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53rd Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca by Iberostar - Day 1

by Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía 1 Apr 11:55 PDT 1-6 April 2024
53 Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca by Iberostar Day 1: Heathcote / Grube (GBR) © Sailing Energy / Trofeo Princesa Sofía

'Full on' '...crazy' '...nuclear' '...extreme' Big Monday opens racing

With gusts to over 30kts at times and a big, untidy swell which has been built up by nearly two weeks of strong winds in the Balearica Islands, of the ten Olympic scheduled events only the Formula Kite Men and Women, the ILCA 6 and ILCA 7 singlehanders and the redoubtable 470 Mixed were actually able to race and open their accounts on schedule at the 53 Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca by Iberostar.

Conditions were 'extreme but sailable' according to Denmark's ILCA 6 Olympic champion Anne-Marie Rindom who was just one of the many athletes who enjoyed the big breeze, big surf challenge of opening day. Another was USA's five times Formula Kite world champion Daniela Moroz who won the event on its debut at the Princesa Sofía in 2022. She proved untouchable in the breeze and along with Germany's Philipp Buhl in the ILCA 7 they are the only two athletes making a perfect, unbeaten start.

Moroz....loving it, Maeder...mostly smoothly

"It was nuclear today and I was loving it! We don't get many opportunities to race in these conditions so I am always excited for days like this because I always learn and improve a lot. It was pretty hectic out there and really I was just happy to just get around the course and finish both races relatively clean." Enthused Moroz who leads Breaina Whitehead, who will be Australia's representative when the foiling kite class makes its Olympic debut this summer.

With the Men's kite event completing three heats of their planned four, Pan American Games champion Bruno Lobo of Brazil leads Singapore's world champion Max Maeder - last year's winner overall. Lobo went 1,1,2 in the blue fleet whilst Maeder - in the yellow fleet - went 3,1,1.

"The conditions were crazy today, the waves were really big and so it was all about surviving with your equipment intact, at least for me it was. Race 1 was interesting as I was leading at the first mark and it went smoothly until the last downwind where my kite collapsed because of the wind and I ended up crashing because of that. After I recovered I was third. In the second and third races it went smoothly with no issues and so definitely feel ready for whatever is to come." Reported Maeder.

Double 'Buhl-lets' for German world champ

While Germany's 2020 world champion Philipp Buhl proved best in the muscular conditions among the full capacity 193 strong ILCA 7 fleet. He even capsized in the second heat and still took his second winning gun of the day.

Australia's world and Olympic champion Matt Wearn started his Sofía title challenge with a first and a third to lie fourth behind Buhl, GBR's Micky Beckett winner here twice in a row and Norway's Herman Tomasgaard who was runner up to Wearn at the worlds in Adelaide in January, "I guess that is my best start for a few years here." Acknowledged Wearn "It was quite brisk, a one and a three for the day is a good start. It was not easy. In this really big fleet getting off the start line with speed in the big waves was the key because then you could use your boatspeed, that was half the job."

Like most of his rivals, Wearn has been in Arenal for some time building up, "I have had just under three weeks here, enjoying the warmer weather and the conditions here, getting back into things in Europe so it has been a good lead up and a productive few weeks. Everything is going pretty well, all my events so far have gone well, so here and Hyères are all good build up."

He leads a strong Aussie group of 14 ILCAs, "We have a lot of good young kids here, the new, younger generation. I think we have a good investment in a good programme at home. There is lots of talent coming through, seeing what we can do in the class and people just want to be a part of that. We get together a lot and having had the worlds there this year has helped."

Rindom readying for medal defence in Marseille

Denmark's Rindom is on great form as she builds up to her gold medal defence, also now playing a leading role in Denmark's SailGP team, "It was windy, especially in the second race we saw over 30kts and big waves. The race committee did a really nice job, keeping the waiting time between races down and we really got some really, really nice racing in. It was extreme conditions but sailable. I like these conditions especially because I feel like it is good to push the limits some time. It was hard but sailable. The first race I made a mistake on the upwind and got a great big knot in my mainsheet and so I could not bear away so I lost about 20 boats but I kept head and fought for every boat and got 11th or 12th and the second race I was second. I am happy with my speed and am happy with the day."

Winkels winning

In the Mixed Dinghy (470 Mixed) Germany's Malte and Anastaysia Winkel made the best start to what could prove critical event in their hotly Olympic selection. The husband-and-wife duo are fighting to overhaul rivals Simon Diesch and Anna Markfohrt who hold a points lead in the trials chase because they finished fourth at the 470 World Championships in February.

The Winkels won the first race and took second in their second heat in the Yellow fleet to lead the class after a big opening day whilst. GBR's Vita Heathcote and Chris Grube lie second thanks to a pair of second places. Diesch and Markfohrt were ninth in the first race but won their second heat.

Winkel said, "It was super challenging, super technical, really tough for junior teams, some of which were in survival mode, a lot of them seem to have capsized, but this is the baptism of fire for them at the Trofeo. It went really well for us, we were fast on the water today, speed was a factor, we started one race well, one not so well, in both races we led at upwind mark. We're super happy with 2 and 1. But it's only the first day."

Spain's newly anointed world champions Jordi Xammar and Nora Brugman are third, "It was pretty full on out there." Said Xammar, "Today the conditions were pretty epic. We were on the edge with some pretty big waves and strong wind, which was pretty fun and allowed us to really surf. It's an Olympic year and it's important for us to get the most out of every race. We're going for it full on".

"It was even windier than we thought when we first went out, but the main thing was the waves were pretty steep and so downwind was pretty sketchy and so you kept nose diving. It was not just that it was windy but the waves on top really made it pretty exciting." Recalled Martin Wrigley, the British helm who lies sixth with crew Bettine Harris.

Winds are forecast to be lighter for the second day Tuesday with an expectation that rising temperatures will see an Embat sea breeze regime established around 8-12kts from around midday.

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.

More information, at www.trofeoprincesasofia.org.

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