Top Ten Advance at Star Sailors League Finals
Published on December 2nd, 2016
Nassau, Bahamas (December 2, 2016) – Light airs forced a delay to the start of the fourth and final day of the Star Sailors League Finals Qualifying Rounds to select the ten teams to advance to the knockout rounds tomorrow.
Diego Negri and Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA) won the Qualifying Rounds, giving the Italians a bye to the SSL Grand Final. Mark Mendleblatt and Brian Fatih (USA) finished the Qualifying Rounds in second place, giving the Americans a bye into the Semi Final. Sailors from Brazil, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Northern Ireland and Poland, will be joining the top two in the SSL Finals. Live coverage will be freely available on the internet, from 1600 GMT on Saturday 3 December.
“We are always the best in the qualification round!! We had some problem in the SSL City Grand Slam in Hamburg, with a big puff sending us into the water, hopefully it’ll go better here tomorrow, we will try to be more focus and do a better job than in Hamburg. I am very happy already to be straight into the final as in the last three years we were not so lucky and we were out at quarterfinal, so this will be our best results in the SSL Finals anyway.”
Two races were completed today, fulfilling the 11 race qualifying Rounds. Both races were won by Rio Olympic 470 Gold medallist, and SSL Finals VIP, Sime Fantela, racing his fellow Croatian crew Antonio Arapovic. The Croatians hugged each other as the went through the line, securing fourth spot for the Qualifying Rounds and a place in the SSL Finals.
“We came here to learn and every day we were going forward, today the wind was light like yesterday, the boat speed is good and also the tactic, so I am happy and it was good to have a fight with Robert, Diego, Xavier: this is why we came here, racing with these guys and I was happy to win two races today, three in total.”
Only the top ten teams from the Qualifying Rounds make it through to the SSL Finals 2016 knockout day. There was a dramatic final race, with two teams tied on points for the tenth and last spot. Rio Olympic silver medallist in the Laser, Tonci Stipanovic, racing with fellow Croatian Ante Sitic, scored a vital eighth place in the final race. Reigning Star World Champion, Augie Diaz racing with fellow American, Arnie Baltins was thirteenth. Both team were on 108 points but Stipanovic & Sitic were given the last SS Finals spot by virtue of a 2nd place countback from Race 4.
“I am so happy to be here for the second time and to be in the quarterfinal for the second time, but today was totally crazy I was sailing really, really bad. I was going from one corner to another and then I was last, but the race it’s not over until is over, like on any sport. I am very happy! Tomorrow I will try to trim the boat better, try to do my best, I will aim for the grand final even if I am only 10th. With a little more speed and luck I think I have good chances.”
“This is showing how close it is here and I think this is really the major league of sailing, the show and to be able to sail at this level is really a blessing, I am very fortunate. A bit disappointed, but I only have to blame myself because I really had the opportunity to jump on it, but my competitors, especially Tonci jumped a little higher. So I wish him luck, I wish Diego and Sergio luck also.”
Ten teams will contest the SSL Finals 2016 in a knock out format, the Quarter Final, Semi Final and Final will consist of single races with teams being eliminated until just four are left to contest the SSL Final. The winners will be crowned SSL Finals Champions and receive the lion’s share of the $200,000 Prize Purse. All three past SSL Finals champion skippers made it to the final round: Robert Scheidt (BRA) racing this year with Henry Boening (BRA), Mark Mendleblatt & Brian Fatih (USA) and reigning SSL Final Champions, George Szabo (USA) & Eduardo Natucci (ITA).
Full coverage of all five days of action will be streamed live on the Internet with expert commentary from special studio guests, including America’s Cup four time winner Dennis Conner and Olympic silver medalist in London 2012 Luke Patience. On the water, the latest in hi-tech camera technology, as well as Virtual Eye 3D Graphics, will provide thrilling viewing.
Background: The Star Sailors League Finals 2016 will take place in from November 29 to December 3 in Nassau, Bahamas. For the fourth edition of the event, the top 12 Star teams of the SSL Ranking 2016, and 13 VIPs from the world of sailing, will race in the clear blue water in front of Nassau Yacht Club. The 25 teams representing 17 countries will be battling to win the SSL Trophy and the biggest share of the $200,000 prize pot.
SSL QUALIFYING SERIES
Twenty-five teams will take part in 11 races over four days (Nov 29-Dec 2) with only the Top 10 advancing to the SSL Final Day (Dec 3). No points are carried through but the winner of the Qualifying Series gets a double bye while the runner-up in the Qualifying Series gets a single bye.
SSL FINAL DAY
SSL Quarter Final – Teams ranked 3rd -10th from the Qualifying Series contest a single race. Only the top 5 survive.
SSL Semi Final – The remaining 5 survivors are joined by the runner up from the Qualifying Series to contest a single race. Only the top 3 survive.
The SSL Final – The remaining 3 survivors are joined by the winner from the Qualifying Series to contest a single race. The first to correctly cross the line is the winner.
The winner will be crowned as winner of the 2016 SSL Finals, together with the biggest share of the prize fund.
Source: Rachele Vitello, SSL Media Manager