Charles Penruddocke optimistic of success at SSL Gold Cup qualifiers
Charles Penruddocke, the Bermuda manager, is optimistic over the island’s chances of achieving their objective at the Star Sailors League Gold Cup first round qualifying regatta in Grandson, Switzerland.
Bermuda have been pitted with Antigua & Barbuda, Puerto Rico and Tahiti in group one, with the top two teams in the group advancing to the second qualifying round also to be held in Switzerland in October.
“Everybody is looking very upbeat and glad to be together,” Penruddocke toldThe Royal Gazette. “They are a pretty switched on bunch.”
The regatta will run from today to Sunday, with Bermuda to face Antigua in their first qualifying race on Thursday.
“Antigua is very much looking forward to seeing what they can do against Bermuda,” Penruddocke added. “I don’t think we are the favourites. I think it’s a bit of unknown and the fact that some of the team have one or two experienced sailors.
“It comes down to boat skills and we have been practising those hard in Bermuda and we’ve got a lot of enthusiasm. So hopefully with a couple of days training it will prove itself when we get to the real thing on Thursday.”
Bermuda’s 11-member team consists of captain Rockal Evans, vice-captain Emily Nagel, Somers Kempe, Jesse Kirkland, Peter Dill, Joshua Greenslade, Julia Lines, Dale Brangman, Will Lorimer-Turner, Thomas Penruddocke and Adriana Penruddocke.
Experienced sailor Kempe will serve as helmsman and ex-Olympian Kirkland as tactician.
Teams are only permitted to select 11 sailors for each round of competition, with a minimum of eight and now more than ten allowed to compete. There is also a weight limit of 730kg which they are allowed on board the boats.
Teams will compete in the identical one-design SSL 47 monohull on Olympic courses during fleet races lasting between 45 and 75 minutes.
Penruddocke says a collective effort will also be vital to the island’s success.
“It’s going to be all about teamwork and the ability to execute on the water, and so they are working very hard at it and hopefully we can come good,” he added. “I think if we get our teamwork together and get our boat skills together then we can execute pretty well.”
Bermuda’s team are being put through their paces by coach and former British Olympic sailor Penny Clarke.
“We are very fortunate to have Penny Clarke,” Penruddocke said. “She was Laser Radial sailor but has been coaching for several years since.
“She is a former navy person and I think she will knock everybody in to shape real quickly.
“She is also very enthusiastic to make sure we grab one of the two places that are available to take us through.”
Bermuda’s sailors will look to capitalise on their knowledge of the conditions in Switzerland, which they acquired during an training exercise there last summer.
“Most of the team were here back in August last year for training, so most of them know what to expect,” Penruddocke added.
Bermuda’s contingent is keeping a close eye on the weather forecast in the final build-up to the start of the event.
“For the first few days it’s going to be three to five knots which is a little bit disappointing,” Penruddocke said. “But later in the week it hopefully picks up and on Saturday we even get something like eight to 12 knots.
“The main racing is going to be on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and Sunday depending on how it goes.”
The biennial SSL Gold Cup is a new international sporting event designed to determine the world’s best sailing nation.
“This is not a single-event regatta but a way of keeping people in keelboat sailing and having something to look forward to every two years,” Penruddocke added.
“This is an ongoing process and we want to get more and more children from across Bermuda into this.
“We have a few interested who are not 18, so we have some coming up.”