SSL Team Czech Republic threw down the gauntlet to their European rivals yesterday, and today that challenge was firmly met. SSL Team Portugal and SSL Team Bulgaria both posted victories to smash Group 4 wide open.
Race 4: The Navigators turn tables
SSL Team Portugal clinched a crucial victory to keep their qualification hopes alive, but it was not all plain sailing.
For the ‘Navigators’, disaster almost struck at the halfway point when they dropped their spinnaker in the water. But with the wind pressure favoring their side of the course in Leg 3, they overtook the fleet to take their first win.
Alican Kaynar’s Young Turks were the other major beneficiaries of the split conditions, following SSL Team Portugal over to the right side and securing a vital 3 points in 2nd place.
Leading after an impressive first half of the race, SSL Team Bulgaria lost a lot of ground in the decisive second upwind leg.
Dominating yesterday, for SSL Team Czech Republic, there was only disappointment. Lucky to escape a penalty when they narrowly avoided jumping the start, they trailed the fleet for the whole of the race.
Race 5: Lions take the throne
The Lions of SSL Team Bulgaria dominated Race 5, taking victory well clear of SSL Team Portugal in second.
For the second race in a row, SSL Team Bulgaria led from the off, taking a commanding lead by the halfway mark. Unlike the previous race, they kept their composure to close out the victory this time.
Having started the day bottom of the table, SSL Team Portugal were clearly enjoying the lighter winds on Day 3. While they could not match the impressive Bulgarians, Joao Rodrigues’s team looked comfortable throughout, capping a fine comeback day with 2nd place.
SSL Team Turkiye traded places with SSL Team Czech Republic a number of times early on but eventually sailed clear of Ondrej Teply’s team to secure the two points for 3rd.
Finishing again in last place, the struggling Czechs had clearly lost their mojo and will hope for a return to stronger winds tomorrow.
Golden Day denouement
One day, one last race remains. Four teams were separated by just two points. Who will make the most of tomorrow’s Golden Day double points to book their place in Bahrain later this year? Don’t miss the final denouement unfolding live on YouTube tomorrow.
DID YOU KNOW?
Sailing has its own World Cup, finally! Like football in 1930 and rugby in 1987, the SSL Gold Cup is designed to crown the best sailing nation of all! The World’s Top 56 countries, selected on their SSL Nation ranking, will battle their way through to raise the coveted and only Sailing World Cup trophy.
The SSL Gold Cup 2022 started on May 19th with the Qualifying Series in Grandson, Lake Neuchatel (Switzerland). All teams ranked from the Top 25 to 56 in the SSL Nations Ranking (based on January 2022 standings) will meet in eight groups of four teams each. There will be five stages, or rounds, until July 17th.
Only the top two teams of each group will go through to the Final Series that will take place from October 28th to November 20th, 2022, in Bahrain.