The 4th edition of the Star Sailors League Finals kicked off in earnest Tuesday with two qualifying races.
The early exchanges confirmed the amazing quality and depth in the fleet, which contains no less than 16 Olympic medallist among the skippers alone.
After two races, Italians Diego Negro and Sergio Lambertenghi showed consistency and speed to lead the Qualifying Rounds by a single point without winning a race.
Americans Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih finished a solid second and Brazilians Robert Scheidt and Henry Boening, finished the day in third.
The trade winds have been consistently blowing for days before the regatta and the sea state was a significant factor, especially as the racecourse was at the very top of Montagu Bay.
Robert Scheidt is back at the SSL Finals having missed out last year due to his Olympic Laser campaign.
Sailing with Henry Boening, the Brazilians were first to the top mark and were never overtaken, winning the first race of the regatta.
Americans Mark Mendelblatt & Brian Fatih, were never out of the leading pack and finished second. Italians Diego Negro & Sergio Lambertenghi showed good speed and consistency to take third.
Race Two got underway after the top mark was moved to accommodate a big wind shift, and it was a blanket start, with virtually the entire fleet hitting the line on the start gun.
SSL City Grand Slam champions, Xavier Rohart and Pierre-Alexis Ponsot copped a turning penalty in the first race of the regatta but the Frenchmen came back fighting in Race Two, taking the gun ahead of Negri & Lambertenghi.
Jorge Zarif & Bruno Prada sailed intelligently upwind, and showed great technique downwind, to claim third.
After two races, the top VIP team was Jonas Høgh-Christensen and Stevie Milne, with two sixth place finishes.
Putting the Danish/Northern Ireland combination in seventh place.
Høgh-Christensen is a phenomenal Finn sailor representing Denmark at three Olympic Games, winning the Silver Medal at the London Olympic Games after an epic battle with Ben Ainslie.
However this was the first time the Great Dane has even raced a Star.
“I love the Star, it’s tough, it’s technical, but with the free pumping it really comes in handy being a Finn sailor. The conditions couldn’t be better, it’s sailing in paradise.”
Racing at the SSL Finals 2016 continues Wednesday with the second day of the Qualifying Rounds. A maximum of four races are scheduled.
From November 29 to December 4, regattas will be streamed live on finals.starsailors.com
30 November 2016 6:30 GMT