|District 20 Regatta Report|| |
Tue Dec 1st, 2015 through Sun Dec 6th, 2015
Results for 7 races sailed on December 2 and 3, and no wind on December 4, followed by the quarter, semis and finals on December 5 at Nassau, Bahamas.
Reports by Paul Cayard:
Today was the first day of the 2015 SSL Finals on Montegue Bay. Four races were held in 6-8 knots of wind from the southeast. While this was less strenuous than 4 races in the typical Nassau winds of 15-18 knots, it was no walk in the park.
The 19 competitors here are World Champions or Olympic medalists. There are Finn sailors, Laser sailors, Soling sailors and of course Star sailors. The idea of SSL is to bring together the best one design sailors in the world and race. This year there was one "grand slam" event in Switzerland in September and now the final. Next year there will be two grand slams plus the final. The plan is to build up to four grand slams plus the final each year.
I haven't been racing in the SSL since the first event 2 years ago so I was quite happy to be invited to this year's final.
The Star is uniquely qualified to be the equipment for this purpose. A laser sailor at 78 kilos can compete on an even footing with a Finn or Star sailor at 100 kilos due to the total crew weight limit. The Star is very technical boat but still sails like a dinghy. With no rule 42 limits on rocking and pumping of the sails, this regatta is a strenuous workout 100% of the time.
The format of this regatta is to have a maximum of 9 "qualifying" races over the first three days. The winner of this segment is qualified directly into the semi-final. Places 2-11 will race a one race 1/4 final with the top 6 moving onto the semi final with the winner of the qualifying round. The top 4 from the semi final will race in the final with the winner of that final race being the winner of the SSL final. All these final races will take place on Saturday.
This format brings excitement to the regatta because no matter who wins the early rounds, and no matter by how many points, the winner will be the winner of the last race. You can watch these races live on line at the Star Sailors website.
Xavier Rohart FRA won the day with a very consistent 1, 2, 2, 10. Diego Negri ITA had the second best day with a 2, 1, 5, 19. Brian Sharp and I had scores of 10, 4, 12, 18 and are in 9th. The worst score is discarded.
The forecast for tomorrow is more light winds with the Nassau breeze e returning for Friday and Saturday.
Joschen Schuemann, three time Olympic Gold Medalist, of Germany, had the best day with a 5, 6, 1. Xavier Rohart retained his overall lead in the qualifying series while Diego Negri ITA retained second and the polish team of Kusznierewicz/Zycki moved up to third overall.
Brian and I had a good day with scores of 4, 6, 12. We had good starts and speed upwind which got us to the first windward mark in the top 5 in each race. My downwind speed is still lacking but I am working on it. We moved up one place to 8th.
Two more races to go in the qualification series. The scores are still very tight so we are in no way safe from dropping out of the top 11 which is what is required to move on to the quarter finals Saturday.
It is hard on the guys who were just a few points out of the top 11 and hoping to have another shot at making the quarter finals.
Brian and I finished the qualifying series in 8th so we are into the quarter final tomorrow at 11:00. The top 6 from the quarter final will join Rohart in the semi final. The top four from the semi will move into the one race final.
The forecast is for 10-15 knots from the northeast so it should be a good day of racing.
George Szabo USA and Eduardo Nantucci won the final race and the title.
Brian and I had a very good race in the quarter final race finishing second. The teams that qualified 2, 3, 4 were eliminated. Thatís how Competitive this fleet is.
In the semi final race, I got a bad start and we really never recovered.
The final race included Szabo, Hamish Pepper NZL, Rohart FRA, and Johanes Polgar GER. Pepper had a healthy lead around the last mark but Szabo was clever and fast in the 5 knot breeze and managed to slip past Pepper/Prada on the final run to the finish. Rohart who led the whole week finished third.
Despite the light winds, it was a great championship in as tough a fleet as I have sailed in a long time. Despite being disappointed for losing in the semi finals I probably exceeded my expectations for this event. I did improve my speed a bit each day and now I am looking forward to the racing this winter in Miami.
The SSL is a great concept, bringing together top sailors from different classes. The leader of the SSL, Michel Nikolas, deserves a big applause for his efforts to promote sailing and its athletes.
Day Five: Quarter Final, Semi Final ad Final completed.
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