Men from the North

The Star Sailors League has attracted a stellar cast of Olympic, World and European Champions for the first ever SSL Lake Grand Slam. All over the world, 200 International Star Class regattas take place each year, with more than 2,000 actively racing in 170 fleets. One of largest contingents of teams comes from Northern Europe and teams from Germany and Poland will be amongst the favourites racing at the SSL Lake Grand Slam, hosted by Cercle de la Voile de Grandson Switzerland, which starts on 8th September.

 

In 1972, Willi Kuhweide and Karsten Meyer became the first ever German team to win the Star World Championship. Stanjek and Kleen finally achieved Gold Star status last year on Lake Garda, Italy, winning the 2014 Star World Championship on the very last race, becoming only the third all German team to win the Star World Championship. Alexander Hagen and Vincent Hoesch won in 1981. Mateusz Kusznierewicz & Dominik Zycki are the only Polish team to win the Star World Championship, taking the title in Miami in 2008.

 

Robert Stanjek & Frithjof Kleen

Robert Stanjek was born in Rüdersdorf, Brandenburg, east of Berlin in 1981, the year that Alexander Hagen won his first Star World Championship for Germany with Vincent Hoesch. In 2005, Robert won his first Silver Star at the Eastern Hemishere Championship and went on to become European Champion in 2008. Robert represented Germany, along with his partner Frithjof Kleen, the pair captured the silver medal at the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Perth, Australia and represented Germany in the Star Class at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

In 2014, Robert was part of the squad for Team Brunel’s Volvo Ocean Race campaign and was deeply disappointed to not make the final cut. Just a few weeks before the 2014 Star World Championship, Robert reformed with Frithjof Kleen. On the very last race, with four teams vying for Gold, Stanjek and Kleen held their nerve to become the third all German team to win the Star World Championship and the first for over 30 years . Robert has ranked as high as 3rd in the Star Sailors League and is currently the highest ranked German skipper.

Frithjof Kleen was born in Berlin in 1983, and like his sailing partner Robert, grew up sailing at the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein, based in Hamburg. At 1.89 metres and 110 kg, Frithjof is a colossal sailor, and besides sailing, played major league basketball in Germany for ten years. Frithjof is one of the biggest characters on the circuit and besides sailing with Robert Stanjeck, Frithjof has partnered Brazilian master, Robert Scheidt and Irish Olympian, Peter O’Leary. Frithjof is somewhat of a specialist Star sailor, however he has been part of winning teams in other disciplines; 2013 5.5 Metre World Champion and 2014 International European Dragon Champion. Frithjof Kleen has ranked as high as 2nd in the Star Sailors League.

 

Johannes Polgar & Markus Koy

Johannes Polgar was born in Olpe, Germany in the foothills of the Ebbegebirge, North Rhine-Westphalia. At 13 years of age Johannes won the 1990 German Optimist National Championship and soon turned to the Tornado Class, becoming one of the best in the class for over ten years, including representing Germany at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Johannes had been racing in the Star Class during his Tornado campaign, notably coming second in the 2004 Open Swedish Championship but it was not until after the 2008 Olympic Games that Johannes concentrated on the Star Class, winning the 2010 Star European Championship with his sailing partner Markus Koy. In the Star Sailors League, Johannes Polgar is ranked just one place behind Robert Stanjek.

Markus Koy was born in Hamburg in 1974, at over two metres tall and weighing in at 112 kg, Markus is one of the most powerful athletes in the sport. Markus took part in his first Star World Championship in 2001and has won the Star European Championship on two occasions as well as ten national titles. Markus sailed for United Internet Team Germany at the 2007 America’s Cup and  was coach for Sailing Team Germany, which won qualification to the 2013 Youth Americas Cup. Markus’ latest triumph was winning the 2014 Star European Championship, as crew for Hubert Merkelbach. Markus has ranked as high as 4th in the Star Sailors League and is currently 6th, the top German crew.

 

Mateusz Kusznierewicz & Dominik Zycki 

Mateusz Kusznierewicz was born in 1975 in Warsaw, Poland and won his first European championship in the OK Dinghy class when he was just nineteen and his first Olympic Gold medal in the Finn Class at 21 years of age. He became the first Polish sailor to win an Olympic Gold medal. Mateusz has won eight Finn Gold Cups and has been selected for the last five Olympic Games in the Finn and Star Class. In 2008, Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki became the first Polish team to win the Star World Championship and in 2012 the Polish pair won the Star European Championship. Together with Dominik Życki, the Polish team have enjoyed tremendous success at the SSL Finals in Nassau, winning a Bronze medal in the inaugural Star Sailors League Final and Silver in the 2014 edition. Mateusz Kusznierewicz is ranked 3rd best skipper in the Star Sailors League. 

Dominik Zycki is also from Warsaw and first represented Poland internationally in 1989 and like Mateusz, his first Olympic class was the Finn, winning the Junior European Championship in 1993. Dominik has competed in seven Finn World Championships before competing in the Star Class with Mateusz Kusznierewicz. Dominik and Mateusz has been friends for over 30 years, travelling together to international sailing events. In 1996, Dominik was training partner for Mateusz for the Atlanta Olympic Games and he told his friend that if he won gold, he would have to buy a new engine for the Mercedes, the pair still own the vintage car.

 

Live Coverage 8-12 September

At the SSL Lake Grand Slam, hosted by Cercle de la Voile de Grandson Switzerland, over 70 teams will be competing from 25 different countries. With an astounding 13 Olympic medallists, all on one race track. 

Full coverage of all the action will be streamed live on the internet with expert commentary from special studio guests, including Dennis Conner. On the water, the latest in hi-tech camera technology, as well as Virtual Eye 3D Graphics, will provide thrilling viewing. Armchair sailors can also race the course with Virtual Regatta.

 

For more information visit the official SSL Lake Grand Slam website http://swissopen.starsailors.com

Or write an email to: info@starsailors.com

For press enquiries contact Rachele Vitello, SSL Press Officer: rachele.vitello@starsailors.com

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