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Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar - Day 2: Challenging Palma Sea Breeze Tests Fleets

by Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar 2 Apr 13:30 PDT 1-6 April 2019
Denmark's Anne Marie Rindom racks up 4 wins by day 2 of Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy

Denmark's Anne Marie Rindom, Olympic bronze medallist in Rio, retains the perfect four wins from four starts record to lead the Laser Radial class at Palma, Mallorca's giant Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar.

While it is a perfect kick start to the Olympic classes season in Europe, the annual Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar serves as a touchstone for year-on-year progress. This time last year, the French womens 470 duo Camille Lecointre and Aloise Retornaz were a new partnership, helm Lecointre having won a bronze medal in Rio with Helene Defrance.

They have proven the 470s' most consistent duo so far, counting a first and two seconds over the first four races for the 45 strong fleet and lead by seven points with Britain's gold medallist Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre in third.

"We like these conditions and I think we are fast. We get good starts and that is the most important thing here in this fleet." Smiled Lecointre, who went from fourth in 2012 in Weymouth to take bronze in Rio. "We are quite confident. We were a new team here last year and did well. I feel like we are on a good track to medal in Tokyo. Here we are working on small things, the main thing being to get more experience in the medal race with Aloise as we have only done a few. We are still new and have only done the medal races in Palma, Aarhus and Miami this year. We need to learn to manage the medal race and if we can be just a little faster in all conditions we are in good shape for a medal."

"There is a lot of proven experience at the top of this class. The level is high."

"I think it is good thing that the 470 moves to mixed sex. It fits with the boat and we all know that the 470 is such a great boat we wish it would be in the Olympics forever. But we have to be realistic and it is good for the class. But I am a mum now so we will see how I get on in Tokyo before I think beyond that!"

Palma is a good yardstick of progress for the young Spanish 470 duo Jordi Xammer and Nico Rodriguez. Xammer was 12th in Rio and teamed up with Rodriguez late in 2017. In 2018 they were 14th in Miami and 16th here on the Bay of Palma last year. One year on, after taking bronze in Aarhus, they won the Miami world cup and still lead the Mens 470 class after four races, counting two firsts and a second place.

"Here we are out to prove Miami was no fluke. We are really happy because we feel good as a team, we are performing well and we are doing a great job with our new coach (Gideon Kliger, Israel's three times 470 Olympian). We've created a good working routine and now we are just focused on the Olympics. We know that we need to keep improving as a team, learning as much. Compared to the last Trofeo Sofia we've made a huge change. Step by step we are growing but we know that anything can change at anytime. Last season was hard for us and now, even with the good results, we know that we need to be ready for any setback." Says helm Xammer. "The experience of Rio 2016 is a big help as we prepare for Tokio 2020. I know what to expect, what to think and how to act. Rio 2016 was a dream for us but now we have the medals as a realistic goal for Tokio 2020. The goal is to get to Tokio in good shape and knowing we are ready to win a medal."

After the fleet's Australia's Kurt Hansen and Simon Hoffman take the overall lead in the record sized 49er class as GBR's 2017 World Champions Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell lie second. They are looking to cement selection to the Tokyo Olympic test event as soon as possible.

"The thing is that myself and Dylan are here to try and win regattas. We figure if we do that then selection will take care of itself." 470 silver medallist Bithell points out, "The powers that be will decide. We have the Kiwis back so that is healthy.

"There are pros and cons to running strictly within a squad system. A squad is brilliant to bring on sailors but to then push over the hump to be pushing for a gold medal then you need to be able to be a little bit selfish and run your own programme with extreme efficiency."

The strength and depth of young talent coming up in the 49er fleet reflects the appeal of the skiff class and, one supposes, a certain security on the Olympic roster.

New Zealand have three duos here with gold medallists Burling and Tuke who had a shaky 17, 23, return to the class before winning their Race 3. France have nine crews, Germany have 12 crews, GBR eight duos and the host nation Spain 11.

World champions Sime and Mihovil Fantela are 18th after scoring 18,1,11.

"It was difficult. The first and third we were too conservative. With the shifts and the pressure today you could not be conservative. But overall it is going well, we had a long stay in Miami and spent a long time training in Vilamoura, Generally we are in a good place." Said Sime Fantela.

The model of national solidarity though is, not surprisingly, the Kiwis. America's Cup winning Finn sailors Andy Maloney and Josh Junior train and race as a unit, as they have done since Laser squad days some ten years ago. Maloney, who won the Laser class here two years ago leads the Finn class after winning three races from four with Junior third. Gold medallist Giles Scott is second.

"The first race I lead from start to finish." Maloney reported, "In the second I had some work to do after the first upwind. We are aiming to have us both first and second at the end of the regatta but there is a long way to go. We have a really good relationship and help each other out, to be one and two. Hopefully one of us will watch the other winning a medal at the games. That is what we want to achieve. We did heaps of training at home, mostly just the two of us but we went to Australia with the Aussies there and the Brits, so it was good. But a lot of the time it is the two of us, and occasionally the Dutch."

Alex Maloney the Finn leader's Andy's younger sister and Molly Meech lead the FX class. The 2016 silver medallists are tied on points with Brits Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey. Norway's Miami winner Herrmann Tomasgaard leads the Laser class from Ireland's Finn Lynch. Denmark's Anne Marie Rindom, last year's Palma winner, has the perfect four-wins-from-four to lead the Radial fleet and Italy's world champions Rugero Tanti and Caterina Banti lead the Nacra 17.

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