With just one month to go until the start of racing at the SSL Gold Cup in Bahrain, the sailors have been continuing to compete at world-class events around the world.
Team Sweden’s Anton Dahlberg and Lovisa Karlsso emerged victorious in a final race battle with their SSL teammate Jordi Xammar Hernandez at the 470 European Championships in Çeşme, Turkey. A host of other SSL Gold Cup sailors featured, including France’s Aloise Retornaz in fourth, Spain’s Silvia Mas and Nicolas Rodriguez fifth and Slovenia’s Tina Mrak tenth.
At the Etchells Worlds SSL Gold Cup Team Great Britain’s Luke Patience finished sixth as tactician for Grant Gordon, Team Hong Kong’s Mark Thornburrow helmed HKG to eighth overall, Team Australia’s Mat Belcher and Will Ryan crewed for Martin Hill to finish 15th overall, and Team Spain’s Luis Doreste crewed for James McHugh, finishing 18th overall.
SSL Gold Cup Team Poland’s Captain put the disappointment of a dismasting at the 100th Anniversary Star World Championship behind him, helming ‘Aspire’ to victory and retaining the title in the 5.5 Metre French Open during the Regates Royales in Cannes.
SSL Gold Cup sailors also feature strongly in the nominations for the Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards with Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA), Bart Lambriex (NED) and Odile van Aanholt (NED) all shortlisted.
Jean-Baptiste Bernaz of SSL Gold Cup Team France topped 126 sailors from 45 countries to win the ILCA 7 Men's World Championship – one of the hardest singlehanded events in sailing – by 17 points. Bernaz also excels in match racing, winning a recent event on the US Grand Slam circuit.
Bart Lambriex of Team Netherlands, sailing with Floris van de Werken, has had an incredible run in the high performance 49er skiff, winning the Hempel World Cup Allianz Regatta, finishing second at the European Championship, and then defending their 2021 title at the World Championship by a big enough margin that they secured the title ahead of the Medal Race.
Odile Van Aanholt, also of Team Netherlands, has dominated in the Women’s Olympic 49erFX with Annette Duetz. Despite the pairing being new this year, they won the World Championship and finished runners-up at the Europeans. This is the second World title for Van Aanholt and the third for Duetz.
Preparations continue apace at Water Garden City in Bahrain, and within each of the 56 national teams competing in the SSL Gold Cup. We can’t wait for the event to begin!
First up will be the 1/32 Finals (October 29 – November 2), where the top two teams from each of the Qualifying Series events (May 19 – July 17), will battle it out in groups of four to reach the 1/16 Finals (November 3-7) where they will meet the first seeded teams in the event.
Once again, the top two teams from each group will go through to the 1/8 Finals (November 8-12), to face off against the next tier of seeded teams for a place in the 1/4 Finals (November 14-18), where the final tier of seeded teams await.
This is where the final sixteen teams are whittled down to just eight, to compete in the one-day 1/2 Finals (November 19) and then just a day later (November 20) the final four will battle it out for the title.
Will the seeded teams with their Olympic-medal laden crews make it through, or will the experience gained in the early rounds give the teams who have made it through the Qualifying Series the edge? This intrigue and suspense is what is going to make the SSL Gold Cup the must-watch event of 2022!