RIO 2016: The road returns to Europe

Published on April 2nd, 2013

Palma, Spain (April 2, 2013) – For one week, at least, Trofeo Princess Sofia Mapfre – ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma is the centre of the Olympic sailing world with the best sailors competing to reach the next level. Strong winds characterized the second day of racing, with winds of 20- to 25-knots testing both survival and speed.

For Asenathi Jim and Roger Hudson (RSA), Palma de Mallorca is the obvious place to be after training for the last six months in South Africa. Like them, another 70 teams from other continents have made the trip to Europe to follow the Sailing World Cup circuit.

Jim and Hudson along with 470 team partners Ricky and Brennan Robinson are the only two teams from Africa. However over 50 sailors have come from South America and mostly from Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela. North America and the Asia Pacific region are also well represented with a strong contingent from Australia and New Zealand.

Running an Olympic campaign for a non-European team is not easy and requires good funding and logistic, with much of the time spent away from home.

Jim and Hudson started their London 2012 Olympic Games campaign two years before the first starting gun at Weymouth and Portland, Great Britain and qualified for their first Olympic Games at the 470 Worlds in Barcelona, Spain just months before it all began.

“The first two years are the hardest in a campaign, you have to brake the ground, get funding and learn,” said the South Africans. “For us it was a steep learning curve, we got lots of help from other teams, especially the Australians Mat and Malcolm. We are young to the boat so didn’t stop much after the Olympic Games and have been training full on.” The pair finished second at ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne to boost their ranking points at the 200-point event.

The pair added, “We have the chance to have now the support of our three sponsors: Synerg, Openbox and Southern charter as well as the South African federation who has purchased five new boats. The plan is to leave them in South Africa and develop a fleet so we don’t have to travel to train or be on our own.” – Read on

MORE: The women are pacing the U.S. contingent, with female helms in the top ten for three of the ten Olympic events. – Full report

FORMAT: The regatta is testing the racing format to be used at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Some of the features are a qualifying series wherein each team’s ranking will be used as a score for one of the final series races. Also, winning a race scores 0 points instead of 1, while second classified scores 2, third scores 3 points and so on. – Full details

BACKGROUND: The ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma (Apr 1-6) is the third of four events for the 2012-13 ISAF Sailing World Cup season. The season began in Melbourne, Australia (Dec 2-8) and was in Miami (Jan 28-Feb 2), with the final event in Hyeres, France (Apr 20-27). The ISAF Sailing World Cup is open to the sailing classes (equipment) chosen for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Competitions. – http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/home.php

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