Photo Credit: FRIED ELLIOTT / friedbits.com

2017 SSL Finals

December 5 - 9, 2017

DISTRICT: ISCYRA

HOST

SSL    
Nassau Bahamas

CONTACT

Media Contact : Laura Beigel
Author: Rachele Vitello, Star Sailors League - December 04, 2017

Phil Trinter - Trinter won his first of two Star World Championship titles in 1993 with Olympic Campaign partner Joe Londrigan and 20 years later won his second Star World Championship with John MacCausland. Trinter and skipper Paul Cayard will be a force to be reckoned with out on the water this week at the Star Sailors League Finals.

Steve Mitchell - Mitchell won the 2002 Star Worlds with skipper Ian Percy and the pair finished 6th place overall at the 2004 Olympic Games. After his olympic sailing career, Mitchell moved on to coaching athletes full time.

Pascal Rambeau - Rambeau is a two time Star World Champion crew. He sailed to victory with skipper Xavier Rohart in 2003 and 2005. Rohart and Rambeau also won a Bronze Olympic Medal in the 2004 Games.

Bruno Prada - Prada is the second most winning Star sailor in the 106 year history of the Star Class. In his career racing stars, he has won two Olympic medals, 4 total Star World Championships, and one Star Sailors League Finals.

Dominik Zycki - Dominik won the 2008 Star World Championship with skipper Mateusz Kuszneirewicz and the dynamic duo went on to represent Poland at the 2012 Olympic Games in London finishing 8th place overall.

Frithjof Kleen - Kleen represented Germany at the 2012 London Olympics with skipper Robert Stanjek and a few years later won the 2014 Star World Championship held in Malcesine, Italy. His highest finish at the Star Sailors League Finals so far is a 6th place.

Samuel Goncalves - Goncalves is arguably the secret weapon of Lars Grael. The two sailors have won several events in the last few years including 2 Bacardi Cups, the 2014 Western Hemisphere Championship, the 2014 & 2016 South American Championship, and the 2015 Star World Championship in Buenos Aires Argentina. Grael and Concalves have also finished 2nd many times in the Star Worlds over the past few years.

Joshua Revkin - Revkin began crewing in stars at the young age of 15 and with 11 years of experience on his side he finally went on to win the 2017 Star World Championship in Denmark with skipper Eivind Melleby. The two are down in Nassau hoping to keep up the momentum and end the week with a podium finish. Josh Revkin is currently sitting in 4th place on the Star Sailors Crew Ranking.

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November 28, 2017

Now that the South American Championship has ended lets turn our eyes to the Star Sailors League Finals down in Nassau, Bahamas! This year marks the fifth annual edition of this premier event and we are excited to see our class champions battle head to head with some new faces on the race course. The final entry list has been published online on the official event website (linked below) and media coverage is scheduled to begin early next week. Make sure you stay tuned here and on all of our social media accounts to catch all the action!

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Author: Rachele Vitello, Star Sailors League - December 04, 2017

This year’s SSL Finals are particularly special because World Sailing has granted the Star Sailors League Finals “Special Event” status. In a press release last month, World Sailing announced:

“World Sailing, the world governing body of the sport, is pleased to announce that the Star Sailors League has been recognised with Special Event status.

The Star Sailors League joins the Volvo Ocean Race, America’s Cup, Extreme Sailing Series, World Match Racing Tour, PWA World Tour and the Global Kitesports Association’s freestyle world tours, as World Sailing’s seventh Special Event.”

The Regatta Format:

After four days of qualification rounds for all, from December 5th to the 8th, the competition goes into the knockout stages on Saturday, December the 9th. Single races decide who survives and who is heading for the dock. The last four teams will contest a thrilling final race, the first to finish will be the winner of the 2017 SSL Finals and take home the lion’s share of the $200,000 Prize Purse.

Media Coverage Information:

You shall join all the action live and free streaming on internet with expert commentary from special studio guests. On the water, the latest in hi-tech camera technology, as well as Virtual Eye 3D Graphics, will provide thrilling viewing. Armchair sailors can also join the race with Virtual Regatta.

Keep following us on the official website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to be updated on the SSL Finalists’ list, social events and more of the Star Sailors League major event of the year.

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November 29, 2017

Goodison was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1977 and was taught to sail by his father at a young age. After the years in Junior sailing, in 2000 Paul went to the Sydney Olympics as Ben training partner and at the next Summer Games in Athens in 2004 he was the one running for the medal, which he narrowly missed out finishing in fourth place.

