by Lindsey Bell
At the ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma - 44th Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mapfre, Laser Radial sailor Alison Young and the new 470 women’s pairing of Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre were the stand-out British performers on a breezy first day in Palma on Monday (1 April).
Sophie Weguelin & Eilidh McIntyre, 470 Women - 2013 Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mapfre
Young, 25, who finished fifth at her first Olympic Games last summer, posted the perfect opening day scorecard with two dominant race wins in the Laser Radial fleet, while the scratch duo of Weguelin-McIntyre repeated the same feat amid conditions reaching 25 knots in the women’s double-handed 470 class.
The European Champion Weguelin, 24, teamed up with 18-year-old McIntyre at the start of the year and described their opening day as ‘awesome’.
'It was pretty full-on for the first day, but good though. We were pretty fast on the racecourse so that made things quite simple and then we just played it quite simply. We were just trying to do the basic stuff well.
'Obviously we’re quite a young team so there’s a lot to learn, but everyone’s quite supportive,' Weguelin continued, keeping a level head with five days of racing still to go.
'I wouldn’t say we’ve got huge expectations for this week, but it’s quite a new fleet, so everyone’s in the same boat really. For us it’s just about getting routines in place, seeing how it goes and learning.'
It was almost a near-perfect return to the Finn for Giles Scott, who’s been taking time out of the Olympic class while on America’s Cup duty with Luna Rossa. The 2011 World and European Champion took the gun in the first race of the day, and had a sizeable lead in the second when a capsize knocked him back into second in the race and second on the overall leaderboard after this opening day. British teammates Andrew Mills and Mark Andrews are in fourth and seventh respectively.
Luke Patience & Joe Glanfield, 470 Men - 2013 Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mapfre
2012 silver medallist Luke Patience and double Olympic silver medallist Joe Glanfield could be happy with their first day of World Cup racing since announcing their joint Rio campaign in the 470 class last month.
The duo picked up a third and a second to sit third overall, with the 33-year-old Glanfield revelling in the conditions for his racing comeback.
'I can’t believe it – our first day at a World Cup event, and we get touching 25 knots at times. It was exactly what I was looking forward to about sailing again, and it all felt great,' the Exmouth sailor enthused.
'We made a couple of mistakes and went for a little swim in the first race when we were winning, but we got it back upright and back on track pretty quick. It wasn’t without its teething problems, but in the same breath we definitely had a pretty good day and we were fast so that was good.'
'We went into today really in two minds,' said Patience. 'Firstly, just to go out and enjoy it – to enjoy our first two races together and enjoy the start of things, and obviously also to hope to come away from the day with a bit of hope that the small amount of training that we’ve done has been productive and that we’ve not absolutely useless!
'We’ve had a good day – we’ve managed to A, have fun, and B, come away seeing that we’re not absolutely useless!
'It’s been wild out there, windy and wavy and just the most awesome conditions to get racing in, so it’s a nice start and we’re happy.'
'Our primary goal out of this [week] is to assess where we are, where are the big weaknesses and what do we need to focus on in training, so in the ideal world we’ll get a bit of everything,' said Glanfield.
'But I’d definitely like another day like this!'
Development squad sailor Martin Evans posted a race win and a seventh to sit third overall in the Laser fleet after day one, while Bryony Shaw described her day as ‘frustrating with ‘too many wipeouts’ seeing her lose race leads to end the day in sixth overall with 12,5 on her scorecard. Chloe Martin joins Alison Young inside the top ten of the Laser Radial fleet with 3,7, while Sam Sills recovered from false start disqualification in his opening race to post a ninth in race two and sit in tenth place overall.
Only one half of the 49er fleet managed to see any racing on Monday. Dave Evans and Ed Powys mastered the strong winds and big seas to post a race win and a third from their two races. Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign started the day well with a third but, along with the vast majority of the yellow fleet, were judged to finish the second race within the time limit due to numerous capsizes amid the tough conditions.
The 49er blue fleet, which includes Olympians Stevie Morrison-Ben Rhodes and the new pairing of Stuart Bithell-Chris Grube, saw no racing at all on Mondays, so will look to get their regatta underway on Tuesday.
Britain’s crews in the new Nacra 17 multihull and 49er FX classes will have to wait another day for their first taste of World Cup action, while the 2.4mR Paralympic class was also confined to shore due to the testing conditions.
A new scoring format is being trialled this week in Palma, with much still to play out over the next five days of racing.
British Sailing Team website
Trofeo Princesa Sofia website