After two races on Day 1 of the SSL Gold Cup Qualifying Series Round 5, SSL Team Thailand takes the lead of Group 8. ‘Chang Thai’ led by Noppakao “Nai” Poonpat were the most consistent finishing 2nd in both races. SSL Team Ukraine and SSL Team Singapore won, respectively, one race each. Tomorrow’s races resume at 11.00 CET.
Race 1: Ukraine lay down early marker
SSL Team Ukraine took maximum points, dominating Race 1 from start to finish. SSL Team Thailand fended off a strong challenge from SSL Team South Korea to take 2nd. SSL Team Singapore finished 4th, some way behind the fleet following an early penalty.
The Ukrainian ‘Haydamaky’, skippered by trimmer Ihor Matvienko, started brightly but initially struggled to shake off the hard-chasing Korean ‘Red Fury’.
Matvienko’s team eventually sailed clear when Jeemin Ha’s team were drawn into a battle with SSL Thailand behind. Despite forcing the Thai crew to gybe twice, the Koreans could not maintain their early momentum, and ‘Chang Thai’ prevailed to finish 2nd.
The win will be a relief for the Ukrainians after starting the day with a 1 point penalty for a late crew declaration.
Race 2: Singapore ‘Guardians’ make light of conditions
SSL Team Singapore bounce back with an important win to jumpstart their qualification bid. SSL Team Thailand again takes 2nd, with SSL Ukraine and SSL Team South Korea some distance off the pace in 3rd and 4th place.
Despite another fast start for the Ukrainians, the Singaporean ‘Guardians of the Bay’ capitalized when both SSL Thailand and the Koreans attacked SSL Team Ukraine early on.
As the afternoon wind began to slow, the distances between the fleet grew and Jovina Choo’s Singapore team, the lightest on the water by 140kg, stretched into an unassailable lead.
Thailand on top
The opening day’s results leave Noppakao Poonpat’s SSL Team Thailand top of the standings, but only fair. For the chasing three behind, everything is still to play for and work starts again tomorrow.
Xu Yuan Zhen OLY, SSL Team Singapore helm:
“It was an interesting start to our series, with a disastrous first race and amazing second race. Despite an unfortunate penalty incident in the first race, kudos to the team for maintaining their positive mentality to allow us to win the 2nd race!”
Noppakao “Nai” Poonpat, SSL Team Thailand captain:
“We had only a few days training because we had a session here already last year. I think we did pretty well as we tried to keep everyone in their positions and work as a team. The wind was very tricky today with many tastes but we managed to catch up until the end on both races.”
Igor Matvienko, OLY, SSL Team Ukraine captain:
“We are happy with the day for many reasons. Obviously, we are delighted with the decisive win in the first race. But what’s more important to me is that we managed to maintain pressure on our opponents in the second race that was not so successful to us. The guys are focused and eager to compete. Also the day showed how close the racing can be, you go from zero to hero in matter of minutes. We are looking forward racing tomorrow!”
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.
O nly 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.
- Teams qualified in Round 1: SSL Team Antigua & Barbuda, SSL Team Estonia , SSL Team Ireland , and SSL Team Tahiti .
- Teams qualified in Round 2: SSL Team Slovenia and SSL Team Lithuania .
- Teams qualified in Round 3: SSL Team Portugal, SSL Team Czech Republic , SSL Team Peru and SSL Team Chile.
- Teams qualified in Round 4: SSL Team Oman and SSL Team Cuba .