Scheidt, Prada win inaugural Star Sailors League Finals
Published on December 8th, 2013
Nassau, Bahamas (December 7, 2013) – A relentless Robert Scheidt with Bruno Prada were the undisputed leaders of the first Star Sailors League Finals.
Even if Scheidt and Prada had literally dominated the three days of qualifying races, they had to restart from scratch as in the final day the racing schedule included three knockout races. Each race started with a clean score sheet and points were not carried over to the next one. For the first time ever in the sport of sailing, the winner of the third and final race of the day was also the winner of the event.
In the quarter final, the first race of the day, France’s Xavier Rohart took the lead at the second leg and crossed the finish line ahead of the two Germans, Johannes Polgar and Robert Stanjek.
In the semi final, Mateusz Kusznierewicz from Poland took the early lead but Scheidt showed again his extraordinary downwind skills, got the upper hand at the bottom gate and went on to claim the race. Italian Diego Negri had a fantastic last run and climbed to second place. Mark Mendelblatt closed the podium places.
In the grand final, in order to make the race fairer, the race committee decided to stretch the race course to five legs, finishing upwind. Scheidt had a great start at the pin end of the line, chose the favoured left-hand side and was ahead at the first mark but with a paper-thin advantage on Kusznierewicz. The Brazilian and the Polish skippers engaged in a fierce fight in the first downwind leg but Scheidt managed to hold on to his lead. At the same time Diego Negri and Mark Mendelblatt were holding their own race within the race for third place. As the breeze built up, Scheidt found better pressure on the left and stretched his lead over Kusznierewicz. In the last beat Mendelblatt overtook Diego Negri after the Italian split to the left, in search of better breeze. Scheidt secured the first ever Star Sailors League Finals with a 24-second advantage over Kusznierewicz. Mendelblatt took the bronze medal ahead of Negri.
The culmination of the Star Sailors League lively competition was the huge 200.000 USD prize money purse that was distributed to all the teams according to their final classification. This inaugural event was a stepping stone for a bright future for the Star Sailors League and it is also the first ever that awards 4.000 SSL Ranking points to the winning skipper and his crew.
Dennis Conner, 4-time America’s Cup Winner
It was clear that the Brazilians were the class act of the fleet, in a league of their own, and the rest of the places were determined by who got a good start and got around the weather mark first. The ones that went to the right on the run did well and the ones who went to the left not so well. All in all there is a lot of very good sailors in the fleet, and the results were not clear until the very end except for one and that was for sure. Robert Scheidt is the best in the world!
Bill Allen, Star Class President
This has been an outstanding week for the Star Sailors League put on by Star sailors to develop a kind of a Gran-Prix overlay over the Star Class events. As a Star Class, we have been very happy to be part of the event and basically provide the equipment for it. It has been a really good combination of working between the Star Sailors League and the Star class and we are very pleased, we endorse what they are doing and we are happy to be a small part of it.
Interview with winner Robert Scheidt
How was your last day?
It was a very long day today with three races. We didn’t have a very good first race as we finished fourth which was just enough to make us advance for the next stage, and then in the second and the third races we sailed really well. We had a good start, good speed downwind, a big fight with the Poles in the decider, but still we managed to hang on and win the last race which was amazing. You know it’s great to come to the end of the week ahead and to win such an important regatta. There were only four boats at the end, so once two boats got a little advantage it’s very hard for the other two to come into that fight because the second starts to protect the third and the third starts to protect the fourth. It’s not like a normal fleet race that people risk and have more possibilities to recover; in this kind of race people are already looking at how to beat at least one boat. That is the mentality from the middle of the race on: we want to protect Matteo and Matteo is protecting the other two guys so it makes it hard if you’re behind.
What’s your secret to be so successful even if you didn’t train in a Star since more than 1 year?
