For the Qualifying Round 1 (May 19-22), two groups will fight to reach one of the two top spots to get into Final Series. In Group 1, there will be Antigua & Barbuda vs. Bermuda vs. Puerto Rico vs. Tahiti. Here are a presentation of these four nation islands coming from the Caribbeans and the Pacific.
SSL Team Antigua & Barbuda
Team Nickname: The Rum Runners
Captain: Shannon Falcone
Motto: « Each endeavouring, all achieving. »
Located in the center of the Caribbean, Antigua is blessed with warm trade winds and a sea state from the mighty Atlantic Ocean. Antigua is to sail, as the Alps are to ski. The history of sailing in Antigua dates back centuries, the Rum Runners quite literally have sailing in their blood. The Rum Runners is a blend of world-class athletes from the powerhouse of sailing and aspiring young talent, looking to make their mark in the SSL Gold Cup.
Squad: Tristan Louwrens – Junella King – Daniel Smit – Rocco Falcone – Louis Bavay – Jules Mitchell – Alex Sinclair – Vincent Anfi – Rhone Kirby – Jalese Gordon – Jareese Finch – Giles de Jager
SSL Team Bermuda
Team Nickname: The Privateers
Captain: Rockal Evans
Motto: « Natural Born Sailors »
Bermuda’s formidable crew of experienced, energetic sailors embrace competition on the world stage. Many sailing from as young as six years old, following the legacy of their Olympian ancestors and others self-taught, their combined experience includes America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean Racing, and many national championships.
Like Privateers they apply innovation, grit, and tenacity, they seek and interpret opportunity as if reading the shifting winds, to be faster and stronger. They inspire new innovations the world relies on; they build from nothing to achieve greatness.
Squad: Tre Maxwell – Mike Wollman – Peter Dill – Somers Kempe – Adriana Penruddocke – Julia Lines – Emily Nagel – Dale Brangman – Joshua Greenslade – Thomas Penruddocke – Will Lorimer-Turner -Campbell Patton – Kailin Hillier – Jesse Kirkland – Benn Smith – Aran McKittrick – Jordan Saints
SSL Team Puerto Rico
Team Nickname: Los Boricuas
Captain: Raul Rios
Motto: « No Excuses »
Puerto Rico has a mix of different cultures that have led to many different traditions. Sailing has been a way of transportation since even the discovery of their island. A mix of different ages, experiences, and styles can lead to a diverse range of expectations. Even though their island might be small, their hearts and passion for this sport have no borders. Their SSL team comprises sailors that have had experience from Olympic to youth levels. Coming together as one and working as a team will be important as some have never been a part of something so big and/or a boat of such magnitude and technicality. This will be a new motivation for their youth sailors and perhaps can ignite the spark our sport needs.
Squad: Marco Teixidor – Fraito Lugo – Enrique Figueroa – Agustin Lazaro – Pablo Mendez – Sebastian Medina – Jose Arturo Diaz – Gretchen Ortiz – Melvin Gonzalez – Gerardo Fernández
SSL Team Tahiti
Team Nickname: The Black Pearls
Captain: Teva Plichart
Motto: « Proudly Polynesian, fiercely Oceanian«
Located in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia. Since Tahitian Sailing Federation split from France’s in the 1980s, a handful of local sailors reached Sailing highest level including World Champion Billy Besson and SSL Team Tahiti’s captain Teva Plichart, 2007 European Match-Racing champion and Team Areva’s wincher at the Louis-Vuitton Challengers. In 2017, team « Trésors de Tahiti », nicknamed « the Tahitian Rastarockets », finished 2nd of Tour de France à la Voile. Their objective is to surprise European best teams as perfect underdogs. Tahitians are never as good as when they get together to show the rest of the World their sailing skills.
Squad: Yann Rigal – Manutea Mahai – Hervé Cunningham – Teriimana Degage – Tom Lamotte – Teiki Hacheche – Cesar Villa – Heimoana Bernardino – Alexis Gayet
Team Captain of SSL Team Antigua & Barbuda
« The balanced mix of having this ranking system and captain choice is great because the SSL Gold Cup is an opportunity to showcase our upcoming talents and our islands. It will be the first time Antiguans will race as a full crew team. It is a great concept and give something else to young sailors to be part of. The guys on the team are really happy to go to Switzerland, which will the first time for some of them. QS will be long series and we need to enjoy the experience. Of course, we want to win but there will be a strong opposition. If we have to mark a boat, we will go for Bermuda, who have strong individuals, before Puerto Rico. We will see how things go.