The Star class may no longer have a spot in the Olympics, but that hardly seems to have slowed it down. On the contrary, with the advent of the new Star Sailors League—a pro series featuring some of the best sailors in the world—the future of the 100-year-old one design appears to be stronger than ever.
In early December, the league held its first finals in Nassau, Bahamas, an invitational regatta featuring 18 teams from 13 countries and $200,000 in prize money. Among the competitors were such luminaries as 1988 Star World Champion Paul Cayard, U.S. Olympians Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih, former U.S. Star class world champion George Szabo and Craig Moss, and 2012 Olympic bronze and 2008 Olympic silver medalists Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada of Brazil. In all, the field boasted no less than 12 Olympic medal winners.
Coming out on top among the hyper-competitive fleet were Scheidt and Prada. In an interesting twist, the regatta comprised three days of qualifiers, followed by a series of races among an ever-diminishing the fleet, from 10 to seven and then just four boats.
In another interesting side note for a regatta of this size, the action was all streamed live on YouTube, in a broadcast that included a combination of both commentary and state-of-the art computer graphics and tracking information. For details, visit starsailors.com.