The second day of Star Sailors League final took place yesterday in the Bahamas in Montgau Bay, where Russian flagged team is competing for the first time ever.
The competition was held in moderate wind which dropped from 9 knots in the morning to 6-7 by the end of the day, and as a result the wind dropped to the absolute calm. However, this did not prevent the organizers from holding all 4 races planned.
Leading two of the four races was American veteran Volvo Ocean Race / Louis Vuitton Cup winner Paul Cayard.
«We couldn't find the speed for a long time, it was like we had a rope wrapped around our keel," says Cayard, "Yesterday we struggled a lot and today we were able to go well enough. The secret is simple - we came out from the start into the clean wind, we had everything going downwind and we had enough strength to show all we could».
The American Mark Mendelblatt, who triumphed in the last two SSL finals, took the first place in one of the competitions.
It was a pleasant surprise for the 27-year-old German, Rio 2016 Games medallist Philipp Buehl, to win the third race.
«I was worried and thought it would be very hard to compete here, but I was wrong, it's a nightmare here," Philipp shared. - I am proud to be invited to do this star regatta, my idols and friends are here, and psychologically it seemed impossible to win here, but today we came first in one of the races and I realized we can win here, we can go at the same level as Scheidt, and he has a lot of experience in this class, while we are newcomers».
Second place is taken by Mark Mendelblatt, who is only 2 points behind the leader. The third in the standings is Paul Cajard.
Besides that, Diego Negri / Sergio Lambertengi crew showed steady high results, finishing 4th after 6 races. Italians haven't won any races so far this season, but yesterday they were second twice.
«Today everything was good and it gives us confidence that we can succeed in the coming days - says two-time European Champion Diego Negri. - Tomorrow and Friday the conditions will be similar to today and then, come the very fresh wind on the last day, Saturday. Our goal is to win qualification and get a ticket straight to the Final, as we did last year. On Saturday we'll start the lottery, especially since in strong winds you get tired faster and chances of damaging the boat increase significantly».
The Russian team is still at the bottom of the standings.
«Miracles don't happen, everything is going gradually, today we had good starts, we are gradually dealing with the full course," Georgiy Shaiduko, the silver medalist of the Atlanta Olympics, explained. - We have two helmsmen in the boat, although Sasha is doing a good job, he easily grasps everything, it's his first international start at Zvezdnik. Our task now is just to have a good race in such a well-practiced and strong campaign».
There are 5 more races planned for the remaining 2 days of qualifying, three of which should take place today. Tomorrow at the end of the day, the top 10 teams will be selected to battle it out in the final elimination races on December 9.