SSL Team Ukraine and SSL Team Thailand finish first and second in the group to qualify for the Finals in Bahrain.
SSL Team Ukraine started the day needing just one point to secure qualification. For SSL Team Thailand, the equation was equally clear – finish in 3rd or better to ward off the challenge of SSL Team Singapore, who themselves had to win to stand any chance of taking the prize.
Race 6: Thailand save their best for last
Runners-up all week, SSL Team Thailand finally got their maiden win in Race 6. SSL Team Ukraine took 2nd place, ensuring they join Thailand at the finals in Bahrain. SSL Team South Korea ended their campaign with 3rd place, with SSL Team Singapore unable to challenge in 4th.
They say a picture paints a thousand words, and the expressions on the faces of SSL Team Thailand as they crossed the line left no doubt what this meant to them. Overcoming a shaky start, Chang Thai edged in front after an exciting opening leg that saw all four teams jostle for the lead.
After a promising opening for Jovina Choo’s SSL Team Singapore , their challenge faltered in Leg 3, when an all-or-nothing gamble on the right-hand side of the course failed to pay off.
With Noppakao Poonpat’s crew flying in front, group leaders SSL Team Ukraine knew 2nd place was more than enough for them to qualify. However, Ihor Matviienko’s ‘Haydamaky’ were determined to finish with a win, and chased the Thai boat all the way, tack for tack, gybe for gybe.
But Chang Thai kept their cool on the final approach, finishing 19” clear of the Ukrainians to finally get the win their performances this week have deserved.
Next stop Bahrain
SSL Team Ukraine and SSL Team Thailand celebrate today, for this is just the start of their SSL Gold Cup journey. With the Qualifying Series officially complete, the 16 teams who will open the Finals in Bahrain are now known.
The draw to decide the opening groups for the Finals will take place later this summer, with the date to be announced shortly. Make sure to follow the SSL Gold Cup on Facebook and/or Instagram to stay in the loop!
Ihor Matviienko, SSL Team Ukraine captain:
“We finished the qualifiers well. It’s a great production (the SSL Gold Cup) with every boat being the same. But when we get the boat today it didn’t feel so good in the strong winds, it was a bit like a jellyfish. So we were not happy with our speed today. But ok, we finished second and this is enough for qualification. So we are happy and look forward to Bahrain.
Noppakao Nai Poonpat, SSL Team Thailand captain:
“It was an amazing race in tough conditions. We didn’t finish in front of SSL Team Ukraine for the last three races but today points counted double and we did it this time. Although they caught up in the end, we managed to control the fleet. At the start we were in the same position but we sailed well in the upwind and then on the downwind legs. And we are in Finals! See you in Bahrain!“
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.
- 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
- Teams qualified in Round 5: SSL Team South Africa , SSL Team Ukraine , SSL Team Thailand , and SSL Team Malaysia