Princesa Sofia Trophy - Ben Ainslie overall champion in Palma
by Corinne Rolland-McKenzie on 10 Apr 2011
Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia - The medal races and Women's Match racing finals have crowned today the champions in the 42 Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mapfre in Palma.
GBR’s Paul Goodison triumphs in Laser Class Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia .
The Women Match racing finals were a hard fought battle with Silja Lehtinen, Silja Kanerva, Mikaela Wulff (FIN) taking the first match by a small margin, then Sally Barkow, Elizabeth Kratzig-Burnham, Alana O’Reilly (USA) winning the next three close matches to win the Gold medal.
'It feels really good to win a Sailing World Cup event. We came into this event thinking it was going to be a kind of warm up leading up to the first phase of the U.S. Trials in May. We really showed a lot of progress through the event and that was really important. We still have a lot to work on and we’re off to Weymouth next week to train with the rest of the U.S. Team then on to Hyères.' commented Sally Barkow (USA) after the win.
The Finals and Petit-Finals were sailed in perfect conditions after the sea breeze filled in around midday to a steady 7-10 knots. The Petit-Finals saw Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vandemoer, and Deb Capozzi (USA) defeat Claire Leroy, Marie Riou, and Claire Pruvot (FRA) in two straight matches to win the Bronze medal.
In many classes, yesterday leaders kept their early position after the double pointers medal race to win the title.
For Ben Ainslie (GBR), who was playing for Gold or Silver, winning the medal race from start to finish settled the questions. Giles Scott (GBR) kept Silver and Thomas Lebreton (FRA), the bronze.
Ben Ainslie, coming back to the Finn after a break sailing in the Match racing circuit, is successful with a win in Sail Melbourne a second in Miami and a second SWC win in Palma. The Olympic champion is also taking the Ultimate Trophy which crowns the best sailor across all classes in the event.
'The come back to the Finn has been hard work. I need to work more on my fitness. It is good to see the other British do well, it is motivating and is good for sailing in England.' Ainslie's next stop will be Hyères and Sail for Gold for the start of the British Olympic selections.
The Gold medalist is slightly increasing his lead on the SWC standings over Giles Scott, but the two British are sailing away from Zach Railey (USA) in third place.
Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED), Tom Ashley (NZL) and Nick Dempsey (GBR) kept a strong hold on their early lead to take the podium in the RS:X class. Dempsey takes second place behind the Dutch in the Sailing World Cup standings.
'I feel really happy with my results.' says Dorian van Rijsselberge. 'It was a wonderful regatta, with sunshine and plenty of wind! My goal here was to finish in the top three and winning is always very nice.'
Marina Alabau (ESP) who has been leading the event since the second day, is winning the Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE for the first time. Charline Picon (FRA) remains in second to take silver. Coming into the medal race in third, Laura Linares (ITA) suffered from an early start disqualification in the Medal race. The last place on the podium goes to her rival and first day leader Alessandra Sensini (ITA) who placed third in the Medal race. Marina Alabau (ESP) takes also the lead in the Sailing World Cup.
With victory going to Percy and Simpson (GBR) on the penultimate racing day, the battle on the Star medal race was for Silver and Bronze. Robert Stanjeck and Frithjof Kleen (GER) got to their best placing in the event to win second overall on equal points with Torben Grael /Marcelo Feirrera (BRA) and Diego Negri /Enrico Voltolini (ITA).
Manu Dyen and Stéphane Christidis (FRA) successfully defend their title in Palma. This is the tenth time the French duo has competed in the Spanish event. Today they transformed their early lead into Gold after a Medal race where the Italians nearly succeeded in taking the championship.
'We had a god start with the Italians just behind us. On the first beat we fell in an area with less wind. The Sibello passed us and had a good gap on us at the mark, enough to take the regatta.' A good gybe set at the bottom gate reduced the distance and gave the French the advantage and the title.
Pietro and Gianfranco Sibello (ITA) conserve the Silver. The bronze was up for grab by the next six teams. The Danish team of Allan Norregaard and Peter Lang (DEN), favorites for the Bronze, missed their chance after finishing ninth in the Medal Race. It is the Austrians Delle-Karth/Reisch who take the bronze.
New teams sail to success in 470.
In the 470 as well, the top two kept their early position after the medal race to secure a place on the podium and points towards the Sailing World Cup Standings. French Nicolas Charbonnier and Jérémie Mion (FRA), sailing together since last February have found their mark and transformed the last two training months into success. 'There are still many points to adjust but, this week was a good test for us as new team.'
When asked about their objectives and the French selection coming soon in Hyères, the Olympic bronze medalist answers that 'winning the next Olympics is the main goal' and that they will not be distracted by anything else. Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos keep the second place overall but lose the title won last year.
Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell (GBR) climb on the podium to grab third place after a fourth in the Medal race.
In the 470 women, one week training together, seemed to be enough for Jo Aleh and Bianca Barbarich-Barber (NZL), who claimed victory in their first event together. Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata (JAP) conserve second position and the Israeli team of Gil Cohen and Bouskila Vered, the third.
Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes (GBR) fourth in Palma, places them ahead of the Sailing World Cup standings.
There is a new champion in the Laser class with Olympic Gold medalist, Paul Goodison winning the event on the last day. The results were tight among the top three and the medal race decisive. A two places gap was enough for Goodison to take Gold from World Champion, Tom Slingsby (AUS) who has to settle for Silver. Sail Melbourne winner, Nick Thompson (GBR) keeps the Bronze and extends his lead on the Sailing World Cup standings.
Sarah Winther (NZL) takes Gold in the Radial with Evi van Acker (BEL) keeping second place. Gintare Scheidt (LTU) wins the medal race and the third place on the podium.
'I am very happy with my week.' says Winther, 'I didn't come here to win, I used this event to work on some key things. Racing in Palma was awesome this year, surely the best.'
Sailors will be heading to the next Sailing World Cup event starting in two weeks in Hyères.