Apprentice beats master in Brazilian double victory

Star Sailors League Finals in Nassau

Jorge Zarif and Pedro Trouche are the winners of the 2018 edition

For a second time a Brazilian crew claimed victory in the Star Sailors League Finals, but on this occasion it was not the bookies’ choice. Olympic legend Robert Scheidt and Henry Boening were favourites going into this event and completely dominated the last four days of Qualifier rounds off Nassau, but today it was Jorge Zarif and Pedro Trouche who won every stage. Aged 26 and 27 respectively, Zarif, the reigning Star World Champion and 2013 Finn Gold Cup winner, and Trouche, are the first crew younger than 40 to win the annual event that aims to determine the top ‘star’ of the sailing world.

“We are surprised we had this kind of dominance, because the level is so high,” admitted Zarif. “We sailed our best today. We gave 100%, hiking and pumping the whole time and that definitely made the difference. It is a privilege to be here and a privilege to beat those guys.”

Racing today took place under an overcast sky with the course moved back inside Nassau’s Montague Bay. The brisk easterly was blowing directly into the Bay with gusts at times reaching 20 knots.

Bow: 14 BRA 8210 // Skipper: Jorge Zarif BRA // Crew: Pedro Trouche BRA

The day kicked off with the eight quarter-finallists doing battle. Zarif and Trouche won this with the bottom three – Paul Cayard/Arthur Lopes, Lars Grael/Samuel Goncalves and Freddy Lööf/Edoardo Natucci eliminated; Cayard so dominant yesterday hampered after picking up a penalty on the first beat.

The young Brazilians next won the Semi Finals. In this Mark Mendelblatt/Brian Fatih, whose second place at the end of the Qualifiers yesterday had fast tracked them directly to the Semis, lost out despite finishing the race overlapped with Norway’s Eivind Melleby and Joshua Revkin. Mendelblatt and Fatih, the two time Star Sailors League Finals winners, were eliminated along with French duo Xavier Rohart and Pierre-Alexis Ponsot and Polish Olympic legend Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Życki.

Up the first beat of the Final, Robert Scheidt and Henry Boening made what the Olympic sailing star admitted was in retrospect a mistake: he tacked on Italian-German duo Diego Negri and Frithjof Kleen, instead of having continued on to the right to take on his fellow countrymen. In the end the two teams fought it out for second and third spot, with Scheidt/Boening crossing the line ahead of Negri/Kleen. 

Bow: 03 BRA 8172 // Skipper: Robert Scheidt BRA // Crew: Henry Boening BRA

“If we had crossed and gone all the way to him, then we would have got the leftie, but they are decisions you have to make in a second,” admitted Scheidt. He added of the winners and his compatriots:  “They fully deserved today. They won three races by a large margin. They were fast and sailing well both upwind and downwind. Jorge has a bright future ahead of him.” 

While Paul Cayard managed to turn on the afterburners yesterday having made rig adjustments the previous night, so Zarif and Trouche also had given their slender spar and rigging a thorough going-through last night. Zarif said this made all the difference:

“We had good starts, with great upwind speed and that made the job less difficult. We could put ourselves into a position where we could control the fleet a lot of the time.”

While they had speed, it had also been a huge physical effort for the young Brazilians: “We hiked super hard and we pumped super hard and that made a difference today. I am super tired now.”

While this was Zarif’s fourth participation in the Star Sailors League Finals, this was his crew Pedro Trouche’s first. Remarkably it was also the first time he and Zarif had sailed together, although they have known each other since they trained together in the Laser in 2005.

Bow: 08 ITA 8533 // Skipper: Diego Negri ITA // Crew: Frithjof Kleen GER



Bow: 21 NOR 8177 // Skipper: Eivind Melleby NOR // Crew: Joshua Revkin USA

Zarif’s World Championship winning crew Guilherme de Almeida was tied up this week with his wedding. “It is the biggest thing I have won,” admitted Trouche, who next intends to compete in February’s inaugural Star Junior World Championship in Miami. “I have never sailed at a level like this before. It is the first time I have beaten Robert [Scheidt]. That is a nice feeling! He is a legend. I am very happy.”

For winning the Star Sailors League Finals, Zarif and Trouche not only gained the credo of beating many of the world’s top sailors, but also won US$ 40,000 of the total US$ 200,000 prize pot. 

Bow: 08 ITA 8533 // Skipper: Diego Negri ITA // Crew: Frithjof Kleen GER

Highlights video on finals day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoiL03nd080&feature=youtu.be

Bow: 20 USA 8481 // Skipper: Mark Mendelblatt USA // Crew: Brian Fatih USA, Bow: 13 FRA 8237 // Skipper: Xavier Rohart FRA // Crew: Pierre-Alexis Ponsot FRA

Star Sailors League Finals – 4 boats raced the final

1st BRA Jorge Zarif and Pedro Trouche 
2nd BRA Robert Scheidt and Henry Boening 
3rd ITA Diego Negri and Frithjof Kleen
4th NOR Eivind Melleby and Joshua Revkin

USA Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih – Out In Semi-final
POL Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki – Out In Semi-final
FRA Xavier Rohart and Pierre-Alexis Ponsot – Out In Semi-final

SWE Freddy Lööf and Edoardo Natucci – Out In Quarter final
USA Paul Cayard and Arthur Lopes – Out In Quarter final
BRA Lars Grael and Samuel Gonçalves – Out In Quarter final
HUN Zsombor Berecz and Michael Maier – Out In Quarter final

Full results

finals.starsailors.com

starsailors.com