ISAF Sailing World Cup third event, the 42 Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mapfre is underway in Palma, Spain.
by Corinne Rolland-McKenzie
The 49ers and Star races were delayed waiting for the wind to ease. In the end a thousand sailors took the start and filled the bay of Palma with sails. The breeze lovers made the most of the day with many teams taking it all.
The 2.4 paralympic fleet, sailing out of Calanova Yacht Club, was the first to complete two races. Thierry Schmitter (NED) enjoyed the strong winds to win both races and take the lead from German Heiko Kroger and Megan Pascoe (GBR).
Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata (JAP) took a convincing lead in the 470 women fleet with two victories. Gil Cohen and Bouskila Vered (ISR) and the British team of Penny Clark / Katrina Hughes (GBR) placed in second and third overall. 'It is good to have a bit of breeze' says Cohen. 'It was good fun! We are having a good start in the regatta so let's see how we go.'
Renowned to master these demanding conditions, Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) took a clean sweep in the RS:X fleet with two bullets, leaving his closest rivals, 2009 World Champion Nick Dempsey (GBR) and German Tony Wilhelm, in second and third with a six points margin. The Dutch continues on his good form after claiming victory at the second SWC event in Miami.
Same scenario for Rolex Miami OCR winner, Giles Scott (GBR), who enjoyed the strong wind in Palma and won today's both races in his group. In the other group, races went to Finnish sailor Tapio Nirkko and Pieter-Jan Postma (NED). They place second and third respectively in the general results, only a few points behind Scott.
The young New-Zealanders, Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders (NZL) take the races and the lead, in the 470 class. The twenty years old have won Sail Auckland in February and will represent New-Zealand at the Olympic Test event next August in Weymouth.
Second and third are the British teams of Nick Rogers / Chris Grube (GBR) and Nic Asher / Elliot Willis (GBR). 'We had a solid day in tricky conditions. The wind was strong and gusty;' explains Asher. 'It is a long regatta but if we keep sailing like that we can come up in the medals.'
Tom Slingsby (AUS), crowned ISAF sailor of the year in 2010 for a double world title in the Laser and the Etchell (with John Bertrand and Andrew Palfrey), along with several SWC victories, enjoyed his most favoured conditions by claiming both races. Simon Grotelueschen from Germany and Belgium sailor Van Laer Wannes take second and third overall. The Lasers are divided in three groups.
In the Radial division, Evi van Acker (BEL) claimed the day in her group and lead the overall standings with a narrow margin over Annalise Murphy (IRL) and 2010 SWC winner, Marit Bouwmeester (NED). They both won a race today and placed second and third respectively in the other. Paige Railey (USA) is in fourth overall with two second.
After a postponement, the Star fleet completed the two scheduled races in challenging conditions. Double Gold medallists and current World Champions, Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson (GBR) are making a successful come back to the competition after a long break with two bullets claimed in a fleet packed with medallists and world champions. The top five share a total of 15 Olympic medals including seven Gold collected in the Star and Finn classes. Second to fifth place are taken by Kusznierewicz and Zycki (POL), Scheidt and Prada (BRA), Grael and Ferreira (BRA) and Loof with Salminen (SWE)!
Last of the water today, the 49ers waited for the wind to decrease before heading to sea. Dylan Fletcher and Alan Sign (GBR) took the honours with two bullets. In the Yellow group, German team of Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel placed second and first, a small point from the top of the rankings.
Alessandra Sensini, who is racing in Palma to qualify for the Olympic Games and defend her title, has given the pace to the strong RS:X women fleet with top placing. 'I have a lot at stake here and I will give my maximum!' One of the most experienced sailor in the whole event, Sensini won the first race and placed second in the next. In second overall is Lee el Korsiz from Israel who placed third in the first and went on winning the second, Chan Wai Kei from Hong-Kong ranks third.
The women’s match racing teams completed their full schedule of matches today with 10 of the 21 flights sailed in Stage One. The 24 teams are divided into 3 groups for the Stage One round robins. In Group A, Claire Leroy (FRA) and Silja Lehtinen (FIN) are undefeated with scores of 3-0. In Group B, four teams are undefeated and leading the way with scores of 3-0: Nicky Souter (AUS), Renee Groeneveld (NED), Sally Barkow (USA), and Silke Hahlbrock (GER). Group C completed four flights and two teams are undefeated with scores of 4-0: Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) and Anne-Claire Le Berre (FRA). Stage One will continue tomorrow. The top two teams from each group will move into the Gold Group and the next two will move into the Repechage Group. The Repechage Group will sail a round robin to determine who will join the Gold Group in the knock-out quarter-finals.
Racing will continue on Tuesday fifth with starts scheduled at 11am and 10am for the Women Match racing. www.trofeoprincesasofia-mapfre.org
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7:41 PM Mon 4 Apr 2011 GMT
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