There are a number of factors together. I think because I already competed at a high level in many classes and coming to the decider day I’m confident because I’ve been there, I’ve done that many times, you know how you will react, you know you have to make the right decision at the right time. It’s an experience game, it counts if you’ve been there many times, when the next time comes you already know how to behave, it gives you confidence and that’s very important when you sail with confidence. Well it’s hard to say but I would like to finish my career in Rio, compete in the games and that’s my goal right now. I’ve already achieved a lot in sailing and I lift my hands to god because I had so many opportunities, first my family and then throughout all the way, great people who helped me like Luca, people like Bruno, who’s been around me, and this really helps in the end, even in a single hander you win but behind you there’s a team that you have to acknowledge. There’s no one thing that I can say is the secret, it’s many things together you know, a little bit of talent and a lot of hard work.
Who is your biggest longtime rival?
My biggest rival was Ben Ainslie, for sure, I had him you know, tough battles, he won one time in the olympics, I won the second. It’s been great, I hope I can have the chance to sail against him again, it would be great if he could join the circuit but it’s up to him, he’s now with the America’s Cup, but I had many many tough battles with many guys, but if I have to point out one guy it was really tough to beat and he beat me many times as well, as well as I beat him, it was Ben.
Any America’s Cup aspirations?
Yes I have been interested (in the AC) but for some reason I always put the Olympic Games as my priority and then the chances that I had to sign for an AC was always overlapping with my Olympic campaigns and then I decided to do a serious campaign instead of doing things half and half.
Star Sailors League Finals – Final Results after 9 qualifying races (1 discard), Quarters, Semis and Finals
1. Robert Scheidt (BRA) / Bruno Prada (BRA) – 2,(4),1,3,1,2,2,1,1 – 13 / QF 4 / SF 1 / F 1
2. Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) / Dominik Zycki (POL) – 4,(14),4,6,12,11,3,8,9 – 57 / QF 6 / SF 4 / FF 2
3. Mark Mendelblatt (USA) / Brian Fatih (USA) – 6,2,3,5,3,7,(9),3,3 – 32 / QF 5 / SF 3 / F 3
4. Diego Negri (ITA) / Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA) – 1,1,6,9,2,13,6,(15),11 – 49 / QF 7 / SF 2 / F 4
5. Johannes Polgar (GER) / Markus Koy (GER) – 11,15,(17),15,5,5,1,11,4 – 67 / QF 2 / SF 5
6. Xavier Rohart (FRA) / Pierre-Alexis Ponsot (FRA) – 7,6,5,10,6,1,11,(17),5 – 51 / QF 1 / SF 6
7. Robert Stanjek (GER) / Frithjof Kleen (GER) – 13,5,2,(16),7,10,5,5,8 – 55 / QF 3 / SF 7
8. Michael Hestbaek (DEN) / Claus Olesen (DEN) – 5,11,12,17,16,9,(16),6,2 – 77 / QF 8
9. Eivind Melleby (NOR) / Mark Strube (USA) – 3,8,10,4,(14),3,4,12,7 – 51 / QF 9
10. Augie Diaz (USA) / John Von Schwarz (USA) – 8,7,7,13,8,(19),12,9,10 – 74 / QF 10
11. Andy Maloney (NZL) / Tyler Bjorn (CAN) – (17),12,11,7,11,8,14,4,15 – 82
12. Paul Cayard (USA) / Austin Sperry (USA) – 9,16,14,12,4,15,(18),2,13 – 85
13. Flavio Marazzi (SUI) / Renato Marazzi (SUI) – 14,(18),13,1,13,14,15,10,6 – 86
14. Ed Wright (GBR) / Petter Morland Pedersen (NOR) – 10,9,(15),14,15,12,7,7,12 – 86
15. Jonathan Lobert (FRA) / Pascal Rambeau (FRA) – (18),3,8,11,18,4,17,16,18 – 95
16. George Szabo (USA) / Craig Moss (USA) – (16),10,16,8,9,16,10,14,14 – 97
17. Tomas Hornos (USA) / Joshua Revkin (USA) – 15,17,9,(18),10,6,13,13,16 – 99
18. Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) / Edoardo Natucci (ITA) – 12,13,18,2,17,(19),8,18,17 – 105
Communication Manager, Alex D’Agosta