Winners decided

Conditions come good on the Bay of Palma as Team GBR enjoy eight medal haul

Friday April 10th 2009, Author: Corinne Rolland-McKenzie, Location: United Kingdom
The Princesa Sofia Mapfre Trophy, the third event in the ISAF Sailing World Cup, saw intense racing in the Medal Race between the leading ten sailors in each class on the Bay of Palma.

Bianca Manchon produced one of the best results for Spain, winning six races in the Women's RS:X, including the Medal race, in the process adding 20 points to her impressive ISAF Sailing World Cup score now standing at 58 points! Manchon will be also awarded the 'Absolute Winner' prize tonight by Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain. This traditional prize recognised the achievements of the winner with the best results across all classes.

“I’ve sailed every day, looking for free wind and tried to stay in the leading group," said a delighted Manchon. "I have never imagined winning the Absolute Trophy, but I have! I’ve also won in my class and I’m leading more than ever the ISAF Sailing World Cup.”

World number 1 and Rolex Miami OCR winner, Marina Alabau (ESP) was second overall ahead of Italy's Flavia Tartaglini.

In the Men’s RS:X, Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) won his second ISAF World Cup event in a row after coming out on top in Miami, thereby increasing his lead on the World Cup standings. Commenting on the Medal Race, he said: “This is great, it looks easy maybe, but you still have to defend your position under pressure. I look calm, but we had a long wait onshore and I was bouncing around. Once on the water I had a really bad start. I needed to work very hard not to get swamped by my opponents. I got squeezed. I dropped back a bit but persisted in my strategy to get to the stronger winds first. Then I was second at the top mark and finished third.”

Medal race winner Nick Dempsey (GBR) took bronze behind Brazil’s Riccardo Santos.

In the Laser class, Britain's Nick Thompson was in a similar pleasant situation to van Rijsselberge - winner of the second ISAF Sailing World Cup event in Miami, he has added another 20 points to his score after winning the Laser Standard class at the Princesa Sofia Mapfre trophy today.

“It’s great to take home the gold at both events," said Thompson. "The goal was top three and so come away with a gold is brilliant. It’s a great start to the season - it’s really important for me. I’ve had a pretty good winter’s training and now’s the time to really lay down that I’m a contender and capable of winning events.”

Mike Bullot from New Zealand trailed the Brit in the results and the World Cup standings after he came second overall in Sail Melbourne and now the Princess Sofia Mapfre Trophy. Tonci Stupanovic (CRO), finished in third position in the strong 134 sailors fleet.

The racing was intense and very close in the Laser Radial class. Early leader Susana Romero (ESP) needed to keep the US's Paige Railey within two places in order to maintain the lead. However Railey managed to stay in the front group while Romero failed to come back after an average start. A sixth place for Railey was enough to give Gold to the American, despite being on equal points with Romero.

“This gold medal feels amazing because I just started sailing full-time again in January,” said Railey. “It is the best feeling to come back and put everything I had into this event.”

However Railey's result was not enough to threaten Anna Tunicliffe’s lead in the ISAF World Cup Standings. The World number one has added another 15 points to her impressive score after winning the two first events in the World Cup.

The most spectacular result for Skandia Team GBR was in the Finn class where in the medal race, British boats took the top four places - and this was without the boy Ainslie! Overall Brit boats took the top three places. After being neck and neck for the race, Ed Wright nosed into the lead on the final run, however it was 21 year old Giles Scott who claims his first Finn class win at an international level event.

“This is one of my most memorable regattas! It was pretty nerve-wracking actually because I made it difficult for myself,” Scott explained. “I was doing penalty turns with 20 seconds to go and I think I rounded the top mark in eighth, Andrew Mills was winning and I was kind of thinking ‘oh dear’.”

Ed Wright collects 19 points for his second position overall which added to his 20 points scored in the Miami OCR keeps him in the lead of the Finn World Cup standings.

There was no surprise regarding the winner in the 470 men division with France's Charbonnier and Meyer securing Gold after the final stage. When asked about their key to success the new team didn't hesitate. “Trust! We have known each other for over 12 years and worked together this long. This is probably making up for our lack of training together.” Even after such outstanding results, the French know there is still a lot to learn: “We still have margin for improvement, tuning the boat, strong air racing…but the other teams will surely progress fast and will provide good challenges.”

