Star Sailors League goes next level

Published on October 23rd, 2018

The Star Sailors League (SSL), founded in 2013 as an international regatta circuit with the goal to promote the athletes and sailing in a simple format, is taking it to the next level. Privately funded by Michel Niklaus, with substantial prize money at invitation-only Star events, the SSL has announced plans for another innovative global sailing event.

During the last 5 years the SSL created a global athletes ranking system while hosting four Grand Slam events and one annual Finals based on the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) system. To crown all the SSL circuit concept with the goal to expand its audience, the SSL has launched its latest event: Star Sailors League Nations Gold Cup.

To be ready in 2021, this will be a competition among nations and will become the SSL biennial grand finale reserved to the best SSL ranked athletes, using the same nationality principle as the Olympic Games to provide a country against country championship like the World Cup in football.

By mixing the use of spectacular one design big boats provided by SSL and exploiting the successful scenario of the football World Cup, the SSL Nations Gold Cup aims to shine the spotlight on the athletes and arouses the sporting passions of national pride.

The competition will be open to 140 countries whose National Federations are recognized by World Sailing. To organize the selection for the final phase of the SSL Nations Gold Cup, that will host a maximum of 40 teams.

All countries will be ranked according to the rules established by the Star Sailors League which will consider results obtained at Olympic Games, World Championships, and Sailing World Cups. Among the finalists, there will be a specific rule that will ensure the presence of some of the ‘sailing emerging nations’.

A format taken from Football and Tennis, where after the round robins, the top 16 teams will access the thrilling knock-out phase, where there will be no scoring sheet, but just a real-time battle for who will cross the finish line first. A format that has been greatly tested and approved by some of the best sailors in the world at the SSL Finals in Nassau every December since 2013, that perfectly meets the public’s need for immediacy.

The Star Sailors League will provide the boats for all participating teams. They will be fully armed one-design 45 footers monohull for 8 to 10 people team. It is not clear yet whether existing boats or newly created models will be used, but the intent is for them to be strictly identical in terms of construction, shape of the hull, rigs and weight distribution, and for the sailors’ abilities to emerge rather than the boats.

The strongest concept of the SSL Nations Gold Cup aims to offer equal chances for all top sailors to participate, regardless of financial and political barriers. Thus, the top ranked athletes in the SSL Global Ranking will automatically be selected.

The national teams will consist of 11 sailors and will be made up of the best in- and off-shore sailors from their respective countries. All of the athletes will be selected based on the same rules. The team will name their captain, who may also be the skipper. He or she will be responsible for managing the team, coordinating its preparation and selecting four additional sailors.

The first edition of 2021 will take place in a traditional European venue; a site that will offer both good sailing conditions on the water and entertainment on land. The race village will include all administration, race management, press center, broadcast and hospitality facilities, as well as spectator area close to the race course to allow the public to watch the regattas live onsite. The event venue will be run in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

The Star Sailors League has a new headquarter located on the shores of a beautiful lake in Switzerland. The headquarter consists of a comfortable manor house, a private harbor and park, and it will be one of SSL’s main assets. This venue will offer training sessions to every team that will take part to the SSL Nations Gold Cup, with longer stay for emerging nations.

It will be crucial for the team to become aquatinted to the boat, and for those sailors coming from a dinghy background only to acclimatize on a bigger size boat with many people onboard. Beside sailing skills development, each Team will receive from SSL valuable help and support for sponsorship and promotional program.

The first trainings and workshops sessions are already scheduled and they will take place in the spring of 2019: in March 2019 the first National Teams will be introduced and their captains presented.

The Star Sailors League will set new standards of quality in communication, broadcasting high quality live coverage and tracking free of charge all over the world.

The goal of the experienced media team, made of sailing photographers, video makers, reporters and journalists, is to develop a high-end media product, simple and attractive, that will give fans the opportunity to follow the event and will try to attract a wider audience.

Registration form:

Additional detail:

Editor’s note: This information came from the SSL and was edited for clarity where possible. There is much left to define in this concept, and while the idea may appear like fantasy-land, we anticipate this plan will get to the start line.

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