Please select your home edition
Edition
Henri-Lloyd - For the Obsessed

470 World Championship in Llucmajor, Mallorca - Practice Day

by Andy Rice 26 Feb 09:19 PST 26 February - 3 March 2024
470 Worlds in Llucmajor © Bernardí Bibiloni / 470 Int. Class

Olympic aspirants ready for an all-round test in Palma

The competitors and coaches around the boat park have been giving each other wry smiles after today's pouring rain and shifty offshore conditions. It was practice race day before the competition proper begins on Tuesday for the 470 World Championship in Llucmajor, not from Mallorca's capital city of Palma.

"We have had weeks of warm onshore breezes, and now we get to the regatta it is raining and offshore," laughed Lovisa Karlsson, the 2022 European Champion from Sweden.

Ferrán Muniesa, general manager of the host venue, Club Nàutic S'Arenal (CNA), said: "This is the worst few days of weather we have had all winter. I have been telling my colleagues all through the warm weeks that once the regatta begins it will be different, the rain will come and we will need to switch on the heating, and that's exactly what has happened."

Experienced racer and coach Juan de la Fuente is working with the Spanish team Jordi Xammar and Nora Brugman who have already secured their place at the Paris 2024 Games. De la Fuente, who won a 470 Olympic bronze for his home country Argentina, said that if you're going to have to put up with bad weather, this was the right way round to have it. "We would never have wanted to go training in this, but we had great weather for the past weeks, warm days on the water, cycling in the mornings, it's been really nice. Now we are racing so we have to go out anyway, we don't even question it. When you're going for the Olympics you keep on working whatever the weather gives you."

Lovisa Karlsson, working with Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Anton Dahlberg, knows that whatever happens this week she will again be representing Sweden at this summer's Games. "It's a nice position to be in because we can focus on our starting, our race strategy and we have a bit more space to breathe on the race course," she said, in reference to many other sailors who have the challenge of qualifying themselves for a place at the Olympic Regatta in Marseille.

Many top nations are about to embark on a big selection battle, not least the Germans who have three world-class teams and a total entry of six boats in the regatta. One of the top German teams are the 2022 World Champions Luise Wanser and Philipp Autenrieth who suffered a setback a couple of weeks ago when Wanser fell off her road bike while out training in Mallorca and scraped her face and her leg badly. She's been making a good recovery, however, and is sounding very positive about the German trials which begin this week at the Worlds.

It's also the start of the Japanese trials, with three teams looking to show what they can do against the favourites, the defending World Champions Keiju Okada and Miho Yoshioka.

Two big sailing nations yet to qualify a place at the Games are Italy and Great Britain. With only European spot available this week, it will be interesting to see which of these two powerhouse nations grabs the place and who will be left to fight it out at the 'Last Chance' regatta at the end of April, the Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères in the south of France. Or could it be one of the smaller nations come in and steal their thunder, leaving Italy and Great Britain out of luck? There are so many permutations, and with the first couple of days looking to be offshore northerly breezes, it could be wacky races where it will be very hard to be consistent.

Today it was the Austrian team, Lara Vadlau and Lukas Maehr, who won the practice race. They're coached by Gustavo Martínez Doreste from Spain who sees opportunity in the forecast. "I think this championship is going to be very open. It's going to be difficult conditions, with all kinds of winds. There could be a group of six, seven, eight boats with a shot at the title, and consistency is going to be the key. There is no doubt that if you look at the last few years it is very likely that the Swedish team (Dahlberg and Karlsson) and the Spanish (Xammar and Brugman) are a little bit ahead of the rest, but I think this World Championship will be very specific because of the conditions we are going to have. We will see what happens."

So this could be a good week for the underdog, although the favourites won't be fretting. They train for the unexpected. They know that to be considered the best sailor you have to be able to perform in any condition on any given day. And looking at the mixed forecast for the coming week of action, that's exactly what they're going to get.

Related Articles

Final opportunity to qualify Olympic spots
10 Canadian sailors will take part in the Last Chance Regatta in Hyères, France A total of 10 Canadian sailors will take part in the Last Chance Regatta in Hyères, France, April 21-27, which will be the last opportunity to qualify spots for countries at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Posted on 15 Apr
The team behind the team
US Sailing Team provides what it takes to support Olympic Class athletes through intensive regattas Last week, Palma de Mallorca welcomed over 1,000 athletes to Mediterranean waters for the largest turnout in an Olympic year in the Trofeo Princesa Sofía's 53 year history. Posted on 11 Apr
Olympic qualifications and athlete selection
Country qualifications and athlete selection ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics In January, I wrote about 2024 being a year with an embarrassment of sailing riches. Last week's Trofea S.A.R. Princesa Sofia Regatta helped determine the American, Canadian, and Mexican sailors who represent their countries at this summer's Olympics. Posted on 9 Apr
Josh Armit top Kiwi at Trofeo Princesa Sofia
Four Kiwis make the top ten overall at the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma Two of New Zealand's top sailors were denied a final medal tilt as the breeze disappeared on the last day at the Princess Sofia Regatta. Posted on 7 Apr
Antonia and Georgia Lewin-LaFrance 4th in 49erFX
At the 2024 Princess Sofia Trophy Regatta Antonia and Georgia Lewin-LaFrance from Chester, N.S., took the 4th position in 49erFX at the 2024 Princess Sofia Trophy Regatta which ended on Saturday in Palma, Spain. Posted on 7 Apr
An overall victory with a side of Gold and Silver
For Whitehead and Thomson in Palma at the Princesa Sofía Regatta Australians seized two medals and the overall trophy at the 53rd Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía Regatta on the shores of Spain after an immense performance from the team. Posted on 6 Apr
Welsh wizard Beckett inspires with Palma 3-peat
Three-medal haul for the Brits at the Princess Sofia Regatta The British Sailing Team's Micky Beckett scored a crucial victory in the countdown to Paris 2024, winning the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma for the third consecutive year. Posted on 6 Apr
Formula Kite winner claims overall trophy in Palma
Breiana Whitehead top competitor at the 53 Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mallorca Australian kiteboarder Breiana Whitehead has been awarded the trophy for overall winner of the 53 Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mallorca by Iberostar at the World Cup Series event in Palma. Posted on 6 Apr
US Sailing Team at Trofeo Princesa Sofía Overall
Roble and Shea to represent USA at Paris 2024 Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wis.) and Maggie Shea (Chicago, IL) have officially confirmed their ticket to the Paris 2024 Olympics in the 49erFX today after light wind prevented the running of one last medal race. Posted on 6 Apr
53rd Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca Overall
Australia's Fomula Kite winner Breiana Whitehead takes top award Winner of the Women's Formula Kite event Breiana Whitehead, held her nerve under pressure as USA's outstanding favourite Daniela Moroz false started twice, to become the only the second Australian winner ever of the overall top award. Posted on 6 Apr
Cyclops Marine 2023 November - FOOTER37th AC Store 2024-two-728X90 BOTTOMETNZ Store 2024 728x90 BOTTOM