Problems halt SSL Gold Cup Finals

Published on October 9th, 2022

So much for that.

After 40 international teams had advanced in 2022 to the inaugural SSL Gold Cup Finals in Bahrain on October 28-November 20, the event has now been postponed.

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, had been a dream come true for invitees. Using Star boats, the SSL was privately funded by Michel Niklaus and had substantial prize money for participants.

What’s not to like?

But events in sport too reliant on one person’s wallet, and seemingly without sufficient commercial foundation, can be unstable.

However, SSL had endured, and in 2018 Niklaus revealed he was taking it to the next level with a new and innovative global sailing event. Using SSL’s proprietary ranking system, 56 international teams had been identified for a competition to determine the best sailing nation.

With racing in modified RC44s originally to place in Switzerland during September and October 2021, the pandemic pushed it to 2022, and now after qualifiers had thinned the herd to the top 40 teams, the organizers are pausing again… here’s their statement:
The entire SSL Team, the Bahrain Maritime Sports Association (BMSA) and the Sailing Athletes Foundation (SAF) are naturally dismayed to have to make this decision with the event so close, but logistical and technical challenges, amplified by the current world environment, made it impossible to host the event in the manner which the event deserves.

Bringing together the incredible National Teams, made up of the most decorated sailors ever assembled at one event, remains the intention of the SSL Team and, despite this setback, the goal remains as strong as ever.

We share the disappointment of the sailors set to compete, as well as that of sailing enthusiasts worldwide and the wider sporting public who were looking forward to following the event.

The scope of the SSL Gold Cup Finals is unprecedented, and arrangements for the event moving forwards will be announced in due course, following discussion with the SSL teams.
It had been labeled “The Football World Cup… in Sailing” but what seemed too good to be true might have been. Standing by…

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