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Allen Brothers
From the initiative of some of the world's best sailors, the Star Sailors League (SSL), launched an international circuit of regattas in January 2013. This new league has been built on the existing circuit of over 220 International Star regattas around the world, using a unified world ranking, created based on the ATP World TourTM, established by tennis players in 1972. Drawing on this inspiration from tennis, the SSL also awards substantial prize money to the best-ranked sailors.
Find out more on the Star Sailors League website here
3-8 December 2018
Nassau, Bahamas
1 - Diego Negri
Diego Negri
2 - Robert Scheidt
Robert Scheidt
3 - Xavier Rohart
Xavier Rohart

SSL Sailing Team South Africa wins the Star Sailors League Gold Cup Test Event 1

by Star Sailors league 24 Sep 2021 23:02 PDT
SSL Sailing Team South Africa wins the SSL Gold Cup Test Event 1 © Gilles Marelle

SSL Sailing Team South Africa WINS the SSL Gold Cup Test Event 1, Grandson Switzerland.

On a weekend that the South African Rugby Team suffered a second defeat at the hands of fierce rivals Australia, the Star Sailing League (SSL) Team South Africa successfully competed in and won the inaugural Test Event. The SSL Gold Cup was created to promote and position sailing as a spectator sport with a truly national identity, billed as the "Football World Cup in Sailing". The event did exactly what it set out to do.

Eight teams representing Turkey, Mexico, France, Ukraine, Malaysia, Thailand, Tahiti, and South Africa took part in Event 1. Each team was allowed to field nine sailors per race on their boat. The important stipulation was that all participating sailors had to be nationals of the country they were representing and be selected using the acclaimed SSL Ranking system which allocates points based on global event performance of each sailor, the more you sail, the more you progress up the ranking individually. A captain's pick further supplemented the skills level on the boats and ensured that there was no bias toward established Olympic classes and considered the skills of crew and not only Olympic class sailors.

The four boats provided by the SSL Gold Cup Organisation are matched SSL47's, a derivative of the highly successful RC44's. The boats are rotated through the teams, who raced in two fleets of four Nations, in a best of five Races Elimination series. At the completion of each fleet's Elimination Series the top 2 nations then progressed to the Final, with the bottom two Nations competing in the Petite Final. Teams competed in national colours embellished with each athlete's name, creating a clearly identifiable "TEAM" feeling not unlike that seen in National Football, Rugby, and Cricket teams globally.

Team Captain Ian Ainslie, a long-time champion of "Sailing for All", a three-time Olympian Athlete and Dutch Coach on three occasions, assembled the team, using the ranking system and his allowed captain's pick privilege. He put together a team of athletes that truly represents the current top level of sailors competing both locally in South Africa and abroad. A truly diverse and representative group of individuals who gelled into a cohesive and collaborative team in a very short time.

Sailing under the nickname "Team UBUNTU" they took the opportunity and delivered a master class in patience, teamwork, and trust. Sailing in tricky conditions over the duration of the six races sailed, the team delivered an impressive set of results. Finishing 2,4,1,1,2 in the Eliminator Series against Tahiti, Turkey, and France, and then achieved a hard-fought victory in the Final against Thailand, Ukraine and Malaysia.

Making up the team were:

Helmsman Asenathi Jim (Royal Cape Yacht Club), Tactician Paul Willcox, Mainsheet Gareth Blankenburg, Upwind Trim Matthew Whitehead, Downwind Trim Sean Van Rensburg, Grinder Marlon Jones, Pit/Halyards Alexander Ham, Floater Howard Leoto, Bowman Joweal Klasse, Team Captain Ian Ainslie, Manager Anthony Spillebeen, and PR Manager Lars Bocking.

When asked about the surprised performance of the team, Captain Ian Ainslie was quick to point out, "This team represented the culmination of many years of training and racing opportunities as well as individual dedications to enhance the sailors in our sport. I hope that this result and any future results will inspire, clubs, organisations, and individuals in South Africa to continue building a strong talent pool. The crew work on board was clearly a vindication of the huge impact local racing in the Cape31, L26, and other classes active in South Africa has had and complemented by the individuals in the team plying their trade globally, it made for a strong foundation."

Two more test events are scheduled to take place over the next few weeks. Test Event 2, taking place from 27 September to 03 October, will feature sailors from Brazil, Switzerland, Israel, Hungary, Argentina, Croatia, Estonia, and Oman. Test Event 3 will feature Spain, Denmark, Poland, Sweden, Austria, Slovenia, Peru, and Serbia and will be held from 11 October to 17 October.

We look forward to the SSL Gold Cup Main event scheduled for the European Spring of 2022.

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