Palma not playing ball

Dramatic clouds overhead make for a late start to racing at the Princess Sofia Mapfre Trophy

Thursday April 9th 2009, Author: Corinne Rolland-McKenzie, Location: United Kingdom
It was another long day in Palma. The wind expected from the southwest, came from around 4.30pm until the sea breeze had shifted to a northeasterly, to start racing. With big clouds over the bay, the pressure was uneven on the race course and made racing very tricky. These conditions produced new heat winners in most classes, reducing the lead of most favourites or producing new ones.

In the 49er, class newcomers Tobias Schadewaldt and Hannes Baumann (GER) took the first two races out of the four sailed in the Gold fleet to gain five places in 12th position in the overall ranking. With two second places today, John Pink and Rick Peacock (GBR) got to one point from the Sibello (ITA) brothers, who have managed to hold a narrow lead after winning the last race.

The only race sailed in the Laser Gold gave the bullet to Nick Thompson (GBR). Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) discards his 14 points score to keep a four points advantage on Thompson. This is the first time the 22 year old Croat has competed in the Princesa Sofia Mapfre Trophy.

In the 470 class, Beijing Bronze medallist in the 470, Nicolas Charbonnier with new crew Baptiste Meyer (FRA) are holding their top position by one point after a mixed day. “The conditions were difficult today with shifts and different pressure on the course. We had a bad start in the first race,” he said. The Princesa Sofia Mapfre Trophy marks the sailing debut of Charbonnier and Meyer as a team. Meyer was one of Charbonnier’s coaches leading into the Olympics and had not competed in a dinghy for the last 12 years! “We are working on our speed, and are racing conservatively. We are very efficient under 15 knots so the conditions to date in Palma have suited us.”, said Meyer.

A race win brings the Swedish team of Anton Dahlberg and Sebastian Ostling from 8th to third overall, but the day’s best improvers are Mantis Panagiotis and Pavlos Kagialis from Greece who climb from 34th to 5th after discarding a disqualification and winning the last race!

Hannah Mills and Katrina Hughes were able to shake off their false start on Monday with a solid 4,1 from their two races today. The Development Squad sailors have now leapfrogged teammates Penny Clark and Saskia Clark to take fifth place in the leaderboard, with Clark-Clark in sixth with scores of 14,4 for their efforts.

“We managed to get off the start line well today which was a pretty big thing and just get on the first shift - that was all our aim was,” said Mills, recalling their penalty for a false start on Monday. We’d like to knock in some consistent results tomorrow to hopefully put us in a good position for the medal race. After getting a black flag earlier in the week, we can’t really afford any more disasters!”

In the Finn, Rafa Trujillo (ESP) continues on his winning streak adding a second victory to his score. The Skandia GBR British squad, led by Ed Wright placed 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the only race sailed in the Finn class.

“The first race they tried to get underway today was abandoned which was just as well as I’d actually broken my tiller extension, so I was holding it one hand and up the first beat I was having to sail with my mainsheet tied to my tiller,” Wright recalled. “I was winning the last race and then there was a left shift on the last beat and Rafa ] just squeezed past me - I think he won the race by about an inch.”

Wright was quick to praise event management for their efforts on a difficult day. “I’ve been impressed with the race officer and his patience,” he said. “Quality racing is always better than quantity.”

In the Laser radial, Americans Paige Railey and Anna Tunnicliffe are still holding the top two positions, with Tunnicliffe claiming today’s only race.

Thierry Schmitter (NED) continues to dominate the 2.4m fleet with two victories added to his top three scores.

The different weather conditions provided the event with new leaders. Flavia Flavigni (ITA) claimed the fifth race in the RS:X women fleet and conserves her third place overall, behind the Spanish Marina Alabau and Bianca Manchon who takes the lead from her team mate. In the Men's division, a second followed by a victory brings Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) in top position, six points ahead of early leader Fabian Heidegger (ITA).

In the 470 Women Ingrid Petitjean and Nadège Douroux (FRA) are now in first overall after winning the day’s first race and placing 5th in the following. Early leaders, Sylvia Vogl and Carolina Flatscher (AUT) lost two places to third after scoring a 10th and a 14th. Second place goes to Spanish team of Tara Pacheco and Berta Betanzos.

The Star class didn’t race today.

