Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih take lead at Star Sailors League

Published on September 10th, 2015

Grandson, Switzerland (September 10, 2015) – Stellar conditions continued for the second day of the Star Sailors League Lake Grand Slam, with three races completed on Lake Neuchatel Switzerland.

The chilly northerly wind arrived, right on cue, for the first race of the day. A brisk 15 knots, accelerated by the Jura Mountains, providing an exciting start to Race 5 of the regatta. By Race 6, the gradient breeze had a more easterly component, allowing the race committee to lay a top mark in the centre of the lake and for the first time in six races, the eastern shore of Lake Neuchatel came into play. Race 7 was a light airs affair, with the wind switching back to the west, which shook up the results significantly.

The second day of the Star Sailors League Lake Grand Slam was a day of big shifts and plenty of position changes during the three races.

Only two more races are scheduled for tomorrow, then the SSL Lake Grand Slam will go into the knock out stage on Saturday, only the top 11 teams going through. Probably only the top four teams can be considered safe. “The Drop Zone” could be considered to run from 5th – 17th place.

Mark Mendelblatt & Brian Fatih started the day well nailing the first downwind leg to extend a lead on the fleet that was never given up. Fatih has over 20 years experience in the Star Class combined with Mendelblatt’s prowess in the Laser, to literally rock the boat to victory (this regatta permits the use of ooching and pumping when the wind speed is above 6 knots and the ‘O’ flag is displayed). The all-American crew had the best results of the day, posting a 1-2-6, to top the leader board by eight points.

Brazilian pair, Torben Grael & Guilherme De Almeida scored a 6-12-1 today to take second place for the regatta. Grael & De Almeida won the last race by a landslide, showing excellent tactical acumen and super boat handling in the light. Americans, Augie Diaz & Arnis Baltins dropped to third after leading the regatta this morning. Today, the Star Grandmaster and his long term crew, posted a 12-3-[15], which leaves them a point off second place. Croatian helm, Ivan Gaspic & American crew, Josh Revkin had a consistent day on the water, scoring 3-10-7, moving up three places to fourth for the regatta. Gaspic & Revkin should be safe to make the last 11 for the knock-out stage on Saturday.

Gold Star American helm, George Szabo, racing with the local Patrick ‘Duke’ Ducommun, recovered from a [26]-20 to place second in Race 7, but the team has slipped from second over night, to fifth after seven races and could well be in the danger zone for the final cut tomorrow.

Reigning Star World Champions, Robert Stanjek and Frithjof Kleen, started the second day well, but like many top contenders, got the wrong side of a shift in Race 7, ending the day with a 5-8-21, dropping two places to 6th. Reigning Star European Champion, Xavier Rohart, racing with Italian boat builder, Stefano Lillia, scored an 11-5-11 today, which was enough to move the team up two places to 9th. Two French Finn sailors had a great day on the water, Jean-Baptiste Bernaz & Pascal Rambeau, scored a 10-7-10 today to move up to 8th. Polish Gold Star duo, Mateusz Kusznierewicz & Dominik Zycki, slipped two places today, their second and a ninth was spoilt by a 24th in Race 7. German pair, Johannes Polgar & Markus Koy scored a 14-4-13 to move up five places to 10th.
In 11th place, and currently making the cut, is Jorge Zarif & Bruno Prada but the Brazilian duo are hanging on to the final place by their finger nails; German team, Hubert Merkelbach & Gerrit Bartel are level on points and only behind the Brazilians by virtue of countback.

Tomorrow will be the final day of racing for all the teams before the cull and two races are scheduled. All the action is freely available on the internet and continues tomorrow with Race 8 scheduled to start at 09:30 (ECT). With expert commentary from special studio guests, including Dennis Conner. On the water, the latest in hi-tech camera technology, as well as Virtual Eye 3D Graphics, will provide thrilling viewing. Armchair sailors can also join the race with Virtual Regatta.

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Report by Event Media


“After the first two days, it’s clear to us that we perform better in strong winds, we’re struggling in light breeze, the boat is not very fast. So we’re hoping for medium to strong winds for tomorrow, since we are sitting on the eleventh spot – last place to access Saturday’s finals. The lake is a very tricky place, we have to be careful with the starts, we already had a bad regatta today so our discard is gone, I believe if we score two races in the top ten we’ll make the finals. It’s a lot more difficult here with 70 boats than the Finals in Nassau with just 20 and in a big fleet you have to be very careful because if you make a mistake you can easily loose 10-15 boats, it’s very dangerous. With Jorge is a very talented sailor but he has to improve his knowledge of the boat, when the wind is strong it’s all about being physical and he’s perfect, but if the wind drops is not so technical yet and we have to improve.”

“Today was good, there was a very nice breeze in the first race, and we have a very good consistent race and we ended third, and it is our best score so far and made us happy. Second and third race had lighter conditions and I didn’t find it easy to sail as I don’t know the boat so well as it was the first time for me, everything felt quite strange and not so balanced. I was struggling with boat speed, but by the end of the day we had an improvement and we felt better downwind; we even made a come back in the last one. We are happy, we will go racing tomorrow quite confident for the two races scheduled and hopefully also for the Finals.”

“We’re doing well because we’re getting pretty good start and since it’s so shifty if we fall back a little bit we can work some shift and get back to it. When the wind drops like today we just adjust with a couple of rig changes, it doesn’t matter to us if it’s lighter or stronger, though I prefer hiking in 15 knots. Our goal is to skip the quarter finals and go straight to semis, but top ten is where you have to be, after that it doesn’t matter.”

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