In 2005, he was ranked 2nd in the world in the Laser, behind Robert Scheidt (BRA), and ahead of Mark Mendelblatt (USA), against whom he will be racing in less than two weeks.

He was then chosen to represent Great Britain again in the Laser class at the 2008 Olympic Games, and went on to win gold at the games in Beijing 2008.

In 2009 he won the Laser World Championships, in Halifax, Canada. He won then other two World Titles, in 2016, Goodison won the Moth World Championship in Hayama, Japan and in 2017 won the title a second time in Malcesine, Italy (Lake Garda), becoming the first sailor to achieve back to back wins in the event. Goodison joined Artemis Racing for their 2017 Louis Vuitton Challenger’s Trophy campaign.

Welcome to the Star Paul!

 

Catch up with Paul Goodison before the 2017 SSL Finals: VIDEO

Author: Rachele Vitello, Star Sailors League - December 05, 2017

Racing at the fifth edition of the Star Sailors League Finals starts today, December 5th at 1300 local time (GMT -5), just a few miles out from their base at Nassau Yacht Club in Nassau’s Montagu Bay. For the fifth year in a row, some of the world’s best sailors will line up to compete for the 2017 Star Sailors League title, the 4,000 Star Sailors League Ranking points and the biggest share of the US$ 200,000 prize pot, on the crystal blue waters of the Bahamas.

Nassau has become known for its perfect sailing conditions and today will be no different. The forecast for today is sunny with 16-18 knots of breeze from the East. The Race committee has selected the inside course for today which is closer to shore, so we will see a little bit flatter water than the ocean course.

The 2017 Star Sailors League Finals officially started last night with the Opening Ceremony at Government House in Nassau in the presence of Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Matilda Pindling, Governor-General of the Bahamas. A delegation of 20 SSL representatives met with Her Excellency at 5.30pm in a Courtesy Call. Afterwords, they joined the 50 Star Sailors League Finalists and all of the other guests on the veranda at Government House, where each of the 25 teams competing in the Star Sailors League Finals were introduced.

The sailors will hit the water today around 12:00 to head to the race course to prepare for the day. Make sure you tune into the live broadcast of the races online at www.starsailors.com beginning at 1:00 PM (GMT -5) or follow along on Facebook!

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Author: Rachele Vitello, Star Sailors League - December 01, 2017

Jonathan is not only an Olympic Bronze Medalist (2012), he was also twice runner up in the Finn Gold Cup and last September and was crowned European Champion in Marseille in May, making for a great 2017 for the French sailor. His first event in the Star was the 2013 SSL Finals where he placed 15th out of 18 boats. Jonathan later attended the SSL Lake Grand Slam in Grandson, Switzerland in September of 2015.

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Author: Rachele Vitello SSL Media and Communication - December 06, 2017

International sailing’s premier Champion of Champions event got underway in Nassau today with the first two races of the Star Sailors League Finals. Racing took place on Montagu Bay, a stone’s throw from the Nassau Yacht Club, this week playing host to the 25 Star teams. Among the all-star cast of sailors here are not just luminaries of theformer Olympic keelboat, but three Volvo Ocean Race winning skippers, two Jules Verne Trophy winning skippers, America’s Cup winners plus countless Olympic medallists and World Champions.

On the Bahamas’ holiday brochure blues waters, today’s racing took place in a relatively stable 12-15 knots easterly with ‘free pumping’ permitted.

On the first beat of race one, the boats on the left looked good including old US handsPaul Cayard/Phil Trinter and Mark Mendelblatt/Brian Fatih, but also invited VIPs like double Moth World Champion Paul Goodison sailing with German Star legend Frithjof Kleen. At the top mark defending champions Mendelblatt/Fatih shows some of their old magic pulling out a solid five boatlength lead with Goodison/Kleen sneaking ahead of Cayard/Trinter to round second. But on the runs, experience paid: Mendelblatt/Fatih held position claiming the first race, while Brazilian Olympic legend Robert Scheidt and Henry Boening outsailed Goodison/Kleen, relieving them of second coming into the line.

“I know Goodie from our Laser days - I think he has got a good set up and a good crew and a good boat,” observed Scheidt. He added that with invited sailors such as his old British rival the line-up here is the toughest to date.

Mendelblatt/Fatih were also showing great pace, finishing comfortably ahead of the chasing pack. “It was pretty good downwind - better than in years past,” said Mendelblatt. “It was unlimited rocking and pumping today. Some guys go really hard and other go smoother. We are one of the smoother teams. Some of the big Finns guys can put a lot into it.”

