May 2017

One Year of the Star Sailors League

One year has gone by since one of SSL biggest event so far. It was exactly one year ago that we were running the SSL City Grand Slam in Hamburg with 86 teams racing on beautiful lake Alster in the heart of the city.

Organized with the support of Norddeutscher Regatta Verein and Hamburg and Luebeck Bay Starfleet, we can proudly say the event was a great success: 5 days of racing for a total of 14 regattas divided in the qualification rounds into heats – for the lake doesn’t allow 86 boats start lines – 20 Countries represented and an astounding numbers of World Champions and Medalists.

Augie Diaz with crew Bruno Prada (two Olympic medals with Robert Scheidt), Torben Grael who is the most decorated Brazilian Sailor of all time with crew Stefano Lilia from the renowned star boat shipyard, Polish Finn gold medalist Mateusz Kusnierewicz, local heroes Johannes Polgar and Markus Koy, Robert Stanjek and Fritjhof Kleen and ‘doctor’Hubert Merkelbach. Among them the winners of the first SSL City Grand Slam: Olympic bronze and SSL President Xavier Rohart racing with longtime crew Pierre-Alexis Ponsot.

The event had the whole Star Sailors League package with a prize purse of $ 100,000, the knock-out series on the last day and full live coverage streaming on our virtual stadium, internet, with expert commentary even from super stars like Dennis Conner flown in from San Diego. 100,000 viewers logged on to watch the races live and the luckiest were on the banks of the lake just a few meters from the tacks and jybes.

So much has gone on since that sunny and bright May the 7th, with champagne showering on Roharts and Ponsot’s heads, for the Star Sailors League. Another Finals took place in Nassau, BAH, with the largest fleet so far (25 teams) and an unbelievable number of champions even the freshly medalled ones from the Games in Rio de Janeiro.

SSL had yet another Grand Slam tested, with the cooperation of Bacardi, we brought some SSL in the 90th edition of the Bacardi Cup in Miami last March. We now know what a Sea Grand Slam will look like with the traditional ISCYRA format with long races and just one regatta per day. Adding this test to the Lake GS tried out on September 2015 in Grandson SUI and to the City GS in Hamburg, we can move forward and look for a great location to host the last Grand Slam to be tested. In 2018 plans are SSL will organize the Breeze Grand Slam, in a spot with strong winds and manly conditions.

But before that, the spotlight is on the SSL Finals number 5, in Nassau BAH from December 4th to 10th, 2017.