Team Bermuda make SSL breakthrough at training camp
Bermuda’s inaugural Star Sailors League team achieved a milestone during a highly successful training camp in Grandson, Switzerland.
Emily Nagel, Kelsey Durham, Joshua Greenslade, Dale Brangman, Tre Maxwell, Adriana Penruddocke, Peter Dill, Michael Wollmann, Philip Worboys and Thomas Penruddocke secured a maiden win in the one-design SSL 47 monohull.
Bermuda’s sailors upstaged rivals Antigua & Barbuda, Slovenia and Poland, whose teams featured America's Cup sailors and Olympic medal-winners.
“It was just incredible to be on the start line with these teams and racing some of the world's greatest sailors,” an elated Nagel, the team vice-captain, said. “The excitement was definitely high.
“We were one of the youngest, least experienced teams in keelboats, yet we gelled together learning all the positions really quickly. It was a really great atmosphere.”
Rockal Evans, the team captain, added: “That’s what Star Sailors League is all about. If it wasn't for SSL, Bermuda wouldn't have this opportunity to sail against the best in the world, on a level playing field. How would that ever be possible in usual sailing circles?”
Evans, a multiple national champion, was unable to attend the camp held from August 21 to 29 because of a Covid lockdown in Sydney, Australia, where he is based.
Making the team’s win all the more sweeter is that none of the sailors had competed in either an SSL 47 keelboat or regular keelboat before.
“Many of the training team come from a background of dinghies, like Lasers that don’t have a front sail, so this was all new to them,” Nagel said.
“It was a huge learning curve, and everyone hustled really well to learn the playbook and take all the challenges head on. We threw some people into the deep end with some of their roles on board, and the team rose to the occasion.”
Maxwell was thrilled to have also been invited to crew as a grinder for SSL Team Slovenia.
“It was a great opportunity to learn from an Olympic medallist and to see the professionalism on board,” he said. “I’m so grateful for the experience.”
The experience has inspired Bermuda’s sailors to train harder and gain more racing in the SSL 47s under their belt.
The Star Sailors League is a global inshore sailing circuit launched by Olympic athletes in 2012 — by sailors for sailors
The biennial eventis scheduled to be held in Switzerland in 2022, between May and June.