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Thread: Mallorca Stingy With Winds As TPS IBEROSTAR 50th Anniversary Commences

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    Mallorca Stingy With Winds As TPS IBEROSTAR 50th Anniversary Commences



    A long opening day of the 50th anniversary edition of the Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR was more frustrating for the classes which were sent out to race earlier in the day, the Nacra 17, Lasers and Laser Radials racing out from Ca’n Pastilla had to contend with an unsettled, very light offshore wind before the afternoon sea breeze which took time to fill.










    The classes which started later had the best of the day, the 470s and FX’s required to spend less time on the water waiting. The hotly contested 470 fleets, Men and Womens, enjoyed two decent races in the 8-10kts breeze on the Bay of Palma. Even the sunshine made a welcome return.

    The return to Europe and the Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR is always highly anticipated by Australia’s hugely experienced Mat Belcher, double Olympic 470 medallist, and Will Ryan. The 2018 class champions here made a solid start to their European season with a fifth and a first to lie second in the Men's 470 behind Spain’s Miami World Cup winners Jordi Xammer and Nicolas Rodriguez.

    “It is good way to start out first day back on the race courses in Europe. The competition was really good and it was a great decision to have us wait for the wind. We had 8-11kts and great racing, so much so it already makes you want to come back next year.”

    “We got here about a week ago and so we are keeping it fresh.” Belcher reported, “I have a young family now and I have to try and have a balanced life. But it is great to be back in the with the main guys. We are highly motivated and to start off like we did today is good.”











    With the 2020 Tokyo Olympic regatta just 15 months away Belcher confirms that the top of the 470 fleet is racing at an exceptional level.

    “We have so much experience and have been training pretty hard in Australia. But we love it here and the conditions match our style and so we always feel very comfortable here.”

    “Every time we come back to the fleet we are amazed at how much the everything moves on. The level gets higher and higher. The racing, the dynamics of how people are racing and sailing the boat, the finesse, the detail, how active they are. There are too many good teams!. There are a bunch of younger guys coming through and really sticking it to us.”

    “The list of what we have to improve on is too big. We have been sailing these boats for nearly two decades and the more you are this level, the more you realise what you have to do. You have to keep working harder and for us it is all about next year.” Belcher concludes.

    Olympic 470 champion Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre also made a solid opening for the British team posting a 3,4, to lead the Women's class. Their GBR compatriots in the FX fleet Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey have a share of the top place along with Australia’s Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot.

    With the 2020 Olympic regatta just over 15 months away this event figures highly in selections for the Olympic test event. After medaling in Miami Dobson and Tidey will have this front of mind through the event, just as the closely matched British 49er pairs will be among the many, many teams looking to make a firm statement on the Bay of Palma.









    Tidey said, “There's a huge fleet of FXs here and it's going to be a big week. We're really happy with the solid day that we had. We couldn't have asked for any more. It sets us off on the right foot and it's a good position to build on.”

    Winner of the Laser Radial class here last year Denmark’s Anne Marie Rindom went on to take bronze in Aarhus at last year’s world championship. She made the best possible start to her Sofia title defence with two solid wins in the light airs today.

    The USA’s Paige Railey has been in the Radial for 15 years on and off and has won five world championship medals. After a good second place in Miami in January she, too, wants to follow that up here with a complementary finish to stake her claim to the American berth at the test event:

    “This is part of our test event trials and so I would like to just secure that spot and get to that event. I am looking at that but really I take it one race at a time. We have done a lot of work here and right now I am just wishing those normal conditions would come in so we could see it. I am frustrated today but in general I feel like things are going really, really well.” Railey commented.

    The Nacra fleets ran three races across the transition between the breezes. Germany’s Paul Kolhoff and Alicia Stuhlemmer count two wins from three races to lead.

