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NZL Sailing Team get a cold welcome on Day 1 of the Princesa Sofia Regatta

by Michael Brown/Yachting NZ 4 Apr 2022 19:23 PDT 5 April 2022
George Gautrey (NZL) 51 Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía Mallorca, first event of the 2022Hempel World Cup Series © Sailing Energy

This week's Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma represents the start of the new Olympic cycle but instead of warming into their work most sailors were left frigid after racing in freezing temperatures and strong winds overnight (NZ time).

Racing started for the ILCA 7 (Laser), ILCA 6 (Laser Radial), mixed 470 and men's and women's iQFoil windsurfing and they were greeted with cold and challenging offshore winds that sometimes exceeded 30 knots.

The rest of the Olympic classes - 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17 and men's and women's kitefoiling - would have been happy they don't start racing until tonight when it's hoped the conditions settle a little.

"Today was up there with one of the coldest days sailing I've ever experienced," Tom Saunders said. "It was pretty windy, like proper windy, and freezing. I don't think I have ever worn so many layers on a race day."

The ILCA 7 world champion needed them in his second race when he capsized in the tricky conditions but Saunders emerged relatively unscathed from the day to post results of fourth and 10th to sit 16th overall in a fleet of more than 150 boats.

Fellow Kiwi George Gautrey wasn't so lucky, snapping his kicker two minutes into his first race and nursing his boat around to finish a meritorious 17th and then watched in horror as his tiller extension broke in his second race when fighting for the lead.

Gautrey was forced to retire from that race and quipped that at least it meant he got the first shower.

The ILCA 6 fleet managed one race, with New Zealand's Olivia Christie finishing 10th in her fleet to sit 19th overall.

The Princess Sofia Regatta represents the first international event since last year's Tokyo Olympics but for New Zealand's top windfoilersit's their first ever racing against the international fleet. The iQFoil has replaced the RS:X as the equipment to be used at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Veerle ten Have showed good speed at times to sit in 15th in the women's iQFoil after four races in top-end conditions for the foiling windsurfers. Josh Armit was the best-placed of the quartet of Kiwi men in 35th with Thomas Crook not far behind in 39th.

Coach JP Tobin was encouraged by what he saw from the New Zealand windfoilers, especially in terms of their speed.

"Turning up to Europe in any given year and being on the pace is good, and to do it after two years in isolation is really pleasing," he said. "They are in the fight.

"The reality is the starts are different to what they have been used to with so many others around them. Kiwis are traditionally quite conservative when it comes to starts but you can't afford to do that. The starts are so important. We saw some good starts at times today and it led to some top-10 results."

The iQFoil competitors will hit the water first on day two when they compete in a 40-minute marathon race, a format that will also be used at the Olympics.

"It's going to be spectacular to see 200 iQFoils racing in the bay at one time," Tobin said. "It's double points so there's potential to make big gains but it could also be costly."

Results and standings after day 1 of the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma:

ILCA 7 (165 boats)

1st: Pavlos Contides (CYP) 1 1 - 2 points 2nd: Michael Beckett (GBR) 2 1 - 3 pts 3rd: Philipp Buhl (GER) 1 2 - 3 pts

16th: Tom Saunders (NZL) 4 10 - 14 pts 81st: Luke Cashmore (NZL) 29 27 - 56 pts 90th: Luke Deegan (NZL) 33 28 - 61 pts 108th: George Gautrey (NZL) 17 56 DNF - 73 pts

ILCA 6 (89 boats)

1st: Maria Erdi (HUN) 1 - 1 pt 2nd: Maxime Jonker (NED) 2 - 2 pts 3rd: Sarah Douglas (CAN) 2 - 2 pts

19th=: Olivia Christie (NZL) 10 - 10 pts

Men's iQFoil (111 boards)

1st: Samuel Sills (GBR) 1 1 (52 UFD) 1 - 3 pts 2nd: Finn Hawkins (GBR) 2 1 (9) 3 - 6 pts 3rd: Andrew Brown (GBR) 4 2 1 (6) - 7 pts

35th: Josh Armit (NZL) 13 (27) 16 17 - 46 pts 39th: Thomas Crook (NZL) 7 (52 DNF) 29 18 STP - 54 pts 81st: Eli Liefting (NZL) 30 35 (52 DNC) 52 DNC - 117 pts 82nd: Antonio Cozzolino (NZL) (52 DNC) 52 DNC 22 52 DNC - 126 pts

Women's iQFoil (74 boards)

1st: Helene Noesmoen (FRA) (17) 2 2 1 - 5 pts 2nd: Pilar Lamadrid Trueba (ESP) 1 1 (14) 4 - 6 pts 3rd: Shachar Reshef (ISR) (3) 3 1 3 - 7 pts

15th: Veerle ten Have (NZL) (21) 16 10 13 - 39 pts 58th: Brianna Orams (NZL) (75 DNF) 58 54 55 - 167 pts

Full results www.trofeoprincesasofia.org/race-resultsall

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