In 1983, John Bertrand ended a 113-year long domination of USA in the America's Cup. The Australian hero was in Lausanne at the Olympic Museum for the official Inaugural Day of the first edition of the SSL Gold Cup . At the conference of Sailing Legends (watch video below), John Bertrand qualified the SSL Gold Cup as a unique nation against nation contest.
"About 3 years ago, Mateusz Kusznierewicz asked me to come onboard this new project. I had no idea of what he was talking about. But he kept coming back. Initially, I said no as there was something else going on. But Mateusz does not give up so easily. So for better or worse, I am now SSL Team Australia Captain. I asked Tom Slingsby to be part of this project. Tom asked me of what was that all about. And at that time I just had a really little idea. I told him: "It's a whole bunch of Star sailors who are putting this project together."
Rasa [John's wife] and I arrived on Saturday to watch the races . As we were watching we could see the grand vision behind the SSL Gold Cup: a project driven by the Sailors for the Sailors. I received a message from Tom this morning asking what was going on. I replied to him saying: "Tom, this is big". This is a competition of nation against nation. Like the Football World Cup. This is the focus of what was all created here.
Our country will represent the best sailors that we've produced. And as we asked the sailors, no one turned down the offer because they understand that the SSL Gold Cup is a big deal. We don't know yet if they can race together instead of a double or single-handed boat but we will give it a shot.
The concept will evolve in the future but what we have here is something unique. It is a big idea and as Captain of SSL Team Australia, I am very proud to be part of this journey."