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British sailors shine as Trofeo Princesa Sofia draws to a close

by RYA on 2 Apr 2016
2.4mR bronze medallist Helena Lucas Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy
RS:X windsurfer Tom Squires secured his first international regatta victory as the Princess Sofia Trophy drew to a close in Palma on Saturday (2 April).

Silver for Giles Scott and bronze medals for young 470 talents Amy Seabright-Anna Carpenter and the Paralympic Champion Helena Lucas made it four medals for the British Sailing Team at the conclusion of the six-day event.

The 22-year-old Squires, part of the British Podium Potential squad, had led the regatta from the outset, counting eight races of the nine in his opening series inside the top seven to take an 11 point buffer into today’s final double-points medal race.

And the Oxford sailor, whose previous best senior international result was silver at his home World Cup in Weymouth and Portland last year, sealed his victory in style, finishing second in the medal race to end up 12 points ahead of Polish runner-up Pawel Tarnowski in the final standings.

“Gold medallist sounds very good – I’m really happy!” said Squires afterwards.

“I think it’s the first time I’ve ever won anything since Youth – probably since I was on a longboard on Rutland reservoir!”

The Briton, who trains alongside Rio-bound Olympic medallist Nick Dempsey, admitted that he’d come into the regatta feeling slightly jaded after a hectic first quarter of the year and a recent training trip to the Olympic host city.

“I’ve come straight from Rio and had just a day at home so I was more tired than anything coming here, but I guess that just allowed me to think about the important things.”

“It’s been an important event for a lot of people, there have been a lot of trials going on and so a lot of political racing within the nations,” Squires continued. “It’s been a really important event for people to qualify their nation and themselves and there have been some really good sailors here.

“This was a process regatta for me, so I wasn’t really looking for a result outcome. I was mainly working on my downwinds which I managed to do over the week. I’m super stoked!”

After his equipment breakage on Friday, Finn World Champion Giles Scott managed to salvage the best result possible – a silver medal – with a strong performance in the final medal race.

Scott pulled through to fourth in the medal race, and with Finnish rival Tapio Nirkko back in ninth, it was enough to hand the world number one the second step on the podium. Gold went to New Zealand’s Josh Junior.

“I’m pleased to come away with the second,” Scott explained. While frustrated not to have defended his Princess Sofia title, the world number one says the event has been a beneficial experience as he builds towards the Olympic Games.

“I think there are a lot of positives to take away from their regatta. We’ve actually been experimenting quite a bit with some of the stuff that we’ve been using here so we’ve got some good info from that. Ultimately it’s a stepping stone and when [my coach] Matt and I come to review it there’s an awful lot of positives to take from this week, and I think we’ve gained an awful lot of knowledge that would’ve been pretty tricky to gain through training.

“We’re still in a good place and I’m looking forward to the events coming up.”

In the 470 women’s event, Podium Potential talents Amy Seabright and Anna Carpenter went into the medal race tied on points at the top of the table, but with several teams capable of breaking into the podium spots.

Seabright described the light wind medal race as ‘stressful’ with a tight finish initially causing confusion as to who had earned the medal spots. But with the British duo crossing in eighth, it was enough to earn them bronze.

“It all came down to the last run. There were little pockets of pressure everywhere and everyone kind of bunched together,” Seabright explained. “We were pretty lucky to come away where we were, but at the same time pretty unlucky not to have moved forward on that finish line.”

Carpenter added: “We’re pretty pleased, but we went in joint points with first so at the minute it feels quite disappointing to lose gold or silver. But if you’d said at the beginning of the week that we were going to get a bronze medal we’d be pretty psyched.

“I think once a few hours go by we’ll get used to the idea and be really pleased with our bronze medal.”

“I think we’ve sailed quite confidently at the front of the fleet which is a nice thing to do,” Carpenter continued. “We feel quite good about our speed so we’ll make sure we take that into the Europeans next week, keep focusing on the basics and not get too carried away and know that we can be up there.”

After a day confined to shore on Friday, the 2.4mR Paralympic fleet rounded off their regatta with two races on Saturday. Helena Lucas picked up a fourth in her opening outing of the day, before a tricky second windward leg in the second race saw her back in seventh and ultimately having to settle for bronze behind Germany’s Heiko Kroeger and Damien Seguin of France.

Elsewhere in final day action, Laser Radial sailor Alison Young and the 470 men’s duo of Luke Patience-Chris Grube both concluded their events in fourth place, moving up from fifth overnight with strong medal race performances.

Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth improved to sixth overall with a second place in their 49erFX medal race, Tom Phipps-Nikki Boniface ended their Nacra 17 regatta in seventh, and Laser sailor Jack Wetherell was fifth in the medal race to conclude his week in tenth place overall.

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