In the second race, the left also paid on the first beat with Goodison/Kleen putting in another great performance, squeeze in from the port layline at the top mark just inside of Xavier Rohart and his London 2012 crew Pierre-Alexis Ponsot with Poles Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Dominik Zycki third.

On the first run, the French held on starboard gybe and took the lead coming into the leeward gate with Mendelblatt/Fatih also rolling past Goodison/Kleen. Rohart/Ponsot kept their noses clean for the rest of the race which was not the case for many other, including the likes of Mendelblatt/Fatih and reigning Star World Champion, Norway’s Eivind Melleby, sailing here with the USA’s Joshua Revkin all of whom infringed at the top mark and had to carry out penalty turns. Ultimately the Poles claimed third with Scheidt/Boening managing second to finish the opening dayleading overall by a point from Kusznierewicz/Zycki, but with just three points separating the top five.

“It was a match - we took the right decision to stay outside at the top mark,” said race two winning crew Pierre-Alexis Ponsot . “Then it was about finding a good space with the waves for the oouching and pumping. Upwind it was hard because it is very choppy so we had to hike very much.”

Coming off the water with the biggest grin was definitely Goodison. “They have all been sailing for years and I have only down 10 days total,” he said of the competition. Of rediscovering long lost muscle groups after his first ever Star races, he added: “It is almost like the old Laser days when you were a bit out of practice and not quite fit enough at the beginning of the year. It is amazing to be out there racing with all these guys. I was very worried coming into this that we would be way off the pace. I am very fortunate that this is Frida’s boat (Kleen) and he has a good feel for the numbers. I do a little bit of the ‘feel’ stuff and he does general set-up. Downwind it is very much like sailing a Laser - just the rocking and steering, only I’m not as strong as some of the big guys and can’t pump as hard.”

And this was after an easy two race day. Tomorrow four races are scheduled.

Full coverage of all five 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 double Olympic champion Shirley Robertson. On the water, the latest in hi-tech camera technology, as well as Virtual Eye 3D Graphics, will provide thrilling viewing.

For more photos, video and info visit
finals.starsailors.com
For full results
starsailors.com

Author: Rachele Vitello, Star Sailors League - December 01, 2017

Franck Cammas was born in the south of France, but lived in Brittany for a long time. He’s not only a great sailor, but has a Mathematics degree and attended the Piano conservatory. Since he discovered his passion for sailing offshore he’s won many regattas: Transat Jacques Vabre for three times, Volvo Ocean Racing in 2011/12 edition,Route du Rhum, Quebec-St.Malo, 5 ORMA (Ocean Racing Multihull Association) World Title, Solitaire de Figaro; and broke an unbelievable number of records: Transat Jacques Vabre, 24 hours distance record and Jules Vernes trophy are some of them. Between the marks he can also be very competitive, in his palmares Two World Championships in the C-Class, the ‘little America’s Cup, and helming the 50 feet fouling catmaran at the real America’s Cup with Groupama Team France in Bermuda.

Loïck Peyron’s career started in the late nineties with some Ocean crossings, but the first real victories started arriving towards 2000 with the first win at TJV on Fujicolor II, then again in 2005 onboard Vibrac-Paprec. Between these years and the 2011 the ‘Gitana era’ took place, this year he won the Barcelona World Race on Vibrac-Paprec and then moved to the Banque Populaire V record breaking mission: Fastnet Race, Round the British Isles, Jules Vernes and Route du Rhum in 2014. Just before going to Bermuda with Artemis Racing.

Cammas and Peyron have a long time rivalry dating back to the 90's when Peyron won the TJV in 1999 and a young Cammas at 27 years old and at his first attempt finished right after him. After winning the Jules Vernes Trophy in 2010 with Groupama 3 for setting the record for the fastest circumnavigating of the world by any type of yacht without outside physical assistance, Cammas was beat by Peyron once again when Peyron broke Camma's record by three days sailing on Banque Populaire V.

Stay tuned to see if with the Star Boat and the Star Sailors League Finals as their new platform, Cammas will finally come out on top!

Xavier Rohart introduces Peyron and Cammas and Cammas gives us some insight on his training and expectations for the 2017 SSL Finals! Video

Catch up with Loiick Peyron with a short video after a training session on Lake Garda

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Author: Rachele Vitello SSL Media and Communication - December 06, 2017

A lighter, longer, hotter second day of racing at the Star Sailors League Finals in Nassau, was one of mixed fortunes for the 25 crews competing for the US$ 200,000 prize purse in this international ‘Champion of Champions’ contest.

