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Relive the Top 10 Highlights of the SSL Gold Cup!

by Mark Jardine / SSL Gold Cup 10 Dec 2023 05:31 PST 10 November - 3 December 2023
SSL Gold Cup 1/32 Finals Day 1 - SSL Team South Africa © Martina Orsini / SSL Gold Cup

It's hard to believe that the epic Grand Final of the SSL Gold Cup was a week ago! The event was filled with highs and lows of emotions but, most of all, was a showcase of all that is good about sailing.

To experience again some of the golden moments, the SSL team have selected the ten top moments for your viewing pleasure!

Here's the countdown with backstory to each one:

#10 - 1/8 Finals Fleet 2, Race 3

Fleet 2 was incredibly competitive, having Lithuania, Brazil, Tahiti and Poland in it. Race 3 saw a super-tight finish with Tahiti, Brazil and Poland separated by just 6 seconds.

#9 - 1/8 Finals Fleet 4, Race 1

Portugal pulled off a tack right on the nose of France, with the French 'Les Bleus' team immediately flying the protest flag. The umpires though judges that the Portuguese 'Navigators' had timed it to perfection, forcing 'Les Bleus' to tack away.

#8 - 1/4 Finals Fleet 2, Race 4

Not every highlight involves perfect sailing, and number 8 in our countdown demonstrates what happens when the pressure for qualification is off the charts. In the golden double points race, both Germany's 'Unbreakables' and The Netherlands' 'Dutch Lions' fluffed their spinnaker hoists. The recovery proved pivotal in who made it through to the Semi Finals.

#7 - 1/4 Finals Fleet 1, Race 4

Another moment where everything was on the line... literally. The French 'Bleus' forced the Malaysian 'Monsoon' into giving away a penalty, and then controlled them throughout the race to secure qualification, bringing Malaysia's dream run in the competition to an end. Such were the tiny margins between success and failure in the SSL Gold Cup.

#6 - 1/4 Finals Fleet 4, Race 2

The Italians are known for their passion, and tactician Vasco Vascotto showed his frustration, hitting the deck when the Swiss executed a perfect gybe to take the 'Gladiators' breeze downwind. If any moment showed the sailors' intensity at the SSL Gold Cup, this was it.

#5 - 1/8 Finals Fleet 4, Race 4

'Les Bleus' needed results to go their way in the golden double points race, but they weren't going to rely on it just happening. In an extraordinary display of rules knowledge and match racing, they sailed Slovenia from first to last in the final 200 metres to the finish line, while securing the race win they needed themselves.

#4 - 1/4 Finals Fleet 2, Race 4

It was all looking so good for the German 'Unbreakables' as they rounded the golden race windward mark in first place but pulling out the spinnaker pole early earned them a penalty, much to the ire of the German coach who was co-commentating!

#3 - 1/32 Finals Fleet 4, Race 1

Czech Repuplic's Michaela Mertlova hikes just that little bit too hard, going over the side of the SSL 47 yacht and into the water. 'The Czechs!' though staged a remarkable comeback to finish second in the race.

#2 - 1/16 Finals Fleet 3, Race 1

South Africa's 'Team Ubuntu' closed the door on the start line, squeezing out bot Portugal and Antigua & Barbuda out at the committee boat end, forcing them both to tack away. What a way to start the 1/16 Finals for South Africans!

#1 - 1/4 Finals Fleet 3, Race 4

This had to be the tightest finish of the entire competition, and qualification for the Semi Finals depended on it! With New Zealand finishing first, Australia needed to finish ahead of Brazil, but agonisingly were just behind in a photo finish. Freeze the frame on 3 minutes and 26 seconds to see just how close this finish was!

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