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Sailing World Cup Trofeo Princesa Sofia - Brits make their mark

'Paul Goodison in action in the Laser Class in the Princess Sofia Trophy, World Cup regatta, Palma. 2-7 April 2012.'    Dan Towers / Skandia Team GBR

At the Trofeo Princesa Sofia World Cup Regatta, the sailing today was plagued by light winds. However Britain's sailors were prompt in making their mark when the wind did fill in across Palma Bay.

Ben Ainslie racked up two more race wins in the Finn fleet to close in on a second straight Princess Sofia title. He’s now amassed a 23 point lead with two days of the regatta left to run, while Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson maintained their lead at the top of the Star class with 6,7 on the course today.

Paul Goodison enjoyed the most consistent day of the Laser gold fleet, with 6,5 pulling him up to second overall, tied on points with Skandia Team GBR teammate Nick Thompson who’s in third on countback, while in the 49er fleet European Champions Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign started the day with a bang, winning their first two races before posting a 12 in the third to pull them up to 14th after a disappointing first half to their regatta.

Ben Ainslie competing in the Finn Class in the Princess Sofia Trophy, World Cup regatta, Palma. 2-7 April 2012. -  Dan Towers - Skandia Team GBR  

Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson in action in the Star Class in the Princess Sofia Trophy, World Cup regatta, Palma. -  Dan Towers - Skandia Team GBR  

John Pink and Rick Peacock held on to their second place in the hugely competitive skiff fleet, with Peacock admitting that Palma is providing some testing racing.

'It was a solid day but very tricky – there were moments when we thought the sea breeze would kick in and it would be quite nice. It was certainly on and off and difficult to get your heads round it but we got some quite good results,' explained the 26-year-old, who finished just outside of the podium spots with Pink in fourth at the Perth Worlds in December.

Selection for the sole British Olympic berth in the class is still up for grabs, but Peacock insists that’s not a factor in their approach to the racing.

'It’s business as usual for us really. I can understand there’s pressure – there are great sailors in this fleet and it’s going to be tricky, but it’s just about dealing with that I think, and so far so good.'

Dave Evans and Ed Powys are placed sixth, while Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes also improved on their early half of the week and are now placed in 15th with three more gold fleet races on Friday to try and break into the top ten medal race spots for Saturday.

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark are also making a late bid for the medal race positions after a tough start to their week. They ground out a 4,1 from their two races in the 470 women’s fleet – an impressive score matched only by the Japanese duo of Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata. The World Championship silver medallists are now 14th overall, while their Skandia Team GBR training partners Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth were unable to hold on a top three overall position for a fourth day. They’re seventh on the leaderboard.

Helena Lucas will look to hold on to her silver medal position on Friday’s final day of racing for the 2.4mR Paralympic class. The Netherlands’ Thierry Schmitter has a 14 point margin ahead of the British sailor, who herself has a nine-point cushion to protect over the Schmitter’s teammate Barend Kol in third. Megan Pascoe is in sixth overall.

Charlotte Dobson and Alison Young both advanced after two races in the Laser Radial fleet today – Young won the day with 5,2 seeing her into 14th overall, with Dobson breaking into the top ten, in eighth overall thanks to 2,6 for her efforts.

There was disappointment though for the women’s match racing trio of Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor, whose medal hopes ended at the quarter-final stage at the hands of France’s former World Champion Claire Leroy. The Skandia Team GBR crew went down 0-3 and will fight it out tomorrow for the 5-8th places.

In the 470 Men’s event, Ben Saxton and Richard Mason are the top British crew in 24th, although Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell improved to 29th with 1,15 from their day.

Racing at the Palma World Cup regatta continues through until Saturday 7 April.

Skandia Team GBR website

by Lindsey Bell


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7:18 PM Thu 5 Apr 2012GMT

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