Grandson, Lake Neuchatel (Switzerland). On the first day of racing in the SSL Gold Cup Qualifying Series third round, SSL Team Czech Republic laid down a marker in Group 4 with an impressive win in Race 1 and a 2nd place in Race 2 to take the lead.
In Race 1, the Czechs were the fastest out of the blocks at the start, but by the turn at Mark 1, they found themselves 28″ behind SSL Team Turkiye, who recovered to take the lead despite receiving an early penalty.
The Czechs took back control of the race in Leg 2, overtaking Young Turks’ squad on a fast and direct line to the gate and ultimately to victory.
Behind, SSL Team Bulgaria and SSL Team Portugal were locked in a tight battle, swapping positions several times until a penalty for the Navigators of Portugal at Mark 3 opened the door for the Bulgarian Lions to clinch third place.
THE BULGARIAN LIONS ROAR IN RACE 2
Race 2 went right to the wire, with the lowest ranked team SSL Team Bulgaria (SSL Nation n°59) snatching victory on the finish line.
Just one second separated them from the Czechs, who were left to rue a penalty at Mark 3 that likely cost them their second win of the day.
Third in their first outing, the last-gasp win in Race 2 meant the Bulgarians jumped to 2nd place overall in the provisional standings.
It is unlikely the Czechs will be too unhappy with their first day’s racing however, sitting top of what is shaping up to be one of the closest groups seen so far this Qualifying Series.
After 2nd place in Race 1, SSL Team Turkiye went into Race 2 in good form but despite holding the lead at the halfway point, they struggled to match the pace of the others and crossed the line 4th and last.
For SSL Team Portugal there is much work to be done after a disappointing first day which ended with 3rd in Race 2. Given how close both Group 4 races have been so far, they will surely be optimistic that they can turn things around when racing resumes tomorrow.
Just one race is scheduled on Friday.
NO RACE IN GROUP 5
In Group 5, Race 1 was abandoned soon after the start due to light shifty winds. With no change in the conditions, the Race Committee confirmed no further racing would take place.
Group 5: SSL Team Chile, SSL Team Peru, SSL Team Uruguay and SSL Team Venezuela.
DID YOU KNOW?
Sailing has its own World Cup, finally! Like football in 1930 and rugby in 1987, the SSL Gold Cup is designed to crown the best sailing nation of all! The World’s Top 56 countries, selected on their SSL Nation ranking, will battle their way through to raise the coveted and only Sailing World Cup trophy.
The SSL Gold Cup 2022 started on May 19th with the Qualifying Series in Grandson, Lake Neuchatel (Switzerland). All teams ranked from the Top 25 to 56 in the SSL Nations Ranking (based on January 2022 standings) will meet in eight groups of four teams each. There will be five stages, or rounds, until July 17th.
Only the top two teams of each group will go through to the Final Series that will take place from October 28th to November 20th, 2022, in Bahrain.