    Australia’s Olympic silver medallists Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin, Miami winners, are sixth. Waterhouse comments, “We made a few silly mistakes today. We are a little rusty in terms of racing. But we have some good things up our sleeves. The way we approach the racing is good, today was tricky in the offshore in the morning then adapting to the sea breeze and we are happy with 2,5,3 on Day 1.”

    “We are heading towards the pointy end of the Olympic cycle now and so everyone is knuckled down, working on their weaknesses. We are just doing the same and keeping an eye on everyone to see if we can learn a thing or two along the way.”

    “Today the fleet was really close, it was awesome, it was congested with good action at the front end.”

    In the Finn class Olympic champion, Britain’s Giles Scott bounced back from a disappointing first race to win the second comfortably.


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    Palma Remains Light Winded



    Denmark’s Anne Marie Rindom, Olympic bronze medallist in Rio, retains the perfect four wins from four starts record to lead the Laser Radial class at Palma,
    Mallorca’s giant Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar.

    While it is a perfect kick start to the Olympic classes season in Europe, the annual Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar serves as a touchstone for year-on-year progress.
    This time last year, the French women's 470 duo Camille Lecointre and Aloise Retornaz were a new partnership, helm Lecointre having won a bronze medal in Rio with Helene Defrance.

    They have proven the 470s’ most consistent duo so far, counting a first and two seconds over the first four races for the 45 strong fleet and lead by seven points with
    Britain’s gold medallist Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre in third.


    “We like these conditions and I think we are fast. We get good starts and that is the most important thing here in this fleet.” Smiled Lecointre, who went from fourth in 2012 in Weymouth to take bronze in Rio. “We are quite confident. We were a new team here last year and did well. I feel like we are on a good track to medal in Tokyo. Here we are working on small things, the main thing being to get more experience in the medal race with Aloise as we have only done a few. We are still new and have only done the medal races in Palma, Aarhus and Miami this year. We need to learn to manage the medal race and if we can be just a little faster in all conditions we are in good shape for a medal.”

    “There is a lot of proven experience at the top of this class. The level is high.”

    “I think it is good thing that the 470 moves to mixed sex. It fits with the boat and we all know that the 470 is such a great boat we wish it would be in the Olympics forever. But we have to be realistic and it is good for the class. But I am a mum now so we will see how I get on in Tokyo before I think beyond that!”

    Palma is a good yardstick of progress for the young Spanish 470 duo Jordi Xammer and Nico Rodriguez. Xammer was 12th in Rio and teamed up with Rodriguez late in 2017. In 2018 they were 14th in Miami and 16th here on the Bay of Palma last year. One year on, after taking bronze in Aarhus, they won the Miami world cup and still lead the Mens 470 class after four races, counting two firsts and a second place.









    “Here we are out to prove Miami was no fluke. We are really happy because we feel good as a team, we are performing well and we are doing a great job with our new coach (Gideon Kliger, Israel’s three times 470 Olympian). We’ve created a good working routine and now we are just focused on the Olympics. We know that we need to keep improving as a team, learning as much. Compared to the last Trofeo Sofia we’ve made a huge change. Step by step we are growing but we know that anything can change at anytime. Last season was hard for us and now, even with the good results, we know that we need to be ready for any setback.” Says helm Xammer. “The experience of Rio 2016 is a big help as we prepare for Tokyo 2020. I know what to expect, what to think and how to act. Rio 2016 was a dream for us but now we have the medals as a realistic goal for Tokyo 2020. The goal is to get to Tokyo in good shape and knowing we are ready to win a medal.”

    After the fleet’s Australia’s Kurt Hansen and Simon Hoffman take the overall lead in the record sized 49er class as GBR’s 2017 World Champions Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell lie second. They are looking to cement selection to the Tokyo Olympic test event as soon as possible.

    “The thing is that myself and Dylan are here to try and win regattas. We figure if we do that then selection will take care of itself.” 470 silver medallist Bithell points out, “The powers that be will decide. We have the Kiwis back so that is healthy.

