Palma perfection at Trofeo Princesa Sofía

Published on March 29th, 2017

Palma, Spain (March 29, 2017) – A perfect day of three wins in the 49er FX fleet sees Germany’s Victoria Jurczok and Anika Lorenz sitting 30 points clear at the head of the Women’s Skiff class after nine races at the Olympic class showcase of Trofeo Princesa Sofía IBEROSTAR.

Making the difference so far is the Germans’ superior strength and experience, as one of the crews in Palma which have carried on almost seamlessly from Rio where they finished ninth. After a winter off sailing they are straight into the new Tokyo 2020 quadrennial after a February training camp here.

Hungry to make their mark at the 49er FX European Championships when they come to their home water of Kiel in June, the duo who have sailed together since 2011 have been a class apart so far at the European season opener.

“Conditions were good and stable outside and we were fast and so we had three good races,” crew Anika Lorenz comments, citing input from new British coach Dave Evans as a positive asset. “We have good technique and have been sailing the boat for longer than most of the other girls here. It is nice to be leading, on the one hand it brings more pressure but on the other it gives you confidence to know you are sailing well. We sailed together since 2011 and have known each other for more than 10 years.

“We have never even medalled here before,” Lorenz continued. “We often make it to the top six and the medal race and so on but maybe this can be the year we win in Palma. We had a long break after the Olympics and did not sail through the winter, so we are back fresh. We started training in February here with our German team mates. After Hyeres we will go back to Kiel to train for the Europeans which is great for us to be able to stay home. It will be great to be home, to race from home, to have friends and family about and all the other girls to come and sail and train with us at home.”

As expected at what is effectively the perfect showcase event for emerging younger talent to step into the sun in the immediate post Olympic period, there is no shortage of standard bearers for the next generation, not least in the 470 class where the host nation of the 2020 Olympics are proving to have strength and depth among their talent pool, many of whom come from their college sailing.

Young Japanese duo Tetsuya Isozaki and Akira Takayanagi moved into the lead in the 470 class with their second and first places today in the final two qualifying races for their fleet.

Isozaki and Takayanagi are among the vanguard of a new generation of Japanese 470 sailors breaking through from a productive squad which train through their national college system, notably from Japan’s Economic University in Fukuoka. Crew Takayanagi, 20, took the bronze medal at last year’s 470 Junior World Championships in Kiel-Schilksee, Germany when Japanese pairs took gold and bronze.

Isozaki and Takayanagi already finished second at the Sailing World Cup Miami in January, runners up to the highly experienced Americans Stu McNay and Dave Hughes who today finish the Mens 470 Qualifying phase in third, just two points behind the Japanese leaders

Kenichi Nakamura, who coaches the squad and who represented Japan in the 470 in 2008 in Qingdao, explains that part of their growing improvement as a squad is intensive month long training periods in the Kerama Islands, a strong wind and big wave venue. They arrived in Miami directly from such a camp and come to Palma after another intensive period.

“In Zamami on the Kerama Islands where they sail, it is in strong winds the seas often between four and six metres,” said Nakamura. “We went to the Miami World Cup and got second after the same pattern, one month of training before in Okinawa. This year they will do another three months of training there so over this year they will have done five months training there.”

Sweden’s 470 duo Carl Frederick Fock and Marcus Dackhammer, lying third believe they have made significant improvements since they were 28th at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR last year and 11th at the subsequent 470 European Championships.

“We had a good day,” helm Fock reported at the Club Nàutic S’Arenal, “We got yellow flagged in the first race and then it was hard to get back into it. In the second race we were second. There are a lot of good teams here at the start of the new campaign. We feel good in the boat and definitely have improved.”

China’s Mengxi Wei and Yani Xu stepped to the top of the 470 Women’s leader table completing qualifying with a 1,2 in the typical Palma sea breeze conditions to overhaul the Dutch duo Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes Van Veen.

Great Britain’s James Peters and Fynn Sterritt aggregated 12 points, going 3,6,3, over the first three Finals races for the 25 strong 49er Gold fleet to take the class lead, 11 pts clear of the Spain’s Diego Botin and Iago Lopez and 17 points clear of Argentina’s Lange brothers, Yago and Klaus.

That the young Brits are in good shape after their excellent training with the strong British 49er contingent in Cadiz is confirmed in the knowledge that the Spanish and Argentine partners both finished top 10 at the Rio Olympic games.

“It was not really classic Palma until later in our day so it was quite tricky to start with but we are happy to be at the front of the fleet,” crew Sterritt commented. “We are really happy with the way we are sailing together. We have made a jump since last year and we said that we wanted to make an impact early on in the campaign and so have been working hard to realise that, working a bit more than others. Down in training we were going well against the other British teams but really it is hard to know how that translates to the race course because all the time it is Brit v Brit, but we felt we were going well. Normally we have not been so comfortable here and it has not been so good, but it feels different this time. It is lovely on the water, such a great place to go racing. You cycle along the front here in the morning and then go racing. It is great. There are not many better venues.”

After taking three of the top four places in the Nacra 17 fleet in Miami, British crews are to the fore again in Palma. John Gimson and Anna Burnett, a newer pairing who were fourth in the Florida round of the Sailing World Cup, return to lead the fleet after nine races with Tom Phipps and Nicola Boniface – Miami runners up – in fourth.

Equal levels of top consistency proved elusive across the two races for the Laser class, particularly among the top three sailors who all sailed one bogey result today. Spain’s emerging Grand Canaria based Joel Rodriguez is back at the top of the fleet whilst in the Radial fleet Finland’s Tuula Tenkanen put herself back on track to repeat her Trofeo Princesa Sofía regatta win of last year en route to her sixth in Rio. She leads World Champion Ali Young by two points.

Holland’s Nick Heiner, 2014 Laser World Champion moved into the lead in the Finn class, courtesy of two fourth places, while there is no change in the RS:X classes where Spain’s Marina Alabau and Poland’s Pawel Tarnowski both retain slender points leads.

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Background: The Spanish showcase Trofeo Princesa Sofía IBEROSTAR Regatta starts the new Olympic quadrennial in Europe on March 27 to April 1 when the waters of Palma, Mallorca welcome 646 boats and 833 sailors from 53 different nations, setting out on the first stages of what many hope will be a successful journey to the 2020 Olympic regatta in Tokyo, Japan.

Source: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía – Mallorca 2017

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