Italy’s two time World Championship runners-up Diego Negri/Sergio Lambertenghi were the lowest scorers today, while Star newbies, German Laser sailor Philipp Buhl and British Nacra 17 World Champion Ben Saxton, put in stand-out performances with their respective crews, towering Markus Koy and former Star World Champion Steve Mitchell. US veterans Paul Cayard/Phil Trinter scored two bullets in the first and last races. Yet after this generally high scoring day, Brazilian Olympic legend Robert Scheidt and Henry Boening showed ultra-resilience retaining their lead, two points ahead of Mark Mendelblatt/Brian Fatih.

While two races were held yesterday, today there were four, the start time coming forward to 1100. The easterly started off lighter at nine knots, dropping to seven for the final race by which time an evil grey rain cloud was veering the wind.

Cayard was pleased with his and Phil Trinter’s two bullets, but less so about his race three 20th. “We had some kelp round the keel right off the start and weren’t fast, which was strange because we are very fast. Then I made a bad tactical choice to go to the layline on starboard instead of tacking early.”

The Volvo Ocean Race/Louis Vuitton Cup winner was particularly pleased by how their pace downwind has improved. “On Saturday we were getting our butts kicked. Now we are holding our own. If you can get to the weather mark in good shape and hold your own downwind, you are going to sail good races.”

In the fourth Cayard/Trinter, one of the most experienced crews competing, led at the first top mark rounding only to be rolled downwind by Ben Saxton/Steve Mitchell. The Brits led through the leeward gate only to be overhauled by the Americans on the second beat but still managed to hold second at the finish.

“We were struggling with speed downwind, but today we held our own, which meant we could put a race together,” explained Saxton. He added they were almost more pleased with today’s second and third races when they successfully fought back from deep starts. After this they finally got a good start, up by the committee boat. “We punched forwards off the line and then just led the bunch back from the left and tacked in and got a good lane,” said Saxton of the final race.

As to how it feels to be in the Star Sailors League finalists, Saxton adds: “It is an honour to line up against them. I am here because I can raise my game. It is wicked to see how these people put beats together. You can always learn off them.”

While Saxton came close to winning race four, another 27-year-old Rio 2016 Olympian, Philipp Buhl had successfully claimed the race before. The German crew had been third around the top mark behind behind two Italian boats - Negri/Lambertenghi and America’s Cup tactician Francesco Bruni/Nando Colaninno. Buhl/Koy had pulled into the lead ahead of Negri/Lambertenghi at the second top mark rounding and held on to the finish.

“I thought I would struggle a bit more, but I’ve been sailing with confidence, maybe because we are sailing above my expectations,”said Buhl. “I regard it as a super privilege to be invited to race against all these legends. When we won race three I realised we could sail on the same level as Robert Scheidt. That's something we can be proud of because he’s had two Olympic Star boat campaigns...” His towering crew, Markus Koy observed that having an ex-Olympic Laser sailor as a Star helm is a bonus. “They do more course changes and use every wave.”

Italy’s Diego Negri/Sergio Lambertenghi have yet to win a race but today’s two seconds (in races one and three) enabled them be the lowest scoring crew today. “It was very positive for us and it gives us a bit confidence to do well in the next few days,” said Negri, a two time Star European Champion. “Tomorrow and Friday conditions will be similar to today's and then very breezy on the final day, Saturday. This will make it more important to win the Qualification and get a bye straight to the Final – as we did last year. In windy conditions you can get tired and the boat can be damaged easier.”

With five races left to go in the Qualification series, tomorrow three races are scheduled with a start at 1100.

Full coverage of all five 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 double Olympic champion Shirley Robertson. On the water, the latest in hi-tech camera technology, as well as Virtual Eye 3D Graphics, will provide thrilling viewing.


For more photos, video and info visit
finals.starsailors.com
For full results
starsailors.com

Author: Rachele Vitello, Star Sailors League - December 01, 2017

Shayduko won Silver medal at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, USA in 1996 in the Soling class, just behind Gold medalist Jochen Schümann (SSL Finalist in 2015 and 2016). He attended three other Olympics, in Seoul in 1988, under the USSR flag, then Barcelona in 1992, and after winning the medal in Atlanta, he was sixth in Sydney in 2000. He then moved to the Star class and was selected to represent his Country for Athens 2004 and Bejing 2008, but eventually he couldn’t attend the Games. Georgy’s been sailing the Star ever since, he is Russian National title holder, and we expect he will raise the level of the competition this year.

