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Welsh wizard claims Sofia hat-trick as Italian duo also dominate

by World Sailing 5 Apr 14:52 PDT 1-6 April 2024
Great Britain's Micky Beckett - 53 Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca © World Sailing

Great Britain's Micky Beckett has won ILCA 7 gold with a day to spare, on day five of the World Cup Series at the 53 Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca by Iberostar. Matching Beckett's feat and conquering the Nacra 17 mixed multihull fleet before their Medal Race are Italy's reigning World and Olympic Champions Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti. This leaves eight gold medals yet to be decided on Super Saturday on the Bay of Palma.

Beckett's victory is his third back-to-back in consecutive years at this key indicator event in the men's Olympic dinghy. The Welshman, who is targeting gold at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, has beaten a 193-strong fleet that is stacked with all of the recent Olympic and World Championship medal winners. Twenty-six-year old Beckett's achievement is all the more impressive as he wins the event with a day to spare, just as he did on these same Palma waters a year ago.

Hat-trick for Beckett

"Winning this three times in a row really is something very special, not least because it is the first World Cup I did 10 years ago and honestly then I got hammered," said Beckett. "But to come back after the regatta was cancelled in 2021 [due to Covid] and win three times in a row is incredible. I am a little bit lost for words and still surprised it is something I have been able to do. It is such a difficult class, everyone is here, everyone comes here and brings their A-game and so to come out on top of an entry of 193 - that's a huge number of people to beat."

This is an important psychological victory at a critical time in the Olympic year, according to Beckett. "Sailing is about details, do the details well, manage the risk well and don't get distracted - that is the key. And I guess I have managed the risk well this week. I have dug myself out of trouble a few times this week by having good boatspeed. That has helped a lot. And keeping your head out, watching ahead is key as this is quite a changeable race track.

"Compared with the Marseille Olympic race track this is different and it requires a certain, nuanced skill set. Some things are clearly working for me but there is plenty more to do. I will enjoy this, I will enjoy the Medal Race tomorrow and then get back to work soon."

Italians dominate again

Patience and razor-sharp focus were key also in the Nacra 17 mixed multihull class where Tita and Banti won the Sofía title for the third time, victorious also in 2018 and 2022 when they took the event's top overall trophy.

Going into Saturday's Medal Race, Tita and Banti have an insurmountable 24 points margin over their young compatriots Gianluigi Ugolini and Maria Giubilei, who won last year's Olympic Test Event in Marseille.

Banti was quite matter-of-fact about the victory: "Actually it was a strange Palma, I don't remember a Palma like this, a lot of light winds, but finally we got some good races, foiling races and light wind races. So we're happy because Palma is the first event after winter training. It means we have done a good job with our training, but this is only the first step because we have many things to work on, to win the Olympic Games which is our aim this year."

Moroz and Maeder flying high

For Daniela Moroz and Max Maeder who go into the final day at the top of the Formula Kite leaderboards, their reward is to take two wins into the four-rider final. In the first-to-three-wins format, this puts the American and Singaporean riders on match point. They're only one race away from taking their respective Sofía titles, whereas the rest of the top 10 have a steeper mountain to climb.

470s finely balanced

The 470 mixed dinghy medal title is perfectly balanced with France's Camille Lecointre and Jérémie Mion carrying just a single point's advantage over Spain's new world champions, Jordi Xammar and Nora Brugman.

The Spanish are ahead of three German crews all engaged in a fierce Olympic trials - Malte and Anastaysia Winkel, Simon Diesch and Anna Markfort, and Theresa Löffler and Christopher Hoerr who are all separated by just three points.

Their 2022 world champions Luise Wanser and Philipp Autenrieth painfully miss out on the Medal Race by a single point. And last year's winners, Japan's 2023 world champions Keiju Okada and Miho Yoshioka, make the Medal Race while their selection rivals Tetsuya Isozaki and Yurie Seki don't - which should ensure Okada and Yoshioka take the Olympic spot.

Spain on top in the 49er

The 49er men's skiff Medal Race will see Spain's Diego Botin and Florian Trittel, will carry an almost negligible four-point margin into the title showdown, while in the 49er FX women's skiff Norway's European champions Helene Næss and Marie Rønningen were overhauled by Italy's Jana Germani and Georgia Bertuzzi today and lead by a single point. Both crews have a sufficient advantage to be more or less assured of gold or silver.

Érdi takes ILCA 6 lead

Hungary's Maria Érdi, the reigning European champion, assumed the lead in the ILCA 6 women's dinghy event after Australia's Mara Stransky had what she had expected to be third place annulled for a BFD disqualification in the first race, a mistake she then compounded by being gun-shy on the second start which left her 34th.

Windsurfing Showdown

Powerful Pole, Pawel Tarnowski, has a trio of top French iQFOiL windsurfers, including 2021 world champion Nico Goyard set to challenge for the Sofia title while the women's Palma title final could be one of the most exciting of the final day, which looks set to be raced in the morning in a north-easterly offshore breeze.

The 53 Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mallorca by Iberostar will bring the curtain down on Saturday. The Medal Races (or Medal Series for iQFOiL windsurfing and Formula Kite), the races that will decide the podiums in each discipline, are scheduled to start at 10:00 am, with light winds according to the weather forecasts. The trophy ceremony will take place at 20:00 in Ses Voltes, at the foot of Palma Cathedral.

Final day schedule

Starting Order, first warning signal:

  • COURSE AREA 1: Nacra 17 10:00 49er 10:45 49er FX 11:30
  • COURSE AREA 2: Formula Kite Men 10:00 Formula Kite Women 10:10
  • COURSE AREA 3: iQFOiL Women 10:15 iQFOiL Men 11:00
  • COURSE AREA 4: ILCA 6 10:15 ILCA 7 11:00 470 11:45

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