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Star Sailors League Finals 2017, the Top 10 SSL Skippers

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For the Star Sailors League, every Tuesday is Ranking day, when the points come in from the regattas of the previous week and the sailors’ positions move up or down. The second Tuesday of every September, today, the SSL Ranking 2017 freezes and the top 10 skippers are automatically invited to attend the SSL Finals 2017 – along with the first SSL Crew, the reigning Star World Champion, a young talented sailor and about ten VIPs.

Top 10 skippers invited to attend the 2017 SSL Finals are:

Xavier Rohart FRA

Diego Negri ITA

George Szabo USA

Augie Diaz USA

Lars Grael BRA

Mark Mendelblatt USA

Johannes Polgar GER

Eivind Melleby NOR

Hubert Merkelbach GER

Mateusz Kusznierewicz POL

SSL Finals 2017, Xavier Rohart (FRA) and Pierre Alexis-Ponsot (FRA)
SSL Finals 2017, Xavier Rohart (FRA) and Pierre Alexis-Ponsot (FRA)

Nine out of ten have already confirmed their attendance to the SSL Finals 2017, in Nassau, Bahamas, from December 4th to the 9th.  They all are super talentedsailors, among them three Olympic medalists, six Star World Champions, all of them are winner of at least an ISCYRA Silver event and two of them have already won the SSL Finals.
Xavier Rohart (FRA) is SSL President, not only for his great career, bronze in Athens in 2004, a European title in 2015 and two World titles in 2003 and 2005, but also for the values he shares with the Star Sailors League. He will be sailing with number one crew in the SSL Ranking, Pierre Alexis-Ponsot (FRA), together they won the SSL City Grand Slam in 2016, but have yet to win the SSL Finals. Next December the 2nd or 3rd step on the podium won’t be enough…

SSL Finals 2017, Diego Negri (ITA)
SSL Finals 2017, Diego Negri (ITA)

Diego Negri (ITA) is the skipper who stayed the longest on top of the SSL Ranking. He represented Italy at three Olympic Games and his record in the Star is impressive, winning the European Championship on two occasions and runner up at the Star World Championship three times. Negri hasn’t missed one SSL Finals since its debut in 2013, but haven’t won it yet, will 2017 be his lucky year?

SSL Finals 2017, George Szabo (USA) and Mark Mendelblatt (USA)
SSL Finals 2017, George Szabo (USA) and Mark Mendelblatt (USA)

San Diego's George Szabo (USA) and his fellow countryman Mark Mendelblatt (USA)have both won two SSL events each: George won the first 2015 SSL Lake Grand Slam in Grandson, Switzerland, and the 2015 SSL Finals and Mark won the SSL Finals in 2014 and in 2016. They will most certainly try to untie the record in Nassau.

SSL Finals 2017, Augie Diaz (USA)
SSL Finals 2017, Augie Diaz (USA)

Augie Diaz (USA) will be competing in Nassau once again, as he is always in the SSL Ranking top ten skippers! 2016 was Augie’s golden year: he won the Star World Championship in Miami, his hometown, and the Eastern Hemisphere in Split, Croatia. 2017 started slowly, but it’s just accelerating with the win at the North America Championship last week. Will the momentum last until December?

SSL Finals 2017, Johannes Polgar (GER) and Hubert Merkelbach (GER)
SSL Finals 2017, Johannes Polgar (GER) and Hubert Merkelbach (GER)

After the United States of America, Germany is the most represented country of the top ten skipper with Johannes Polgar and Hubert Merkelbach. The first one is an Olympic sailor, who first attended the Olympics in 2008 in Bejing on a cat, the Tornado, and is now campaigning for Tokyo 2020 on another cat, the foiling Nacra17. The second one is a very well known doctor, an orthopedic, who dedicates most of his spare time to sailing the Star. They will both compete to wave the German flag on the podium on Montagu Bay.

SSL Finals 2017, Eivind Melleby (NOR) with Joshua Revkin (USA)
SSL Finals 2017, Eivind Melleby (NOR) with Joshua Revkin (USA)

Eivind Melleby (NOR) with Joshua Revkin (USA) won the Star World Championship in July in Denmark and were the first team to confirm their participation to the fifth edition of the SSL Finals. Josh raced at every SSL events since 2013, Eivind was at two SSL Finals and with Josh finished second at the SSL City Grand Slam in Hamburg in 2016. The pair owns by now great tuning and is certainly among the ones to watch.

SSL Finals 2017, Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Dominik Zycki (POL)
SSL Finals 2017, Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and Dominik Zycki (POL)

Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) was the first Polish sailor to win an Olympic Gold medal, he did it in the Finn Class in 1996 in Atlanta, USA. After this, he won another Olympic medal in Athens in 2004, a Bronze, once more in the Finn and moved to the Star class ever since with his crew Dominik Zycki (POL). Together they were the first Polish team to win the Star World Championship and went to the London Olympics in 2012. Mateusz and Dominik attended the SSL Finals every year since the first edition: they won Bronze in 2013 and Silver in 2014. Will 2017 be the year of Gold?

The fifth edition of the SSL Finals will be raced following the standard SSL Format: four days of Qualification Series after which the top 10 teams will go ahead to the final day with knock-out stages. The first qualified team gets a bye to the Final, the runner-up goes to the semi-finals and teams from 3rd to 10th have to fight on yet one more race in the quarter-finals. The first to cross the finish line will be the winner of the 2017 SSL Finals and will take home a lion's share of the $200,000 Prize Purse.

The action will be streamed live on Internet 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.