SSL Finals promise a return for 2021

SSL Finals promise a return for 2021

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Star Sailors League (SSL) Finals, held each December in the waters of Montagu Bay in The Bahamas, might be off for 2020, but international sailing is still alive, with a number of events ongoing and with sailors still gaining experience and staying in race condition.

In the Gold Cup, over the course of two months on Lake Neuchâtel and Lake Geneva, in Switzerland, a total of 56 nations will go up against each other onboard 47-foot boats provided by the Star Sailors League, all to determine the best sailing nation in the world.

The nationality rule requires all sailors to have a passport of the country and follow the Olympic regulations. The sailors are partly nominated by captains and partly coming from the SSL Rankings, now taking into account over 100,000 athletes competing in more than 15,000 regattas in 80-plus classes all over the world.

This past summer, in spite of the global COVID-19 pandemic, many teams trained on Lake Neuchâtel — France, Poland, Estonia, Greece, Switzerland and Bulgaria, to name a few. Teams from those nations also compete in the SSL Finals in The Bahamas each year, but now that event has been pushed back to December 2021.

“The year 2020 hasn’t given us many chances to meet up on the race courses, test our abilities and challenge one another. SSL, though, wasn’t standing still, and has been working to grow the SSL Gold Cup into what it will be — like the ‘football world cup’ in sailing,” said an SSL spokesperson through a press release.

Many other teams have organized training sessions in their respective countries — Hungary, Turkey and Iran, just to name a few. Continuing into 2021, a number of training sessions are planned for Lake Neuchâtel and there will be a two-week-long SSL Gold Cup Test Event in September.

As for the SSL Finals 2021, it will be contested among sailors racing in the Olympic circuits, match racing, America’s Cup, SailGP, 52 Super Series and all of the international classes, and its goal is to crown the best skipper and best crew of the season. Since 2013, it has been held at the end of the sailing season in The Bahamas and is regarded as the master event in sailing.

The top 10 skippers based on the SSL Rankings, and up to 15 other sailors with outstanding results from the season or great highlights in their career, are invited by the SSL to compete every year in December. Due to a very limited number of international events in 2020 and strong travel restrictions all over the world, the fundamental pillars of the SSL Finals are not in place. Therefore, the SSL has decided to postpone the 8th Annual SSL Finals from 2020 to 2021.

“We’ll be back with one of the most appreciated events of the year at the end of 2021,” said an SSL spokesperson through a press release.

Star Sailors League is the global inshore sailing circuit launched by Olympic athletes in 2012, by sailors for sailors. Its main philosophy considers the athletes — not the boats — as the “stars”, and it aims to showcase the annual global sailing championship with its over 15,000 regattas. It determines and celebrates the world leaders in sailing, promoting the inshore regattas to the global audience.