Today was the first day of the 2015 SSL Finals on Montegue Bay. Four races were held in 6-8 knots of wind from the southeast. While this was less strenuous than 4 races in the typical Nassau winds of 15-18 knots, it was no walk in the park.
The 19 competitors here are World Champions or Olympic medalists. There are Finn sailors, Laser sailors, Soling sailors and of course Star sailors. The idea of SSL is to bring together the best one design sailors in the world and race. This year there was one “grand slam” event in Switzerlamd in September and now the final. Next year there will be two grand slams plus the final. The plan is to build up to four grand slams plus the final each year.
I haven’t been racing in the SSL since the first event 2 years ago so I was quite happy to be invited to this years final.
The Star is uniquely qualified to be the equipment for this purpose. A laser sailor at 78 kilos can compete on an even footing with a Finn or Star sailor at 100 kilos due to the total crew weight limit. The Star is very technical boat but still sails like a dinghy. With no rule 42 limits on rocking and pumping of the sails, this regatta is a strenous workout 100% of the time.
The format of this regatta is to have a maximum of 9 “qualifying” races over the first three days. The winner of this segment is qualified directly into the semi-final. Places 2-11 will race a one race 1/4 final with the top 6 moving onto the semi final with the winner of the qualifying round. The top 4 from the semi final will race in the final with the winner of that final race being the winner of the SSL final. All these final races will take place on Saturday.
This format brings excitement to the regatta because no matter who wins the early rounds, and no matter by how many points, the winner will be the winner of the last race. You can watch these races live on line at http://finals.starsailors.com
Xavier Rohart FRA won the day with a very consistent 1, 2, 2, 10. Diego Negri ITA had the second best day with a 2, 1, 5, 19. Brian Sharp and I had scores of 10, 4, 12, 18 and are in 9th. The worst score is discarded.
The forecast for tomorrow is more light winds with the Nassau breeze e returning for Friday and Saturday.
For complete results go to http://finals.starsailors.com/results-2/