World Sailor of the Year 2013 and winner of 18 regattas out of the last 19 Olympic Class 470 Regattas, Australian Matt Belcher along with crew Will Ryan are red hot favourites to win the Sailing World Cup Mallorca, the Trofeo S.A.R Princesa Sofia 2014 against an 80 boat 470 Men’s fleet.
Two days before the start of the regatta, Sail-World talked to Belcher:
‘This is obviously a pretty important event for a lot of Olympic Classes especially with the Santander Worlds this year being an Olympic qualification regatta. A lot of teams are here and I think we have almost 1200 competitors so it’s pretty exciting. Every year this regatta keeps getting bigger and bigger and the quality of the fleet keeps getting better, which also makes it more important to be here.
‘Apart from the Worlds this is the biggest fleet of the season, for sure. It’s going to be good to see how we are and touch base and we have got six months to the 2014 Worlds in Santander and learn as much as we can. We have been reasonably happy with our preparation obviously going to Miami and doing the Australian events should put us in pretty good racing shape and we will just see how we go for the week.
‘All our top competitors are here and I think it is quite a unique thing about our class, almost all of the top ten in the world travel to all the regattas whereas some of the other classes you might find the key guys taking some time out but particularly the 470 they all do the events.
‘I don’t know whether that was the dynamic that we created over the last couple of years or not but that is just part of it, teams that are fully on the circuit so if you want to get the results you have got to do the same.
‘There is a big spread at every regatta obviously. The guys who won in Miami are very strong. They have been doing a lot of work. The Argentinians are very strong. The Croatians are very strong. We had a good battle with them at Sail Melbourne. The Americans also are very strong. They had a very good Miami OCR and have been sailing really well here. You can’t count out the British or the other two French teams that are there as well.
‘I think anyone in the top 30 is capable of winning a race here. That’s why we enjoy this type of racing and really anyone in the top 10-15 in the World can win this World Cup event, it’s going to be a great week.’