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Author: Rachele Vitello -- SSL Media and Communication - December 08, 2017

In truth, the US occupation of the top spot was equally down to the impressively consistent Brazilian Olympic legend Robert Scheidt and Henry Boening vacating it after an uncharacteristic error when they hooked the weather mark and had to carry out a penalty turn in today’s second race. This resulted in a 19th place finish and, despite discarding this, the Brazilians are now second, trailing Mendelblatt/Fatih by eight points.

“It was a great day – I am very happy with it. We survived the light air and then some, so that was good,” said a beaming Mendelblatt. “Brian has good movement in the boat, which is key as the big guy [ie crew]. You have to heel the boat right and always be moving with the pressure and the waves. He did a great job of keeping the boat powered up at the right angle. It felt good.” While they are leading, Mendelblatt was not resting on his laurels, with up to three more races to go tomorrow in the culmination of the Qualifier round, after which all but the top ten are eliminated.

The first race got away successfully under a black flag on its second attempt. This still caused Poles Kusznierewicz/Zycki and the two veteran crews of Szabo/Natucci and Diaz/Sperry to be disqualified – especially costly for the Poles, who were OCS in yesterday’s second race.

With the start line committee-boat favoured, Mendelblatt/Fatih started conservatively by the committee boat and headed out to the right. The lead shifted between the sides of the course with the US team reaching the top mark third behind Franck Cammas and Mark Strube – an impressive performance by Cammas, the French Volvo Ocean Race winner, America’s Cup skipper but Star boat newbie. After a long battle on the final run with the two Italian crews Francesco Bruni/Nando Colaninno and Diego Negri/Sergio Lambertenghi, the Americans found better pressure to roll past their rivals to take their third bullet of the Star Sailors League Finals. 

Aside from Mendelblatt/Fatih, the day belonged to the two Italian teams. Francesco Bruni has been out of the Star class for more than a decade, his previous campaign including a seventh place at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Coming into the Star Sailors League Finals he had had just one day of training and yet today he managed to post a 4-1.

In the latter race Brazilian Olympic legend Torben Grael and Guilherme de Almeida had made the best of the start – leaping ahead after tacking on a favourable left hand shift. However it was Bruni/Colaninno who read the conditions the best and were first to the top mark. Bruni said he was pleased with how they had positioned themselves, such as not going all the way to the port layline coming into the top mark. “We made a good balance between risk and reward.” This had also paid in the first race when on the first run they had held on starboard longer after everyone had gybed, a move that took them from sixth-seventh to level with the leaders coming into the leeward gate.

“The only bad part of the day was the last part of the first race when we went from first to fourth.” This Bruni attributed to his lack of experiencing of free pumping which was permitted as the wind marginally increased on that leg.

Fellow countrymen Diego Negri/Sergio Lambertenghi were the third stand-out performer of the day posting two thirds, leaving them third overall.

Young German Laser sailor Philipp Buhl continued to shine today on board with old Star boat hand, Markus Koy. Their 9-5 today elevated them to fifth place overall, an outstanding performance considering Buhl has had only five days of training in the former Olympic keelboat before the Finals.

Tomorrow up to three races can be held in this Qualifier round and all of the 25 crews will be gunning to make the top 10 that will enable them to progress through to the final rounds of racing on Saturday.

Full coverage of all five 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 double Olympic champion Shirley Robertson. On the water, the latest in hi-tech camera technology, as well as Virtual Eye 3D Graphics, will provide thrilling viewing.

RESULTS

Star Sailors League

Author: Rachele Vitello, Star Sailors League - December 02, 2017

The resident "rookie" on the starting line next week will be 20 year old Finnish Olympic sailor Oskari Muhonen. Muhonen is the winner of the Finn Silver Cup, the under 23 World Championship of the single handed dinghy. After a successful 2017, finishing 11th at the Finn Gold Cup (World Championship) and winning the Junior Cup, he will definitely have a lot of momentum to bring to the SSL Finals.

Nacra 17 World Champion Ben Saxton will represent Great Britain next week with Star super crew Steve Mitchell. Saxton is currently leading the World Sailing Rankings in the Nacra 17 so we know he will be a force to be reckoned with. But for the first time ever, he will be sailing a monohull keelboat next week so it will be exciting to see how is talent translates from his flying Nacra 17 to our Star Boat and long upwind races.

