the case today.  However, the left side proved to be very good early in the leg and we arrived at the first mark 9th.  We never really recovered and somehow lost Provenza along the way.

In the second race we actually had a good start and headed left however the wind actually favored the right side this time.  We got mixed up a some traffic and came out on the short end of the stick on most of those encounters.  Around the last mark of the race we were 7th but got a penalty at the offset mark for not giving Gladiator room.  That penalty put us back to last.

Our speed isn’t great in these lighter conditions and this makes everything a bit more difficult.   Dealing with traffic and, tactics in general, get compromised.  Downwind, we are especially “sticky”.  This is due in part to a large foil package than the 2015 model year boats.  We are building a new rudder which will be 5% smaller than the one we have.  Some of the other boats have smaller keel fins too, so we are looking into that too.  We need to keep working on our sails and our set up.  The crew did an excellent job in all the maneuvers and everything was nearly perfect in that department.  They are all top professionals and I feel bad for them with the result we achieved here.

We came over to Europe for these two regattas to learn and to prepare.  We needed to see where the bar is in this fleet in order to have time to make adjustments prior to the 2017 season, which starts in January, in Key West.  Now we will make a plan as to how to address each of our weaknesses.  The boat will be getting some work done to it in Florida when it arrives there in three weeks.  We will probably do some training in December and early January to work on closing the gap we currently have with the fleet.

Azzurra sailed an excellent regatta and was the fastest boat in the sub 10 knot conditions that we had most of the week.  Quantum, always consistent finished second for the week and Sled did a lot of improving since Mahon and finished third.

I am headed back to San Francisco tomorrow and plan to be there for the next few weeks.  It’s been a pretty busy sailing season.

 

Paul

 

Cascais, Portugal

Four races were sailed on Thursday and Friday over here in Portugal for the Tp52 fleet.  The winds have been light all week and this is our weakness on Phoenix.  We have larger appendages than the newer boats and we feel it especially downwind.  On Thursday, we made the mistake of contorting our mast and mainsail set up trying to generate more power.  Normally this is a good idea but there is a such a thing as “too much”.  We hit that wall yesterday.  The set up was heeling the boat over but it was too much drag and the boat would not slip through the water.

We spent an hour out on the water last night after all the other teams went in, sorting through our set up.  We took a lot of photos of both set ups and of other boats.  We analyzed all that in our meeting late last night.  We came out today with a new set up and right from the get go, I could feel the boat was moving better.  While we had a much better day today, we didn’t win any races.  But the satisfying thing has been attacking our weakness and making a big improvement.

In terms of scores, we actually crossed the finish line last in one of the races yesterday and the other one wasn’t much better.  Today we had a 7 and 4 and in both races were were competitive with the top boats.  Again the conditions are not our best.

Egnos 52 Super Series Cascais Cup Cascais, 11-15 ottobre 2016 © Zerogradinord

Egnos 52 Super Series Cascais Cup
Cascais, 11-15 ottobre 2016
© Zerogradinord

Yesterday Bronenosec, Quantum, and Sled had very strong scored while Azzurra wiped a bit.  Today Azzurra come back strong with a 1, 2 and took back the lead in the regatta.  These four teams are clearly the fastest in this 7-10 knots conditions were have been racing in.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for slightly more wind, 8-12 knots, but that is just a forecast.  We on Phoenix would certainly be happy with a bit more wind.

For complete scores go to: http://www.52superseries.com

Paul

 

Cascais, Portugal

The final TP 52 Super Series event of 2016 started yesterday in the Atlantic Ocean off Cascais Portugal.  There are 10 TP52’s here for the 5 day event which ends on Saturday.

On Tuesday, two races were held in 6-9 knots of wind from the southwest and smooth seas. In the first one, we on Phoenix were over the starting line early and had to restart.  We caught up to the group but only managed to pass one boat at the finish line.

In the second race, we had a great start and good speed upwind.  We went to the left side which turned out to be good.  We were leading 7/8’s of the way to the first mark only to fall in a patch of light winds.  We could not lee bow the first boat, Azzurra, when they tacked on the starboard lay line, so we decided to be conservative and duck the next two boats to round in fourth place.  From there we didn’t manage the race well and ultimately finished 9th again.  I am very disappointed with our first days’ performance.

Azzurra dominated the day with speed and smart tactics to win both races.  Quantum Racing had a 4, 2 while Provenza rounded out the top three with a 3, 4.

Egnos 52 Super Series Cascais Cup Cascais, 11-15 ottobre 2016 © Zerogradinord

Egnos 52 Super Series Cascais Cup
Cascais, 11-15 ottobre 2016
© Zerogradinord

Today was a miserable day here in terms of weather.  It rained most of the day and the winds were never steady. We finally started around 14:00. Near the first windward mark, a squall came through.  The wind increased from 8 knots to 20 knots and shifted 50 degrees to the right.  The race was abandoned but Quantum was ahead and sailing well.

Tomorrow’s forecast is better with 8-12 knots winds from the west forecast and sunshine.

For complete scores go to: http://www.52superseries.com/events/2016/eu/cascais-cup/

 

Paul