    “There are pros and cons to running strictly within a squad system. A squad is brilliant to bring on sailors but to then push over the hump to be pushing for a gold medal then you need to be able to be a little bit selfish and run your own programme with extreme efficiency.”

    The strength and depth of young talent coming up in the 49er fleet reflects the appeal of the skiff class and, one supposes, a certain security on the Olympic roster.












    New Zealand have three duos here with gold medallists Burling and Tuke – who had a shaky 17, 23, return to the class before winning their Race 3. France have nine crews, Germany have 12 crews, GBR eight duos and the host nation Spain 11.

    World champions Sime and Mihovil Fantela are 18th after scoring 18,1,11.

    “It was difficult. The first and third we were too conservative. With the shifts and the pressure today you could not be conservative. But overall it is going well, we had a long stay in Miami and spent a long time training in Vilamoura, Generally we are in a good place.” Said Sime Fantela.

    The model of national solidarity though is, not surprisingly, the Kiwis. America’s Cup winning Finn sailors Andy Maloney and Josh Junior train and race as a unit, as they have done since Laser squad days some ten years ago. Maloney, who won the Laser class here two years ago leads the Finn class after winning three races from four with Junior third. Gold medallist Giles Scott is second.

    “The first race I lead from start to finish.” Maloney reported, “In the second I had some work to do after the first upwind. We are aiming to have us both first and second at the end of the regatta but there is a long way to go. We have a really good relationship and help each other out, to be one and two. Hopefully one of us will watch the other winning a medal at the games. That is what we want to achieve. We did heaps of training at home, mostly just the two of us but we went to Australia with the Aussies there and the Brits, so it was good. But a lot of the time it is the two of us, and occasionally the Dutch.”

    Alex Maloney – the Finn leader’s Andy’s younger sister – and Molly Meech lead the FX class. The 2016 silver medallists are tied on points with Brits Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey. Norway’s Miami winner Herrmann Tomasgaard leads the Laser class from Ireland’s Finn Lynch. Denmark’s Anne Marie Rindom, last year’s Palma winner, has the perfect four-wins-from-four to lead the Radial fleet and Italy’s world champions Rugero Tanti and Caterina Banti lead the Nacra 17.












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    The Cream Rises In Palma



    It is the time for the top ranked sailors to move up to their A game. And for those who have posted a series of promising qualifying results, or maybe have done well in Miami where the fleet strength and depth is not the same, if they are looking to convert training advances to real results, strong finishes in these first few gold fleet races are vital.

    Such was the case today in the Men’s 470 class. Miami world cup winners Jordi Xammar and Nico Rodriguez, Spain’s fleet leaders when they went afloat in the morning, plummeted to a 20th and 25th place finish. European champions Anton Dahlberg and Frederik Bergstrom of Sweden move to the top of the standings with their fifth and eighth, but with the breeze up to 12kts at times 2012 silver medallist Luke Patience and Chris Grube had their best day for some months as the best scoring duo in the class today, their pair of fourth places promoting them to third. Patience and Grube enjoy the brisker winds.










    The Scots helm Patience is not really a fan of the increasing levels of kinetics which seem required in the class in light airs:

    “They used to say that experience pays off in this class, but the 470 is so physical these days. And we are old men now, spending half the evening in physio.” He grins, “ But I do think it is a bad thing for the class. It looks stupid. The 470 is a traditional boat we should be doing traditional sailing. Believe me I am not complaining, not moaning. The reality is that it adds a greater element of fitness and it is nice to have an excuse to go to the gym.”

    Looking where the fleet is at now, 15 months from the Olympics Patience maintains, “Everyone in this class seem to peak in different ways. This is my third Olympic cycle, you see trends where boats produce a very good start to the four year cycle and they fall away and then you see others building up into it.”

    Australia’s 2016 silver medallists Mat Belcher and Will Ryan moved up the 470 standings with a pair of solid sevenths and are now 11th their scoreline still affected by their DSQ from Race 1.












