Star Sailors League: Head Out of the Boat Conditions
Published on May 3rd, 2016
Hamburg, Germany (May 3, 2016) – The first Star Sailors League City Grand Slam got underway today with three races for 86 Star teams on Lake Alster. The fleet was evenly divided into three groups for this first round of qualifying races.
There were a few surprises as the rapidly changing conditions caught out many of the teams taking part, resulting in several World Class Star Sailors failing to make the top ten after day one. With two more days of racing in the qualifying rounds scheduled, it is still early days but today’s conditions showed the venue to be an exceptionally challenging place to race. The key to today’s top performers was starting well and keeping your ‘head out of the boat’ to anticipate changes in the wind.
The Norwegian/ American team of Eivind Melleby and Josh Revkin put in a stellar performance with three firsts to lead the field. Melleby has been away from the Star fleet for some time but his young crew from Connecticut is a rising star, having come third in last month’s Star World Championship with Brian Ledbetter.
“We had to fight all the way,” commented Melleby. “There are many world class sailors at the regatta and many more that know this lake very well. To be honest, I am a little surprised that we were so quick. The last time I raced was over a year ago but our speed was very good and so was our starting procedure.”
In second is Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki, scoring two straight bullets and a rare tie for first place in the last race with Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi.
“I have grown up sailing on lakes, so this was not unusual for me,” noted Kusznierewicz. “Dominik and I have not sailed together as often as some of the other teams but in the past we have sailed together for so long and we have a fantastic understanding, it is like knowing how to ride a bicycle. It was our good starts and boat speed that were gave us the results today.”
The young American team of Luke Lawrence and Ian Coleman put in a top class performance, scoring a win and two second places to end the day third overall. They are one of the youngest teams racing at the SSL City Grand Slam and came fifth at last month’s Star World Championship in April.
“We got off the line well today and kept in simple,” commented Lawrence. “For the short first upwind leg, we decided to go for the right hand side of the course, as coming in on starboard tack was nearly always going to pay. Even if the left had a better breeze or a bit of bias, it is far better to come into the first top mark with rights.”
Other top performers today included local sailors, Johannes Polgar and Markus Koy, who finished the day in fourth place and fellow Germans, Michael Koch and Carsten Witt, who finished the day in fifth place. Racing resumes tomorrow for the second day of the qualifying rounds with light winds are forecast for the day.
Full coverage of all five days of action will be streamed live on the Internet for FREE, 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 race the course with Virtual Regatta.
FORMAT: The Prize Purse for the SSL City Grand Slam is CHF 100,000 (104,730.47 USD) shared between the top twenty teams. Races are scheduled to start each day at 9 AM, from Tuesday to Saturday (May 3-7). The regatta will consist of a Qualifying Series and a Final Series. The Qualifying Series will have a first and a second round. In the first round races will be sailed in groups decided by the organizing authority and a combined results list will be produced.
The top ranked 30 teams of the first round qualify for the second round, and the winning team in the first round will be awarded the “Heinz Nixdorf Trophy”.
In the second round all 30 teams will sail in one fleet, with a maximum of 5 races. The top 10 teams will go ahead to sail the Final Series, the first qualified team will go straight to the Final, and the second will have a bye to Semi-final. In the Quarter-final only 5 teams out of 7 will gain access to the Semi-final and only 3 teams out of 6 will join the second round winner to the Final (see diagram below).
The first team to cross the line during the Final will be the first SSL City Grand Slam winner and also awarded with the 50th Erich F. Laeisz-Prize.