Application Period Opens for SSL Nations
Published on October 31st, 2018
(October 31, 2018) – It’s been about a week since the official announcement of the SSL Nations Gold Cup in Lorient, France, at the Yacht Racing Forum, when Mateusz Kusznierewicz and the Star Sailors League team presented to the public and media. The SSL Nations Gold Cup is the last block of the Star Sailors League circuit. The circuit was created in 2013 and received the World Sailing Special Event status in 2017.
By mixing the use of one design boats provided by the Star Sailors League and exploiting the successful scenario of the football World Cup, the SSL Nations Gold Cup will be a tool for the Star Sailors League to raise the national pride in sporting fans all over the world and put the spotlight on the sailors.
Since right after the announcement, dozens of messages have been flocking to Mateusz and the SSL team, the feedback has overcome the expectations, with sailors from all around the world showing their interest to represent their country at the 2021 SSL Nations Gold Cup.
As announced in France last week, official online registration period will be open for all of the interested sailors to become Captains, Skippers (helmsman) or Crew, to be part of their National Team on November 1, 2018. Any interested sailor will be able to send an application that will be evaluated by the Star Sailors League.
Every National team will be lead by a Captain. He or she may also be the skipper or could be on the boat as one of the 8 – 11 crew members, or may prefer to stay off the racing boat. The Captain’s main responsibilities will be to select the best sailors in the Country, create a team (of about 11 athletes), organize the trainings sessions, manage the relations with sponsors and media and be the manager of their National team.
The selection of the Captains will take in consideration all of the above, they will be sailors, of course, but their sailing achievements won’t be the only criteria to be evaluated by the Star Sailors League Selection Board. They should prove to have management skills, to be well known in their country and to be able to work closely with sponsors and media. The SSL Selection Board will consist of five experienced sailors from different countries and continents.
The process of selection will begin with the Captain completing an online application form which will be followed by an interview by the SSL Selection Board, the analysis of the candidate’s experience and potential. Then, the Captains that apply from one nation will be ranked.
The SSL Selection Board might also contact a potential Captain directly, without an online application.
When a match is made, the Star Sailors League will support the Captains in their first steps in crew selection, in the search for sponsors and with training sessions at the SSL Headquarters in Switzerland. (The boats will be loaned free to the teams, the sponsors’ support will be primarily intended to expand the audience and help the athletes)
By March 2019, if not sooner, the Captains will be announced and that Spring the first training sessions will take place with the support of professional coaches. The Selection Board will have its first meeting this month (November), then again at the SSL Finals in December in Nassau, where they might also meet some of the potential Nations Captains.
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 TRAINING CENTER
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: http://nations-gold-cup.starsailors.com/registration-form/
Additional detail: http://nations-gold-cup.starsailors.com/PDF/Nations_Gold_Cup.pdf
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.
Source: Rachele Vitello, SSL Media and Communication