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53rd Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca by Iberostar moves towards gender parity

by Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía 8 Mar 07:20 PST 29 March - 6 April 2024
Brugman and Xammar (470 Mixed) © Sailing Energy

On International Women's Day, the Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca by Iberostar pays tribute to the women of sailing, who are striving to increase female representation at all levels of the sport.

The major Olympic class regatta is comprised of almost 40% women in the different departments of the organisation, and has set itself the target of reaching 50% by 2028, following the example of the International Olympic Committee and World Sailing.

Paris 2024 will be the first Olympics with equal representation of male and female athletes. For sailing, this has meant changes to the classes, such as the debut of the new 470 Mixed, with mixed crews. Nora Brugman, who has just won the world championship alongside Jordi Xammar in the same bay of Palma that will host the Princesa Sofía in three weeks, values this progress: "We are going in the right direction, but we must not be satisfied with just that".

That is why the Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca by Iberostar has set itself the goal of achieving parity at all levels. In some areas, it has already achieved total balance: four men's classes, four women's classes and two mixed classes. In terms of participants, for the 53rd edition the female representation to date is 41%: 444 women out of a total of 1,081 pre-registered sailors.

Women also occupy around 40% of the organisational positions in the Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca by Iberostar, and many of the key positions are headed by women. Two shining examples are Lisa Camós, in charge of registration, and Bárbara Besalduch, in the logistics operation.

"In the Trofeo Princesa Sofía team, we are very aware that a large part of the success of the regatta is attributable to a group of people who work with care, dedication and a lot of passion so that everything goes perfectly or almost perfectly. Without detracting from the rest, many of them are women", says Ferran Muniesa, technical director. "It couldn't be any other way: the regatta has a woman's name".

In the roadmap of the great Balearic event for the coming years, one of the objectives is to increase the representation of women in the technical management positions of the regatta. World Sailing has also set itself the goal of improving in this respect.

According to data from the international sailing federation, women make up 19% of the regatta management, 17% of the international judges and 15% of the measurers. At last year's world championships there only 7% of the coaches were female.

"It is important to have more women in the organisation, coaching staff, management and umpiring to balance the sport and ensure the safest and most equitable scenario for all athletes," says Corinne Rolland-Mckenzie, Events Consultant at World Sailing, who advocates quotas and training and recruitment programmes to reverse these figures.

Julia Castro, in charge of social media management for the Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca by Iberostar, agrees: "Sometimes we don't realise how important it is to be represented in different areas. But, for example, having a woman narrating a sport mentally changes many things for the spectator and the listener".

In the opinion of Laia Tutzó, former Olympic sailor and now Director of Business Development and Innovation of the Royal Spanish Sailing Federation, "the tenacity of the pioneers, the new social context and the progressive proliferation of quotas for female participation in major professional events and the Olympic programme has facilitated the increase of women in sailing at a global level. Theresa Zabell, Natalia Vía-Dufresne, Anna Corbella, María Torrijo, Ana Sánchez del Campo and many other pioneers in our country have opened many doors for all of us, but we are still far from the goal".

Cati Darder, the first female president of the Balearic Sailing Federation, assures that "it is important to promote women's sport, which does not mean that we are taking quota or prominence away from the men; we have to communicate it well". In this sense, we can understand initiatives such as the Iberdrola Women's Sailing League, which is organised by the RFEV, and offers a flexible and inclusive space for women of all different profiles who want to enjoy competitive sailing without being professionals, can be understood.

For Laia Tutzó, the female perspective and the existence of female role models is essential for the sport to grow at all levels, "because women must be part of the change". The new generations are a key element, because there is still a long way to go to achieve real gender equality. That is why Nora Brugman sends this message to the young girls who are currently practising Optimist, the basis of sailing: "Don't set limits for yourselves, aspire to the highest and fight to achieve it, without fear of making mistakes. And stick together, help and support each other".

The 53 Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía Mallorca by Iberostar is jointly organised by the Club Nàutic S'Arenal, the Club Marítimo San Antonio de la Playa, the Real Club Náutico de Palma, the Real Federación Española de Vela and the Federación Balear de Vela, with the support of World Sailing and the main Balearic public institutions.

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