Tight at the top of SSL City Grand Slam
Published on May 6th, 2016
Hamburg, Germany (May 6, 2016) – Bright sunshine and an easterly breeze of 12 knots brought classic conditions to Lake Alster, Hamburg, for the 30 remaining teams vying to win the inaugural Star Sailors League (SSL) City Grand Slam. On a short course of barely 600 meters, reading the shifts and staying in clear air were the secrets to performance. In an innovative move by the SSL and NRV Race Committee, a top gate was set allowing teams to choose which top mark to round. With one more race before the knock-out rounds, the top six teams are safe from elimination, barring the results of outstanding protests.
Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA) put in a stellar performance today, scoring three second places and a third, to share the lead in the SSL City Grand Slam. With one more race to go in the second qualifying round, the Italian duo are tied for the lead with Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki (POL).
The Polish team had a tough day, in the first race Kusznierewicz and Zycki were spat out at the top gate but battled back to take third, the second race saw the Poles also fight back from a poor position to take another third but a 23rd in the penultimate race was to be their discard, eighth place in the last race, compared to Negri and Lambertenghi’s second, meant the two teams are tied going into tomorrow’s final race of the Second Round. The winner of the Second Round takes a valuable bye into the SSL City Grand Slam Final, second place gets a bye to the semi-final. Kusznierewicz/Zycki and Negri/Lambertenghi are the likely top two.
Race by Race in the Second Round
Race 1- Reigning Star World Champions, Augie Diaz and Bruno Prada (USA), took the first race of the day. The key moment being the second top gate rounding, Diaz and Prada rounded the right hand leeward gate into good clean air and extended on the fleet to take the gun. Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi were second, Kusznierewicz/Zycki were third. Several VIP entries scored outside the top ten including, Xavier Rohart and Pierre-Alexis Ponsot, FRA (19), Eric Doyle and Payson Infelise, USA (21) and Robert Stanjek and Frithjof Kleen, GER (23).
Race 2 – Stanjek/Kleen came out fighting for the second race of the day, to claim their second victory of the regatta, and more importantly back into the top ten cut off zone. Negri/Lambertenghi scored another second place, relying on their excellent start to stay in the top three all the way around the racecourse. Kusznierewicz/Zycki were third retaining the overall lead. Luke Lawrence and Ian Coleman (USA) retired from the race after a big pile up at the top gate. Eivind Melleby and Joshua Revkin failed to finish the race, after breaking their forestay. The Norwegian/American duo hurried back to the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein where NRV club member, Olaf Richter, was quick to lend them his boat. His action meant that they just made the start of Race 3, where they miraculously came 6th. Lawrence and Coleman also returned for the next race to make 8th place.
Race 3 – Conditions built at the start and with gusts of 15 knots, provided the windiest conditions since the start of the regatta. Melleby and Revkin, sailed at full chat to join the start on the ‘B of the Bang’ but there were too many boats over early and a General Recall was signaled. In the Black Flag restart, Polgar and Koy (GER) got away well, as did Torben Grael and Stefano Lillia (BRA). Xavier Rohart and Pierre-Alexis Ponsot got in the groove in the second half of the race to take a much needed win, Grael/Lillia were second and Negri/Lambertenghi third. Kuznierewicz/Zycki scored a lowly 23, and Stanjek and Kleen 24 putting severe pressure on the past 2014 world champions, who are now out of the top ten.
Race 4 – Eric Doyle and Payson Infelise, showed tremendous pace and guile to win the last race of the day to put the American team in the hot seat for the Knock Out stage. The last gasp win means Doyle/Infelise are tenth going into the last race of the Second Round. Negri/Lambertenghi kept up their brilliant form to take second and Polgar/Koy were third. Lawrence and Coleman were 22nd in the last race, dropping the young American team out of the top ten.
Racing at the SSL City Grand Slam continues tomorrow with one final race for the Second Round at 11.30. Only the top 10 teams will qualify for the knock out final series, starting with Quarterfinal at 14.25, Semifinal at 15.15 and the Final at 15.55.
Full coverage of all the action will be streamed live on the internet, 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.
LIVE BROADCAST – May 7, 2016
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).
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.