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ISAF Worlds, VOR and Melges 32s—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 7 Apr 2014
2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca - Marit Bouwmeester wins gold in Laser Radial © Ocean Images
The Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía regatta (AKA the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca) wrapped-up yesterday in Palma de Mallorca after eight days of intense racing that featured everything from mere zephyrs to big-condition days with huge waves and stiff breezes. This wide range of conditions ensured that all sailors were fully tested, and the fact that some 1100-plus sailors from 55 countries were on hand to compete made for an extremely high-level regatta.

Impressively, The Netherlands’ Marit Bouwmeester earned a Gold in the Laser Radial and was the overall winner of the Trofeo Princesa Sofía. 'I’m very happy,' said Bouwmeester. 'I managed to do well in all sorts of wind conditions and it’s nice to get that confirmation.'



Unfortunately for American interests, this wasn’t the best regatta for the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider, with only two top-ten finishes and no podium results. According to the final results, Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha earned a fifth place in the Women’s 470, while Stu McNay and Dave Hughes were ninth in the Men’s 470.

Get the full multi-report from the Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía regatta, inside this issue.



Much closer to home, the Melges 32 class is hosting their Miami Spring Challenge, which is being held at the Miami Beach Marina. Here, fourteen boats are enjoying a light-air competition that’s placing extra emphasis on great strategy and smooth boathandling, especially considering some of the heavy hitters who are sailing in this low-key Grand Prix event.

'We got a bit lucky on the start finding a hole late and being able to pop out with a clean lane,' said Chris Draper, the tactician aboard 'Red' about yesterday’s racing. 'Our plan was to be to the left of everybody and with the team up front doing a great job keeping the boat moving, we were able to take the lead. From there we had a better view of the pressure. We were able to be conservative and minimize maneuvers which was crucial.'



Racing continues at the Melges 32 Miami Spring Challenge through Sunday, so be sure to stay tuned to the website throughout the weekend for the final results.

Meanwhile, in offshore-sailing news, Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) entrant Team Dongfeng has come clean to the international media that some of their sailors had a rough time on the team’s first training run, which was supposed to go from Sanya, China to Auckland, New Zealand, before headwind sailing required a course change to Hong Kong in order to maintain their big-picture pre-race schedule.



'They are scared about the bad weather and afraid to be sea sick again,' said Charles Caudrelier, the team’s skipper, about some of the Chinese national crew, who are just learning about sailing offshore. 'We will sail through a storm just before arriving in Hong Kong in the next few days. For sure they are not ready technically and physically to face such weather. But, honestly, it is totally normal. I went through the same thing when I started sailing offshore and my first transatlantic experience was not great… I almost gave up at that time.'



While Team Dongfeng’s growing pains are the stuff that all offshore sailors must confront at some point in their careers, it’s downright refreshing to hear reports of trial and tribulation from a team that’s clearly struggling to find their feet. With some luck, the storm en route to Hong Kong will help galvanize the team and help make them a great competitor in this year’s Volvo Ocean Race. More, inside.



Also inside, don’t miss the latest news from the Clipper Round the World Race (including an interview with crewmember Andrew Taylor, who was successfully rescued from a MOB incident last week by his crewmates aboard 'Derry~Londonderry~Doire'), get the wrap-up report from the Fireball Worlds, as well as a regatta preview for Charleston Race Week (April 10-13).



And finally, be sure to spend some time scrolling through the great image galleries of the Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía regatta’s Medal Races, courtesy of shooter Thom Touw.

May the four winds blow you safely home,

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