NASSAU, BAHAMAS- An elite gathering of 23 star-studded teams will be competing at the 2019 Star Sailors League (SSL) Finals in The Bahamas next month, including a number of wildcards drawn from many parts of the world of high-level sailing.
There are legends aplenty in the 22-country fleet, with Volvo Ocean Race winner and America’s Cup veteran Paul Cayard (coming from the Top Ten in the SSL Rankings) racing with fellow American Phil Trinter; Croatia’s first ever Olympic medalist (Laser silver at Rio de Janeiro 2016) Tonci Stipanovic will be sailing with compatriot Tudor Bilic; Olympic Champions Iain Percy (Great Britain), Freddy Lööf (Sweden) and Mateusz Kusznierewicz (Poland) will be as competitive ever, crewed respectively by Anders Ekström (Sweden), Brian Fatih (USA) and Bruno Prada (Brazil).
A total of three nations will be attending the Star Sailors League Finals for the first time, with Volvo Ocean Race winner Chuny Bermudez representing Spain with his crew Miguel Fernandez Vasco, Ricardo Fabini and Federico Calegari sailing for Uruguay, and Korea’s Jeemin Ha crewed by one of the most experienced Star crews, Mark Strube of the United States.
New classes represented among the 23 skippers, mirroring the ever growing SSL Ranking: Snipe World Champion Henrique Haddad will be racing with fellow Brazilian Henry Boening, while another Brazilian, Samuel Gonçalves, will be crewing for Dragon Champion Bernardo Freitas of Portugal. Crewed by Switzerland’s Christoph Burger, 5.5 Metre World Champion Mark Holowesko from The Bahamas will be more familiar than most with the blue waters of Nassau.
From the match racing world, and all too aware of the challenges and pressures that come with a knock-out format like the SSL are three Match Racing World Champions – Australia’s Torvar Mirsky (crewed by Ireland’s Robert O’Leary), Ian Williams (crewed by fellow Briton Steve Mitchell) and American Taylor Canfield (crewed by Arnis Baltins also of the U.S.).
After four days of qualifying rounds for all 23 crews, the competition goes into the knockout stages on Saturday, December 7. Single races decide who survives and who is heading for the dock. The last four teams will contest a thrilling final race; the first to finish will be the winner of the 2019 SSL Finals and take home the lion’s share of the $200,000 total prize purse.
There will be live streaming on the internet with expert commentary from special studio guests. On the water, the latest in hi-tech camera technology helped by a virtual support, will provide thrilling viewing.
Interested persons are asked to follow the Star Sailors League on the official website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to be updated on the SSL Finalists, social events and more of the Star Sailors League major event of the year.