Robert Deaves reports on the Finns:

After excellent sailing conditions for the first two days of the regatta, the Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía Mapfre in Palma turned into a waiting game, with no racing for Finns on Tuesday and only one race on Wednesday as the breeze refused to co-operate. In that race Rafael Trujillo (ESP) reinforced his position at the top with his second race win of the series, beating Ed Wright (GBR) by the narrowest of margins.

However, Wednesday's racing was nearly a no show. The Finn fleet was held on shore until 16.00 and then a start an hour later was abandoned shortly into the race due to a large wind shift on the course area. A new start was attempted at 17.30 local time and this time the fleet got away.

Trujillo's second win leaves him 5 points clear of second placed overall Wright (GBR), while an amazingly consistent Giles Scott (GBR) has now posted four fourth places in a row to move up to third overall. A 10th for day one leader Tapio Nirkko (FIN) was enough to climb one place to fourth, while Andrew Mills (GBR) scored his worst place finish so far and drops to fifth.

A 5th for Gasper Vincec (SLO) moves him up to sixth overall, while yet another British sailor, Mark Andrews (GBR), the 2006 Junior World and European Champion, placed third in the race to climb to seventh overall. With four boats in the top 10 in a Grade 1 event, the British sailors are certainly making their presence felt.

So, with one day of qualification races left - with a possible three races still to be sailed - the top 10 looks like this.

More photos on the following pages...

Top three results (and Brits)

49er (after 10 races)
1. Pietro Sibello-Gianfranco Sibello, ITA (27pts)
2. John Pink-Rick Peacock, GBR (28pts)
3. Federico Alonso-Arturo Alonso, ESP (48pts)
Selected GBR
5. Paul Campbell-James-Mark Asquith (61pts)
6. Dave Evans-Simon Hiscocks (61pts)
8. Dylan Fletcher-Alain Sign (71pts)

Finn (after 5 races)
1. Rafael Trujillo, ESP (10pts)
2. Ed Wright, GBR (15pts)
3. Glles Scott, GBR (16pts)
Other GBR
4. Andrew Mills (22pts)
7. Mark Andrews (29pts)

470 Men (after 6 races)
1. Nicolas Charbonnier-Baptiste Meyer, FRA (20pts)
2. Steven Lefevre-Steven Krol, NED (21pts)
3. Anton Dahlberg-Sebastian Ostling, SWE (27pts)
Selected GBR
10. Nick Rogers-Pom Green (41pts)
21. Ben Saxton-David Kohler (59pts)
25. Luke Patience-Chris Grube (67pts)

470 Women (after 6 races)
1. Ingrid Petitjean-Nadege Douroux, FRA (17pts)
2. Tara Pacheco-Berta Betanzos, ESP (20pts)
3. Sylvia Vogl-Carolina Flatscher, AUT (12pts)
5. Hannah Mills-Katrina Hughes, (34pts)
6. Penny Clark-Saskia Clark (35pts)
15. Sophie Weguelin-Sophie Ainsworth (62pts)

RS:X Men (after 6 races)
1. Dorian van Rijsselberge, NED (10pts)
2. Fabian Heidegger, ITA (16pts)
3. Ricardo Santos, BRA (19pts)
7. Nick Dempsey (28pts)
25. Richard Hamilton (70pts)
31. Elliot Carney (61pts)

RS:X Women (after 4 races)
1. Blanca Manchon, ESP (8pts)
2. Marina Alabau, ESP (12pts)
3. Flavia Tartaglini, ITA (14pts)
Selected GBR
5. Bryony Shaw (28pts)
10. Izzy Hamilton (53pts)

2.4mR (after 6 races)
1. Thierry Schmitter, NED (7pts)
2. Andre Rademaker, NED (11pts)
3. Helena Lucas, GBR (12pts)
4. Megan Pascoe (17pts)

Laser (after 5 races)
1. Tonci Stipanonvic, CRO (6pts)
2. Nick Thompson, GBR (10pts)
3. Giacomo Bottoli, ITA (24pts)

Laser Radial (after 5 races)
1. Paige Railey, USA (17pts)
2. Anna Tunnicliffe, USA (18pts)
3. Susana Romero, ESP (23pts)
Selected GBR
18. Andrea Brewster (72pts)
19. Charlotte Dobson (73pts)

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