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The world’s most elite sailing teams have landed in sunny Gran Canaria for the 1/4 Finals of the SSL Gold Cup, and the level of competition is only ramping up. The round was officially opened by Regatta Director Paul Hutton at the Real Club Náutico de Gran Canaria with the final 16 teams in attendance.

SSL Gold Cup 1/4 Opening Ceremony (c) Martina Orsini
SSL Gold Cup 1/4 Opening Ceremony (c) Martina Orsini

Who will triumph is anybody’s guess – only 3 of the 8 teams that arrived in the previous round made it through to the next – but here’s what you can look forward to over the next few days of racing…

In Fleet 1, we have the Malaysian ‘Monsoon’, who’ve consistently pulled together as a team to progress through round after round, qualifying alongside a seasoned Team France. Joining them are Teams Denmark and Great Britain. After ‘Les Bleus’ demonstrated their match racing prowess in the last race of the 1/8 Finals, we’ve got an exciting showdown between Team France and newcomers Great Britain.

SSL Team Denmark in training (c) Gilles Morelle
SSL Team Denmark in training (c) Gilles Morelle

Team Chile, after scraping through as ‘Lucky Losers’ in the 1/32 Finals, have managed to find their groove in the last two rounds and comfortably sailed through to make it into Fleet 2 of the 1/4 Finals. The Hungarian ‘Shamans’ have also been performing impressively, and are feeling confident facing the teams arriving from Germany and Netherlands.

Portugal is the only team in Fleet 3 to have been here since the first round of the SSL Gold Cup Finals. Up until now, the ‘Navigators’ have demonstrated their experience on the water, but joining them are formidable teams from Brazil, New Zealand and Australia – will this ‘Death Group’ of the 1/4 Finals prove too much?

In Fleet 4, we have ‘The ‘Helvetic Lakers’ from Switzerland, who only just managed to make it through the 1/8 Finals after a daring performance in their final race. ‘The Ambers’ from Lithuania are looking incredibly strong after their flawless previous round, having finished first in 9 of their total 11 races since the start of the competition. Now facing elite teams from Italy, ‘The Gladiators’, and Spanish ‘La Armada’, sailing on home territory, could this be the end of their winning streak?

SSL Team Spain in training (c) Gilles Morelle
SSL Team Spain in training (c) Gilles Morelle

See you Monday 27th November at 10.30am local time for the beginning of the 1/4 Finals of the SSL Gold Cup Finals series, the football world cup of sailing.

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