Field set for Star Sailors League Finals

Published on November 23rd, 2017

The fifth edition of the Star Sailors League Finals, the grand finale of the year for expert Star sailors, has confirmed the line-up of 25 teams that will compete in the Bahamas on December 5 to 9. Nine among the top 10 Star sailors of 2017 have earned their way into the field while 16 wild cards have been drawn from every aspect of the sport.

The field has 25 Olympic medals hanging on their necks, of which 7 are gold medals. A huge number of World Champions in both Olympic and big boat classes, Volvo Ocean Race, Louis Vuitton and America’s Cup winners, and for the first time some solo around-the-world-navigator.

For the first time, two French legends – Loick Peyron and Franck Cammas – will compete. British Olympic gold medalist Paul Goodison will race on the Star boat for the first time, after winning twice in a row the Moth Worlds, nothing farthest from the once Olympic double handed boat designed in 1911.

Competing will be true Star champions Robert Scheidt, Freddy Loof, Mateusz Kusznierewicz, Hamish Pepper, Mark Mendelblatt, Eivind Melleby, Xavier Rohart and the crews Bruno Prada, Frithjof Kleen, Pierre-Alexis Ponsot, Brian Fatih and Dominik Zycki – all of whom racing at the London Olympics in 2012.

While they weren’t on the water in Weymouth, the Grael brothers – Torben and Lars – along with Paul Cayard, Augie Diaz and George Szabo all sport the Gold star on the mainsail for winning the class World Championship. Diego Negri and Francesco Bruni will add a chapter to their history for fighting to represent Italy at the Olympics back in the days.

A competition within the competition, will be among the Artemis Racing team members: Paul Goodison, Loick Peyron, Freddy Loof, Francesco Bruni and the ones from the 34th America’s Cup team Paul Cayard and Craig Monk.

For the first time at the SSL Finals there will be not one but two rookies, two Finn Junior World champions, Facundo Olezza, who won the title in 2016 and Oskari Muhonen who’s just won it last August. The two Finn sailors know how to handle intense competition, they just need to get acquainted to the boat first – though Facundo has already been sailing it at the SSL Finals 2016 and at the Star Worlds.

Hosted by Nassau Yacht Club, the waters of Montagu Bay offer one of the best racing courses in the world. The week starts with four days of qualification races that advance the top ten teams to the final day of knockout races.

From the qualifiers, the top team gets a bye to the Final, the runner-up goes to the Semi-Finals and teams from 3rd to 10th have to fight on yet one more race in the Quarter-Finals.

The knockout rounds feature just one race, and from the eight teams in the Quarters, five advance to join the pre-qualified team, and from that group of six teams in the Semi-Finals, three advance to meet top team in the qualifying round for the four boat shootout in the Final where the winning team takes home the lion’s share of the $200,000 Prize Purse.

The action will be streamed live on Internet with expert commentary from special studio guests (details). 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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Source: Rachele Vitello, SSL Media and Communication

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