The ground-breaking Star Sailors League commences in Nassau, Bahamas, with the inaugural edition of the yearly Finals, held from Dec 3rd to the eighth.
This brand new invitational event that is gathering an incredible list of champions is honored to feature 18 teams from 13 countries with a stunning track record: 12 Olympic medals from a total amount of 81 amongst all entries that also includes World Championships in Olympic Classes, America's Cup campaigns and Volvo Ocean Race teams.
It is the first time that most of these star legends, selected from the SSL Ranking List, will face each other again since the London 2012 Olympics and it's also a debut in this boat for three promising sailors that are coming from the Finn and Laser Standard classes. In addition, it is Robert Scheidt's first regatta after clinching his tenth Laser Standard World Championship in Oman.
The final entry list is: Xavier Rohart (FRA) with Pierre-Alexis Ponsot (FRA), Robert Scheidt (BRA) with Bruno Prada (BRA), Eivind Melleby (NOR) with Mark Strube (USA), Michael Hestbaek (DEN) with Claus Olesen (DEN), Flavio and Renato Marazzi (SUI), Johannes Polgar (GER) with Markus Koy (GER), Robert Stanjek (GER) with Frithjof Kleen (GER), Mark Mendelblatt (USA) with Brian Fatih (USA), Augie Diaz (USA) with John von Schwarz (USA), Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) with Dominik Zycki (POL), George Szabo (USA) with Craig Moss (USA) and Diego Negri (ITA) with Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA). These sailors are the top-seeded in the SSL Ranking List while Tomas Hornos (USA) with Joshua Revkin (USA) concludes the list as the most promising young skipper. Guest stars are Paul Cayard (USA) with Austin Sperry (USA), French Finn Bronze Medal in London 2012 Jonathan Lobert (FRA) with Pascal Rambeau (FRA), Finn World Champion Ed Wright (GBR) with Petter Morland Pettersen (NOR), Finn silver medalist at the World Championship, Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) with Edoardo Natucci (ITA) and the up-and-coming Laser Standard sailor Andy Maloney (NZL) with Tyler Bjorn (CAN).
Racing starts on Wednesday, December 4th with three days of qualification races. A maximum of four races per day are scheduled with a limit of nine for the first three days. The top ten boats of the qualification round will then battle it out on Saturday under an innovative format. After a first race with all ten finalists, the top seven will advance to second race whose top four will then hold a winner-take-all battle. The boat to cross the finish line first will be crowned champion of the inaugural Star Sailors League final.
Paul Hutton-Ashkenny, Regatta Chairman and Past Commodore, Nassau Yacht Club expressed his excitement in seeing his yacht club playing host to the inaugural Star Sailors League Finals:
'Our mission at the Nassau Yacht Club is to showcase what we believe to be the best sailing waters in the world with highly professional race management and legendary Bahamian hospitality. The Club and its members are delighted to be doing just that in hosting the highly prestigious Star Sailors League Finals, with so many of the best sailors in the world competing'.
'Sailing in The Bahamas is addictive, and we are thrilled to be welcoming back to the Bahamas many sailors who have competed here in past regattas. We are equally pleased to extend a special welcome to those who are sailing here for the first time, safe in the knowledge that we are sure to be also welcoming them back to The Bahamas in years to come'.
'The racecourse to the eastern end of New Providence Island offers truly exciting conditions. Consistent sailing breezes, in waters that need no local knowledge, offer an exhilarating ride that provide a challenging and fair test to all skippers and crews. It's an experience that always leaves competitors wanting more'.
It is also emblematic to hold this event on the home waters of the country's most famous athlete Sir Durward Knowles, a veteran star sailor, who won the first ever Olympic gold medal for The Bahamas. In 1947, he won the World Championships in sailing for the Star Class. In 1956, he went on to win the Olympic Bronze Medal along with Sloane Farrington, in Melbourne, Australia. He made Bahamian history in 1964 when, along with Cecil Cooke, he won the Olympic Gold Medal in Tokyo. Sir Durward continued competing in Olympic Sailing for a record of eight Olympics; the last being Korea in 1988 at the age of seventy, making him one of the oldest and most successful Olympians.
The culmination of the Star Sailors League lively competition is the huge 200.000 USD prize money purse that will be distributed on the last day to all the teams according to their final classification.
Star Sailors website
by Alex D'Agosta
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3:25 PM Wed 4 Dec 2013GMT
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