Fredrik Loof, 2012 Olympic Champ, returns to the Star for the SSL Finals

Fredrik Loof is to Sweden what Scheidt and Grael are to Brazil. Well on a par with the rest of the champions gathering at Nassau (Bahamas) for the second Star Sailors League Finals.

The only big question is who will actually win, especially considering the quality of the sailors competing. Some are returning after last year in the Bahamas, others last time out at Weymouth and others still have never competed together before. That is what the Finals are turning on yet again: the battle between generations of champions with a past and present in boats often very different from the Star.

Before debuting in what many feel is the finest and most technical class, Loof himself had a glorious career in the Finn. Like Xavier Rohart and others of his generation. Including Bruno Prada who returned to it in the last two years. And, of course, new SSL candidates for 2014: Jorge Zarif, World Champion 2013, and Giles Scott, reigning Champion this year. Three World Championships in the bag (Tallinn 1994, Gdansk 1997 and Melbourne 1999), two seconds and a third in the rankings, plus significantly, Olympic bronze at Sydney 2000 (after two fifth places) have made Loof one of the great Finn names.

After a string of high-profile results and the Australian Olympics, he moved up to a higher class, the legendary Star. There too, Freddy delivered, completing three further campaigns with enviable results even in the qualifiers. Two Gold Stars (World Championships): 2001 in Medemblik and 2004 at Gaeta. Six Silver Stars: 3 European Championships (Skodstrup 2001, Genoa 2002 and Girona 2004), 2 Eastern Hemisphere Championships (Naples 2006 and Hamburg 2010) with 1 Western Hemisphere in the middle in 2007. His Olympic performance was explosive too: 12th in Greece 2004, bronze in China in 2008 and then gold at London in 2012.

After so much success, Loof seemed, like others before him, to have turned a page. But then came the first Star Sailors League Final. Once again almost all the big names were involved, except for him and a few others. The formula was new: short, interesting races, highly selective. Lots of adrenaline right to the line: players need to win to the very last race, they can’t rest on their laurels or opt for conservative strategies. But it’s all worth it in the end. There are 4,000 points available to the winner (with less for those behind him) and they count towards entry to upcoming events. There is also an impressive 200,000 dollars in prize money. Plus, of course, the glory of beating one of the strongest fleets of all time. A fleet that gathers at Nassau in the first week in December.

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