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53rd Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca by Iberostar - Overall

by Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía 6 Apr 11:09 PDT 1-6 April 2024
Breiana Whitehead - 53rd Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca by Iberostar © Sailing Energy / Trofeo Princesa Sofía

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 as the 53 Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mallorca by Iberostar Olympic regatta concluded on the Bay of Palma today.

After Moroz's successive errors an amazed Whitehead only realised she had won many minutes after the last race when she reached her coach. She joins Australia's 2018's winners of the famous Balearic regatta's overall award Matt Belcher and Will Ryan, the double Olympic 470 medallists.

In contrast to the five times world champion Moroz who admitted later she had pushed too hard when looking for her limits under pressure, Whitehead started cleanly each time to earn the event win.

"It is so incredible to win the whole top trophy, I am literally lost for words." Grinned Whitehead who grew up in North Queensland and is a convert to the new Olympic discipline from the 29er youth skiff, class, "With so many great sailors here I am blown away. And to join so many great sailors who have won in the past like Matt and Will in 2018, it is amazing."

On the kite beach after being told of her even win she enthused, " To win Princess Sofia regatta overall is just so cool, it Is amazing. It is a world level event, it is incredible! I had a regatta the week before, the Europeans, and I did not do so well and so I worked out the things I had not done so well there and put them into practise here. I needed to get off the start line cleanly, that was my number one goal and I did that. I analysed a lot of video and got in my head properly what I wanted to do and I did it. Today was so cool, a whole day of waiting and then everything happening in the last hours, in the last minutes. We got a little bit of wind and then you just have to go for it."

Moroz admitted, "I am not so, so disappointed, no. We learned so much this week and as a team accomplished a lot of valuable lessons. Even though it was not the final result I wanted I am in a really good spot overall both mentally and in my racing on the water. Today's lesson is actually what I have been working on with my sports psychologist is actually pushing hard when it really matters when the pressure is on. And today it was good to find that upper limit."

Last year's Men's Formula Kite Men's victor 17 year old Max Maeder of Singapore closed out his second Sofia title triumph in a row, "I would rate this much harder than the last time here as the level has gone up and it is closer. I believe for me winning here is also attributable to the amazing support I have. Such support really helps a lot to be able to make the dream come true. I have had some ups and downs this week, more ups than downs but the downs are a learning opportunity and I am happy to have learned a lot this week. It is great training for the Olympics and so it is great to see how I match up to the other riders."

Programme curtailed

Very light winds curtailed the final day programme and the FX, iQFOiL Men and Women and the 470 Mixed events had their finale cancelled and their standings from Friday stood. The ILCA 7 title had already been won with a day to spare by GBR's Micky Beckett and while the Nacra 17s did their Medal Race the Palma title was already in the bag for Italy's Olympic champions Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti. Germany's Philipp Buhl finished runner up from his French training partner and fellow former World Champion Jean Baptiste Bernaz.

Italy take both Men and Women skiff titles as Jana Germani and Giorgia Bertezzi won 49erFX by a single point. Germani said, "Winning here is really important for us because we see that all the training and the hard work is paying off. It's four more months until the Games, and we will push every day for the best result of our career."

French 470 success

And the result also stood for the 470 Mixed where the French duo Camille Lecointre and Jeremie Mion denied local Spanish hopes of their new world champions Jordi Xammar and Nora Brugman taking a home title. They, too, won by just one point with three German crews in the top five. Simon Diesch and Anna Markfort in fourth still lead their Olympic selection trials which will conclude at the Europeans in Cannes.

Mion said, "The key this week has been to be consistent and polyvalent because across the week we had strong light and medium winds. It is always the same thing in sailing, you have to be fast and to be fast in every conditions. And also to stay very open minded on what was happening on the water. Because it was not a classic Palma like we all know. We had to look every time at the others and to the wind to see what can happen. Now also that we are approaching the Olympics I think one of the keys to stay together on the boat like to have very, very good communication and trust each other until the end."

If Spain did not have a chance close out a win in the 470s as there was no medal race, they did so in the 49er skiff where second in the ten boat showdown was enough for Diego Botin and Florian Trittel to finally land the Sofia title which has eluded them over the years, Botin smiled: "It is a special day for us, because we have just won our first Princesa Sofía, which is a very special regatta that we have been coming to all our lives. We've been close but we've never won it before. We had won a Medal today bit it simulated a possible scenario in the Games, we have been though it and with the pressure that comes with it, and we are very happy to have sailed the way we have sailed"

Poland's Pawel Tarnowski (iQFOiL Men) was another event leader who endured the nervous wait for wind. Admitting his preference would have been to race, the two times past Sofía winner in the RS:X class commented, "It is a shame we didn't have a chance to race the medal races. But overall, speaking of all the races of the week, I'm super happy. I think I've basically got faster through the winter, that's for sure. I am a bit more patient, a bit more calm. My mentality when it comes to pressure has improved, some of which comes from being a new dad and having a kid. I was afraid that maybe it would be difficult but my baby and my wife give me so much motivation."

And Norway showed depth in the iQFOiL Women where Mina Mobekk won on tie break from her compatriot May Gysler and Tuva Oppedal finished fifth. Winner Mobekk said, "This was quite an important event for us since it was the last Olympic qualification, so it means a lot to win. I've not officially qualified yet but it's most likely. I think it's amazing that we Norwegians have three people in the top two five. I think it's just really cool and i think it will be exciting to see what we can do in the future."

The 53 Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía Mallorca by Iberostar, the first scoring event for the Sailing World Cup 2024, 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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