by Lindsey Bell
On day two of the 43rd Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia Mafpre regatta, Palma Bay dished up improved conditions, with British boats occupying the top spots in the Finn, 470 Women and 49er events at the end of racing on Tuesday (3 April).
Skandia Team GBR’s Dave Evans and Ed Powys.
Triple Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie won the day on the Finn race course, picking up race a win and a second to set him four points ahead of Sweden’s Daniel Birgmark after four races of this Princess Sofia Trophy, while Skandia Team GBR teammate Andrew Mills is poised in sixth.
Skandia Team GBR’s newest 49er performance squad members Dave Evans and Ed Powys led the charge in the skiff fleet today, picking up 1,5,1 to see them elevated to the top of the leaderboard after their six races so far. John Pink and Rick Peacock are currently in fifth.
Cardiff’s Evans, and Powys, from Truro, have made steady improvements in their two-year partnership to finish sixth at the Perth World Championships in December.
'It feels like we’ve been thereabouts for a while,' said Powys of their rise through the ranks.
'We feel we’ve made some massive improvements over this winter and are very much on an upward trajectory with more to give. It’s just about keeping that momentum going and cutting out some of the avoidable mistakes which is what we hope to do this week.
It’s all going pretty well so far,' the 24-year-old continued. 'We got held up a bit at some of the leeward marks yesterday but we had three good starts today which definitely helped.
'Clear breeze and boat speed are really key here, so if you get a good start and your nose in front then often it’s relatively straightforward from there.'
Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth also held on the overall lead in the 470 women’s event, with 9,10 for their day, while Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark got are in 14th overall.
Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor have earned their berth in the quarter-finals of the women’s match racing event after winning six of their eight preliminary round-robin matches, while Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson are up to third overall in the Star keelboat class with 1,7 for their efforts today.
470 start - Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofía Mapfre 2012
The Olympic Champions made up for their off-key first day when they miss-timed the start of the first race of the regatta.
'We decided the five minute gun was the ten minute, and the ten minute was five – basically just complete confusion,' Percy explained. 'I think we must be going senile in our old age, and started about three minutes behind everyone which was a bit amateur to say the least.
'But we were able to laugh about it at the time, so that kind of shows that we’re fairly happy with how things are going generally.
'In the rest of the races we’ve had some ups and downs, but some reasonably solid races. It’s very shifty and difficult wind and you can’t go out and win three races on the trot unless you throw a six three times. There’s a bit of that going on, but we’re happy with just steady results.'
Percy and Simpson are back in competitive action for the first time since the Perth World Championships where their title defence was halted by a back injury to Percy. But after a winter of rehabilitation, they are enjoying the opportunity to sharpen up their racing skills.
'Bart made the point before the event that we’ve basically completed four races in eight months, so we’re really rusty on the racing side, which is fine and we always knew that was the case, but over the next few months we’ve got quite a lot of competitions – the World Championships, here, Hyeres, going into Skandia Sail for Gold and the thing for us is to use those regattas to get race sharp before the Olympics,' Percy continued.
'We’ve been a little bit haphazard around the race course – like the starting incident yesterday, and silly things like that that we just need to iron out, get better at, get more sharp, more aware and more savvy and then work again on hardening up for the Games.'
In the Laser class, Nick Thompson is currently third overall with 3,15 for his day, while Olympic Champion Paul Goodison will be looking forward to the discard coming in after Wednesday’s scheduled fifth race – after crossing the finish line first in both races today, he was adjudged to have been over the startline early in the first race which sees him in 29th at present.
Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell were also called over early in the first of their 470 men’s fleet races today, so will look forward to the discard and a better day on Wednesday to improve on their 52nd. Ben Saxton and Richard Mason are currently the top British boat in 20th.
In the 2.4mR Paralympic class, Helena Lucas is one point off of the lead in second overall, while Megan Pascoe improved to fourth with 6,2 for her efforts today.
In the Laser Radial event, Andrea Brewster is currently 17th overall with 4,10 from her two races – the first of which gave rise to confusion across the fleet when the course was shortened and around 40 sailors were deemed to have sailed to the wrong mark, including Skandia Team GBR’s Charlotte Dobson, Alison Young and Chloe Martin.
Trofeo Princesa Sofia website