SSL Finals 2016: All-Time Champions
Friday, September 30, 2016 12:15 PM
The 4th edition of the SSL Finals in Nassau, Bahamas, from November 28th to December 4th, will feature for the first time a full sailing festival, with junior and traditional sloop racing, concerts and shoreside events. However the main event will be the SSL Finals, crowning the champion of champions for the 2016 Star Sailors League.
The VIP skippers are invited for their sailing achievements in different classes, and the Star sailors invited are the ones in the top 12 of the 2016 SSL Rankings. Throughout the year, Star Sailors from across the world gather ranking points at events and the top performers make the trip to Nassau for the SSL Finals.
Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) was the first Polish sailor to win an Olympic Gold medal and Mateusz has won eight Finn Gold Cups and competed at five Olympic Games. In 2008, Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki (POL) became the first Polish team to win the Star World Championship and in 2012 the Polish pair won the Star European Championship. The Polish team have enjoyed tremendous success at the SSL Finals in Nassau, winning a Bronze medal in the inaugural Star Sailors League Finals and Silver in the 2014 edition.
Torben Grael (BRA) is just recovering for the huge effort he put in the Rio Olympics, where – not only things were run more successfully than expected – but his daughter Martine won Gold medal in the 49er class, proving the Grael successful DNA. Five Olympic medals in two different classes, a win in the Volvo Ocean Race and a Louis Vuitton Cup: Torben is the most profitably eclectic sailor of all times. He has yet to step on a SSL podium, he will try to do so in two months’ time with crew Guilherme de Almeida (BRA).
Hubert Merkelbach (GER) is an orthopaedic surgeon, and a world class Star Sailor. In the last two years Hubert has won the Star European, South American and Eastern Hemisphere Championship, elevating to 9th in the Star Sailors League and automatic qualification for the 2016 SSL Finals. He will be in Nassau with Claus Olesen (DEN), who competed in the 2013 SSL Finals and was third in the 2012 Star World Championship.
Robert Stanjek (GER) won his first Silver Star at the Eastern Hemisphere Championship and went on to become European Champion in 2008. Robert represented Germany, along with his partner Frithjof Kleen (GER), the pair captured the silver medal at the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships, and represented Germany in the Star Class at the 2012 Summer Olympics. In the 2014 Star World Championship, Stanjek and Kleen became the third all German team to win the Star World Championship, and the first for over 30 years. Together they have won many continental titles and the 2016 Bacardi Cup. Their best performance at an SSL event is a Silver medal at the 2015 SSL Lake GS in Grandson, Switzerland.
Paul Cayard’s (USA) first love – sailing wise – is the Star boat. He started as crew and soon moved to the helm to win the first, of four bronze medals, at the Star Worlds in 1984. Cayard has excelled at many sailing disciplines, highlights include, winning the 1998 Whitbread Round the World Race as skipper and the Louis Vuitton Cup and World Championships in Maxis and TP52s. His most prized victory is the Star Worlds in Buenos Aires in 1988. After some years away from the Star, he rediscovered his passion and loves sailing with his son Danny. He will be joined in Nassau by Josh Revkin (USA), 5th on the SSL crew Rankings.
25 teams will be competing at the 2016 SSL Finals, the top 12 Star Sailors of 2016 and 13 wild cards drawn from every aspect of the sport. After four days of racing for all, the competition goes into the knockout stages. 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 2016 SSL Finals and take home a lion's share of the $200,000 Prize Purse.
You will be able to watch all the action live with expert commentary from special studio guests. 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.