On a day of sketchy winds and close-fought racing, SSL Team Guatemala emerge to top Group 6 with maximum points from both races at SSL Gold Cup Qualifying Series Round 4.
Race 1: Oman pipped on the line
In a gripping opening race, SSL Team Guatemala took victory by just 6” from hard-chasing SSL Team Oman. Despite trailing the fleet at the halfway point, Juan Maegli’s Jaguars found just enough wind at the right time to reel in and overtake the Omanis.
It was a bitter end to an otherwise good race for SSL Team Oman, clearly out to make amends for earlier conceding a one-point penalty for a late crew declaration.
Las Catrinas of Mexico looked down and out as they rounded Mark 3 almost two minutes off the pace in the last position but made the most of SSL Team Cuba’s struggles to snatch 3rd place.
Race 2: Guatemala on the double
For the second race in a row, SSL Team Guatemala found themselves locked in a tight battle with the finish line approaching. Again they held their composure, this time holding off SSL Team Cuba to seal the victory. For the Cuban 'Pirates of the Caribbean', led by Nelido Manso Lopez, 2nd place capped a much improved performance and one that will give them plenty of optimism going into Friday.
SSL Team Oman, so close to victory in the first race, struggled to find their form this time around. But in light winds, positions in the fleet changed quickly, and mistakes proved costly. When SSL Team Mexico came off worst in a battle with the Jaguars and the Cubans at Mark 3, Nasser al Mashari’s Lions of the Sea capitalised to secure a precious additional point in 3rd.
Beware the chasing pack.
The highest ranked team in the group, the Guatemalan Jaguars, ended the day in pole position. But it has not all been plain sailing for Juan Maegli’s crew, who were pushed right to the wire in both races. For the trailing pack, there is every reason to believe the glory can be theirs tomorrow.
JUAN IGNACIO MAEGLI (Captain, SSL Team Guatemala):
“Our strength was that everybody was working very well together, the manoeuvres were executed really well. The tactician gave me a lot of options to do what I wanted on the water, and I had a good understanding of what the wind – or lack of wind – was doing, and where the pressure was coming from on the lake. So we are very happy with our performance today especially as we only had a few days training here. It’s a big learning curve, none of us has experience on big boats, so our learning curve is very steep and that is why we are even happier that the first day went so well”.
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.
- Teams qualified in Round 1: SSL Team Antigua & Barbuda, SSL Team Estonia, SSL Team Ireland, and SSL Team Tahiti.
- Teams qualified in Round 2: SSL Team Slovenia and SSL Team Lithuania.
- Teams qualified in Round 3: SSL Team Portugal, SSL Team Czech Republic, SSL Team Peru, and SSL Team Chile.