Top Star Sailors compete for $200,000 purse
Published on December 4th, 2013
(December 4, 2013) – The inaugural Star Sailors League Finals got underway today in Nassau with 12 to 15 knots, allowing the star-studded field of 18 teams to complete four races. Recently crowned Laser World Champion Robert Scheidt (BRA) with Prada Bruno (BRA) posted a 2-4-1-3 to lead by two points over Italians Negri Diego/ Sergio Lambertenghi. This brand new invitational event hosts a list of champions from 13 countries, with accomplishments that include 12 Olympic medals. Racing concludes on Dec. 8.
In the opening race Scheidt and Prada went into a great start battle with Paul Cayard and Austin Sperry but the skipper from Gruppo Sportivo Fiamme Gialle got a clear lead just some minutes later. At the first top mark there were not many surprises in the rounding order: Negri, Mendelblatt, Scheidt, Kusznierewicz, Melleby, Rohart, Cayard, Marazzi, Polgar, Szabo. But the last upwind mark highlighted the debut of Tomas Hornos and Joshua Revkin, rookie of the year in the Star Sailors League Ranking, in the top ten of the fleet. The victory in race 1 was taken by Diego Negri, followed by Scheidt and Melleby.
Negri had another great start in race 2 and the majority of the fleet headed to the left of the race course, the favored side throughout the entire day. But the first leg will be mostly remembered from the people who followed the regatta live as they watched for the first time the American Hornos leading the fleet according to the official tracking service, followed by his compatriot Mendelblatt when fighting with Polgar, Rohart. The first mark was very crowded as the top 12 entered the turning area within few seconds. At that point Rohart and Stanjek where in front but before the second mark they were passed again by Negri. At the third mark Rohart and Stajek handed the lead to Negri and Mendeblatt came second.
Swiss Marazzi won the start of race 3 but Stanjek showed his strength again when rounding the weather mark in the dominating position. Leg 2 and 3 appeared to be following a similar pattern until Scheidt changed his pace and flew into a comfortable lead.
Competitors were very surprised to see such an exciting and aggressive fourth race of the day. The Dutch Postma made a big surprise staying for a long time at the lead of the fleet when probably the top tiers didn’t expect there was room for a newcomer at the day 1. But it wasn’t the only highlight of race 4: the last race will be remembered for a long thanks to a thrilling finish athletics-style when 5 boats approached the line in a compact bunch, crossing it within 2 seconds each other.
This is only the beginning of the Star Sailors League Finals, but is already a proof of the high level of competition that comes from merging Star legends with the unquestionable champions from Finn and Laser.
Quotes of the day
Robert Scheidt: “We are happy with how things went today. I made some mistakes after the start in the second and fourth race but we managed to climb back. We had a good downwind speed that gave us the chance to come back to the race. I’m pretty happy with that: four races in the top five. We’re very tired but I’m so happy. We’re improving hour by hour. ”
Mark Mendelblatt: “Nice to be in the front. The goal is to make the top ten after nine races. We feel good out there: good speed upwind, downwind was a little though getting used to the new rules, where you can do whatever you want. We improved on the day, I think. We are pretty happy. My key for the performance today was probably the upwind speed. We are going well upwind. In the time we had a bad start I was able to get out and we had a couple of good shifts. So we were able to get right back in the race. So the upwind was our strength today. In our very bad start we couldn’t make the pins so I had to bear away, we basically dipped all the fleet. Luckily it was during a left shift when we did that. When we came out we sailed for a while and then we got the right shift and when we tacked we were in the front. So we got lucky. That was the trick.”