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Celebrating North American success at the 51 Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca

by David Schmidt 12 Apr 08:00 PDT April 12, 2022
Daniela Moroz took gold in the Women's Formula Kite racing at the 51 Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca © Sailing Energy

The Paris 2024 Olympics might feel like a long way off, given the sorry state of the world's affairs, but the recently concluded 51 Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca (April 1-9, 2022; AKA "Palma 2022") gave the best international One Design sailors a great opportunity to speed check against their rivals, while also reminding the rest of us that—because of the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics—the next Olympiad isn't that far over the horizon. American sailors proudly earned a gold and a silver, as well as two other Top Ten finishes, while Canadian sailors took home a single gold.

This likely won't come as a massive shocker to fans of Women's Formula Kite kiteracing, but American Daniela Moroz, a five-time world champion and a three-time recipient of US Sailing's Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year award, earned gold. Out of 16 races, Moroz threw down seven bullets, a pair of second-place finishes, and a third.

Still, earning the right to stand on the podium's top step came down to the medal race, as Lauriane Nolot (FRA) also sailed a fantastic regatta.

"Today was intense," said Moroz in an official US Sailing release. "I had to win two races in order to win the event and Lauriane Nolot came in with one point already and only needed one race win to take the title. It was pretty high pressure for me, but I was really happy with the first race. Then the second race I had a rough start and had a lot of ground to make up throughout the two laps. The final race came down to the last gybe and it became all about boat handling and I'm stoked to come away with the win."

The 49er is widely regarded as one of the highest-performance boats on Olympic starting lines, and competition was fierce at Palma 2022, where Erwan Fischer and Clément Pequin (FRA) narrowly beat out Ian Barrows and Hans Henken (USA).

"Today's medal race was really exciting," said Barrows in an official US Sailing release. "We started off the race and split from the fleet. The shift came along in our favor and we were even with the French team and then we got a nice lefty at the end of the first beat. Then we were in second and the French team was in last... We're really stoked on our finish, and our props to the French team on a good race and the regatta win."

U.S. athletes Andrew Mollerus and Ian MacDiarmid also finished in ninth place in the 49er class, demonstrating some much-needed American depth in this high-performance class.

The 49erFX class has always offered high-level competition in a high-performance boat, and Palma 2022 was no exception. Dutch sailors Odile Van Aanholt and Annette Duetz took gold, followed by Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) and Jana Germani and Giorgia Bertuzzi (ITA), however Americans Steph Roble and Maggie Shea earned a ninth-place finish.

"Palma 2022 is very encouraging for the US team," said Luther Carpenter, head coach of the US Sailing Team in an official US Sailing communication. "It demonstrated top results in windy and wavy conditions against top international competition. We know we need to perform at the top of these fleets in races and regattas, and this event shows us that sailors' hard work is paying off."

U.S. sailors aren't the only ones coming home with medal-ceremony hardware.

Canadian superstar Sarah Douglas posted an impressive scorecard in the ILCA 6 class (read: Laser Radials) that included six bullets, two second-place finishes, and a sixth-place finish (she had a UFD in race five that she was able to discard) to take home the gold medal. Douglas has been on an impressive roll in the ILCA 6 class for some time, and it's fantastic to see North American sailors dominate in a class that was designed by a Canadian. Impressively, this win represents her first career gold medal.

"What a week!", said Douglas in an official team communication. "It's my first podium at a World Cup, and I won it before the medal race, which is nuts. I entered the regatta with no expectations and just focused on my process. My team did a lot of preparations for my first big competition back and I simply had fun on the water. It was challenging conditions each day and I'm exhausted after my first international competition post Tokyo. It's a great start to the new year and new journey to Paris 2024!"

Sail-World tips our hats to all athletes who competed at Palma 2022, we celebrate all wins and strong finishes, and we also applaud the event's organizers, who paid tribute to the Ukrainian people by presenting a plaque to the three Ukrainian sailors who were participating in this high-level Olympic class event.

Mostly, we sincerely hope that the world can return to a place of peace—where the best and the brightest of each generation can follow their dreams, chase success, and be part of a respectful international community—long before the start of the next Olympic Games.

May the four winds blow you safely home.

David Schmidt
Sail-World.com North American Editor

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