Finally, German Laser sailor Philip Buhl is also racing the Star Boat for the first time next week. Buhl is an Olympic level Laser sailor with two World Championship titles and was ranked #1 on the World Sailing rankings this year. Buhl will be sailing with Markus Koy, so we know he is in good hands. 

Author: Rachele Vitello - SSL Media and Communication - December 08, 2017

There was upset in the first race when another of the Star newbies won, beating the old hands of the former Olympic keelboat class. British Nacra 17 World Champion Ben Saxton, sailing with former Star World Champion Steve Mitchell, managed to hang on to their lead after winning the pin at the start and then fending off a persistent challenge from overall leaders the USA’s Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih.

“We were one boat length ahead for the whole race,” said Saxton. “On the second beat we only crossed ahead of Mark and Brian by two metres - it was awesomely close racing. Then on the last run we had the Poles, Paul Goodison and Mark/Brian alongside of us and it could have gone any way. It was a pretty big celebration when we finished.”

Italian Star veterans Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi claimed the second race, their first bullet of the Qualifiers. But significant to the points tally was four teams being called OCS. This start line error would ultimately contribute to Brazil’s Lars Grael/Samuel Goncalves and London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Freddie Lööf and Bruno Prada from making it past the Qualifiers. 

After race two it was time for the teams to get their calculators out, to determine who would make it into the all-important top ten and would continuing and the 15 teams heading home. At this point 10th place was held by Italians Francesco Bruni/Nando Colaninno with France’s Xavier Rohart/Pierre-Alexis Ponsot seven points ahead of them, while a further five teams were all still in with a good chance, up to nine points behind. These included Lööf/Prada and Norwegian reigning Star World Champion, Eivind Melleby/Joshua Revkin.

The day had got off badly for Bruni/Colaninno, in the sixth when they got out of bed, but dropping to 10th going into the final race. “We couldn’t get our head around the shifts and we are not very fast downwind,” admitted Bruni, adding that with too many boats to cover they just had to sail their best. “On the final run we knew that Lööf was behind and Lars [Grael] wasn’t in the top three, so it would be pretty close between us and the Norwegians.” Finally on the last run it came together: “We just pushed hard and finally we had one good downwind where we passed four boats.” Melleby/Revkin’s sixth place to their eighth was enough and Bruni/Colaninno were able to hang on to tenth securing their place in tomorrow’s racing, albeit tied on points with Saxton/Mitchell. “We are very happy,” said a beaming Bruni.

The day became a British double win with Laser gold medallist and two time Moth World Champion Paul Goodison, sailing with German Star veteran Frithjof Kleen, claiming the final Qualifier race. This left them in fifth place overall.

Coming out on top is the class act of the 2017 Star Sailors League Finals - Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih. The American defending champions posted a 4-2-4 making them top scoring boat of the day and leaving them 19 points clear of early leaders Brazilian Olympic veteran Robert Scheidt and Henry Boening. Having won the Qualifiers Mendelblatt/Fatih are fast-tracked straight through to the Finals while Scheidt-Boening bypass the Quarter Finals and move directly to the Semi-Finals.

The remaining eight boats, from third placed Negri/Lambertenghi down, will compete in the single Quarter Finals race tomorrow, starting at 1100. Five then go through to join Scheidt/Boening in the Semi Finals. The top three from this join Mendelblatt/Fatih in the Finals, the winner of which will be crowned the 2017 Star Sailors League champion
 

1 - Mark Mendelblatt/Brian Fatih --- Straight to Finals

2 - Robert Scheidt/Henry Boening --- bypass to Semi-Finals

3 - Diego Negri/Sergio Lambertenghi

4 - Paul Cayard/Phil Trinter

5 - Paul Goodison/Frithjof Kleen

6 - Xavier Rohart/Pierre-Alexis Ponsot

7 - Philipp Buhl/Markus Koy

8 - Mateusz Kusznierewicz

9 - Ben Saxton/Steve Mitchell

10 - Francesco Bruni/Nando Colaninno


For more photos, video and info visit
finals.starsailors.com
For full results
 

Author: : Rachele Vitello, Star Sailors League - December 04, 2017

Paul Cayard - Cayard will be joinig the SSL Finals for the fourth time this year. He started his career on the Star as crew for Dennis Conner and soon moved to the helm to win the first of four bronze medals at the Star Worlds in 1984; he then won his Gold Star in 1988 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with crew Steve Erickson. Cayard has excelled at many sailing disciplines, highlights include winning the 1998 Whitbread Round the World Race as skipper, a Louis Vuitton Cup and many World Championships in Maxis and TP52s. He’s been back sailing the Star for quite a while now, since the first SSL Finals in 2013, and we can’t wait to see him performing in Montagu Bay once again.