    The top of the 49er fleet is tight after three more qualifying races were completed. GBR’s 2017 world champions Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell are just one point clear of the Argentina’s Yago and Klaus Lange, winners here last year.

    “At the important moments we chose the right positions on the race course.” Klaus Lange recalled, “We had a really good winter of training sailed with the Austrian squad in Argentina. We have made progress and for us we have to work perfectly as team we are really strong. And in the winter we became active working against plastics and did two massive beach clean ups in Argentina with a lot of sailors involved. Klaus and I opened our eyes and realised that if we don’t do anything then the young kids wont be able to keep sailing in the future.”

    Their Austrian training partners Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl won two from three races today and are third overall while reigning world champions Sime and Mihovil Fantela of Croatia moved up to fifth with a 12pts aggregate.

    British skiff sailors top the FX fleet too, counterparts Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey had a dream 2,1,1 from their first three finals races to to hold Rio gold medallists Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze four points astern in second.

    Helm Dobson said, “In fact we had good starts and as soon as we could get clear then we were really fast. Once you get clear in gold fleet it is good. We would like just a little bit more wind to really be able to stretch but we have good confidence after the winter and have momentum after Miami. We have been using the new TruSail programme which has helped a lot. This year is about selection to start with but we figure you go out to win regattas it looks after itself.”











    In the Laser classes Norway’s Hermann Tomasgaard still leads the men, rallying to a ninth after 23rd place wobble in the first Finals race.

    Adding to the strong showing for the British team overall today, Lorenzo Chiavarini won the second contest and lies second.

    Defending Palma champion Anne Marie Rindom is firmly in the winning groove in the Radials, on course to defend her 2018 win with a 17pts margin over second. USA’s past world champion Paige Railey won the first race but was forced out of the second race by two yellow flag penalties.

    “She is OK but will not need to be super careful over the next five races.” Coach Steve Mitchell confirmed.

    The Kiwis Andy Maloney and Josh Junior cemented their duopoly in the Finn class, holding the top two places after a light winds pair of races. Second placed Junior said:

    “ it’s pretty cool to be back in Europe, and its probably the first time we have lined up against a lot of these guys since the worlds in Aarhus and it’s a chance for us to measure up and we how we are going. We’re really enjoying it and it’s good to be racing at the front.We’ve certainly won a few races, so far so good.”

    “ I think we are both going quicker than we were before, and that’s keeping us in the game, and just staying in phase with the shift and staying in the right part of the pressure on the shifts is really key. You just have to get out in front and try to stay there.”

    “We’ve been working a lot on trying to get faster in the light air breeze, the sort of range we’ve had, so and we’ve put a lot of effort into that. I think we’ve made some progress and would certainly like some more, but we’re certainly getting there. It’s just about time on the water really – putting the hours and the effort in to it.”


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    Climbing The Ladder In The Nacra 17 Class



    Top USA Nacra 17 team of Anna Weis and Riley Gibbs are in 12th place out of 59 teams and have climbed the ladder
    in short order, yet still have work to do... Riley texted us last night:


    "Better forecast today. Meaning more of our conditions!

    We’re looking forward to racing today and finishing the week off with a strong performance, being so new together we’re really focused on the process rather than the results at the end of the day in order to keep our learning curve steep we need to take advantage of every opportunity and be as efficient with our time as we can, as were playing catch up with the rest of the world. I think this week has shown we have potential and can battle it out with the some of the best sailors in the world."


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    A brisk, NW’ly mistral wind, blowing offshore required contenders at Mallorca’s 50th anniversary Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar to do their best to deal with big changes in wind direction and strength.

    Such unpredictable conditions added further stress for sailors for whom this annual European season curtain raiser is an observed event counting towards selection for the Olympic Test regatta.

    Wind speeds varied from 6 to 26 knots during the same race for the Laser and Nacra 17 classes.

