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Big numbers set for Palma en route to Paris 2024

by Australian Sailing 31 Mar 17:27 PDT 1-6 April 2024
Matt Wearn - 2023 Allianz Sailing World Championships © Sailing Energy

Huge numbers are gathering on the island of Palma off Spain, with a staggering 46 Australian entries among the 1,000 athletes on over 850 boats and boards set to start racing at the 53rd Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía Regatta on Monday.

Australia will have entrants in all ten classes in what is expected to be a red-hot event on the path to the Paris Olympic Games, which are now less than four months away.

Among the Australian entrants is reigning ILCA 7 Olympic and World Champion Matt Wearn, who is back in action after winning his second consecutive Worlds in Adelaide in January.

"After the Worlds finished, I enjoyed a bit of a break at home in Perth, so I am feeling refreshed and ready to push for the next few months leading up to the games," said Wearn.

Wearn has already been selected to the Australian Olympic Team for Paris, and has already been on the island for some time familiarising himself with the venue.

"I have had a good month of training here in Palma leading up the event with some very variable conditions over that time. With almost 200 boats entered it is going to be a tough week of racing as always, but I am looking forward to getting stuck into it."

Wearn joins Breiana Whitehead (Women's Kitefoiling), Grae Morris (Men's iQFOiL), Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine (49erFX) and Jim Colley and Shaun Connor (49er) as those already selected for Paris.

Among the Australian armada are strong numbers in the ILCA 7 (14 entries) and ILCA 6 (9 entries), with many of those staying on after the Under 21 European Championships which were also in Palma and concluded last week.

Those athletes will get another taste of top-level competition this week, deepening the well of emerging Australian sailing talent.

The regatta comes just days after the 49er and 49erFX Paris selections were announced, which included Olympic debutant Evie Haseldine.

"It certainly was exciting to be announced for my first Olympic Games," said Haseldine from Palma.

"It was a dream I have had since I was a little girl, watching Olivia (Price), Nina (Curtis) and Lucinda (Whitty) win a silver medal at the 2012 Games in Women's Match Racing. Now I want to do the same and spark the Olympic Dream into the next generation of little sailors."

Price and Haseldine have had to put that news behind them, as they ready themselves for the Palma regatta and whatever conditions might come their way.

"We are expecting a mixed bag of conditions for the regatta," continued Haseldine.

"Wind and waves for the first day, followed by more moderate west to south-westerlies. We are certainly prepared for whatever the week throws at us and look forward to working through it as a team."

Keeping a close eye on proceedings will be Australian Sailing Team High Performance Director Iain Brambell.

"Palma is a wonderful annual regatta for the team as it provides a venue that can house all ten Olympic events," said Brambell.

"We generally get great conditions, great competition and importantly this year it gives us a check on where we are at with some of our Olympic preparations.

"With all nations starting to fine-tune their Olympic selections across the different fleets, Palma provides our national squads an outstanding depth of competition. These international fleets are the best of the best which serves as optimal preparations for our team on the road Paris 2024 as well those with their sights set on the Los Angeles 2028 Games."

Racing at the regatta will take place from April 1-6 with Medal Races and Medal Series to be conducted on April 6.

Event website: www.trofeoprincesasofia.org/en/default/races/race

Entries list: www.trofeoprincesasofia.org/en/default/races/race-inscriptions

Tracking (from Wednesday): palma2024.sapsailing.com/gwt/Home.html#/event/:eventId=04ae52ad-cf21-4ff2-9c8e-59c2e8e3faf1

Australian Sailing Team (AST), Australian Sailing Pathway Team (ASPT), Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) and other Australian entries (AUS) at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia Regatta:

49er - 88 Entries

Jim Colley and Shaun Connor (AST)
Jack Ferguson (AUS) and Max Paul (AST)

49erFX - 51 Entries

Laura Harding and Annie Wilmot (AST)
Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine (AST)
Mina Ferguson and Dervla Duggan (ASF)

Formula Kite Men's - 64 Entries

Hector Paturau (ASF)
Oscar Timm (ASF)
Scott Whitehead (ASF)

Formula Kite Women's - 36 Entries

Breiana Whitehead (ASPT)

ILCA 6 - 120 Entries

Casey Imeneo (AST)
Mara Stransky (AST)
Zoe Thomson (AST)
Elyse Ainsworth (ASPT)
Evie Saunders (ASPT)
Francis Beebe (ASF)
Sylvie Stannage (ASF)
Brooke Wilson (ASF)
Caitlin Shaw (AUS)

ILCA 7 - 194 Entries

Finn Alexander (AST)
Ethan McAullay (AST)
Matt Wearn (AST)
Zac Littlewood (ASPT)
Michael Compton (ASF)
Stefan Elliott-Shircore (ASF)
Lawson McAullay (ASF)
Alexander Bijkerk (AUS)
Jack Eickmeyer (AUS)
Steve Gunther (AUS)
Edward Reid (AUS)
Isaac Schotte (AUS)
Julian Taylor (AUS)
Lachie Weber (AUS)

iQFOiL Men's - 111 Entries

Grae Morris (AST)
Philip Cripsey (ASF)
Joseph Folley (ASF)
Rory Meehan (ASF)
Matthew Quinlan (ASF)
Jack Marquardt (AUS)

iQFOiL Women's - 79 Entries

Samantha Costin (ASF)
Charlotte Wormald (AUS)

Mixed 470 - 68 Entries

Nia Jerwood and Conor Nicholas (ASPT)
Ashlee Daunt and Brayden Daunt (ASF)
Sophie Jackson and James Jackson (AUS)

Nacra 17 - 49 Entries

Rueben and Rita Booth (ASPT)
Brin Liddell and Rhiannan Brown (ASPT)
Jake Liddell and Lucy Copeland (ASPT)

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