April 2017

It's your crew that makes the difference

So many non-Star sailors have attended the SSL Finals in Nassau: some with great results, all enjoying it very much. From sailing living legend Jochen Schueman (GER), to young 470 gold medal in Rio 2016 Sime Fantela (CRO) and Tom Burton (AUS), we’ve seen some super talented sailors stepping on a Star boat just a few days before the first warning signal and finishing in the top ten.

Their incredible talent is undoubtedly the main ingredient for success, but a crew who knows the boat deeply is a definite plus. A good crew can set up the boat, explain facts and tricks to a new Star skipper and even help with some strategy during racing. They are usually fit, strong and don't mind the physical effort required by the boat, hanging out on the upwind catching every waves and rocking it gently downind. One of the best thing about the Star is that almost any skipper can soon learn to conduct it with the help of a more experienced crew.

The crew with the best result, with a novice of the boat, is Brazilian Henry Boening (aka Maguila) sailing with fellow Brazilian Finn sailor Jorge Zarif at the SSL Finals in 2014. They finished 4th, the young Carioca sailor was invited as he was the World champion both junior and senior in the Finn class in 2013. It was a very windy edition of the SSL Finals and the talented Finn sailor could use all of his strength and ability in pumping the boat downwind gaining access to the final. Zarif was back at both 2015 and 2016 SSL Finals and at the Lake Grand Slam alternating crew with double Olympic medalist Bruno Prada, but was never able to achieve a similarly good result.

The second best result was obtained by French bronze medal crew Pascal Rambeau (3rd at Athens Games with Xavier Rohart) sailing with his Laser pupil Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) at the SSL Finals in 2015, after a few months from the 6th place at the SSL Lake Grand Slam in Switzerland. The two had certainly a good feeling already, being Rambeau coach of Bernaz, as the bronze crew wasn’t able to repeat the same success with Swiss match racer Eric Monnin at the last SSL Finals – they finished 19th.

Northern Irish Stephen Milne, has a quite consistent record of success with ‘never-on-a-Star’ skippers. He sailed with yet to be Finn Olympic gold medal Giles Scott (GBR) at the SSL Finals in 2014 and with Olympic Silver medal Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN) in 2016, finishing respectively 7th and 8th. He has a tranquil attitude and he helps the skipper to slowly grow a good feeling with the boat. It didn’t work as well at the bow of London Gold crew medalist Max Salminen (SWE) at the helm of the boat for the SSL Lake Grand Slam, two crews ended 17th.

At the Lake Grand Slam the best novice result was by Ivan Gaspic (CRO) with Josh Revkin as crew, they finished 4th. Josh is among the most experienced Star sailors and has attended almost every SSL event since the beginning. He is from USA, just like Austin Sperry, who is another great Star crew who helped new-to-the-Star skipper Charlie Buckingham (USA) learn how to sail it quickly enough to finish 6th at the recent Bacardi Cup. The same result that Italian crew Cicio Canali helped, yet to be Silver Olympic medalist, Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) achieved at the SSL Finals in 2015.

The Star is definitely a team boat, and being an amazing skipper alone doesn’t do the trick. You must have a fantastic crew on your bow to get the job done. QED, Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

Rachele Vitello

SSL Press Officer since 2015