    And with one day of racing left to determine which sailors will make the cut to Saturday’s medal races there were already a few disappointed faces when the fleets came ashore from the Bay of Palma.

    Even some of the top seeds found the unexpected wind changes hard to contend with. In the Nacra 17 class while their compatriots and rivals Vittorio Bissaro and Maelle Frascari charged to two back- to-back wins, Italy’s World Champions Rugerro Tita and Caterina Banti hooked the anchor line on the start line of the second race and so counted a DNS.

    “After a bad first race we tried a pin start but we got stuck with the rudder on the line on the buoy and so missed that race. Maybe because we were more fresh, we won the third race. But we are not happy. With two bad races that was a bad day.” Grimaced Tita.

    Tita and Banti rallied to win the third race of the day but Bissaro and Frascari leapfrog them to third overall after 12 races, behind Australian leaders Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin who are ten points clear of GBR’s John Gimson and Anna Burnett.

    Gimson and Burnett are engaged in one of the dozens of ongoing selection scraps which are taking place in each class.











    “It was really shifty, really gusty.” Gimson reported, “ In terms of trials and pressure, every event we do from here on in is key. I’d like to think we perform best under pressure.”

    Keeping his own focus – controlling the controllables as the coaches are fond of saying - and trying not to concern himself with the performance of his selection rivals, is clearly working for the young USA sailor Chris Barnard who stepped to the top of the giant Laser fleet today. His main selection rival is 2016 Olympian Charlie Buckingham who lies eighth after today.

    “Key for me today was avoiding the bad race in these crazy conditions. It was about keeping focused and composed and I managed that.” Said Barnard, “I tried to keep going fast and avoid the big risks. Our trials for the test event are Miami and here. I have to make up ten places on Charlie. I am just focused on what I need to do. I can’t control him.”

    The trials for the one GBR Laser spot have five serious contenders. At the end of today three are in the top seven, Elliot Hansen vaulting into third overall as Lorenzo Chiavarini – who started the day in second – had a bitterly painful day, scoring a 34th and then a DNF which drop him to seventh overall.

    “It was terrible day. The last race I came off the start line in decent pressure and the left side was then completely cut out of wind. Then I was in a hole for a couple of minutes. It is desperate when these are the trials.” Chiavarani explained.










    Past world champion Nick Thompson of GBR won the first race and now lies fifth while young Irish sailor Finn Lynch holds on to second, two points off the lead.

    Olympic champion Marit Bouwmeester of Holland posted a solid day to elevate herself to second place in the Laser Radials, still 19 points behind Denmark’s runaway leader, bronze medallist Anne Marie Rindom.

    “It was OK for me today. I sailed fast but it was a bit of a shit show because we were so close to the shore. I think we had six 25 knots, I nearly capsized to windward a couple of times. I don’t think I dealt with that the best way I could, that was twice near the end of the upwinds and that cost me a lot of places. But I am sailing OK. I trained hard through the winter in Australia with the Dutch girls and it is good to see them going well and now am looking forwards to this season. ” Bouwmeester commented.

    Holland have Daphne Van Der Vaart in fifth and Maxine Jonker in sixth.

    Sweden’s Anton Dahlberg and Frederik Bergstrom maintain a comfortable margin in the 470 Men with a 3,3, today ahead of GBR’s Luke Patience and Chris Grube. Aussies Mat Belcher and Will Ryan are on the prowl, climbing to fourth with a seven point day. There is no change at the top of the Womens fleet either where Camille Lecointre and Aloise Retornaz of France lead Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre of the British Sailing Team.











    The comeback of Kiwi gold medallists Pete Burling and Blair Tuke continues apace in the 49ers where Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell are leaders. Burling and Tuke went 1,3 from the second pair of races today and are up to fifth, within striking distance of the podium.

    “We are a little disappointed with how we started on the first day, we had two high scores. But we put three solid scores on the board today and that is what it is all about. We keep fighting. It is all on for tomorrow. We would like to be closer to the top of the leaderboard but this is our first event back, we are slowly getting to the front of the fleet.” Burling reported.