Torben Grael - Torben’s career is unbelievable: he won five Olympic medals in two different classes, a win in the Volvo Ocean Race onboard Ericsson and a Louis Vuitton Cup with Luna Rossa: Torben is the most profitably eclectic sailor of all times. Among all his titles he hasn’t won any SSL events so far, so we bet he’ll try to do so this year.

Freddy Loof - Freddy is one of the most successful Swedish sailors. He participated in six Olympic campaigns, winning a gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics – with crew Max Salminen – and a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the Star class. He also won a bronze medal in the Finn class at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Lööf’s career highlights include three Finn World Championships, two Star World titles, as well as a third placed finish in the 2001-2002 Volvo Ocean Race. He then participated at the Swedish campaign for the America’s Cup in Bermuda 2017 with Artemis Racing. Freddy attended the second edition of the SSL Finals in December 2014 with crew Anders Ekstrom and finished second.

Xavier Rohart - Xavier Rohart, SSL President, won an Olympic Bronze medal in Athens in the Star class, won the first SSL City Grand Slam, and placed second at the SSL Finals in 2016 behind Mark Mendelblatt. He will come and race once again in Montagu Bay, and will be one of four teams sporting the French Tricolour on his boat.

Hamish Pepper - Pepper then moved to the Star and sailed with Carl Williams at the 2008 Olympics, finishing 9th. Pepper and Jim Turner finished 5th at the 2012 Olympics. Pepper has also competed in multiple Star World Championships, winning the 2006 Star World Championships with Carl Williams and finishing second with Craig Monk at the 2009 Star World Championships. 

Robert Scheidt - Robert Scheidt is one the most talented sailors in history, with five medals and 14 world titles in Olympic classes is among a group of few sailing super stars. He’s just announced a break in his Olympic career, he was campaigning in the 49er class, and we are looking forward to know what his next steps are going to be. First one will be to replicate the success he had in the first SSL Finals in 2013, when he won it with life-time crew Bruno Prada, he was third last year. This will be his fourth SSL Finals.

Mateusz Kusnierewicz - Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) was the first Polish sailor to win an Olympic Gold medal, he did it in the Finn Class in 1996 in Atlanta, USA. After this, he won another Olympic medal in Athens in 2004, a Bronze, once more in the Finn and moved to the Star class ever since with his crew Dominik Zycki (POL). Together they were the first Polish team to win the Star World Championship and went to the London Olympics in 2012. Mateusz and Dominik attended the SSL Finals every year since the first edition: they won Bronze in 2013 and Silver in 2014. Will 2017 be the year of Gold?

George Szabo - George won his Star World Championship in 2009, won the first 2015 SSL Lake Grand Slam in Grandson, Switzerland, and the 2015 SSL Finals. 

Lars Grael - Lars Grael isn’t new to the Star class. Not only is he the current President of the International Star Class Yachting Association, he won the World title just a couple of years ago in Argentina and nearly missed the second victory a few months ago in Denmark. Lars but has never attended the SSL Finals, so it will be a first time for this sailing hero of our time. Lars won two bronze medals for Brazil at the Olympic Games on the Tornado, the first one in Seoul in 1988 and the second one in Atlanta in 1996. In September 1998, he suffered a serious accident caused by the negligence of an irresponsible boat driver that left the boat propeller uncovered, which amputated one of the athlete’s legs, but Lars’s sailing didn’t stop there and he moved to the Star boat with brilliant results and started Projecto Grael to give disadvantaged children and teenagers the possibility to try sailing and enlarge their horizons. Lars is definitely the one to watch carefully on the racecourse.

Augie Diaz - Diaz will be competing in Nassau once again, as he is always in the SSL Ranking top ten skippers! 2016 was Augie’s golden year: he won the Star World Championship in Miami, his hometown, and the Eastern Hemisphere in Split, Croatia. 2017 started slowly, but it’s just accelerating with the win at the North America Championship. Will the momentum last?

Eivind Melleby - Eivind Melleby (NOR) won the Star World Championship in July in Denmark with Joshua Revkin (USA). They were the first team to confirm their participation to the fifth edition of the SSL Finals. Eivind was at two SSL Finals and with Josh finished second at the SSL City Grand Slam in Hamburg in 2016. The pair has now mastered their boat tuning and are certainly among the ones to watch.

