Team GBR out in force
After the British Sailing Team’s successes at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami last month, the European regatta season will get into full swing this week with the ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca in Palma Bay providing the backdrop for the fourth and penultimate leg of the 2013/14 World Cup tour.
The event organisers are preparing to welcome over 850 sailors from 50 nations to the Mediterranean island for this 45th edition of the Princess Sofia Trophy, with some 80 British Sailing Team sailors due to compete across all ten Olympic classes, and the 2.4mR Paralympic event.
Giles Scott, defending his Finn title from last year’s regatta, will be among the names to watch in the men’s heavyweight dinghy event, having secured back to back wins at the EUROSAF event in La Rochelle last October, the Copa Brasil de Vela at Rio in January, and the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami last month since his return from America’s Cup campaigning in the autumn.
There’ll be a typically strong British contingent vying for honours in the Finn class, with 2013 World and European silver medallist Ed Wright, world number two Andrew Mills and world number four Mark Andrews all flying the British flag alongside Scott in Palma.
Elsewhere, RS:X Windsurfing World Champion Nick Dempsey, 49er European Champions Dylan Fletcher-Alain Sign and 470 Olympic silver medallists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark will all see their first World Cup action of 2014 at next week’s event, while Luke Patience and Elliot Willis will be putting their new partnership through its paces at their first World Cup event together in the 470 men’s class.
World number one windsurfer Bryony Shaw will be hoping to continue her 2014 form in the RS:X Women’s event after her Miami gold, while Miami bronze medallists Ben Saxton-Hannah Diamond and Frances Peters-Nicola Groves will be among the British contenders in the Nacra 17 and 49erFX events.
Nick Thompson headlines an eight-sailor British entry in the men’s single-handed Laser class, with four British women set to compete in the women’s equivalent Laser Radial event.
In the Paralympic classes, Miami gold medallist Megan Pascoe will be gunning for a second World Cup victory of 2014 in the 2.4mR event, with Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas also aiming for the podium spots, having secured bronze in Miami.
“The Princess Sofia Trophy always provides a great start to the European sailing season, and a perfect opportunity to put all the hours of winter training to the test at a major event where you have the chance to line up against all the best sailors from the rest of the world,” explained RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park.
“Along with many other nations, the key event for the British Sailing Team this year will be the ISAF Sailing World Championships at Santander in September, so the Princess Sofia Trophy will provide a great early season test to see how the international fleet is shaping up ahead of the World Championships.”
Racing gets underway at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca on Monday 31 March, with the final day of action for the Paralympic classes on Friday 4 April, and medal races for the Olympic Classes on Saturday 5 April.