    The FX fleet sees Brazil’s Olympic champions Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze leading Kiwi silver medallists Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech.

    Britain’s Olympic gold medallist Giles Scott was on strong form in the breeze on the Finn course, 2,4 taking him to second behind Kiwi Andy Maloney and tied on points with Josh Junior.

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    49er and 470 Gold Secured In Mallorca




    When the medal races start on Saturday at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar there will be no pressure on Britain’s 49er pair Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell as the 2017 world champions have clinched the class title at the showcase Olympic classes regatta with a day to spare.

    Sweden’s 470 duo Anton Dahlberg and Frederik Bergström also secured overall victory in a strong division at this key season opening event before their medal race.

    Fletcher and 470 Olympic silver medallist Bithell finish the Finals series for the record sized 108 boat men's skiff fleet with a margin of 24 points on their Spanish friends and training partners Diego Botin and Iago Lopez. Ten year veterans of the 470 class Dahlberg and Bergstrom, current European champions, go into the ten boat medal race with a cushion of 25 points.

    For the British and the Swedish duos, who were both runners up in their respective classes at January’s Miami World Cup event, such strong back-to-back results, represent a strong statement to their national selectors with regard to the key Olympic test regatta later in the summer.

    “We are really happy. We played it a bit safe in the last race. When we first started sailing together we won Miami with a day to spare and to do it here with the whole fleet here, including Pete (Burling) and Blair (Tuke) (Olympic gold medallists) then this really means something.” Smiled helm Fletcher.

    “We had a tricky year last year and we worked hard over the winter, so to come back here and have everything firing like we want it feels pretty good. We are stoked.”

    “We made some changes to our equipment over the winter. We were a bit strapped for cash last season and we did not buy many sails, and in this one design classes, the smallest things make a difference. We have some slightly different kit. Stu is doing a great job making the boat go fast. And maybe some of the F50 sailing is helping too! It makes decisions a little easier at ten knots rather than 30kts!” grinned Fletcher who steers the Great Britain F50 SailGP foiling catamaran.

    He adds: “Pete and Blair have been working hard in New Zealand for eight months but I think the level of the class has moved on, it showed last time when Nathan (Outteridge) and Goobs (Iain Jensen) took time off. They were caught up by the fleet. Pete and Blair are still amazing sailors, I don’t think there will be tougher challengers for the Olympic gold and I am sure will keep rising, but it is nice to gains we have made against them. They were certainly not quicker than us. Last cycle they had a performance advantage.”












    Relief was the most evident emotion for the Swedish 470 pair as they came ashore. The who lost a second place in the penultimate Finals race to a black flag disqualification.

    “ We were OK with that as our discard was a tenth, so a 25 point lead still is super nice. “ said crew Bergstrom, “It's been a really tough week. Even if the result it looks like it does, before the medal race. It maybe looks like we were sailing brilliantly. But occasionally we do, but in reality it's been fighting all the time. We haven't won a single race but have been in the top ten every race and have had to fight for that top ten result every single race we've done.”

    Looking at the strengths and weaknesses of their overall game, the Swede evaluates, “We are happy where we are but can still make gains. The key is strategy, race management and speed. Our weaknesses are small details. That BFD this shouldn't be allowed to happen in an important race. It could cost too much. Most important is consistency in starts and in speed, sailing is about consistency.”










    Brazil’s Olympic gold medalists Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze are in the box seats for the overall win in the FX skiff class, leading into the Medal race by 17 points they need only a solid final race to be assured of an impressive return to the class after Grael competed in the Volvo Ocean Race with Akzo Nobel. A capsize near to the finish line of a breezy, on-the-edge final race perhaps cost them a chance of winning the women’s class before the medal race.

