Star Sailors League Final promises unique sporting display

Published on November 25th, 2014

The Star Sailors League Finals returns to the Nassau Yacht Club in the Bahamas for the second consecutive year, this time with a fleet of 20 boats for the competition on December 2-7.

This Bahaman event is about much more than just sailing, as it promises a blistering week of high emotion, passion and dazzlingly action that will deliver a unique display of sporting prowess from a slew of champions. All in an easy-to-grasp and see format that even non-sailing folk will understand perfectly.

As promised at the end of the SSL’s maiden edition last year, this new chapter has an even higher champion-count and even more refined technology designed to immerse viewers in the short but spectacular live-streamed races as they unfold.

An incredible number of superstars are on the entry list, with the field holding 20 Olympic medals (6 gold, 5 silver and 9 bronze) – an average of one Olympic medal per boat. Competitors also hold 73 World Championship titles (33 gold, 24 silver and 16 bronze).

Robert Scheidt (BRA), Torben Grael (BRA), Freddy Loof (SWE), Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Xavier Rohart (FRA) are probably the most famous names because of their Olympic medals, but the fleet also numbers many other equally competitive entrants.

The top three names on the Star Sailors League ranking list are, in fact, Diego Negri (ITA), who has held a solid lead since summer having missed out on the world title by a whisker last year, Augie Diaz (USA), the Miami living legend in not one but several classes, and 2014 Star World Champion and all-round sailing wunderkind Robert Stanjek (GER).

The list of skippers that qualified automatically for the Final because of their position on the ranking list also includes skipper: Johannes Polgar (GER), European Champion 2010; George Szabo (USA), 1 Gold and 2 Silver Stars; Mark Mendelblatt (USA), 1 Silver Star and third in the SSL Finals 2013; Eivind Melleby (NOR), third in the Worlds 2014; Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE); and Marcelo Fuchs (BRA).

The invited skippers are bringing along impressive resumes from outside the Star class: Luke Patience (GBR), silver medallist in the 470 at London 2012, is also coming to Nassau and some of the world’s finest Finn sailors are also in the fleet too, not least Jorge Zarif (BRA) and Giles Scott (GBR), World Champions in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Other highly-ranked, up-and-coming stars include Ivan Kljaković Gašpić (CRO), Luke Lawrence (USA) and Josh Junior (NZL).

The Star Sailors League Finals 2014 regatta takes place over the four days between December 3 and 6 (the 2nd is the opening day and the 7th is a reserve day). This is the second such Star event and features a new race format for all 20 boats. The action kicks off with 3 days of regatta-style racing with no more than four races per day and a maximum of nine races in all. The aim of the first 3 days is to establish which crews will go forward to the final day.

The last day will have three races – the first will see 10 boats lining out, the second 7 and the last just 4. The winner of the 3-day qualifying series will go forward directly to the semi-final of 7 boats. Consequently, the crews that qualified in 2nd to 11th positions will compete in the quarter-finals but only the best 6 will go forward to the semi. Then, only 4 will make it to the grand finale heat that will decide the overall winner.

Impressive prizes, trophies and points

Once again this year, $200,000 will be awarded in prize money, to be divided between the entire fleet. This is an important step towards achieving one of the SSL’s primary objectives: to make it possible for sailors to make a decent living from the sport. Prizes also include the perpetual Sir Roland Symonette Trophy awarded to the winning team in the Star Sailors League Finals, the Best Skipper of the Year award (Dennis Conner Trophy), while the Best Crew of the Year will receive the Andrew Simpson Memorial Trophy, in memory of the late British Star sailor. As happened last year to Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada, the winning team will be awarded 4,000 SSL points, the highest allowed for under the Star Sailors League Ranking rules.

Live action also on mobile devices and more
Spectators from all over the world can watch the live HD streaming of the racing from any mobile device. There will be two cameras on the water and back-up from 3D Virtual Eye, which is also used in the America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race. This makes the races easy to see and understand for everyone. The cherry on the cake is that the technical commentary will include our patron, four-time America’s Cup champion Dennis Conner, one of the world’s leading sports celebrities.

Dedicated videogame
The world’s leading online sailing community, Virtual Regatta is also dedicating a special edition of its Inshore Game to us once again this year. During the race days, the SSL Finals 2014 will be the only inshore race available to the portal’s many hundreds of thousands of players.

About the Star Sailors League
The Star Sailors League is a new sports promotion company headquartered in Lausanne, the world capital of sport. In the space of a single year, the company has supported and organised events in Italy, Switzerland, the United States and the Bahamas. Its ultimate goal is to be able to stage SSL races using a company-owned fleet of 30 Star boats within a few years. These will not only be sent around the world for SSL events, but will also be chartered by top athletes and rookies wishing to participate in other Star Class events. The SSL will organise training camps to help integrate rookies with the existing “Legends of Sailing”. Top athletes will always be present during these camps.

Finals information:

Source: Alex D’Agosta, SSL Communication Manager

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