Skandia Team GBR gearing up in Palma
Britain’s sailors are out in force at the first European World Cup event of the season this week in Palma, Majorca, taking place over 28 March-2 April.
Laser sailor Nick Thompson, Lucy Macgregor’s match racing trio plus Skandia Team GBR’s competitive 49er and Finn squads will be strong medal hopes at the six-day Princess Sofia Trophy – the third stage of the 2009-10 ISAF Sailing World Cup series.
The 23-year-old Thompson saw a superb start to his year, clinching an early victory at the Miami World Cup event in January, and will also aim to defend the title he won in Palma in 2009. Britain’s Finn squad, minus Ben Ainslie, will be looking to continue the early season form which handed them two medals in Miami – a gold for Ed Wright, and bronze for Giles Scott.
They’ll also have in mind their 2009 showing in Palma Bay, which saw them secure a clean sweep of Princess Sofia medals, with Giles Scott topping the podium, flanked by Ed Wright in second and Andrew Mills in third.
The defending champion Scott is in no doubt as to where he wants to be at the conclusion of the regatta on Good Friday. “This year’s a massive year as the Olympics are getting ever closer,” he explained. “Podium finishes are what you need to put confidence in the selectors come the Olympics time, so aiming to podium at every event is definitely a focus of mine.”
Women’s match racing and the Elliot 6m boats will be making their Princess Sofia debut this year, with Britain’s top crew Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Ally Martin expected to be pushing for podium honours at the end of the week. After an impressive run at the Miami World Cup event, winning 18 straight matches before losing in the final to USA’s Anna Tunnicliffe, Macgregor and team will be aiming to go one step higher on the podium in Palma.
In the 49er class, four out of five of Skandia Team GBR’s top crews will take to the racecourse this week in what should prove an intriguing tussle for Palma medals between Stevie Morrison-Ben Rhodes, Chris Draper-Peter Greenhalgh, John Pink-Rick Peacock and Dylan Fletcher-Alain Sign, who all finished inside the top ten at the World Championships.
Elsewhere, British hopes will rest on Nick Dempsey and Bryony Shaw in the men’s and women’s RS:X windsurfing events, while in the 470 men’s class double silver medallist Nick Rogers with Pom Green and world silver medallists Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell will lead the Skandia Team GBR challenge.
Miami bronze medallist Alison Young will look for another solid showing in the Laser Radial event, while the 470 women’s event sees three Skandia Team GBR development squad crews set to compete.
Helena Lucas and Megan Pascoe will line up in the 2.4mR event – the only one of the three Paralympic classes to feature in Palma.
“We’ve been coming to Palma now for a huge number of years – probably more years than we’d like to think about – so we know this venue very well, and it does provide some great racing,” explained RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park.
“It’s going to be quite an important event for quite a lot of our sailors – particularly the development squad sailors, for many of whom this will be the first World Cup event of 2010..
“It’s an opportunity for them to come and see whether all the hard work they’ve been doing over the winter time is really paying off in terms of results on the water.”
Racing at the Princess Sofia Trophy will start at 1400hrs (local) on Sunday 28 March and continue through until Friday 2 April.