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Festival of Sails 2023 - LEADERBOARD

SSL Gold Cup QS Round 5 Overall: South Africa, Ukraine, Malaysia & Thailand last to qualify

by SSL Gold Cup 17 Jul 13:13 PDT 14-17 July 2022

The fifth and final Round of the SSL Gold Cup Qualifying Series concluded today with SSL Team South Africa and SSL Team Malaysia qualifying from Group 7 and SSL Team Ukraine and SSL Team Thailand taking the last remaining two spots from Group 8.

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 socials to stay in the loop!

Group 7: South Africa and Malaysia take the Prize

Despite finishing 3rd in today's final race, SSL Team Malaysia join runaway Group leaders SSL Team South Africa at the Final Series in Bahrain this October.

With SSL Team South Africa wrapping up qualification with a day to spare, today's final 'Golden Day' race was all about the battle between SSL Team Malaysia and SSL Team India.

Already qualified, SSL Team South Africa finish on a high with victory in the final race. 2nd place for SSL Team India sees them miss out while SSL Malaysia take the final qualifying spot in 3rd.

As they have done all week, SSL South Africa took control early and never looked back, capping a brilliant week for them with another authoritative win.

After a game of chicken between SSL Team India and SSL Team Malaysia led to a collision on the start line yesterday, both teams stayed well clear of each other at the outset this time.

Late to blossom, SSL Team India have improved with every race this week. By the halfway point they had left the Malaysians in their wake and were just about staying in touch with Ian Ainslie's Ubuntu. But a problem dropping their gennaker at the gate ended any hopes they had of taking the victory they needed, and they miss out on qualification by a single point.

At 60th in the world rankings, making the Finals is even sweeter for SSL Team Malaysia given they started the week as the lowest ranked team in the group.

They Said:

Ian Ainslie, Helm and Captain, SSL Team South Africa

"We had a great week, everything on and off the boat worked well and it was really stress free. Our nickname is Ubuntu, that mean diversity, and there isn't a more 'ubuntu' sailing event than the SSL Gold Cup, here with so many different countries, with so many different stories and backgrounds, it is fantastic. On top of it all seeing the Ukrainian team winning their fleet was very emotional. This is the SSL Gold Cup and we are happy to be part of it".

Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy, Helm, SSL Team Malaysia

"I want to thank all my crew who worked very hard this week. We struggled yesterday and today as we had to keep India behind and control South Africa. But we are happy because we will come stronger for Bahrain. We are usually good in strong conditions like today so we will need to improve for Bahrain. But now it's time to celebrate our qualification. We would like to thank our patron, His Highness Amir Shah who came here to support us and our family back home who were following us all the time."

Group 8: Ukraine and Thailand Go To Bahrain

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.

They Said:

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, Captain of SSL Team Thailand:

"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!"

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