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Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar - Day 4: Selection Pressures Telling

by Andi Robertson 4 Apr 10:57 PDT 1-6 April 2019
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin on day 4 of Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar © Sailing Energy

A brisk, NW'ly mistral wind, blowing offshore required contenders at Mallorca's 50th anniversary Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar to do their best to deal with big changes in wind direction and strength.

Such unpredictable conditions added further stress for sailors for whom this annual European season curtain raiser is an observed event counting towards selection for the Olympic Test regatta.

Wind speeds varied from 6 to 26 knots during the same race for the Laser and Nacra 17 classes.

And with one day of racing left to determine which sailors will make the cut to Saturday's medal races there were already a few disappointed faces when the fleets came ashore from the Bay of Palma.

Even some of the top seeds found the unexpected wind changes hard to contend with. In the Nacra 17 class while their compatriots and rivals Vittorio Bissaro and Maelle Frascari charged to two back- to-back wins, Italy's World Champions Rugerro Tita and Caterina Banti hooked the anchor line on the start line of the second race and so counted a DNS.

"After a bad first race we tried a pin start but we got stuck with the rudder on the line on the buoy and so missed that race. Maybe because we were more fresh, we won the third race. But we are not happy. With two bad races that was a bad day." Grimaced Tita.

Tita and Banti rallied to win the third race of the day but Bissaro and Frascari leapfrog them to third overall after 12 races, behind Australian leaders Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin who are ten points clear of GBR's John Gimson and Anna Burnett.

Gimson and Burnett are engaged in one of the dozens of ongoing selection scraps which are taking place in each class.

"It was really shifty, really gusty." Gimson reported, " In terms of trials and pressure, every event we do from here on in is key. I'd like to think we perform best under pressure."

Keeping his own focus controlling the controllables as the coaches are fond of saying - and trying not to concern himself with the performance of his selection rivals, is clearly working for the young USA sailor Chris Barnard who stepped to the top of the giant Laser fleet today. His main selection rival is 2016 Olympian Charlie Buckingham who lies eighth after today.

"Key for me today was avoiding the bad race in these crazy conditions. It was about keeping focused and composed and I managed that." Said Barnard, "I tried to keep going fast and avoid the big risks. Our trials for the test event are Miami and here. I have to make up ten places on Charlie. I am just focused on what I need to do. I can't control him."

The trials for the one GBR Laser spot have five serious contenders. At the end of today three are in the top seven, Elliot Hansen vaulting into third overall as Lorenzo Chiavarini who started the day in second had a bitterly painful day, scoring a 34th and then a DNF which drop him to seventh overall.

"It was terrible day. The last race I came off the start line in decent pressure and the left side was then completely cut out of wind. Then I was in a hole for a couple of minutes. It is desperate when these are the trials." Chiavarani explained.

Past world champion Nick Thompson of GBR won the first race and now lies fifth while young Irish sailor Finn Lynch holds on to second, two points off the lead.

Olympic champion Marit Bouwmeester of Holland posted a solid day to elevate herself to second place in the Laser Radials, still 19 points behind Denmark's runaway leader, bronze medallist Anne Marie Rindom.

"It was OK for me today. I sailed fast but it was a bit of a shit show because we were so close to the shore. I think we had six 25 knots, I nearly capsized to windward a couple of times. I don't think I dealt with that the best way I could, that was twice near the end of the upwinds and that cost me a lot of places. But I am sailing OK. I trained hard through the winter in Australia with the Dutch girls and it is good to see them going well and now am looking forwards to this season." Bouwmeester commented.

Holland have Daphne Van Der Vaart in fifth and Maxine Jonker in sixth.

Sweden's Anton Dahlberg and Frederik Bergstrom maintain a comfortable margin in the 470 Men with a 3,3, today ahead of GBR's Luke Patience and Chris Grube. Aussies Mat Belcher and Will Ryan are on the prowl, climbing to fourth with a seven point day. There is no change at the top of the Womens fleet either where Camille Lecointre and Aloise Retornaz of France lead Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre of the British Sailing Team.

The comeback of Kiwi gold medallists Pete Burling and Blair Tuke continues apace in the 49ers where Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell are leaders. Burling and Tuke went 1,3 from the second pair of races today and are up to fifth, within striking distance of the podium.

"We are a little disappointed with how we started on the first day, we had two high scores. But we put three solid scores on the board today and that is what it is all about. We keep fighting. It is all on for tomorrow. We would like to be closer to the top of the leaderboard but this is our first event back, we are slowly getting to the front of the fleet." Burling reported.

The FX fleet sees Brazil's Olympic champions Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze leading Kiwi silver medallists Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech.

Britain's Olympic gold medallist Giles Scott was on strong form in the breeze on the Finn course, 2,4 taking him to second behind Kiwi Andy Maloney and tied on points with Josh Junior.

www.trofeoprincesasofia.org

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