ISAF Sailing World Cup: Trofeo Princesa Sofia
Published on March 27th, 2014
Palma de Mallorca, Spain (March 27, 2014) – Almost 1,200 sailors from 60 nations are preparing for the 45th Trofeo Princesa Sofía, the fourth and next to last stage of the ISAF Sailing World Cup, which starts on Sunday. The hub of activity will be at the Clubs of S’Arenal, Can Pastilla and Palma, in the bay of Palma. The elite of world sailing, including Olympic medalists and world and continental champions are gathered for the beginning of the European sailing season in a decisive year for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
In the 470 men fleet, Mathew Belcher, gold medalist with Malcom Page at the London 2012 Olympics, continues to be one of the favorites for Río 2016 despite sailing just one year with his new crew Will Ryan. The Australian team is now at the top of the ranking lists. French sailors Sofian Bovet and Jeremie Mion as well as Argentinian team Lucas Calabrese and Juan de la Fuente will be the battling teams joining the Australians who are sailing under the supervision of coach Victor Kovalenko.
New Zealand team Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, Olympic gold medalists at London 2013, and 2013 470 Women World Champions have an excellent opportunity in Mallorca to show they continue to be at a high level. Aleh and Powrie did not sail in the past Princesa Sofia when Brazilian team Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Barbachan claimed a comfortable victory over the rest of the fleet.
The bay of Palma will witness an interesting battle for victory in 49er. The top three teams in the world ranking lists will prove their value at the Sofia. Jonas Warrer (gold in Beijing 2008) and Peter Lang, from Denmark, arrive after winning in Miami, in which the current number one team in the class, British sailors Stephen Morrison and Chris Grube finished third overall. France brings sailors Julien D’ortolli and Noé Delpech, who were fourth in Miami and won the Semana Olímpica de Andalucía last February.
The 49er FX comes with lots of surprises. The women’s skiff is a new class with big names at the starting line. Brazilian sailor Martine Soffiatti Grael, the daughter of five-time Olympic medalist Torben Grael, and Kahena Kunze are third in the world ranking lists. They are followed closely by Italian sailors Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich.
Another new class is the Nacra 17, a mixed multihull that will have its Olympic debut in Río 2016. In the fleet, we find renowned names such as noted French sailor Franck Cammas, as well as the Spanish team Iker Martínez and Tara Pacheco. Martínez holds a gold medal from the 2004 Athens Olympics, silver in Beijing 2008 and three 49er class World championships. These impressive victories awarded him in 2011, together with Xabi Fernández, the title of ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year. Pacheco was the 2011 470 Women World and European champion representing Spain in the same class at London 2012 with Berta Betanzos.
Ben Ainslie’s retirement from Olympic Sailing gives way to new names. Australian sailor Oliver Tweddell, the current leader of the Class World rankings as well as British sailor Andrew Mills are two of the candidates to take Ainslie’s place in the class, as well as young British sailor Giles Scott, winner of the last edition of the Trofeo Sofia in the class and always on the podium places at recent Olympic class events.
There have been big changes in the Laser standard fleet since the London 2012 Olympics. Pavlos Kontides (silver for Cyprus at the last Olympics) is currently in fourth place in class rankings and battling against Tonci Stipanović (Croatia), Tom Burton (Australia) and Bruno Fontes (Brazil) towards Río 2016.
The battle for the Laser Radial podium places will be among three sailors that have long experience at the top of the leader board at ISAF Sailing World Cup events. Dongshuang Zhang from China won gold at the 2013 Qingdao ISAF Sailing World Cup event in China; Tatiana Drozdovskaya from Byelorussia finished first at the ISAF SWC held in December 2013 in Melbourne (Australia); and US sailor Page Railey arrives in Mallorca after winning in Miami last February.
The RS:X Men is looking for a new Olympic champion: Brazilian sailor Ricardo Santos, Spanish sailor Iván Pastor and Ho Tsun Leung from Hong Kong are currently the big three names in the fleet.
In the RS:X Women, all interest will be focused on the return of Marina Alabau to the fleet. The gold medalist in London 2012 will sail again the RS:X after having her first child and is hoping to repeat that Olympic victory. Her closest rivals will be British sailor Bryony Shaw and Italian sailor Flavia Tartaglini, currently number one and two in class world rankings.
Helena Lucas, London 2012 Paralympic champion, will take part in the Trofeo Princesa Sofia in the 2.4mR class with a fleet of 19 sailors.
Source: Event Media
Background: The ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca (Mar. 29-Apr 5) is the fourth stop on the five event 2013-14 ISAF Sailing World Cup. The season has been to Qingdao, China (Oct 12-19); Melbourne, Australia (Dec. 1-8); and Miami (Jan 25-Feb 1); and will continue on after Palma, Spain to conclude in Hyeres, France (Apr. 19-26). 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