July 2022

QS5 Group 8: Ukraine and Thailand meet again as Singapore and Korea debut

After racing each other in September at the Test Event 1, SSL Team Thailand and SSL Team Ukraine meet again in SSL Gold Cup Qualifiying Series Round 5. Last time, team 'Chang Thai' had the upper hand over the Ukrainian 'Haydamaky' but Rodion Luka's crew are determined to do their country proud.

It will be the first time racing on SSL47 for SSL Team Singapore and SSL Team Korea in Lake Neuchatel, but all four of the Group 8 teams know they have a chance of claiming one of the last two spots for the Finals in Bahrain.

SSL Team Singapore (SSL World n°37)
Nickname:  Guardians of the Bay
Captain: Jovina Choo
Motto: Fueled by youth, passion, and camaraderie

Relatively new to the international keelboat racing scene, the Singapore team will be heading into the SSL Gold Cup as underdogs. But what the team lacks in experience, they more than make up for in courage, confidence, and a never-say-die attitude. This fighting spirit has put the young city-state on the world map of dinghy sailing. Every team member has represented Singapore at some level, with three team members having competed at the Olympics. 

Additionally, Singapore has medals at several high-profile keelboat events in the region. The country’s sailors clinched the gold medal in Match Racing at the Asian Games 2006 and 2014, and the silver medal at the Nations Cup Oceania Regional Finals in 2015. Singapore also hosted and won the DBS Marina Bay Cup in 2019.

Squad: Daniella NG, Er Zixian, Edward Tan, Terena Lam, Xu Yuan Zhen, Katrina Yeo, James Lin, Bernie Chin, Tan Wei Chong, Tan Jen-E, Samuel Neo





SSL Team South Korea (SSL World n°56)
Nickname:  Red Fury
Captain: Jee Min Ha
Motto: Rising Star Sailors from Korea 

Although Korea is a peninsula, sailing is not as popular as other sports, so there are not many sailors despite the large population. Nevertheless, Korean sailors continue to dream, aim, and strive to become Olympians.

Although most of the team has no experience in keelboat racing, we are ready to compete at the SSL Gold Cup with enthusiasm because we are prepared to accept and learn about new opportunities and experiences anytime.

Squad: Hyeon Su Yoon, Minje Lee, Sunghwan Choi, Jihoon Kim, Sungmin  Cho, Sangwoo Bae, Seung Kim, Sungwok Kim, Dongwoo Lee.




SSL Team Thailand (SSL World n°42)
Nickname:  Chang Thai
Captain: Noppakao “Nai” Poonpat
Motto: CHAI YO Thailand! (This means Cheer Thailand, and it’s commonly used to celebrate victory)

The sport of sailing in Thailand took off in the 1950s when the former King, HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej, began promoting the sport. As a prominent racer and boat builder, sailing began to flourish under his Royal Patronage by opening marine sports centers and yacht racing centers. These centers are located in the Gulf of Thailand, the Royal Varuna Yacht Club in Chonburi province, and the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, based in Sattahip. While our team is based in the Thai gulf, Phuket (located in the Andaman Sea) hosts the King’s Cup Regatta. The King’s Cup brings the fastest yachts in Asia to compete across the range in big boats. 

With the support of the royal family and the world-class races, sailing has become one of Thailand’s most successful sports. The country has led the medal table in the Asian and Southeast Asian games. It has become a reliable source of medals for the country at the Asian Games. The country has also seen success in the Optimist class. Over the past ten years, Thailand has been at the top of the world's Optimist fleet with numerous top tens, a World Champion title including Thailand's team Captain Nai in 2010, and more recently with Weka Bhanubandh winning the 2020 Optimist European Championships. 

Squad: Anusorn Ngamrit, Sanont Khaisaeng, Nichapa Waiwai, Nut Butmarasri, Dylan Whitcraft, John Scott Heinecke, Chusit Punjamala, Navee Thamsoontorn, Don Whitcraft, Suthon Yampinid, Alex Frefel



SSL Team Ukraine (SSL World n°33)
Nickname:  Haydamaky
Captain: Rodion Luka replaced b
Ihor Matviienko
Motto: Beyond All

As a sea nation, Ukrainians were good seafarers for centuries. Sailing down the Dnipro river from ancient Kyiv to the Black Sea and further was a regular practice long before the Middle Ages. The emergence of sailing as a leisure and sports activity can be traced to the XIX century, with the first yacht clubs popping up in central and southern Ukraine along with shipbuilding industry development. 

In the 20th century, Ukrainian sailors achieved fantastic results in Olympic sailing as members of the USSR team. This culminated in a phenomenal performance of Ukrainian-born Valentin Mankin (1938-2014). He won three Olympic gold and one silver medal in three yacht classes (Finn, Tempest, and Star) – a record that no one has managed to beat.

Also, Ukrainians are participants of the Whitbread Round the World Race as members of the famous Fazisi campaign (USSR, 1989-1990) and later, under the Ukrainian flag with two yachts in the 1993-94 season. 

The 1991-2004 period was very successful for the Ukrainian national sailing team. In the 470 class, Ukrainians won gold in Atlanta by Braslavets/Matvienko male crew and two bronze medals (Atlanta and Sydney) by the crew of Taran/Pacholchik. In the 2004 Athens Olympics, Ruslana Taran went on to win silver in the Yngling class. Also, in 2004 Ukrainian crew Luka/Leonchuk took silver in the 49er class. 

The generations gap started to affect the Ukrainian Olympic performance during that period. While seasoned crews continued to perform well on the international scene in classes like Soling, Star, and Dragon, the lack of trained young sailors made it impossible to achieve excellent results in the Olympics. 

Therefore, youth development became the focus of the national sailing authority. It took more than 10 years to achieve the first decent results in Optimist and Cadet classes. But the process went on culminating recently in several world championship titles in Cadet and a world team racing championship silver medal for the Ukrainian team. 

Squad: Andrii Klochko, Andrii Husenko, Vadym Okladnikov, Ihor Matviienko, Stansilav Mulko, Valerii    Kudriashov, Oskar    Madonich, Georgiy Paches, Borys Shvets, Ivan Zhukalin, Denis Osliak, Georgii Leonchuk



Sailing has its own World Cup, finally! Like football in 1930 and rugby in 1987, the SSL Gold Cup is designed to crown the best sailing nation of all! The World's Top 56 countries, selected on their SSL Nation ranking, will battle their way through to raise the coveted and only Sailing World Cup trophy
The SSL Gold Cup 2022 started on May 19th with the Qualifying Series in Grandson, Lake Neuchatel (Switzerland). All teams ranked from the Top 25 to 56 in the SSL Nations Ranking (based on January 2022 standings) will meet in eight groups of four teams each. There will be five stages, or rounds, until July 17th.
Only the top two teams of each group will go through to the Final Series that will take place from October 28th to November 20th, 2022, in Bahrain.