    “We missed out there.” Grimaced Grael, “With the rain coming through it was pretty windy with big shifts on the race course. But it was fun. I guess we have to wait for tomorrow now.”

    Grael and Kunze lost no time in getting back to the FX after the Volvo Race finished but helm Grael says they are still getting back to fitness:

    “We did the worlds, the test event in Japan and Miami. We are getting back to it, missing a bit in the strong winds and that was maybe a little bit evident today. These last two days we have felt the lack of training in the strong breeze.”

    Just as Grael and Kunze carry a 17pts advantage into the medal race the same margin that Nacra 17 2016 silver medalists Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin. Rio gold winners Hannah Mills with Eilidh McIntyre in the 470 have 13pts in hand as they head into the 470 showdown.












    Olympic champion Giles Scott is looking to close down his six points deficit in the Finn behind New Zealand’s Andy Maloney.

    It is close in both Laser and Radial fleets. Chris Barnard (USA) goes in with a 12 pts advantage. After a RET, 16, 24 Anne Marie Rindom has seen her big early margin slip to just four points. Barnard’s compatriot American Erike Reineke is second.

    The RS:X men’s win should boil down to a head to head between class leader Michael Cheng of Hong Kong and China’s Hao Chen, while Yue Tan has the gold secured in the women’s RS:X.



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    USA 1st in men's Laser and 2nd in women's laser!

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    Gold Delivered In A Palma Blast



    Olympic champions won in just two of the ten classes competing at Mallorca’s biggest ever
    Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar Olympic classes which finished in a blast of strong winds today.










    As the overall trophy for this 50th anniversary edition went to China’s up and coming Yue Tan in a light RS:X Women’s fleet in which there were no medallists competing – it goes to the sailor with the lowest points average over their race series - Britain’s gold medal winning helm Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre won today’s blustery medal race to secure the 470 Women title by 27 points. Brasil’s Olympic champions Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze prevailed in the FX.

    At 15 months out from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic regatta the first major Olympic classes regatta this season in Europe drew a record 869 boats sailed by 1224 sailors from 67 different nations. For many countries it was a key event for selection, some for a place at this year’s test event, for other Olympic nations whose strategy is to select as early as possible, this was an actual Olympic selection event.

    If the six days of racing, contested across a wide range of wind conditions – from 5 knots at the start to more than 25 today – are a measure of current strength and depth of Olympic potential, Great Britain proved they are in good shape, winning eight medals, more than twice the three medals tally of the next most successful countries, New Zealand and USA who won three apiece.

    The hugely popular annual event came started in light winds Monday but saw Medal Races for the Nacra 17, FX and 49ers thwarted by strong winds and big seas. Although the forecast was for the 20-25kts breezes to ease in the afternoon, if anything they strengthened and only the Finn, Lasers and RS:X classes completed spectacular, muscular medal races.










    Passing one boat on the final leg of the medal showdown was enough to secure a first major regatta title in the Laser class for the USA’s Christopher Barnard. The sailor from Newport Beach, Calif. lead into the medal race which was won by GBR’s Eliot Hanson who finished runner up ahead of his two times World Champion compatriot Nick Thompson.

    Barnard misses out on US selection to the test event to fifth placed Charlie Buckingham – their selection is aggregated over Miami and Palma - but was pleased to round out his regatta win.

    “I'm extremely happy, relieved and emotionally exhausted.” Grinned Barnard, “This is by far the biggest regatta I've won. I've been happy with the way I've sailed all week and today I showed a really good fight. That's probably what I'm most proud of.”

    “All week I sailed really consistently to put myself in a strong position going into another race and it definitely didn't start according to plan. Big breeze like today has never been my strongest condition but it's been a work in progress.”

    “Charlie will go to the test event. For myself I'm disappointed with Miami, I didn't finish very well. I did everything I needed to do here to have a good result, but Charlie earned that spot, He sailed two really consistent events. So I will work hard to keep on improving and focus on our Olympic Trials.”

