Princess Sofia Trophy- Two go through to Medal races

Sara Winther (NZL) competing on Day 3 of the Princess Sophia Trophy regatta, Palma Spain

The NZL Sailing Team was in top form for the penultimate day of the Trofeo S.A.R. Princess Sofia World Cup event, finally a day that brought stronger breeze and improved results.

Hamish Pepper and Jim Turner in the Star class worked their way up one more position in the overall rankings, and will go into tomorrow’s double point medal race in second overall, tied for first place with Brazilian team Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada.

Dan Slater in the Finn class had two more consistent races inside the top ten, and will go to the medal race in sixth overall. Regardless of result in the final race, regatta leader and reigning World Champion Ben Ainslie is guaranteed to win the event.

The top performers on this final day of racing most competitors were by far the NZL Sailing Team women’s 470 crew of Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie who were untouchable in winning both of the races sailed today.

'It was good to stretch the legs today' Olivia said after racing. 'It was good racing for us and more our conditions.'

Despite being the only team to win three races in the Women’s 470 fleet, Jo and Olivia have finished the regatta in 14th place overall.

They wrote on their team blog afterward: 'It’s been a tough event, our score line is not at all pretty, we had a few good races but just far too many really bad ones!'

Paul Snow Hansen and Jason Saunders in the Men’s 470 also had a good day, only just missing out on the medal race by two points; they finished up their regatta to leave with a result of 11th overall in a fleet of 93 crews. This is an outcome that they will be proud of considering that just two days before they entered the gold fleet in 23rd overall.

In the Women’s Laser Radial, Sara Winther also finished just outside the medal round, wrapping up her regatta with a 14th and 11th in the two races, to ultimately remain 13th in this event.

New Zealand’s current standings
2nd- Hamish Pepper and Jim Turner – Star (27 boats)
6th - Dan Slater- Finn (57 entries)

Final Standings
11th- Paul Snow Hansen and Jason Saunders- Men’s 470 (93 entries)
11th - Stephanie Hazard, Jenna Hansen, Susannah Pyatt
13th - Sara Winther- Laser Radial (89 entries)
14th- Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie – Women’s 470 (52 entries)
31st- Matt Coutts- Finn (57 entries)

This regatta is the third of seven ISAF World Cup events for the season, and is the first European regatta of the year for the NZL Sailing Team’s campaigns toward 2012.

The NZL Sailing Team has qualified for the London 2012 Olympics in all classes except the Star, and this country spot will be contended for at the 2012 Star Class World Championships in May. The NZL Sailing Team’s Men’s 470, Women’s 470, Laser Radial, Laser Standard, Mens RS:X and Men’s 49er have already been selected and will be attending the Olympic Games to be sailed in Weymouth.

The medal races will be at 1:10pm local time for the Stars and 2:00pm for the Finns (3:10 / 4:00am NZT Sunday)

The ISAF World Cup continues with the Semaine Olympique Francaise regatta in Hyeres 21-27 April, and nearly all of the NZL Sailing Team will be there.