As the 1/32nd Round of the SSL Gold Cup Finals series comes to an end, and we move on to the 1/16 Finals, we saw the top 8 teams out of 16 qualify to the next round.
After 16 races sailed in this first round, there was no shortage of heart-pounding moments. From 600m comebacks, to protests, to failed mark roundings, ripped sails, and even a man overboard situation, this last round had everyone on the edge of their seats.
Each round will see half of the teams progress until we are left with one winner being crowned the Nations world champion.
In this round, due to 2 teams not being able to make it to the venue, two teams got a lucky break and were put forward to the 1/16 Finals.
In Fleet 1 we saw a clear dominance from Tahiti, with the team winning every single one of their races, making no mistakes and giving a true lesson in sailing to all the other teams. Slovenia followed close in the points standings, allowing both these teams to move on to the 1/16 Finals.
In Fleet 2, Portugal and Estonia were the teams who qualified to the next round. Before the last race, Chile and Portugal were tied with 10 points, until Estonia beat both in the last round pushing Chile off the podium. However, Chile’s 12 points meant they made it into the two best runners-up teams, giving them the magical ‘Lucky Loser’ ticket and progressing to the 1/16 Finals in place of one of the two teams who can’t be here for the competition.
In Fleet 3, coming into race 4 on the golden day, Antigua & Barbuda, Ukraine, and Malaysia were tied with 8 points each. Bermuda at this point was last in the fleet, but only 2 points behind. In the 4th race Malaysia managed to take the lead before crumbling under the pressure at the leeward gate and making an awful mark rounding. However, they found the energy to come back and won the race, allowing them to move on to the 1/16 Finals. Bermuda finished in second tied in points with Antigua & Barbuda, Bermuda passed to the next round and Antigua & Barbuda got relegated from the 1st to the 3rd spot. However, their 12 points meant they were also one of the ‘Lucky Losers’ and passed on to the next round. Ukraine’s lower shroud broke and that was the end of their hopes to continue in the competition.
In Fleet 4, we saw a very tight pack from start to finish. It was 45 minutes of an all-out naval battle until Lithuania managed to pass the finish line first, followed by the Republic of South Africa. They both qualified to the next round whilst the Czech Republic and Oman are going home.
Coming up next is the 1/16 Finals, where we will see our ten teams from the first round battling it out against the 6 new teams: Austria, Finland, Hungary, Croatia, Canada and Japan!
See you Thursday at 10.30am local time for the beginning of the 1/16 Finals of the SSL Gold Cup Finals series, the football world cup of sailing.