Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada lead Star Sailors League Finals
Published on December 3rd, 2014
by Bob Fisher
Nassau, Bahamas (December 3, 2014) – Conditions were near-perfect for the opening day of the Star Sailors League Finals – a north-easterly breeze of 15 knots and a flattish sea – for the 20-boat fleet of the world’s best sailors. It was also a day for surprises despite the fact that at the end of the day, the defending champion was on the top of the points table, with or without a discard.
It was not, however, a runaway performance by the Brazilian pair of Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada; they faced stiff competition from the others, notably Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Faith of the USA, who are within a point of them at the end of the day. Mendleblatt won the first of the three races, overlapped with both Emilios Papathanassiou and Antonio Tsotras (GRE) and Evind Mellerby (NOR) and Mark Strube (USA); it was a photo-finish between the three.
The defending champions did win the second race after a close battle with the French pair, Xavier Rohart and Pierre-Alexis Ponsot. They, in turn, were chased by the Germans Johannes Polgar and Markus Koy, with a bunched fleet behind them. By then the wind had dropped to 10-11 knots.
The third race saw the Brazilians Jorge Zarif (two-time Finn World Champion) and Henry Boening use a streak of extra breeze on the left hand side of the course to lead the fleet and to hold this position ahead of Scheidt and Mendelblatt. Strangely the five-time Olympic medallist, Torben Grael is 19th – he claims he has had no time to train for this event as he has been looking after the Brazilian Olympic squad.
The three-day qualifying series with all 20 competitors continues through Friday, with the aim 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 in the qualifying series 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.
A purse of $200,000 US on the table, with the top-ranked crew at the end of the event to take home $40,000 US.
Editor’s note: If you have time this week to watch online racing, this broadcast is the one to follow. Outstanding work from shoreside hosts and on-the-water commentators combined with multiple cameras and 3D Virtual Eye graphics.