    If this Sofia Iberostar was Barnard’s maiden Olympic classes regatta win, Denmark’s Olympic bronze medallist Anne-Marie Rindom was back on very familiar territory and retained the Laser Radial title she won here last year. But the charismatic Dane admitted she has been under the weather, suffering from a stomach upset which has all but drained her energy. Even so she kept Holland’s Olympic champion Marit Bouwmeester four points astern. Erika Reineke won her first Olympic classes medal in Europe with bronze.










    Rindom commented: “Today was a crazy day! There was a lot of wind, having been sick it made it made it really hard because the power was not there. It means a lot to win here. I love sailing here in big waves and different conditions. It's definitely a good start to my season, in Miami we had some light wind and here it's been a little bit of everything which I really like, it prepares me for a great season. I don't know if I will go to the test event, we have trials and that is the Europeans and whoever does well there is going.”

    Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre won the 470 Women’s title in perfect style, enhancing their overall margin with a comfortable victory in the Medal Race. Of her first ever win at this the regatta Olympic champion Mills said: “It's been a really long week. The racing has been super-tough. We had a really big fleet here all on one start line so every race you had to put your best foot forward and get a result. It was about consistency and we managed to do that.”

    New Zealand’s Finn sailor Andy Maloney had finish within two places of GBR’s Olympic champion Giles Scott if he was to lift the Sofia Iberostar. As Scott sailed to win the medal race, Maloney took third, securing gold with his New Zealand team mate Josh Junior in third.

    Maloney said: I was mid-pack and had to fight my way back to within a couple of places of him to secure the gold. I was about six or seventh at the gate, but sailed a few nice shifts up the second beat, so it was a pretty full on race with lots going on.”

    On winning, “It’s awesome to win. It’s been a really good week, really consistent from Josh and myself, and to both be up there at the beginning of the season is really cool.”

    “The level is really, really high now. Everyone is sailing the boats really well and to get a gain in any sort of wind range is quite hard to come by so it’s really tough racing.”


    With no racing for the Nacra 17 or the FX the titles went to Australia’s Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin and Brasil’s Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze. 470 winners Anton Dahlberg and Frederik Bergstrom of Sweden, and Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell in the 49ers had already secure their overall wins yesterday.

    Nacra 17 winner Waterhouse said: “This is the first stop for the European season, a real confidence-booster and we're three wins in a row now so we're pretty happy. We didn't do anything special but we're consistent each day. We never won the day but we had good days. The fleet is so competitive, everyone is so up there and just trying to stay in the top eight. A lot of people underestimate just keeping the points low, you don't need to win races just stay consistent. In terms of wind range we don't have a wheelhouse, our results were really consistent through all wind ranges which we're really pleased about.”

    Maloney

    “It was really close going into the race today and I just wanted to stick close to him, and see if I could slow him down and put us at the back, and not enable him to get an opportunity to put that many boats between us. I started just up on his hip and managed to hold him out to the port layline. And when he came at me I tried dialing down and got a penalty on him but unfortunately that got green flagged. We were coming in on the port layline and I was trying to slow him down a bit, but I made a bit of a meal of that and he managed to roll me and got himself back into the race. On top of that the wind went left on the beat, so we were still in the race after going quite slowly up the left side.”

    “Then it was all on from there and I was mid-pack and had to fight me way back to within a couple of places of him to secure the gold. I was about six or seventh at the gate, but sailed a few nice shifts up the second beat, so it was a pretty full on race with lots going on.”

    On winning, “It’s awesome. It’s been a really good week. Really consistent from Josh and myself, and to both be up there at the beginning of the season is really cool. We are looking forward to the rest of the season. For now we go home for a few weeks and then come back for the Europeans.”

    On the level. “The level is really, really high now. Everyone is sailing the boats really well and to get a gain in any sort of wind range is quite hard to come by so it’s really tough racing.”




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  10. #10
    NOW that looks like Palma conditions!

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