The 43rd Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia Mapfre is set to get underway on the 2nd April in Palma de Mallorca, where all of the Olympic hopefuls for Women’s Match Racing will be keen on gauging their training progress since their last meeting in Miami back in January. The event will be the first stop on the European swing of the ISAF Sailing World Cup.
Womens Match Racing - Day 8 42 Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mapfre
Eighteen teams from thirteen countries are in Palma de Mallorca, Spain to compete for the Women's Match Racing title at the 43rd Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia Mapfre. In addition to the individual event title, the teams are competing for the overall 2011-2012 ISAF Sailing World Cup title. The Princesa Sofia is one of four stops on the Sailing World Cup series in which women's match racing is contested.
Sailing out of the Real Club Nautico de Palma (RCNP), the eighteen teams will sail initial stage round robins to seed the knock-out stages for the top eight and ultimately the series between the final pair to determine the champion on Saturday.
An additional plot line for this event and the Semaine Olympique Francaise in Hyeres next month is that although the twelve nations who will be competing in the 2012 London Olympics in Women's Match Racing have been determined, three countries have yet to select who will represent them: Spain (ESP), the Netherlands (NED), and the United States (USA). Spain will use the results from Palma and Hyeres while the Dutch and Americans will hold trials in May in Weymouth.
The field will be extremely competitive as all of the Olympic hopefuls will be competing in Palma. Amongst the favorites are the top five on the ISAF Women's World Match Racing Ranking list: Anna Tunnicliffe (USA), Lucy Macgregor (GBR), Claire Leroy (FRA), Sally Barkow (USA), and Ekaterina Skudina (RUS).
Team Tunnicliffe at the Princess Sofia Trophy 2011
The defending champion from the 2011 Trofeo Princesa Sofia, Sally Barkow (USA), is looking forward to racing in Palma: 'It is a new year and all the teams are more focused and have improved so we are excited for some close racing. With our trials about a month away it will be a good event for us to start sharpening our skills and preparing. We have been training in Cadiz where is has been blowing 20-30 knots for the past week, so we have been working on our heavy air sailing, but after looking at the forecast in Palma, not sure this training will pay off too much for this event. None the less we are really looking forward to arriving in beautiful Palma, to experience the sights and have some great racing.'
Winner of the Rolex Miami OCR in January, Lucy Macgregor (GBR), feels good about the team's preparation: 'It has been a great couple of months for us training since winning in Miami but the win there isn't really going to affect how we approach Princess Sofia Regatta next week. It will be a good test as to how our training has gone compared to the rest of the fleet but we were fortunate enough to not have anything major that we wanted to improve, just a few bits here and there. Palma is a beautiful city and whereas in the past few years we have been training there over the winter, we've been in Cadiz this year for February and March so we are really looking forward to going back there and racing again.'
42nd Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia - Women’s Match Racing
Current World Champion and Beijing Olympic Gold medalist, Anna Tunnicliffe (USA), is looking forward to seeing if the months of training will pay off:
'We are looking forward to seeing everyone again. It is the first stop back after a long break, so everyone will be keen to get racing. We are leading into our trials in just over a month and this will show us where our preparation has gotten us to and what we need to fine tune going forward. We are always excited to go to Palma - generally the weather is very nice, the race committee does a fantastic job, and everyone is very welcoming. Together this makes it a great event.'
The teams will compete in equally matched event-provided Elliott 6m keelboats - the same boats that will be used in the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition in Weymouth, England.
Racing begins on Monday, 2 April, in Palma and continues through Saturday, 7 April. For more information, please visit the WIMRA website or the event website.