Second place overall goes to Gideon Kliger and Udi Gal from Israel while Anton Dalhberg and Sebastian Ostling get to third overall. The Swedish who started the Medal race in 8th position overall took the bullet and grabbed the Bronze, one point from fourth! The top three enter the World Cup standings after scoring top points in the Princesa Sofia Mapfre trophy.

If the winner in the 470 men division was expected, it was a different story for the Women. Early leaders Ingrid Petitjean and Nadège Douroux (FRA) sailed their worse race finishing last in the medal race, dropping to third overall. “This is the result after a succession of small mistakes," said Petitjean. "A bad, start, the wrong side, which leaded to bad decisions! It is a pity because we only had top 8 scores in the fleet races! We sailed well in all type of conditions and were very regular. Even if our objective here was to get back into sailing mode after a long break, it is disappointing to miss the title.”

While the French finished on equal points with Spain's Tara Pacheco and Berta Betanzos (ESP) who took second overall, the title has been regained by early leaders, Austria's Sylvia Vogl and Carolina Flatscher. “We were surprised to win!" stated Vogl. "We knew we had secured a second place but we had not realised that the French were last. We came into the Medal race with the intention to try to secure a second by keeping a close eye on the Spanish. It was a very competitive regatta.” The European champions are adding 20 points to their score, now the lead of the ISAF World Cup standings.

The Austrian 49er team of Delle Karth/Resch, won the medal race to move into the top five overall. However showing superior speed, Italians Pietro and Gianfranco Sibello won their first event after a long break from the class since the Olympic Games. “Finally we had some nice and stable wind for the medal race. We needed to keep close to John Pink and Rick Peacock to protect our lead. Unfortunately we went one way and they went the opposite! So we tried to finish within the top 6.” John Pink and Rick Peacock (GBR) ended up second but take the lead of the ISAF Sailing World Cup with 38 points.
Star European Champions Robert Stanjek and Markus Koy from Germany won the Star event after a streak of regular top six places in a small but talented fleet including Athens Bronze medallist Xavier Rohart from France with new crew Pierre-Alexis Ponsot. Aimilios Papathanasiou and Apostoulos Karnoutsos place second overall in their first regatta together. While newly formed team of Diego Negri and Luca Devoti take Bronze.
The 40 Princesa Sofia Mapfre Trophy concludes with the prestigious prize giving ceremony in presence of the Spanish Royal family, regatta patron.

Robert Deaves reports on the Finn medal race:

It was always going to be a good Friday for some and not for others, but in the final race of the Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía MAPFRE in Palma, the chocolates were reserved for the British sailors who filled all of the top four places in the race and ultimately all three medal positions.

Giles Scott (GBR) has displayed his full potential here this week. Apart from a mishap in the first race, he never placed less than fourth in the opening series, quite something in a fleet of this standard. Another fourth place in the medal race was quite apt and was comfortably good enough to take the regatta win by three points from Ed Wright (GBR). Scott didn't get off the to best of starts though, starting mid line, rounding the top mark in eighth place and having to make up ground to make sure of gold. He made his move on the second upwind to finish fourth and that was enough.

Wright appears to have the knack of winning medal races, most recently taking the Rolex Miami OCR by winning the medal race. Unless Scott was outside the top six boats that wasn't going to happen here but after rounding the top mark in third, he pulled up to second by the last windward mark and took the lead on the downwind to the finish after going slightly further to the left than anyone else. This moved him up to the silver medal position as well as giving him a clear lead in the ISAF Sailing World Cup rankings after three regattas.

Team mate Andrew Mills (GBR) has also performed exceptionally well this week. A third place in the medal race was enough to stay in the medals, though he dropped one place to Wright to take the bronze. He started one down from Wright at the committee boat and led the race to the left to finally round the top mark first. He maintained his lead until half way down the final run when he was attacked by Wright and the fourth British sailor in the race, Mark Andrews (GBR). Andrews finished second in the race to move up to seventh overall.

Though it is still the first major of the season, the fact that this team can get four boats into the top 10 bodes well for some great racing over the next four years as these sailors battle for the home country place in Weymouth in 2012.

With a fourth place finish overall, young Tapio Nirkko (FIN) has clearly improved over the winter training and is now producing the kind of consistent form he needs to become a regular medal contender. Though he placed eighth in the medal race, he jumps one place in the overall positions after the early regatta leader Rafael Trujillo (ESP), and arguably one of the favourites, finished in last place. Trujillo got buried out of the start and a last beat gamble on the right didn't pay off and he finished some way behind the fleet.

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