An unprecedented line up og olympic medallist at the SSL Press Conference in Nassau. From left: rookie Facundo Olezza joins Jochen Schuemann, Robert Scheidt

The Star Sailors League concept is something new, that understands the real needs of the sailing community. Made by sailors for sailors… “I think that World Sailing has been thinking very little about the sailors“, told brazilian sailing superstar Torben Grael during the SSL press conference, “They have all those ideas and eveything but they never asked what sailors really think and this is a real mistake. It is not easy to be in their job but I thought that it’s easier to be inside trying to go in the right direction than be outside fighting those who are in the wrong direction, so… this is why a put my name to be Vice President”. Torben Grael is of the new seven Vice President that has been elected in the World Sailing Annual Conference held in Barcelona. “It’s amazing to be here among all these stars racing at very high level”, Grael added.

Torben Grael, Robert Scheidt, Facundo Olezza and Paul Cayard talking at the SSL Press Conference:

“It’s amazing to sail among all my sailing idols since I was a child”, explained rookie Facundo Olezza, 22, winner of two races in the Finn Class in his first Olympics at Rio, “In my first Optimist Worlds, in 2009, in Niteroi, I remember Torben in the prizegiving ceremony, I went there to have a picture with him, there was my father telling me… go… there is Torben Greal, have a picture with him. Because of them I started campaigning. I just tried to be like them, now I see them racing against me and it’s a big feel for me and a big thing”.

“I start sailing the Star when I was seventeen, just a few years ago…,”, told Paul Cayard, former Star world champion, Volvo Ocean Race and Louis Vuitton Cup winner, “It was just a great education for me, helped me in the America’s Cup, helped me to go around the world. I think it’s a fantastic platform to learn on and I think this is the best way to put Finn sailors and Laser sailors with 470 sailors and equalizes the weight… Obviously some smarter people than us decided that the Star shouldn’t be in the Olympics anymore but I think we found a very good use of the Star boat here”.

An unprecedented line up og olympic medallist at the SSL Press Conference in Nassau. From left: rookie Facundo Olezza joins Jochen Schuemann, Robert Scheidt

An unprecedented line up og olympic medallist at the SSL Press Conference in Nassau. From left: rookie Facundo Olezza joins Jochen Schuemann, Robert Scheidt, Paul Cayard, Jonas Hoegh-Christensen, Torben Grael and Craig Monk

We asked Torben Grael and Paul Cayard about the “all about speed” concept that the past governance of World Sailing seems to follow. “I think speed is also nice”, Grael answered, “but it is not only speed, good sailing is a tight competition also”. Paul Cayard analyzed it deeper: “I think what competitors like, what spectators like is the same think… stress. You know, if competition is tight, with lead changes, is worth to watch. There is anything wrong with speed, ir’s cool. I was watching the FX Medal Race in Rio from San Francisco and it was amazing. Ok, 49er is fast, but lot of lead changes, cool. Speed is also what America’s Cup is exploring so far, unfortunately they haven’t still found the way to make the speed also stressful and exciting, like it was in the past America’s Cup as the one in Valencia 2007. Maybe, as Torben says, you need more time to explore this, to go fast and have stress at the same time, but what competitors and spectators want is stress, no doubt about it”.

Facundo Olezza and Frederico Melo sailing in light wind today in Nassau. Photo Nico Martinez

Facundo Olezza and Frederico Melo sailing in light wind today in Nassau. Photo Nico Martinez