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Author: Rachele Vitello SSL Media and Communication - December 11, 2017

With racing taking place in a balmy, near perfect 15 knots on Nassau’s Montagu Bay, the ‘take no prisoners’ shoot out on the last day of the Star Sailors League Final saw the fleet narrow to seven teams after the Quarter Finals and to four after the Semis. Finally this left the finals being contested by France’s Xavier Rohart/Pierre-Alexis Ponsot, Britain’s Paul Goodison sailing with German Frithjof Kleen, Brazil’s Robert Scheidt/Henry Boening and the USA’s Mark Mendelblatt/Brian Fatih, the latter crew having ‘fast tracked’ straight through after decisively winning the qualifiers yesterday. 

In the final race, Mendelblatt/Fatih led off the line and all the boats heading out to the left. Goodison/Kleen benefitted on the right and coming into the weather mark just squeaked in ahead of the Americans. At the second top mark rounding the Anglo-German duo looked marginally more secure but with veins of breeze coming down the course, the outcome was still far from decided. On the final approach to the finish line, Scheidt/Boening closed, rolling in with more pressure and on some good waves as Goodison/Kleen looked slow. However at the very last moment Goodison/Kleen picked up speed to win by a metre. It was a suitable ending to this ultimate ‘champion of champions’ regatta, where the winners gets to walk away with US$ 40,000 of a US$ 200,000 total prize purse. 

Goodison described the final seconds: “I was desperate to soak low to come into towards the pin end [of the finish line] and Frida [Frithjof Kleen] was going ‘YOU’RE GOING TOO SLOW, YOU’RE GOING TOO SLOW – COME UP!’. So there was a little panic. It was a little too close for comfort.” Kleen added: “It is always super hard to protect yourself from Robert Scheidt because he is the best downwind sailor in the world and he caught us up quite well…” 

In fact the two time Moth World Champion and his burly Star veteran crewman had become experts at photo finishes having had a similar experience in the Semi-Finals. On that occasion they were in a must-win battle against Germans Philipp Buhl and Markus Koy: The winner progressing to the final, the loser eliminated. Winning that particular race within a race had been especially important for Kleen. “I was working hard to catch the Germans in the Semi-Final! You could see the difference between us - we were rolling more and that helped us,” he observed.

Despite losing the final, Robert Scheidt said it had been a great race. “A lot happened – position changes, tacking on each other, penalties – and then we had a photo finish. We managed to do a good gybe on the inside and we got a little bit more pressure so that when we converged, I thought at one stage that we had got those guys. But in the end I couldn’t go low because I was blocked by the race committee boat. They deserved it and for us to be part of that was really exciting.”

It was interesting to note that three of the four finalists were former Laser sailors who competed at Athens Olympics in 2004. On that occasion Scheidt claimed gold, Goodison was fourth and Mendleblatt seventh. Throughout the Qualifiers this week, Mendelblatt and Fatih had been the stand-out crew but perhaps suffered from coming into the Finals cold whereas the other teams had already warmed up in the quarter finals and semis. 

Goodison was delighted by the outcome: “I am over the moon - I didn’t expect this at all.” Given today’s slightly breezier conditions, the smart money had been on the Star veterans, rather than a newbie to the class like him. “This morning we had a look at the trophy and I saw Bart’s name on it [the late Andrew Simpson, who won Star Gold in Beijing 2008 as part of the British Olympic team with Goodison] and Frida mentioned that the top crew got the Andrew Simpson Trophy. Somewhere up there I am sure Bart was smiling on us and making us hike a little bit harder. It is a great honour to race against these guys and I feel so happy to have won and I feel so grateful to have had Frida who has been my mentor, my pain in the ass, my everything for the last 10 days.”

And what will he do with his share of the prize money? “Well, I have a new Moth being built, but I think my family might get some better Christmas presents this year!” concluded the two time Moth World Champion, Laser Olympic gold medallist and now Star Sailors League champion.

Tonight's celebration will continue at the Nassau Yacht Club with a Gala Dinner, where Dennis Conner will hand out the prizes to the athletes - who will be wearing their Star Sailors League official blazers, kindly supplied by Think Pink.

The 6th edition of the Star Sailors League Finals will take place once again in Nassau, the Bahamas, from December 3rd to 8th 2018. 

 

Final Results