Wind and waves delivered exciting and challenging racing on day one as competition got underway for the NZL Sailing Team sailors in Palma de Mallorca, Spain at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma, also known as Trofeo Princesa Sofia Regatta.
Sam Meech was New Zealand’s standout of the day placing second in his two races today in the Laser fleet, with team mate Andy Maloney also on the pace with a fifth and a third. Overall they sit third (equal) and seventh respectively in what is the largest fleet in Palma comprising around 110 sailors split into two fleets for qualifying racing.
'It was a breezy day one of the ISAF Sailing World Cup here in Palma; 20-30 knots with massive waves! Besides making some unforced mistakes, I had good pace and came away with a couple of decent results to start off the week,' says Andy Maloney.
NZL Sailing Team’s third Laser sailor Thomas Saunders also started solidly with a sixth and a 14th in his two qualifying races.
New Zealand’s new pairing in the Men’s 470, partnering 2012 Olympian helm Paul Snow-Hansen with crew Daniel Willcox also sailed strongly on day one. Their day one results, an 11th and a third, sees them also well inside the top ten in their event at the end of day one, lying seventh.
'Race 1 was in a building breeze of about 15-17 knots. We were going well but slipped a few places in the second upwind finishing 11th. It was great to line up with some of the best in the world and see how we are going,' reports Paul Snow-Hansen.
'Race 2 brought in some awesome breeze, on the upper limit of our racing. We sailed a nice race, nailing the start and keeping upright. We had some hairy moments out there but who didn't! We now have two more days of qualifications racing before we are split into gold and silver fleets.'
The 66 boat strong Finn fleet relished the gusty conditions on the bay of Palma, New Zealand represented by two sailors, both converts from the Laser class, both sitting top twelve at the end of day one.
Josh Junior placed seventh and then 26th putting him 10th overall, while Andrew Murdoch sailed away with a ninth and an 18th to hold 12th overall.
'We had 25 knots plus and large waves for the last race today... certainly learning a few things on the job! This is my first international event so a great chance to line up with the rest of the world and see what needs working on,' explains Andrew Murdoch.
'I've been here for a few days training and it's great to get racing underway.'
The six day regatta is the European opener for the ISAF Sailing World Cup Series and a major event for the world’s Olympic sailors and some minor innovations to racing’s format and scoring are being trialled by organisers.
The new scoring means that a race win is earns zero points in the low point scoring system, and a poor race result is discarded earlier at race two. The qualifying series races now have less influence, as the first race of the final series will be a carry forward race equating to the boat’s final rank (or standing) in the qualifying rounds.
Due to the strong winds there was no racing for the 49er fleet, including NZL Sailing Team’s 49er sailors Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski or the 49erFX featuring Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech. Jason Saunders and Gemma Jones, entered in the Nacra 17 mixed multihull will also be hoping to get underway tomorrow.